Beiträge

OXID eSales at CRM Acceleration in Munich

OXID will be present at the SugarCRM event in Munich, the CRM Acceleration 2009. In his best practice talk „SugarCRM – CRM as a link in the inhouse SOA architecture of OXID eSales“ Roland Fesenmayr, CEO at OXID eSales AG, will show how the processes of lead generating and sales work flows at OXID eSales AG which were set up and optimized using SugarCRM.

The talk will take place on Thursday, October 29th 2009 at 15 o’clock. We are glad to improve the good relationship with SugarCRM this way. For your requests or suggestions, Roland Fesenmayr and Tim-Markus Kaiser (Project Manager IT & Processes) will be available after the speech in a Q&A session. Alternatively you may want to arrange an appointment with them on site.

OXID eSales at CRM-expo 2009

OXID will be present at the leading trade fair for customer relation ship management, the CRM-expo 2009. Tim-Markus Kaiser, Project Manager IT & Processes at OXID eSales AG, will show in his best practice talk „Enterprise Open Source – CRM as a link in the system landscape“ how the processes of lead generating and sales work flows at OXID eSales AG were set up and optimized using SugarCRM. The talk will take place on Thursday, October 8th 2009 at 11 o’clock. We are glad to improve the good relationship with SugarCRM this way. For your requests or suggestions, Tim-Markus Kaiser will be available after his speech in a Q&A session. Alternatively you may want to arrange an appointment with him on site.

OXID eShop Minor Release 4.1.6 is published

The 4.1.6 release was mainly about fixing bugs (see changelog in Bugtracker for details).

You may find the release notes and the update packages as usual in the download area of OXIDforge.

Please especially take note of the newly introduced option „CSV-Encloser for Import and Export“, outlined in the release notes. As in previous versions the enclosing character (‚) was hard-coded in  genexport.tpl, this value has to be set in administration area now. So please make sure you do not forget to update this template and set the new value in admin panel.

Also, an issue with the WYSIWYG editor was fixed with #1272. Please check content you altered using Mozilla Firefox as web browser and the WYSIWYG editor.

Concerning #1316, another option was newly introduced to the administration area: Administrators  can now decide if the shop shall automatically search for new updates
or only update
manually.

Due to the bug fixes, some changes in API had to be made. Please see chapter For Developers: Changes in Public Interface for detailed information.

For future releases, we will start to inform
you about API changes and other important alterations via the
dev-general mailing list
prior to a release. We believe that it is the appropriate channel
to discuss possible upcoming issues caused by bug fixes already during the development process before distributing the software packages.

OXID User Meeting im Weilburg

Dear Michael, Andreas and Martina,

many thanks for the wonderful last weekend, we spent in Weilburg. It was a perfectly organized user meeting with almost 70 OXID users and OXID eShop partners.

The get together on Friday was at 7 p.m. and when we sat at the hotel terrace more and more participants arrived and got in contact. It was very nice to see that new OXID users, but also some from “the old forum” and also new interests got in lively discussions. Due to the weather we could even stay on the terrace until late at night, as it is usual on OXID user meetings. 😉

The official part of the weekend began on Saturday at 9 a.m. – in deed for some participants this was too early. You know who I mean… During the day the main focus was networking between like-minded people. Topics about which we learned more in the interesting speeches were for example the payment gateways ” paymorrow” and “Heidelpay”, shop optimization such as on site search, customer feedback necessity, A/B testings and recommendation services. So it was a very good mixture of things that eshop users have to consider to stay or become successful.

After dinner the second hard networking evening started and several new contacts were made. For me, as having visited several user meetings it is always enjoyable to see the faces behind partners and users as in our business you mostly communicate via new media. I am already looking forward to see everybody again on the next user meeting – the tenth one!

New extensions for OXID eShop available: OXID-to-Sugar Connector, Celebros and Template Sets

Over the last few days, some very interesting extensions have been introduced in OXID eXchange – the Marketplace for exchanging OXID eShop extensions. We would like to present a few of them to you:

The MyCRM OXID-to-Sugar Connector is a tool to integrate data gathered in your online store with SugarCRM (Customer Relationship Management software). The connector creates leads, contacts, accounts and opportunities in SugarCRM when a new client registers with your online store and places orders. As this interface is still in a beta stage, MyCRM requests your help as beta testers. Please feel free to download the OXID-to-Sugar Connector and share your experience.

