Beiträge

OXID invites: A Community Project to Start in Halle on March 9th and 10th

In the last year, at our annual unconference accompanying OXID Commons, we already reported on the idea of developing a community driven admin 2.0 panel. This idea was followed by investigations into the client site and first rough drawings. Now, with the first developer meet-up this year in Hamburg, this topic came into swing again. We agreed on a kick-off meeting and coding event on March 9th and 10th which will take place in rooms in our branch office in Halle (Saale), Germany.

If you are interested, even from a distance, we’d be glad if you would join us! Or supporting this project, want to contribute in any other way. For example, we already have got some care packages for the coders 🙂 Please feel free to register yourself on the event’s wiki page on OXIDforge.

See you there!

Preview of OXID eShop’s New Downloadable Products Feature

OXID eShop 4.6.0 will come with a set of great new features, such as support for downloadable products. Using an early beta version, I produced a screencast about this new function and added it to the screencast section of OXIDforge. If you haven’t seen it yet, why not take a look now? Note that some things might have changed since the screencast was produced, so you might find some differences to the present beta version.

You may also want to have a look at the roadmap for version 4.6.0 or at the changes on the download page – it documents, step by step, the new functions we plan to introduce. And while you’re inspecting the beta version, please send us your feedback and any bugs that you might find.

By the way: the „downloadable products“ feature was originally contributed by marmalade.de, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post. If you have coded a feature that could fit into the standard OXID eShop software, please take a look at the contribution page on OXIDforge. This explains how a contribution can be made, whom to contact and what are the surrounding conditions. If you think your new feature would be an interesting and useful contribution to OXID eShop, feel free to contact us and tell us all about it – we would love to hear from you!

Interview with the Contributor of the Downloadable Products Feature

Q: Joscha, please tell us about yourself and your company.
A: I’m 29 years old and I live in Germany. I started my company marmalade.de 12 years ago. In the beginning, I started specialising in TYPO3 and website. Later, I delved into OXID eShop and the ecommerce business.

Nowadays, I mostly work on projects based on OXID eShop. marmalade.de is well known in the community and I’m proud that we are one of the driving forces behind OXID eShop’s Open Source efforts. We are a team of four at the moment; we also work with two designers and a few freelancers depending on the amount of work.

Q: Why did you decide to contribute the feature for downloading digital products to the OXID eShop core?
A: We needed that feature for a project (our own shop), and we were not happy with the existing options. So we decided to program that feature to match our own requirements. At the same time, we don’t see ourselves as a company that writes modules on a commercial basis. Our goal is to offer solutions to our costumers and modules are “by-products”, as 37signals calls them. So we contributed the feature to the community because we thought that it made sense in the OXID eShop core. Of course, we would be happy to help new customers that need a similar solution as well.

Q: Will you keep enhancing this feature? What additional functionality is in the pipeline?
A: It depends. Our contribution covers the features which are helpful for the entire community and make sense in the core system. But special requirements, that are only useful to a single customer, are not suitable in a generic system. That said, if there is generic functionality that we build for one of our customers, we might contribute that and enhance the feature. As Roland Fesenmayer (CEO, OXID eSales AG) said, we see OXID eShop as a “ecommerce operating system” on which users can build great shops.

Q: How long have you been using OXID eShop and what do you like most about it?
A: We have been using OXID eShop since it went Open Source in 2008. We had our kick-off meeting at the first “OXID Commons” conference where we met our first client. Since 2010, marmalade.de has been an OXID-certified solution partner and we also undertake projects with the OXID PE and EE editions.

I also started my own shop based on OXID eShop and gained a lot of experiences as a shop owner. I’m a big fan of the aquatic world and I have a big aquarium at home. There is a huge community and, of course, a market for it, so I was selling plankton and other products to breed fish. It might sound a bit strange, but everybody has a secret passion, right?

What i like most is about OXID eShop is its flexibility: It can be used for small shops as well as highly scalable huge portals with high traffic.

Q: What is your overall impression of the OXID eShop community?
A: The OXID eShop open source community offers fantastic, free support. And it is made up of not only developers but also shop owners who give advice and support. I really hope that it will keep growing.

