Showing posts with label installation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label installation. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Friday, 24 February 2012

Today I learned something new: Drupal on shared hosting OK

Thanks whoever commented on the post below:
  • Overlay
  • Dashboard
  • Context Links (this required by Commerce I think but I can skip the other two)
save a lot of memory if disabled.

Thanks whoever posted on
  • Several shared hosts do survive the memory demands of Drupal
  • There's one in North Carolina that specialises in Drupal and one in Purley. The thread attracts some people who want support email or phone support and some who have someone else to pay the bill, so it's hard to compare recommendations.
  • Meanwhile enable one free account per user if it's active. The server is a testbed rather than a hotbed, with maximim add-ons and minimal constraints but 205 other users - few of them active - which this tool shows on a machine in Sacremento, California, routed via Frankfurt to me here in London.
Thanks to two pieces I've skim-read a bit at the start and still learned from.
  • I discovered caching for Drupal.
    "Shared server - no Varnish, no Memcache or APC" on a "case study disaster" told at Drupaldownunder was the clue. Now I know how a database driven site can be made to work as well as a plain html site: you add a cache so that it becomes almost an html site. I have managed to install Memcache; Varnish might not be ready for novices yet and one called "Boost" requries a snippet of .php added to the settings file. Does this need the opening and closing tags? Best avoided for novices just for a while. Evan as I type this I discover "content delivery networks" from skim-reading parts of the same lecture timetable. If I type "" after the domain part of the host for these apes, they load quicker!
  • I discovered that Drupal doesn't let you delete the settings.php file from a previous installation unless you use an FTP program to do it. Discovered from a blog in Australia - just a glance at the first couple of paragraphs confirmed the problem and its solution.
  • about scalability looks relevant
So. Lots of little things come right in the world sometimes and I will not try to get a job as a bonobo monkey ape in a zoo.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Drupal 7 doesn't work on cheap hosting. (This is a secret designed to annoy people when they discover).

This is the conclusion I have reached after loads of developer videos failed to tell me: they use dedicated servers or their own hard discs.

The problem seems to be memory limits which have risen by mistake for no particular reason. Just as a Ryan Schama talks about "project creep" in his lecture, Drupal 7 has a Server Memory Creep towards needing an expensive host which nobody advertised or planned: it just happened and caught a lot of people out.

For those on the borderline there are three cacheing products

I find this frustrating because I did a bit of research over a year ago, trying to find out how to make a low-magin, loss making business sell more and at the time Drupal 6 / Ubercart was the fastest-loading software and I searched for days to find the fastest cheapest host. Now the calculation is a different one which rules out this host and this whole school of software together, and probably Drupal software altogether. I have spent over a year trying to learn the XYZ thing while shopping carts have forked and re-built themselves. Now I discover that I should have gone with Virtuemart in the first place. Such is life. If you read about an american going crazy and shooting people in a shopping mall, maybe they had just tried to install Drupal. Or maybe it was looking at the awful overpriced stock in TKMAX that did it. One of the two.

What other annoying things are there in life? Youth is wasted on the young? Trades unions let you down when you get an unfair dismissal? Radio station editors don't like news or music? Maybe I should petend to be a Bonobo Monkey and live in a park where zoo keepers will feed me.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Building an awesome e-commerce site in 25 minutes (without losing your soul)

Hullo. My name is Andrew. I work for a company called Real World Technology. We do a range of different things, but I am here to talk about a wonderful thing in the Drupal ecosystem in my opinion, and that's called Drupal Commerce. So you're probably, or you might have heard other people speaking about it a little bit this weekend. It's come-up. It's been cursed in some talks; it's been praised in some talks. I think it's one of the best things that's come to the e-commerce community as part of Drupal.

We're going to have a chat a little bit about that, and we're going to have a go at making a working, ready, production, e-commerce website, in - pretty much on 25 minutes. So all being well; no computer and technical glitches, that should be all good.

What is Drupal Commerce? [screen]
  • A modular eCommerce framework
  • Designed to let you "build" new stuff
  • It's really cool

So before we actually get-in-to Drupal Commerce, I just want to do a quick show of hands:
how many of you have built an ecommerce site before? OK.
How many of you have enjoyed the experience? I've got two hands! And a half!
Who has used Drupal Commerce before now? OK: we've got a few people around.
How many people have used Ubercart? OK: a few more of you.
Magento? Yes.
OSCommerce? [two or three]
Who has written their own [holds-up his own hand]
Things not written in Drupal that do e-commerce?
Anyone used Shopify or any of those sorts of things? No: OK. One. That's good. OK.

