Web and IT

Introducing Sparrow Creative

Amy Kendall (amykendall.com) and myself have been working together in informal partnership on various website projects for the last 8 years. We have now formed an official business partnership and launched Sparrow Creative LLP

Sparrow Creative is a small design agency that offer graphic design and illustration for print and web and open-source website development using drupal and magento.

Please visit our website at: sparrowcreative.co.uk

Using GeoIP with Magento and Multiple Sites

The GeoIP database and API from MaxMind provide an easy way to determine country and region from an IP address. This can be used on a website to determine which country a site visitor is from, to provide them with a tailored experience, or to direct them to an alternative website.

Combined with Magento's multi-store capabilities, this can be used to provide the most suitable currency, language and product selection automatically.

One thing I wanted to be careful with, was to make sure that my implementation didn't have a negative effect on SEO. For example: redirecting to a country specific domain based on IP address might stop some domains from being indexed by search engines (Googlebot IP addresses are nearly always US based). Also, having the same domain to serve different countries might mean lower (or no) search ranking for country specific searches.

There are lots of different scenarios that are possible, and I can't cover them all, but hopefully you'll find something useful below. Let's get started...

Magento 1.3: PHP Developer's Guide

Magento 1.3: PHP Developer's Guide

Magento is a great ecommerce platform that is creating a revolution in the ecommerce world. It has been my pleasure to be involved with it from day 1, although I must admit that there has been a shortage of documentation for developers like me. As a result I'm very glad that there is a new Magento book published that is specifically aimed at developers - Magento 1.3: PHP Developer's Guide.

I'm hoping that my copy will arrive in the post today! As soon as I have had a chance to have a good look at it I will report back with my first impressions. After I have finished reading it I am planning to write up a full review.

Does anyone else have a copy? What were your impressions?


On Twitter

Well I feel like a bit of a luddite waiting this long to join the micro-blogging bandwagon, but I finally have. I guess I found all the hype a bit off-putting.

I am now on Twitter @rosskendall

Also, since I'm an Open Source (and open-data) fan, I have also signed up on Identi.ca - identi.ca/rosskendall
(the two accounts are linked, so all identi.ca posts end up on twitter)

Since I am usually short on time to write proper blog posts, I actually find micro-blogging suits me well. It is also a great way to keep up-to-date with things I am interested in - and pass helpful things on.

I'm going to keep my twitter posts focused on web-development, including: Magento, Drupal, programming (Perl and PHP), design, SEO, etc. I find trivial personal comments a bit distracting, especially if there are lots of them, so I won't be making them myself

An Open Source Alternative to Dreamweaver?

I just received an email asking me just that.

I see on your site you mention about open source software like open office etc, can you recommend an opensource web design software that competes with dream weaver etc?

Well, here's my thoughts...

There isn't really an open source equivalent to Dreamweaver, but if you are after a desktop based WYSIWYG HTML editor then Kompozer is probably the better of the alternatives.

parrot.org Website Launches

Parrot - speaks your language

Those who are 'into' the Perl programming language will know about the mammoth project to re-design Perl for Perl 6. Part of that was to develop the Parrot Virtual Machine - a next generation VM specially designed for the unique needs of dynamic languages (in particular Perl 6).

...well, it's been quite a few years now, but I really feel that things are starting to come together. The launch of a shiny new website for Parrot at parrot.org is another thing that helps to confirm this. (As a side note, it's good to see the site running on Drupal, although I doubt they are using PHP on Parrot just yet.)

Mozilla Firefox Aims to Set World Record

Download Day - English

If you are not using Firefox yet, now is definitely the time. Go check it out, even if it's only for the groovy world map!

If you use Firefox 2 and are wondering why would I be interested in Firefox 3, have a look at this quick video screencast overview.

openSUSE 11.0 Linux on the Way

I have been using SUSE Linux (now openSUSE) on my desktop and laptop computers for a number of years now, and have always found it to be a better desktop that's more to my liking than other Linux distros (although I am more comfortable with Redhat on servers).

While at first I was a bit skeptical, I think Novell have done a great job with openSUSE, and each new release offers numerous improvements.

Magento 1.0 released! - Open Source E-Commerce Evolved

Magento Ecommerce

If you haven't heard of Magento yet, it is now time you should. The web based Magento software is a next-generation e-commerce system that puts previous open source 'shopping carts' to shame.

I have been putting the beta versions of Magento through their paces for the last 6 months, and while it is still early days, I am thoroughly impressed.

The version 1.0 release is a significant milestone, which I'm sure will make waves.

Go check it out: www.magentocommerce.com

What the flock?!

I had heard of the Flock web browser before, and even downloaded and had a play with it, but since I'm not a seriously networked blogging geek it didn't grab my attention.


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