Q: Is Open Source an important aspect for your customers in eCommerce and why so?
A: I love the idea of Open Source but I must say that, for shop owners, what’s even more important than Open Source are enterprise-grade solutions. Most of them want access to a company that they can pay in return for a guarantee, as OXID eSales does with the Professional and Enterprise Edition. But Open Source is also essential to share knowledge and find better solutions and this allows everyone, including the shop owners, to benefit in the long run.

Q: Any tips and tricks for aspiring contributors on how to best approach/work with the OXID eSales dev team?
A: Think twice about your solution. Does the solution you have conceived make sense for everyone? Is it generic enough? Talk to others, especially the OXID guys. There was very good feedback from the OXID development and management team. They educated us about things we hadn’t thought about because they didn’t affect our solution. They are in general very kind and have lots of good ideas, so don’t hesitate to contact them!

Q: What is your impression of the collaboration with the OXID eSales dev team?
A: We had a few areas of friction. For example, marmalade.de worked on a patch and sent it to the OXID eSales team, who then did their part. It didn’t feel like a joint development effort, so I think we could do it better next time. As it was one of our first contributions, it was fine, but some enhancements will be needed for the longer term, on both sides.Together, I’m sure we can build the best e-commerce software around!

OXID Partner Day 2011

On October 25th, we celebrated our annual OXID Partner Day. More than 150 sales and technically-oriented people working at our partner agencies attended and took part in the speeches and workshops where OXID announced important strategic initiatives as well as the roadmap for upcoming versions of the OXID platform. This roadmap will be published soon… stay tuned.

Presenting awards for the most interesting and challenging online stores using OXID eShop, either from a technical or design standpoint, has been a tradition for some years now. Thus, during the evening event, the following shops received awards:

In the Enterprise Edition category:

 

In the Professional Edition category:

 

In the Community Edition category:

 

This year, we also presented an award to an online store for its innovative implementation of an interesting multi-channel business concept: in emmas-enkel.de, realized by our partner SALT Solutions, the online and offline stores are perfectly synchronized and allow delivery and pick-up on site. The purchaser can decide between multiple channels like mobile, online store or offline salesroom.

You can find more pictures of the OXID Partner Day 2011 on Flickr.

OXID Contributor Agreement

A few days ago, we published a new document on OXIDforge: the OXID Contributor Agreement or OXID-CA. In this blog post, I’d like to discuss the purpose of this document and our reasons for publishing it.

What is this document for?

This document governs your contributions to the OXID eShop codebase. It is a document that outlines the principles that cover your contributions and how OXID eSales will handle these contributions. These contributions might include new functionality that you contribute and that makes sense to integrate into the default installation of OXID eShop. It might also include bugs that you fix as a developer, or enhancements that you make to the code.

Why does OXID want me to sign a cumbersome form?

The business concept of OXID eSales is the so-called „dual licensing model“. Under this model, we offer different editions of OXID eShop under different licenses. However, all editions of OXID eShop are developed in one branch. This means that if you contribute your code for OXID eShop Community Edition, your code will also be used in OXID eShop Professional Edition and OXID eShop Enterprise Edition. By signing the Contributor Agreement, you simply declare that you accept this modus operandi.

By signing this agreement, what rights am I giving up?

When you agree to the OXID-CA, you grant OXID eSales AG joint ownership to your contributions. You retain all rights, title, and interest in your contributions and may use them for any purpose you wish. However, because the ownership is now shared, you lose the ability to *exclusively* license your copyright on your contributions to others.

Does the OXID-CA conform to generally accepted practices for community
contributions?

Yes, it does. It is based on the Oracle Contributor Agreement. Many other open-source communities and projects have contributor agreements, including the Free Software Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation, and the Eclipse Foundation.

What benefit do I gain?

On the community front, the OXID-CA allows OXID eSales AG to act as stewards of the OXID codebase and supporting materials, holding copyright on these resources on behalf of the OXID eShop community. In other words, once your contribution is taken over into the default installation, OXID’s core developers will be responsible for future maintenance.