Drupal Commerce is a little bit different to most other ecommerce distributions that are available on the market. Drupal Commerce is really a framework to allow you to build ecommerce stores and ecommerce platforms. Drupal Commerce in and of itself is a bunch of really really small modules that do a set of small, defined, contained things. And, out of the box if you just go to and grab the Commerce project and install it on your site, you're probably going to be finding that what you've got is something that
  • doesn't do a lot, is
  • pretty confusing, and a
  • little bit hard to get started with.
We're going to talk a little bit about that today, but the thing about Drupal Commerce, that sets it apart from everything else, is that it is a set of components that allows you to build something big. And build something better. My background: I build e-commerce sites. I've been building them since I was about 15.  The first e-commerce site I built was a custom-built site. It lived in Or I should say "asp": this was before .net even existed. It sold products for a store. I can't even remember what it did. It had a Microsoft Access database back-end because - you know - when you're 15, Access is cool. Then you grow-up and realise that it really wasn't, but that's OK! That was the first site that I built. Since then I've built sites on Magento; things built on Zend framework, some stuff built on Syphony, ran a very large website built in OSCommerce for around five years. So I've had a bit of an exposure to what's available in ecommerce platforms, and building different things. And together with my company we've built web sites for some very very small people, through to some very very large NGOs and other organisations that wanted to extend their business onto the internet.

The thing that I found, time and time again, is that when I go and I download something like Magento, or I go and I download something like Ubercart,  I discover that, provided that what I want to do works straight out of the box, the solution is absolutely perfect. But the moment that my customer comes to me and says "what I want is X and Y and Z", and I can't quite do it; the modules don't quite get there or I can't change what I want easily.... I end-up hacking something together and making changes and doing things that break my upgrade path. That in the end means that the customer gets a solution that they're not really happy with. It just becomes a bit of a mess.

I see that Drupal Commerce addresses a number of these issues, by - instead of trying to be something that is all things to all people out of the box - it tries to be building-blocks that give you pieces of the bigger puzzle. So: it's really cool like that.

What does Drupal do? It does most of the things that you'd expect an ecommerce platform to do.

What can it do?
  • Manage products and display them
  • Manage orders
  • Take payments
  • Calculate tax
  • Give discounts
That's what it will do pretty much out of the box.  We can also handle shipping; we can do stock, we can do coupons and vouchers. Some of those things might not sound like very big business goals. But I started using Magento when it was a 0.9 release. It was the coolest php-based shopping cart system available on the market and probably one of the best that was available at the time. It had a nice UI (user interface); a nice customer experience that was only rivalled by some of the really really big ecommerce stores. But then we wanted to give coupons to our customers to allow them to buy on it. They only realeased that module into the community about 12 months ago. That's like three years after the product was there. But Drupal Commerce has it today there right now. So they are really quite good.

What are people using Drupal Commerce for?
  • Everyday online stores (eg if you are online you can go and jump on there now. It's an Australian-based store. They sell kites. It's pretty cool.
  • Membership websites (eg mentioned in his keyonote [speech] this morning Subhub is an example which I've come accross which is really unique. They have a Drupal-based-web-site that sells Drupal-based-web-sites to sell stuff! Which is, kind of, a bit of inception, but it's pretty good! So you can go and you can buy a website from Subhub to sell subscriptions to your magazine. Or to allow you to download music from your music-band-thing that you play in or record for or something like that. It's pretty cool.
  • Discount style websites... is another unique thing. Someone has gone and built an entire clone of the Groupon website, in Drupal Commerce, packaged it up as a Drupal Distribution, and you can go, download that, install that on your web server, add a bit of theming and bits and pieces: and you've got your own Groupon site. And you can give your friends and family discounts to - I don't know: whatever it you want to give them discounts to. Or however that wants to work. But it's there. It works today right out of the box.
  • Donations (eg and there's
  • Many more (see There's a long list there. That's only half of what Drupal Commerce is doing out-there in the wild today.
One of the things that I promised was that we were going to build and awesome Drupal Commerce website from scratch in only 25 minutes. So let's get-in and do that. We've only got 13 or 14 minutes left in this session!

Installing Commerce
  • So, we're going to Start with something called the Commerce_Kickstart install profile
    Commerce Kickstart is basically a full Drupal 7.10 (at the moment) distribution, with all of the Commerce bits and pieces ready to go, which you can download. Install on your web server [if it has the capacity which cheap ones don't: you have to install from a database]. Follow the install script. And have a functional working Drupal Commerce website.
  • But it's really designed for being used in the US. So what we're going to do, then, is: we're going to grab the Commerce_Australia module for some country specific configuration - which has some configuration for currency display and GST Time, and it just makes it easy to get them up and running, and install that, and taht's what we're going to do to start with.
  • Let the fun begin
[...] [8' 20 seconds]
I've pre - downloaded an installer module onto my machine, set-up a web host: all of those sort sof things

OK, it's going to run away and it's going to install all the modules. It's going to configure everything as a kind of a base starting point and get us ready to go, and when this is finished in just a few seconds we'll get to the configure site . I'll set some settings like you would if you were normally installing Drupal. And then we install some example stuff. And we wait. This is probably the most boring bit. If anyone feels like donating me a faster macbook pro I'll gladly accept.

The advantage that the Commerce Kickstart module has over downloading Drupal and adding the Commerce module is that there is a bunch of things that you need to get Commerce working. We'll talk a little bit more about some of those things in a minute but there's a lot of dependencies, which are normal things that you'd probably run on your Drupal website, but the Commerce Kickstart distribution has those things in it from day onee. So you don't need to worry about those sorts of things. You can install it in a Drupal site if you've got it up and running and add bits and pieces. We're just doing it this way because we have limited time, because I set  a rediculous time limit!

