e-commerce project

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

We’re finally moving ahead with an e-commerce project. It’ll be very exciting with lots of new things to deal with…like Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways. There are so many out there. We’re using BigCommerce, a cloud ecommerce offering, which integrates with many payment gateways so I won’t have to code anything…but it’s not making it any easier to select one.

This is a good “how it works” diagram of payment gateways and merchant accounts.

Our client is a brick and mortar store that current swipes physical cards at credit card terminals and they also take phone orders. So I’m trying to figure out what merchant account(s) they need and what payment gateways(s) they need…and decide which providers would allow for the most flexible configuration. Another thing that I needed to consider is that they’re currently shopping around for a new merchant account but our ecommerce store won’t be launching for at least a few months. So, the providers should allow us to grow the business and add the ecommerce store later.


Merchant Accounts

Depending on the merchant account provider, you’ll have to sign up for at least one, if not many, merchant account based on how you will be receiving payment. The company that our client is looking at, Elavon, requires a merchant account for retail (physical card swipes), MOTO (mail order/telephone order), and ecommerce. Needless to say, each account costs money…for setup, per transaction, has monthly fees, etc.

Payment Gateway

In order for you to process and connect to your merchant account(s), you will need at least one payment gateway, if not more, to connect to each of your merchant accounts. So you may need a retail payment gateway to process and connect to your retail merchant account, or you may need an ecommerce payment gateway to process and connect to your ecommerce merchant account.


One of the gateways on the BigCommerce list of partners they integrate with is PayLeap. They actually have a plan called “Brick and Click” which essentially allows you to process transactions originating from retail, MOTO, and ecocmmerce, under ONE merchant account and ONE payment gateway. Also their fee structure seems really reasonable. So, as of now, I’m recommending this to our client.

Finally moved everything to WebFaction

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I’ve been slowly moving all of my domains to be served from WebFaction. I was on Dreamhost and things were kind of slow. I opened up an account at WebFaction and was using Alertfox to test load speeds between the two hosts (I had setup similar software on both sites). WebFaction was probably ~20% faster than Dreamhost. Dreamhost load times for my WordPress blog ranged from 700 – 1100 ms. WebFaction load times were 500 – 800 ms. So, generally faster.

I’ve finally moved this blog, the last bits to transfer, to WebFaction. The performance of my WordPress blog is faster, but it’s still not instant. I guess that’s to be expected from shared hosting.

Anyhow, Dreamhost was good to me, but I thought it was time for a change. I’ve also been looking at things such as Slicehost and Linode for VPS hosting. I might try those out just to play around with the administration of virtual servers. I want to give WebFaction a go for a year.

WordPress theme hacked!

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I was just digging around my theme editor trying to insert a piece of HTML from my hosting service that says that my site is Green, because the hosting service Carbon Neutral. I decided to add the HTML to the footer of my theme. When I looked at the file there were tons of links embedded in a div that had a style of ‘display:none’ !!! I looked at the header and same thing, there were tons of hidden links. I of course deleted the divs from each file and all is well now.

It turns out that people’s WordPress themes are getting hacked for some reason. Here’s an article about it.

Testing from TextMate

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

I’m really enjoying using TextMate for my coding and will now try with my infrequent blog posting. :)
Go here to get the TextMate Blogging Bundle.

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Open source Flash Development

Friday, March 24th, 2006

I’ve been aware of MTASC for awhile now but haven’t tried it until today.
It all started out with a search for an Eclipse plug-in for Actionscript. I chanced upon this page which contains a great tutorial for acquiring and testing out all the tools you’ll need to start compiling .swf’s.
These are the pieces you’ll need:

  • Eclipse – open source IDE
  • ASDT – eclipse plug-in for Actionscript development
  • MTASC – open source Actionscript compiler
  • Flashout – eclipse plug-in that gives you a function similar to “Test Movie” in Flash

MTASC comes with all the classes for MX and 8 (the site mentions its successor, haXE, which will support Flash Players 6-7-8 and 8.5 as well as Javascript and Server-Side scripting.)

I had a little bit of trouble working with Flashout on my Mac running OS X Tiger. When I was trying to configure Flashout in the Eclipse preferences I kept getting an error message saying that it couldn’t find the FlashoutMTASCPreferences class. It turns out that Flashout requires Java 1.5 which doesn’t come with Tiger. This page gives you the fix. Essentially you have to download Java 1.5 from Apple’s site and then you need to point the CurrentJDK folder to the 1.5 folder.

Just moved to Dreamhost

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

This is my first post to the blog after moving everything over to Dreamhost. I followed the procedures here. But essentially, I just:

  • tar’ed my wordpress directory from my old server and exported the wordpress MySQL tables to the file wp1.sql using phpMyAdmin
  • ftp’ed the files to the new server
  • created a database on the new server, created a new user, and from the MySQL command line, executed the wp1.sql file
  • updated the wp-config.php file to use the new DB_HOST, and DB_PASSWORD
  • copied over the image directory to which certain blog entries link

And voila!

So far, I’ve found their adminstration tools and their setup a bit confusing. For example, when you setup an email address they create an account that looks something like m132435 and you have to use that to configure your mail client. Howeve, besides having this weird kind of setup, the features that their basic account provides is unmatched…from what I’ve researched so far. They give you 40Mb more storate space every week, for example! You can host an unlimited number of domains with them, which means I have the ability to act like a mini ISP and develope websites for other people.