Also, we are glad to announce new template sets on eXchange. If you prefer two columns to three, you might want to take a look at the pink, red or blue themes. These template sets are tableless, support mult-language use of the store and provide a simple banner rotation system on the index page.

Another very interesting extension is the Celebros interface. Celebros increases your conversion rate by providing sophisticated onsite search solutions for online stores. The interface is free and open source.

Zend Framework and OXID eShop

OXID eSales is considering to integrate Zend Framework (ZF) in the OXID eShop product.

Why does OXID raise the question to port the eShop product to Zend Framework?

 

Actually its not because of technical reasons. The OXID eShop framework itself is well grown over the years, robust and fast. OXID users and partners know it already. So why raise this question then? The OXID eShop framework is a single-purpose framework, solely designed for this product. Meaning that it is fast, no unnecessary overhead. But there is also another side to this medal: Single purpose means no extras either. If a module writer wants to use generic components the shop doesn’t include itself yet, then he needs to make up something on his own. Hence, it might be an advantage to have generic components available from within OXID eShop.

 

The biggest driver for OXID in many decisions nowadays is to see if we can attract more people joining the eShop community. For that it may be beneficial to include a generic component framework into the shop. I think a complete application-stack-kind-of framework where the classes are more coupled together will not fit well into our product. A component system on the other side will rather meet our expectations. Main requirement should be that the components are as much decoupled and useful on their own as possible. The idea is that you can use whatever component you want whereever you want.

 

With this is mind, the Zend Framework seems to be the most obvious candidate. Why?

 

  • Many developers know Zend Framework and are using it.
  • There is much documentation available 
  • Zend Framework is continuously being developed by an active community
  • Getting certified is a possibility. 
  • Some people think that Zend Framework will be _the_ PHP framework from now on.
  • Ok, to be honest, OXID does indeed have Zend Framework know how, given that our eFire platform (currently only available in Germany) is based on it. It’s easier for us to use Zend Framework then using an framework we never actively used before.

 

Integrating Zend Framework or any framework for that matter, is a big step. Many questions need to be answered first.

  • The basic question: Do we actually want to use an generic component framework in our shop ?
  • Do we want to replace all fundamental core classes with Zend Framework classes or only the classes where the Zend Framework offers more functionality and/or better performance? 
  • Do we want to strip down the eShop framework in favor of the component framework? 
  • The eShop framework is just there for the product. A generic framework serves many scenarios. Do we have to fear an performance degradation? If inevitable, how much degrading are we willing to accept?
  • The module writer needs to keep its module compatible with OXID eShop framework already. If we always package the current Zend Framework with the shop, the module developers need to stay up to date with both. Is that ok?

Some of these questions involve issues which will translate into a lot of programming work - resources that will not go into feature development if we do them. There is definitely a trade-off.

We will try some spike solutions in the near future. I will keep you informed on that.

We would like to hear from the community what you think. Please join the discussion on the dev-general mailing list, leave a comment to this blog or in the related forum thread.

Softengine Frühlingsevent 2009

Last week I spent all of my working hours on the Softengine Roadshow (www.softengine.de).

We started in Salzburg (Austria) on Monday, 27th of April and toured around Austria and Germany. Invited were all BüroWARE Partners. All of the speakers have interfaces to the well known ERP Software BüroWARE. The tour began in Salzburg, stopped in Gera, Hannover, Düsseldorf and finally ended in Wiesbaden. Every day began with a trip to the following city, where every tour participant held his speech.

TIA Innovations (www.tia.com) for example gave a lecture on ATLAS, and its upcoming changes in German customs authority. Afterwards the BüroWARE Factory (www.bwfactory.de) was introduced, as well as DocuWare (www.docuware.de) – a worldwide operating document archiving solution. After every third speech a small break for “time2talk” was held.

After the first break the attendees learned about controlling appliances in its highest level, presented by PantaSol (www.pantasol.de) and InfoZoom (www.infozoom.de). Within the last quarter hour before the second pause smp Synergie (www.smp-synergie.de) spoke about commercial process optimization.