We're going to call the site... I think we're going to sell some Ferraris. [see screen] Save and continue.
We're going to put some example content in because it makes our life easier. In case you were wondering, we have now been running for three minutes out of our 25 minutes, and we now have installed Drupal Commerce, and we have a working functioning ecommerce store.

  • I can add products to my cart
  • I can view my cart
  • I can make the quantity five
  • I can update my cart
  • I can checkout
  • I can fill-in some details and go right through and it will work. We'll look at that a little bit more later.

What we're going to do is we're going to do a little bit more than that; there is a little bit more to be done.
This is what we're actually going to build. We are going to build the Drupal Downunder 2012 Farrari Store. We are going to sell Micky Mouse cars; we are going to sell Honda Civics and Farraris - maybe. We'll definately sell Farraris: I'm not so sure about the rest of them.
A couple of things that Commerce can do. One of the nice things is that it groups products together like this [attributes] so that we can have a yellow Farrari featuring red starbursts; we can have a lime green Farrari. You'll notice that as I do this it updates the displays and it changes the price and the text and you'll see that there's some features on some of these cars: I think the yellow car features starburst paint. They're all updating nicely in the background. As a website developer, and a themer (and bits and pieces) I've done nothing to get that working out of the box. It's just there. It just happens. It just works. No effort involved. Straight working, day one. [so why can't I do it?: because there are no instructions. Will the nice man explain?]

The other thing that we are going to do, if I actually add this car to my cart - we'll just jump across to the checkout. We've got our starburst Farrari here at $59.95 . We've got some shipping in here. There's no [?] doubledation on this. Whatever. We're not going to talk about that today but it can be done. We've got some shipping and we've got two different shipping rules. If you've got a product that you want to sell for less than $100 - or less than $50 in this particualr store - you'll get $15 shipping charged. And when your cart value is over $50 you get free shipping. So the idea is that you might want to give some particular shipping to some people, or if they are some kind of VIP customer or things like that: all sorts of things that we can do. We can go right through [as a customer], confirm, put in some payment details, and then magically checkout is complete. I can view my order, and see what I have bought. I can go into my account and see what I have bought before. I've got a few orders in there including one that's been deleted and one order that's been completed. I can come in here as an admin; view some orders. See what's been - ordered. I can delete an order. I can modify the payment details. These are some of the things that you can do with Drupal Commerce straight out of the box, mostly, without too much work.

Understanding the Workflow
Install Commerce>>Confirgure Currency>>Configure Tax Rates>>Build Product Types>>Add Sample Product(s)>>Build Product Display>>Configure Shipping / Payment methods>> Add more products and displays>> Test and Launch?

how to we go about actually getting from a base install to something that is relatively functional; which we can use to delivery an e-commerce product to our customers?

So the first thing that we do is that we
install Commerce. Relatively straightforward.
Then we
configure the currency settings. By default Commerce installs, running in $US. Not that that's really a problem, but you probably want your store, if you're in Australia, to be running in Australian dollars.
  • We set-up some tax rules and tax rates.
  • We build our product types - and I will explain a little bit more about what that is in a moment.
  • We add some sample products.
  • We build product displays.
  • We configure shipping and payment methods.
  • We finish populating our store.
  • We test it to make sure it's working right
  • Then we go live and we make lots of money because everyone makes lots of money when they launch an online store. [laughs]

Understanding Rules
Rules govern the operation of each element of the store - including calculating prices, discounts, checkout steps, add-to-cart rules, confirmation emails, user registration.
The first thing about Drupal Commerce is that it makes use of standard Drupal ways of doing things. So there are some key components of Commerce which live in the background and aren't immediately obvious. They make Commerce work and really really sing when it comes to Commerce being a good ecommerce tool. The first thing is Rules. Rules drive Drupal Commerce. Rules are your business logic that detirmines how your ecommerce store works. So you have Rules to calculate tax. You have rules to detirmine whether you can add a product to your cart. You have Rules that set what shipping method you can choose. You have Rules that detirmine whether or not the user is allowed to check-out. You have a Rule, and there's actually a screen-shot of one here, that detirmines what emails get sent to the customer when they purchase the item, and whether or not you as a store admin get the email. You have Rules which integrate Drupal Commerce with your back-end ERP system. So if you have something like AdEmpire [?] or you're making use of a financial package like, say, Zero or Sassuu or something like that, someone can write modules that interact with those Rules, so that, say, when you place an order it triggers the invoice to be created in Zero, the payment to be recorded, and all of those thing fit together very very nicely. Now: no-one has done that yet, but it is entirely possible within the way that Drupal Commerce works.