However, this doesn’t mean that your contribution will not be recognized. All OXID project participants receive credit for their contributions, even if their contributions are rewritten or removed, on a special contributor’s list.

How do I get started?

There’s a wiki page on OXIDforge that leads you to the OXID Contributor Agreement and to the accompanying FAQ pages. Please read the FAQ carefully and make sure you understand every single point. If you’re happy with the agreement, fill up the form and send it to [email protected]

We’d be glad if you contribute PHP unit tests along with your code.

Language Translation Files Moved to OXIDprojects

Due to numerous submissions, the current location for translation files on OXIDforge has become a little confusing. That’s why we’ve decided to move all language files from the wiki to a proper folder structure within the OXIDprojects SVN.

From this location, you can download the language you need, unpack it, and copy it to your OXID eShop installation. You will find installation instructions in the README file inside the language pack. All language packages are available under GPLv3, just like OXID eShop Community Edition.

Please note that not every file might be translated properly or finished completely. Some files might also be missing. This is not unusual for community-driven translations and your help here will be appreciated by other community members. You are welcome to finish translations and to contribute missing files or even an entirely new translation. Here are some guidelines for language contribution.

OXIDprojects uses SVN as its version control system. If you are familiar with it and want to contribute a translation for your language, please register with the language project on OXIDprojects to get commit rights to its SVN repository. If you don’t know what SVN is, please send your translation to [email protected], and we’ll do the SVN job for you  🙂

The picture that accompanies this blog post is © Gerd Altmann / PIXELIO

 

Recap of OXID Commons 2011: eCommerce in Full Swing

This year, we welcomed more than 500 people in person plus more than 100 people in our live streams enjoying OXID Commons 2011. In fact, we nearly doubled the number of visitors in comparison to last year’s event. We even had to change the location, to Freiburg’s trade fair venue. Some people twittered that with these figures, OXID Commons 2011 was the biggest e-commerce event in Germany!

As usual, Roland, our CEO, had the keynote address. He talked about what happened during the last year and about the revamped store front for OXID eShop in the latest 4.5.0 release. He noted how proud we are to see the ecosystem around OXID growing rapidly. He also introduced our PoS (Point of Sale) solution based on OXID eShop and Polytouch technology on a revolutionary 42“ multi-touch display.

Roland's Keynote at OXID Commons 2011

A highlight of all the outstanding talks was Johannes Altmann’s (Shoplupe) usability talk, where he visualized a bad example for distraction in a store with three girls. I was especially astonished with the number of people who wanted to see two of our core developers, Vilma and Tomas from Lithuania, talking about changes in the template system of OXID eShop 4.5.0. Man, that room was really crowded!

On the next day, developers were invited to OXID Unconference. The last developers registered at 10:38… after the Unconference had already started 🙂 In a barcamp-like style, nearly 70 people submitted and voted on proposals for talks. Despite many good submissions, we only had time for five very profound talks. Joscha and Chris started by introducing their TOXID interface to connect Typo3 and OXID. The next idea, a REST API for OXID eShop, was spontaneously converted into a new project on OXIDforge. Also, Thomas Nunninger’s talk about unit testing and software quality was of interest to many of the attendees.

OXID Unconference 2011

Later that day, because of the beautiful weather, we moved to the porch of the venue under a big tree. These were ideal circumstances to discuss the next issue: „Community Driven Admin 2.0„. Together, we found a way for the community developers and our core developers to collaborate on this task and we were also able to identify the main features it would support. In the last talk, Erik (Chief Software Architect) introduced his ideas about a new database layer for OXID eShop and discussed it with the developers.

Here you’ll find a compilation of blog posts in English and German published so far:

Please see pictures of the event on our Flickr stream, videos of some interviews, and the archived live stream.

Thank you, dear shop owners, implementation and
strategic partners, press, developers and all the other e-commerce
enthusiasts who took part in OXID Commons on May 5th and 6th. Thank you
for your enthusiasm, your talks and speeches, your commitment, your blog
posts and all your other contributions! It will give us the power and the incentive to work even harder on our product. Of course, we’ll see you again in the next
year for OXID Commons and perhaps in-between at one of the developer
meet-ups already planned in Munich on June 9th and in Frankfurt on July
8th
.