Directly afterwards the short refreshment it was up to me to give a speech. My main focus was about letting the BüroWARE Partners know how easy the sol:fusion interface (www.solfusion.de) can be installed and that we are proud to have such a good and long term business relationship. Also Mr. Helmut Dietz and Mrs. Corinna Müller – who attended and led the super-organized roadshow – highlighted the collaboration which already generated over 230 common projects. Furthermore they pointed out that BüroWARE users should also focus multi-channel solutions in the future, which means that they should consider doing eCommerce besides just having a retail store.

The last three lectures were about POS systems, from QUAD (www.quad.de) and VSD (www.vsd.de). Finally Distribution² (www.distribution2.de) let us know about their TWIN motto (talk + win) with which they serve as central distributor for many BüroWARE partners’ interfaces. From there the (road)show was Mrs. Müller’s and Mr. Dietz’s turn. They gave a forecast to Softengine events in the future, strategic changes and other important stuff.

The most important part after all these dissertations was the collective dinner. From that point on networking began. I was proud to hear that many of the attending partners already knew OXID – and some of them even had already realized OXID projects. When all visitors had left the event the casual part of the day started and we – the speakers that travelled together for the whole roadshow – sat in a round and reviewed the funny stories of the day and learned how talented singers we had in our group. – I just say “Soschel Komörs” … and I am sure that every speaker has a little grin in his/her face. 😀

Cooking with OXID

Finally, I brought myself to start blogging!

From now on, every now and then, I am going to talk a bit about anecdotes,
stories, experiences, unbelievable occurrences or just nice things from my daily
OXID life. April 1st is probably the right date for it to begin. 🙂

When our office first got the request by our partner TWT concerning one
client, I was pretty surprised and had to look up what they actually offer
besides the known range of products. Through a bit of labyrinthine ways, I
finally found their assortment. Unfortunately, I can purchase single bags only
as a product package, but the idea of ordering „fix & frisch Chili con
Carne“ online is awesome! Things granny and grandpa had in their kitchen boards
can be found online in the category „pure nostalgia“. My personal preference is
the „kid’s node spoon“ – no wonder if your offspring is at the age of five
🙂

Webshops going mobile at last?

It’s been a while since people were actually discussing mCommerce as a true hype and latest trend in digital media. Yet slowly but surely the use of mobile devices and services grew more and more intense and today, as the mobile internet is quite popular, almost everybody involved in digital business has at least heard of mobile commerce.

 

The necessary hardware is wide-spread nowadays as a great variety of PDAs and smartphones has been brought to market within the last years and months. Especially in business context a smartphone has become a true essential: there are only very few managers left without a mobile inbox and 24/7 WLAN access – thanks to network operators’ special interest in premium customers, as well as their flexible flat rate contracts, and probably some peer group dynamics…

 

The Blackberry was for a long time the most common mobile internet device until summer 2008, when Apple’s iPhone 3G hit the market. With new conceptions of mobile internet and cell phone usability suddenly present in any kind of media (virtually and literally): the new age of mobile digital lifestyle was finally publicly acknowledged – … and iPhone declared its king by the large community of Apple fans.

 

Looking back today with some months’ distance it has to be admitted that, certainly, there was some kind of hype around the iPhone, marvellously staged by a yet another ingenious Apple marketing campaign. But it is equally true that the iPhone’s new navigation and display capabilities and many genuinely interactive applications in the ever flourishing Apple AppStore introduced some new standards in technology and customers enthusiasm to the mass market. This set the bar very high for any competitor attempting to follow and fuelled competition for new standards in usability and convenience for surfing the internet.

 

T-Mobile G1, launched about 5 months ago, still is the most promising competitor to the iPhone today. According to some recent announcements the soon to be launched Palm Pré might become the strongest rival to the iPhone, as Palm seems to be accepting the challenge to offer something entirely new to early adopters.

Any appraisal or disbelief today being premature, nevertheless this recent development can already be rated something clearly positive for the evolving market: As competition is always good for business, users might be so lucky as to experience some more competitive pricing and a shift in quality soon.