Understanding Views
Views display (almost) every part of the store - including order lists, the checkout, shopping cart and product listings.
The next thing to say about Drupal Commerce is that it relies heavily on Views. So Views is a way of representing data within your website. You can have Views that display nodes; you can have Views that display all kinds of different things. One of the neat things about Drupal Commerce is that pretty much whenever it displays a list of stuff, it is using Views. So if you want to change the columns that you see... One of the common things that customers say to me is that "We've got our web site, we've got our admin section; we've got our product listing, and we want to change the order of things". So: take something like Magento. You can print a picking-list out of Magento, which my default shows the product code, product name, price, and that's about all. And if you want to change that, you've got a change a bunch of stuff:
- you've got to change a bunch of XML files
- you've got to change a bunch of PHP files
- change the way that that all comes together. It's a little bit messy and a little bit nasty.
With Drupal Commerce you jump-in, you edit the View; you edit the column, and you're done! It's really nice. Really really easy. You want to display the SKU, so the part code appears in the shopping cart: you just go-ahead and you add the column. That's the way that it works. It's really really nice because it makes use of standard Drupal features, that people who are used to building and assembling Drupal websites use every day and night.

Understanding Products
A product is an item you want to sell, and is an "entitity". A product contains all the important details about an item, and there is generally one for each part code in the catalogue.
The next thing to say is that Products are not Nodes. If you are coming from a Drupal 6 mind-set, where everything is a node, it's really important to understand that products are not nodes. Products are products, and they are displayed using nodes. We'll talk about product displays in a minute. A Product is essentially a group of fields, which is a group of information about a product. So a Product must contain an SKU - which is a part code; a product must contain a name, and a product can (but doesn't have to) contain a price. Most products will contain a price. Although some people want stores where they don't actually want to sell anything - they just want to put products online. So those kinds of things are there. But say you wanted to record the colour of an item. You can add a field to your product type that has a colour in it, much in the way that you can add a field to your content type to record the information. But they're distinct from product types.

Understanding Product Displays
A product display groups one or more products together for display, and is a "node". Product displays usually contain descriptions and formatting rules.
Prouduct Displays groups products together into logical groups. So an example which I have been (kind of) thinking-through is... Say I was an Apple reseller, and I wanted to sell Iphones. There's currently eight or nine different models of Iphones you can get. But want I want to do is have someone come to my online store, and be able to pick-up, or go to the Iphone page and have all of the different options listed there together, so there is one page for them to go and see. I don't really want them to go to a page that has the 34gig Iphone, the 64gig Iphone, and black and white - and there's way more than six models I've just realised - I want them all grouped together in a single node. So that's what a Product Display is: it groups products together in a form for display. And you can add extra information there. You can add descriptions - in fact, any field you want to add to a product display, you can.

Understanding Currency
Multi-currency aware. Products can be priced in more than one currency. Currencies can be selected based on rules.
Currency is the next thing we are going to talk about. Drupal Commerce is actually is multi-currency aware. So if you wanted to sell products in Australian dollars and US dollars and  New Zealand dollars and British Pounds, and Yen, or whatever it is you want to do, Drupal Commerce on day-one out-of-the-box supports multiple currencies. By default it has not way of converting between currencies, so if you put prices in in Australian dollars, it won't go and work out what the price is in US dollars or something like that. But there's no reason why you could not do that, if you wanted to. Most people probably wouldn't want to do that because they want to sell in nice numbers, so they want to sell at $49.95 in Australian dollars and $199.99 dollars in the US or however that works.

Which currency people see can be selected using Rules. There are modules which will tell Rules what country someone is in. Rules will detirmine on the basis of that what currency someone should see when they look at your store.

Understanding Taxes
Taxes are very flexible. Consist of Tax Types and Tax Rates. Fully managable by Rules.
The other thing that we'll quickly touch on is taxes. In Australia taxes are relatively boring. There's just one single tax for everything and that's called GST (Goods and Services Tax). It's about 10% of the product price. Most of you probably deal with that when you deal with everything you buy. In other countries there are other tax rules. But say you wanted to sell houses using Drupal Commerce. In New South Wales where I am from, we have this thing called Stamp Duty. Stamp Duty is 1½% of the sale price. So you could have a tax rate for Stamp Duty within Drupal Commerce, know when to calculate that Stamp Duty using Rules, and correctly apply it to the products, using  Rules, all automatically, without having to do anything. So you can have mulitple tax rates, multiple tax types; you can display prices including, excluding: all those types of things. You can have taxes not on. In fact - a kind of self plug here - the Commerce Australia  module which you can download from, it has a rule in there which says "If you are in Australia, charge GST, and if you're not in Australia, don't charge GST", because if you ship the product outside of Australia then you don't charge GST on it. When I used to run a website in OSCommerce, that was a big pain whenever someone placed an order from New Zealand, because we had to take the GST off and modify it and a bunch of things like that, and it didn't do it well, and then we tried it in Ubercart and it was even worse. So it just works out of the box, day one. Great.
So lets actually get-in and do this. We've got 25 minutes from now. Maybe some time for questions. By the way, feel free to stop me at any time and ask questions on what we're doing.
This is the website we've just installed.

The first thing we're going to do is actually not jump into configuration but jump into modules and the first thing I'm going to actually do is I'm going to install the module filter module, simply because it makes my life a lot easier. If you've worked with a site that has lots of modules and you've never found the module filter module : what it does is it changes the display of this page and puts all the modules down on the left hand side, which is really handy. It's kind of quick.
The first thing that we're going to do is we're going to install the GST (Goods and Services Tax) module, and while we're at it we'll probably also install the currency display . They're part of the Commerce Australia module. What they do is the GST module sets-up the GST rules , and Currency Display makes it display Australian Dollars with a $ sign. That's pretty much all that they do. Basic but important.