Inviting OXID Developers to Local Meet-ups

In the German forums, we’ve been thinking about organizing developer meet-ups in some of the most active German cities for a while. These meet-ups are intended to address all developers working with (or planning to start working with) OXID eShop. They provide an opportunity for attendees to introduce their current interesting projects, get to know each other, and share ideas and experience. Attendees may also find common links for collaboration in certain projects.

Our first OXID developer group meeting will be on Friday, March 11th 2011 at the Geyserhaus e.V. in Leipzig. All are welcome to join. For this initial event, I was also able to persuade Christian Zacharias to hold a half-day OXID eShop training starting at 12 AM, followed by the proper meeting in the evening. Needless to say, I’ll also be there, as this event will give me a chance to answer your OXID questions, and to note your valuable input. The event is free of charge, so if you’re in or around Leipzig on that date, don’t hesitate to register yourself in the OXIDforge wiki. 

Later this year, similar events will happen in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Cologne. We’re looking for volunteers to organize them (come on, it’s simple!), so feel free to start your own wiki pages to get things rolling. OXID partners, send your developers as well!

Introducing Beta Tests and Changing the Update Cycle

At the beginning of this year, we published a new page on OXIDforge to inform you about the development process of OXID eShop. In this document, we announced approximately one patch per month and one update per quarter whereupon usually patches contain bug fixes and updates contain new features and bug fixes.

Now, in a tight co-operation with the community, we will modify this procedure by introducing basically two changes starting with OXID eShop version 4.6.0:

  1. Open beta tests will be introduced for updates. That means we will publish a beta version 4.6.0 for testing purposes only. This beta version is not intended to be used in a productive environment! Everybody is welcome to check this versions for bugs and to report them in our bugtracker. Patches will be published without a beta version.
  2. The second change is about the release cycle. Due to the additional beta time, we will expand the release cycle of updates by another month. Thus, new updates of OXID eShop will be published every four months instead of once a quarter from version 4.6.0 onwards. Patches with bug fixes will be published once a month further on.

Hope you like this new modus operandi 🙂

OXID eShop 4.3.0: Expected to be Awesome

OXID eShop 4.3.0 is launching, and my favorite part is that it’s a bit of an anti-climax. Nobody in the community is surprised about when it’s coming out, what’s in it, and what’s been left out.

The reason for this is our new communications strategy. For the entire development cycle of this release, we collaborated and communicated with the rest of the community at every step. When we were researching features, we surveyed the community. When we were choosing them, we put several up to a vote of the partners. This is the first release of OXID eShop where the community directly influenced the core feature-set. I enjoyed working on the product for this release, but I enjoyed working with the community even more.

Out of the features the community voted for this release, I love two of them. The first one to really excite me is Rich Snippets. By automatically generating rich text, not only does this functionality improve the ability to search shops built with OXID eShop, it also improves visibility for shop owner’s products on major search engines! This already accomplishes two of the top ten things our partners care about. OXID-based shops will have a much easier time marketing themselves with this elegant and useful feature.

The other feature I fell in love with is even more exciting: OXID eShop now autodetects a user’s default language from their browser, and displays a fully localized store! Never again will the user search painfully through a foreign language, looking for the button that returns text to „normal“. Now, OXID eShop will already know the best way to speak to you. And with the broad range of languages that OXID eShop already supports, it’s a snap for shop owners to add new languages as international audiences buy more and more from their shop!

Finally, the last piece of awesome news I have to share with you is also expected. This is the 3rd major release since Version 4.0. It is also the most mature and stable release we have ever had. We ran Unit Tests yesterday, and Community Edition scored 92.11% coverage! We want to help every member of our community hit this gold standard of reliability, and so we are releasing code and instructions so that anyone can easily run Unit Tests on their modules. With these tools at your fingertips, your module can attain Enterprise-grade reliability on your startup or even volunteer budget.

Working with the community over the course of developing all this has been a great joy for me. I feel like the OXID eShop community is gaining major momentum, and OXID eSales has found a valuable role within it, able to collaborate at the heart of this ecosystem. My job has never been this fun.