Archive for September, 2008

Amazon Marketplace

September 29, 2008

We are in the process of integrating with Amazon Marketplace for one of our retailers via the API’s documented on Amazon Seller Central. The API’s are terrible! It appears that the API was initially designed as a series of XML documents to be sent to Amazon using HTTP POST however at the last minute somebody at Amazon decided to use SOAP with the XML document as an attachment to the SOAP message. The issues of sending attachments using SOAP are well documented. Amazon developed but do not maintain the Amazon Merchant Transport Utility which is no use to anybody in a SaaS environment where third party applications cannot be installed. It’s about time Amazon cleaned up this API.

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Demandware Client Advisory Board

September 28, 2008

I have just come back from the Demandware Client Advisory Board (every quarter) which was held in Las Vegas this time to coincide with Shop.org. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel which was an excellent choice of venue by Demandware.

It was a very productive event and good to catch up with the other Client Advisory Board members including, Barneys, Jones Apparel, Neckermann, Timberland, Bare Escentuals, America’s Garndening Resource, Jewelry Television, etc, and to hear what they have been up to and where they think Demandware should be going.

At the event we received updates from Demandware regarding
• Recent Demandware 2.8 release
• Product Roadmap (including Active Merchandising)
• Release schedule
• Grid enhancements
• Research Topics
• Client Services
• Technical Support
• etc

Vigorous debates were held regarding most subjects. I think Demandware were appreciative of the feedback and certainly listened to what the client advisory board members had to say. There was evidence at this meeting that previous advice had been implemented.

The Product Roadmap looks great and hopefully Demandware will implement some of our suggestions.

Demandware 2.8 released

September 28, 2008

Demandware has just recently released Demandware 2.8. All eCommera retailers will automatically benefit from this upgrade over the next couple of months. This upgrade includes

Content Slotting
Dynamic Web page real estate for displaying different content assets based on business rules for driving dynamic merchandising and marketing
Call Centre API
Supports the taking of orders on behalf of customers, editing orders, and cancelling orders for a tighter multi-channel customer experience
Time Based Site Preview
Override date and time in the storefront to allow a merchant to preview content and test storefront behaviour for any future date and time
Item-Level Shipping Costs
Manage shipping costs for odd-size items
New Promotions Capabilities
New promotion type “Buy X for Total Discount”; for example “Buy 3 T-shirts for $49.99”
Promotion rule editor now supports all product attributes; for example restrict discounts to certain products in specific colors
New coupon engine – create single-use or multi-use coupons
Search and Navigation
Search term correction can now present multiple suggestions for misspelled search phrases
Price refinement now enables you to visualize price range via a price slider to extend or limit a search results set
Performance and Scalability
Demandware is already fast and scalable but further performance improvements have been made

SiteConfidence

September 28, 2008

SiteConfidence have recently released a new Reporting website to replace the existing website. All of our retailers automatically benefit from this new Reporting website without having to upgrade.

Demandware UK Pod live

September 28, 2008

Demandware’s UK Pod is now live. Prior to this all European websites were hosted on a Pod in Germany. Due to the success of eCommera in the UK, the UK market now warrants its own dedicated Pod. A Demandware Pod is essentially a data centre within a data centre. Each Pod is capable of running many tens (possibly hundreds) of large eCommerce websites.

Hotmail reports Google Chrome users should upgrade

September 3, 2008

I am sure Microsoft will be in no hurry to fix this…

Google Chrome

September 3, 2008

This morning I downloaded and installed the Google Chrome Beta.

I first heard about it here via Slashdot.

After reading the Google on Google Chrome – comic book I thought I would take a look at this interesting development.

It didn’t take long to download as the setup program is quite small. I didn’t scientifically measure it but it was probably about the same size as Firefox and Opera.

I might be wrong but I don’t recall giving the Google Chrome Installer permission to import my Bookmarks, History, Passwords, etc. from Internet Explorer or install a Quick Launch shortcut. I also have Firefox, Opera and Safari installed on my laptop but I don’t recall the Google Chrome Installer attempting to import the preferences from those Internet Browsers. Thankfully it did not try to install itself as the default browser although no doubt the final version probably will.

Google Chrome was fairly quick to start-up. It has a clean and simple user interface. This has been achieved at the expense of removing useful functionality though.

  • There is no Print Preview functionality
  • When you right click on an image it is not possible to
    1. E-mail picture
    2. Print Picture
    3. Set as Background
    4. View Properties of image
    5. Etc
  • Etc
  • I have always felt that the Address bar should go below the Tabs. Whilst this is a welcome improvement over Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox it won’t convince me to stop using Internet Explorer 7. Google can’t take credit for this as Opera has its Address bar under its Tabs.

    Google have also removed the menus to make the user interface cleaner. Google can’t take credit for this either as Microsoft did this in Internet Explorer 7.

    The Incognito feature sounds very similar to Microsoft Internet Explorer 8’s InPrivate Browsing feature. All browsers should have this capability.

    The Inspect Element feature is useful for developers. If you right click an element of the page a window pops up which shows the HTML for the element within the DOM tree.

    Interestingly Google Chrome appears to be using WinInet as I am able to view its requests using HTTP Fiddler. My suspicions were first aroused when I noticed that when you click on the Proxy Settings button on the Settings > Options > Under The Hood it launched the Windows Internet Options dialog box.

    I have noticed numerous rendering issues whilst visiting various websites. These websites render correctly with Apple’s Safari.

    If I am honest there is nothing compelling enough for me to switch from Internet Explorer 7. Companies developing websites need another major internet browser like they need a hike in corporation tax.