Now we are going to
>>Configure our Store [from the admin menus].
The first thing that we're going to do is: we're going to set the currency. We're going to jump-in here. We're going to change that to Australian dollars. You'll see the default is US dollars. Because we're in Australia. What that's done is that it has enabled the Australian currency in here. But we no longer want to have US dollars available for our store so we will just turn that off.

First step done.

The next thing that we'll do is we'll just have a look at the taxes. We don't need to do it because the Tax Rates have already set it up for us. We have a Tax type here: it is called "GST". We have a look at it. It displays taxes of this type already included in the price, it has got some rounding rules, it is called "Goods and Services Tax". And we've got a Tax Rate which is 10%, which is actually the GST because that's what GST is. We can make it 20%, 50%, 150%, -0.1%: all sorts of things. I don't know why you would ever want to do that but you can! I am sure there are countries in the world where that's an important option to be able to have.

OK: so
That's our basic Configuration.

The next thing that we're going to do is: we are going to
>>build our Products.  [product types]

We click on View Products and there's three default products in, because we clicked on Commerce Kickstart install and told it to intstall demonstration products.

Our Farrari store is going to sell cars, so we want to go and configure it to sell cars. So the first thing we are going to do is: we are going to add a product type. We're going to call [in the NAME box] it a car. We are going to make it [typing in the DESCTRIPTION box] "a really good car that we can sell". And we are going to save and add some fields [on the MANAGE FIELDS tab]. So you can see: by default we've got the SKU - that's the part code.  We've got the title. We've got the price which we could delete if we wanted to. We've got a status which is whether or not a product is disabled, or something like that, so you can just disable the product. And what we are going to do now is that we are going to add [ADD NEW FIELD] a field for colour.  It's going to be a list of text type: a select list. We'll save that. This is relatively manual, but we are doing it for real so we will go-through [with it]. An allowed value list. Here is one I prepared earlier (you've got to take some shortcuts!). Now we'll save that . And that's done.

The other thing that we're going to do is that we are going to add some features for our cars which we want to sell. So we're actually going to make it a text field and we are going to allow multiple values once we get through. [presses SAVE FIELD SETTINGS]. Ladada dada.  [NUMBER OF VALUES] Number of values: unlimited. And of course we want a photo of our cars here. There's an existing field which we can use called a product image [near bottom of the screen] which we'll just drag-up and we might actually put that there. We'll put it in after the price because we can. And we'll save it as an image. It doesn't have to be "required". OK. That will do. We can play with the settings a bit later.

OK: We've got a product type.

Lets go and  
>>add some Cars.

So - There's a quick navigation-bar-thing here. I click on add a product. We've got two options. I could click on a standard product. Or we are going to use the product type car. Call it F1. We'll call this our red Farrari. We'll sell that for $49.95 including GST: a bargain Farrari. Get them while you can. Limited stock available. We'll go for our red Fararri [image]. We'll set the colour to be Ruby Red. And this one can have Magnesium Alloy wheels. And we'll save and add another. We'll repeat this. F2: this can be our pink Fararri. We'll sell this one for $59.95. In case you're wondering why we have a pink Fararri: I asked a bunch of people what colour Fararris they wanted and  and Donna Benjamin said she wanted a pink Farrari, so we got that. [select] Penultimate Pink. This is going to be just for Donna. We'll save and add another one. Product SKU: we are up to F3. I think - I don't know what colours I have left. We'll go for colours this way. We'll go for a lime green Fararri. This is because Peter said he wanted a lime green Fararri. We'll call this "Lime Green Farrari". We'll sell this for $199.95 - it's a bit of a preimum model. We'll upload the image because I forget to do that sometimes. It is lushiously good lime green. That is alliterarion for you, in case you didn't notice. This one has no features because it is boring. And the last one, which is actually my favourite: this is my yellow starburst Farrari. Sorry if you are a Fararri lover. We are going to sell this for $499.99. We're going to add my starburst Fararri. And you can see it there: beautifull! It's yellow with red starbursts all-over it. [COLOUR DROP-DOWN MENU] It is a Yamourific Yellow Farrari. [FEATURES MENU IS PLAIN TEXT WITH A + SIGN TO ADD EXTRA FEATURES] Features: Starburst Paint. And while we're here we'll add another feature. A four-wheel drive Fararri. That sounds great!

OK: We've got four products. They're in our store. But hang on a second. They are not showing-up. Does anyone know why they are not showing-up? Yet. Yes: that's right. Those Fararris are not showing up in a product display.