But -of course- the simple purchase of a mobile-internet capable device is by no means an indicator of its actual use.
Some voices claim mobile internet and mobile commerce are broadly used already. But seen up close there are still more surveys on mCommerce being conducted than reliable survey results being published. (some random survey on mobile ticketing, a special form of mCommerce)

But rumour has it that Google web search already detects a considerable percentage of queries stemming from mobile devices. (no recent figures confirmed though)
And those who are frequently checking their twitter account cannot help but notice an increasing number of entries submitted via some mobile application.

 

Departing from this data basis -knowing that there are suitable devices at hand and also a considerable user base willing to actively engage in mobile internet usage- there is still one premise missing to provide the condition of possibility to mCommerce:

Do the duly equipped mCommerce prospects find some adequate content to deal with?
Are there shops (and products) to entice people to actually engage in mCommerce?

 

This might be boiled down to e.g. the following three (to name only few):

  • Is the shop’s search field visible at first glance? (Mobile shoppers mostly prefer the quick way to shop as they are usually perfectly aware of what they are looking for.)
  • Does the shop offer appropriate payment methods and delivery conditions to guarantee a smooth shopping experience?
  • And finally did the merchant take all security precautions required and (very importantly!) did she choose the appropriate means of communication to make their mobile shop visitors feel safe to shop regardless of whether they are browsing via cell phone display or laptop screen?

 

OXID eShop’s standard templates were made to fit some basic mobile commerce needs, but of course only very few OXID eShops out there left it at that and instead succeeded in creating a vast variety of individual front end designs. And just like that: payment, security, and most of the other key success factors for mCommerce are up to the merchant’s individual business model.

In business development at OXID we have been evaluating several options to truly embrace mCommerce and we started working on some specific ideas since beginning of last year already.
With long term partner and well-known usability expert Shoplupe we are now taking the next step to further this topic!

This morning Shoplupe launched a new consulting product: iPhone expert report:
an overall shop usability to check your online shop for iPhone compatibility. There is a two weeks special offer exclusive for OXID eShop merchants that any OXID owner attempting to approach mCommerce should not leave unexploited.

Read more about the offer at OXID Forum and shoplupe.com.

And also don’t miss the interview with mCommerce authority Robert Rieser (Mobilemojo), whose customers include German mail-order house Quelle GmbH: http://blog.shoplupe.com/.

I hope for feedback and lively community discussion in our OXID forum. Share your know-how and individual mCommerce experiences with all of us.

27th – 29th January: meet OXID at OSMB 2009

These first days of January passed so quickly and the first huge Open Source Meeting in 2009 is very close now!

This year – for the first time – also OXID is getting ready to attend Open Source Meets Business conference and we are all very excited and happy to meet the international open source scene which OSMB is so well-known for.

The speakers invited, the variety of topics, just the entire program is absolutely amazing. (See for yourself)

And it is my pleasure to announce that there will be three OXID talks contributing to the conference program, too! 🙂

Tuesday afternoon (27th of January) Andrea (Executive Board, Marketing Director) and Erik (Head of Technical Development) present OXID’s 4th generation shop-software and new OXID eShop Community Edition.
(Neu als Open Source – Shop-Software OXID eSales, panel T01 Business Intelligence, Content Management, room: Zürich, CCN West 2, 16:30 – 17:00 o’clock).

As we also participated in this year’s Open Source Business Award, right afterwards Roland (OXID CEO) is giving a 30 minutes talk on OXID’s new commercial open source strategy.
(OXID Partnerprogramm und Community Management, panel I01 Start-ups, room: Mailand, CCN Mitte, 17:00 – 17:30 o’clock).

Mind that you will have to be quick to shift rooms! 😉

And finally, Wednesday afternoon, don’t miss Holger Schuldt (www.deicke-kirchenbedarf.de) as he will tell all on what running an online shop really is about, why online church retailers are sorely needed, and why he chose OXID eShop to run his business.
(OXID eShop im Einsatz bei Deicke Kirchenbedarf, panel E03 Handel, room: Dublin, CCN West 2, 16:30 – 17:00 o’clock).

Apart from the speakers there will also be Ralf (Manager Technical Products), Community Guide Marco, and myself attending this event.

If you plan to attend the conference and haven’t registered yet: here’s the link to heise registration form (very convenient online registration, I have to say!).

And be sure to have a look at heise’s smart program planning device “Programmplaner” – this will make your scheduling a lot easier!

We are very much looking forward to see you all.