We are now going to
>>add a Product Display
.[Add Pruduct display on the 2nd row of the menu]
We are going to call [TITLE field under Create Product Display] it a Fararri. [BODY field] "Fararris are cool you should buy one". (There's a reason why I don't write copy). And here [PRODUCT]: this is where we set-up our links to our products. So we've got an F1, an F2, an F3, and an F4. So you can put as many fields as you want in there, separated by commas. It's an auto-complete field. It's nice. It just works. You can have one; you can have 10. It doesn't matter. You can have 100 if you want it. I don't know what it performs like if you have 100. Probably still fine. And we'll save that. And we'll save that. Good. OK.

And here's our Fararri. It's red. I can choose "yellow starburst Farrari". I wanted to do this so that I could show you what the yellow starburst Fararri looks like in all of its glory. And I just selected that here: and you can see the features updated; the image updated, the colour updated. I haven't done anything particularly special to make that happen. We've just added the fields to the product type. We added them to the standard product display straight out of the box. And that's what happens and that works. OK? That's cool.

Now: we are going to do a couple of nice little things. We don't actually like the product image being that big. So we are going to format that a little bit. We are going to manage the display. The default display of the product image. Now: this is where it gets a little bit messy.

You modify the display settings for each field on the product-type display settings; not on the product display settings. There are some things you modify on the product display, but these ones you modify on the product type.

So we are make this one - image type - we are going to display a medium image because it fits nicely, and we are going to hit save. Close that, and the page refreshes. And there we go. OK? Alright so far? All good.

So the next thing that we are going to do is:
we are going to come-in here and we are going to modify our shopping cart a little bit. I mentioned that this was all built around Views. So I'm just going to give you a little example of what sort of thing we can do. We are going to edit the view here. And what I want to do is: I want to add the product code into the shopping cart. So that when I come to see the cart I can see what the model number is, at the shopping cart stage. So we are going to add a field. And we are going to add the SKU field. Hang-on: that's not on the list. This is the first little bit of magic which I am going to show you. We are going to cancel out of there. We are going to use the relationships [menu] to add a relationship to the Commerce - to the Product. Er - that's not actually the one I want. I want the car. Hang on. No: maybe that is the one I want.  Add and configure relationships. Apply. OK. So we've got a reference here, theoretically, to the product. So when I come in here and select a product and choose "add", I should now have an option for SKU. There we go. It's in there. Product is linked. That's where the relationship is. Create a label. We'll rearrange that. And we want it to appear first because that's a nice place for it to appear. We'll apply that. We'll save a View. Come back. And there we've got the SKU. Product F3 is in our cart. And if we want to show Features of our product plugged-in there, or anything like that, we just follow exactly the same process. So if you wanted to: if I come back and add a red Fararri to my cart, and I come across to the checkout, and I want to show the colour in here, I could do exactly the same thing: add the colour field in the column using Views and it all happens nicely, all straight away; no particular work to make that happen. OK.
That's pretty much what we need to do.

The next thing we are going to do is we are going to play with  
>>Shippingand shipping is the first time when I'm going to show you a little bit about how Rules works to configure the logic of our online store.

The first thing we're going to do is we're going to jump-in to Modules.
We're going to grab the Commerce Shipping Module,
We're going to turn-on the flat rate module, and the base shipping module.
And the Shipping UI (user interface) because that's how we configure it.
And we're going to save these things: click save configuration....
...whenever you are I said: if anyone is willing to buy me a faster MacBook Pro, I'm all willing.
So we're going to configure our shipping we click on Configure Store, come-in: click on Shipping, and that's all relateively self-explanatory. [moves to second tab called shipping services]. And what we are going to do is: we are going to configure two shipping services. We are going to configure a shipping service that is [types in title field] Standard Shipping, which we will call "standard shipping" [in the Display Title field]. We'll sell it for $15 including Goods and Services Tax. We'll save that.

We are also going to add a service that is free shipping ; free shipping, $0 including GST, flat rate. 
It could be $0 including GST: it doesn't really matter.

And now when we come in here [to the cart?] all of a sudden we have got our shipping information - and we popped this [delivery address] in last time. And we've got options! We can choose our shipping costs. We can get free shipping or standard shipping. I don't know why I should ever want to choose standard shipping if I've got free shipping as an option, so let's now build some rules which detirmine when those should be displayed, and then we'll test them, make sure that they work, and go from there. So we'll click on shipping. Click on shipping services. And we are going to use this configure component link to modify the rules which detirmine when this gets displayed. So for free shipping, we are going to add a rate for shipping service to an order, but only when we do a data comparison, and we discover when we discover that the commerce order - commerce order total amount - is lower than (hang on: we are doing free shipping aren't we? We'll do it this way) ... is lower than: what do you reckon? $150? OK.

Worth knowing a little trick of the trade: when you do this dollar comparison it is done in cents; not done in dollars. Now, this particular rule isn't multi-currency-aware and that can be done but that's just too complicate dso we won't worry about that. So if the order is less than $150 we don't actually want to give them free shipping; we want to not give them free shipping. There is a reason why we did that. I'll explain in a moment.

We'll come-in and we will make the opposite rule for the standard shipping. Add condition. Data comparison. Commerce Order: Commerce Order Total. Amount. We are going to click Continue. "Is lower than $150": that's what we set it to - right? There we go. It's there. And we'll leave that there.
The reason why we set one rule as "less than $150 - NOT" and one rule as "less than $150" is because there is no less-than-or-equal comparison for the data comparison rule. That's the only reason why we did it that way. So if someone buys $150-worth of something: if we set one [rule] to be less than $150, and one to be greater than $150, and you order something worth $150, there's no shipping available to you and that's just a bit of a pain. That's why you do it that way. You could have quite complicated rules. You could have multiple conditions; you can have "or"s, you can have "and"s. All of those sorts of things. You can nest the conditions against each other, and pretty-much anything can be compared, and Rules is way-complicated, and there's brilliant screen-casts online. If you are writing rules, go online: watch the screencasts. And then when you are thoroughly confused, jump on IRC (internet relay chat): that's the way to go.

By the way, while we are here: if you're looking for an IRC client and you're on a MAC and you haven't found one that you like: there's this great thing in the App. Store called Textual. I found it this week. It actually makes IRC usable in my opinion, so I really like it.
We've now got shipping in our store. And lets just prove that that works. We've got free shipping on this order. So let's go back, and let's modify our shopping cart, which presumably I can do by clicking here and press cancel. And coming in here. And it was $150. So lets just cancel one of these. So they're going to charge me shipping on my Fararri: what a rip-off! Seriously. (I could have just changed the quantity but I removed a very expensive item from my cart). Now my order is only - whatever it was - $15: give it a go. Now we've got Goods and Services Tax on there; it's got shipping at $13.64 ex-GST. You can change the order of those fields. We''l talk about that later. Pop-in a payment. Continue to the next step: order done! We are actually done! We've built our online store. It's fully functional. Beginning to end in under 25 minutes.

Just hang on a second. We'll get the microphone.

Q: Can you configure the shipping cost based on the post code?
A: Yes you can make the shipping - built on any rule. So you can do
- instead of a quantity-based comparison -
you can do an
- address-based comparison -
much in the same way that we do an address-based comparison to detirmine the tax rate. So I'll show you what the rule might look like, based on the tax rule. Here's the other place you can get to rules: configuration > workflow > rules. So this is just using the Rules module that's built-in to Drupal. And so in here we have a "calculate taxes GST" rule, and it's a general rule. We have an addition that's an "order address component" comparison. In here we've got "commerce line item", "order address", "country", bla bla bla bla bla.

Keep in mind that you're using the flat-rate shipping module here. Most of the time if you're using postcode-based shipping, your shipping is probably calculated from an external service like Australia Post Shipping Calculator, or you're making use of (in Australia) Star Track Express, or TNT, or any of the other big shipping companies, and they can expose their APIs (application interface) which they can expose. Then someone can write a module, (whether that be yourself, or someone that knows stuff about writing modules - whatever that is) - to integrate those things together. There is an Australia Post module in sandbox on Drupal. I don't know if has been released. I don't know if it works.

Q:I just have two questions for you. A: Yes. Q: One is:
If you currently have an existing site in Drupal 7 and you want to turn it into a Commerce site, how relatively easy...? I mean from what I've looked at it looks pretty relatively easy to just drop the Commerce modules in there and then turn those nodes into products?
A:Yes. That's pretty much all you need to do. (Q - I'm sorry: go-on.) A: And then the thing to keep in mind is that there are dependencies for the commerce modules so you will also be running CTools, Views, Rules, and a bunch of things like that, which most people are probably be running anyway.

Q: And just one other question:
If you've got a site that is currently in Drupal 6 / Ubercart (A: I'm sorry!) (Q: Not as sorry as I am: I've got wo work with it!) What would your recommendations be for getting into Commerce? Just literally starting fro scratch again?
A: Yes. I'm talking about this with one of my clients at the moment who has a quite heavilly-hacked version of Ubercart running their website. It's running a slightly older version of Ubercart that hasn't had security patches applied to it for a little while which makes me a little bit nervous. So we are talking about the fact that we need to get to Drupal Commerce with them at some stage over the next year, and we are going to re-build it from the ground up.
Q: [inaudible: about transferring data from Ubercart to Commerce].
I imagine it would be a relatively trivial module to export from Ubercart to Drupal 7 Commerce end-of-the-world. No one has written it yet. I have spent a lot of time looking at the tables in Ubercart and they're not all that sophisticated, so it could be done, but it's not something that... - it's probably not something for the feint hearted.
We are going to re-input all the products; we are going to re-input all the data, re-create the users. And, you know, that is a problem with choosing to run your business logic out of a web-based ecommerce platform: what is the upgrade path?

The guys that wrote Drupal Commerce were also the guys that wrote Ubercart, and in one of the rist presentations they gave publicly on Drupal Commerce, the very first thing that they said was: "Sorry". Ubercart is great provided it does what you want. If it doesn't do what you want then it's a little bit messy. The migration path is not very nice. Same with Drupal Commerce though. There are a lot of things it doesn't do. I started using Drupal Commerce when the first RC (request for comment) or Beta was released about 12 months ago. We half buit a site and got stuck because we discovered that a bunch of things weren't working and we stopped. And a lot of people have started working with Drupal Commerce just a little too early. I think in the lst three months is when it's really got to a point when it's mature enough that most of the things that you want are mostly there and mostly working. But it is a work in progress and the community is quite happy to help, so: get online and contribute.

Q:So where is all the link to the payment stuff? Does it link to Paypal and where do you configure that?
A: I haven't turned-on any payment methods in this example store, except for the example payment method which is turned on by default. There is a Paypal payment method. There is an payment method. There is Securepay for Australia. There's a bunch of different payment gateways which developers have written and made available on If you want a payment gateway that isn't there it's relatively trivial to write one to put in there - or find a developer. There's a few good Drupal developers in Australia that work with Drupal Commerce that are happy to write payment gateways if someone pays them, because they have to put food on their table.

I think that's about it.
is another lecture from Real World Technology on how to set-up Commerce Kickstart very quickly. The catch with both lectures is how to install kickstart on a server before the clock starts ticking, or else how to convert a standart drupal installation from something like scritpulicious into a drupal commerce installation. If there's a quick way of doing that - I'd like to know if anyone wants to comment.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Just in case somebody asks, these are the three ways to install Drupal and reasons they don't work for me. I'm writing this in case I need to brief someone to help.
  1. A one-click install from the control panel of a server.

    (a) Doesn't install the Kickstart version of Drupal Commerce Shopping Cart. This is a bit like a comfort blanket - I think I've learned to do without it - but as the program doesn't work without a lot of tweaking unless you have this installation profile, I'd like to be able to start from the Kickstart version every time I need to.

    (b) Puts too much strain on the server if I need to install extra modules. The program is a bit too big to do this on a middling sized server. So I would have to download it onto my hard disc somehow, do the updates and fixes, and them upload it to the server again. This is in fact what I want to do but starting on the hard disc. It comes to the same thing; I still need to back-up everything to my hard disc, tinker there, and upload again.
  2. Unpack Drupal on my hard disc, follow rather intricate instructions for file transfer to the server, and turning-on a the database to recognise all these files.

    With luck when I upload I get a welcome screen asking questions like "is your database called localhost?" and the thing installs itself. It's a bit of a black art the first few times but I think I've got the hang.

    Unfortunately Drupal 6 could almost work like this but Drupal 7 is just too big, and if I stick to older releases I will be missing-out on a lot of shopping cart modules. When I try to install, the server just says it's out of memory and the helpdesk says this can't be changed.
  3. Unpack a server onto my hard disc - a set of all the programs a server needs - and press the "import" button to import a version of Drupal, which could be Drupal Commerce Kickstart for the first stage of a shopping cart.

    This is the only system that could work and sometimes it does. I have managed once to install Drupal Commerce Kickstart onto a server program called Aquia Drupal Desktop, and from there managed a slightly laborious way of importing the data from its database to the one on my proper server that the world can see.

    Unfortunately my installation doesn't work. It finds error messages in every other thing it does. I guess this is because I should have updated or uploaded a load of files that go with Drupal's database onto the server, and I just deleted them thinking that the ones already there might do. Now I can't repeat the actions which worked in the past for this step three.
Even if I could get the thing installed there would be a bit of work laying-out the site using various layout themes or writing one, and I might be quite accident-prone at that.

A confusion is that installation can work one day and not the next. Why?

If I could re-install a Drupal Commerce Kickstart on the Aquia Drupal installer, make sure I don't delete any related files, and then FTP those files up to the server at the same time I move the database content, that would be an excercise completed. I would know if a mismatch of database and surrounding files is making my test site wonky.

According to Drupal 7 Essential Training - Getting a Drupal site up fast the Kickstarter or Drupal files simply uncompress. I find that they don't and any software like 7zip or Pea Zip or windows XP's own unpacker reports a problem or asks for a password just in case that's the trouble. This stage must have worked for me at least once in the past so why now now?

Update 12/12: the same file dowloads, and when I click on it it opens to reveal a folder called Drupal, which is quite different to a couple of days ago. Clicking on this unzips it with Windows XP's built-in unzipper. Unzipping is strangely slow but it works. Meanwhile the old download file won't unzip and won't delete. I googled the error message and found that some people log-on as administrator to delete such stuff, others like me downlowd a program called Unlocker, which worked. You have to steer past several adverts on Softpedia trying to look like your dowload button so that you download other programs as well, but I managed to skip them this time.

Just as in Tom Geller video on Youtube, I can import the Drupal directory into my Aquia Drupal desktop. I deleted my old one and imported the new, giving it the same file name as the one on my server. And this time I didn't delete all the files in the folder after importing to the desktopy thing.

If anyone is interested in Ubercart video tutorials which are meant to be a quick way to get an ecommerce site online, this is a list of some available:

Transcribed videos: -
[Drupal 7 / Ubercart video tutorial 7 of 10 showed how to use the default catalog module]
[Drupal 7 / Ubercart video tutorial 8 of 10 showed an alternative flexible method of showing a catalog]
[Drupal 7 / Ubercart video tutorial 9 of 10 shows how to use product kits, stock, and order states]
[Drupal 7 / Ubercart video tutorial 10 of 10 shows a simple checkout, reports, and suggests a theme]