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Spree + GoDaddy: Harnessing Open Source to Serve Small Businesses Globally

Posted on October 09, 2014 by Michael Tucker

About The Author

Michael Tucker is a 12-year veteran in solving technical problems by any means necessary. From small consultant firm to large tech corporation, from Microsoft platforms to open source solutions, he works with the right tools and seeks the right talent for the problem at hand, without prejudice. Michael is currently a technical lead for the presence and commerce division at GoDaddy, doing his best to keep up with his amazingly talented team. In his spare time, he plays music, travels, and tries his best not to take life too seriously.

When GoDaddy set out to reinvent its ecommerce offering, we considered a wide range of solutions and compared a plethora of open source offerings. Spree stood out in this analysis as a flexible platform with solid overall performance and a world-class community. We not only believe Spree is the strongest open source ecommerce offering out there, we’re betting our future on it.

Scaling out the single-store design of Spree into a multi-tenant, high performance ecosystem of small-medium business storefronts has posed a complex set of challenges, and we aim to harness those lessons to give back to the Spree community. Our solutions have ranged from utilizing Apartment for multi-tenant account switching, to the Liquid template engine for flexible storefront theming, to custom integrations with best-of-class feature providers.

In its six short months of beta release, GoDaddy Online Store has accrued thousands of new storefronts that have generated millions of dollars in revenue for small businesses and individuals. Thanks to a meticulously streamlined onboarding experience, stores are being published in just a day or two, on average, by storeowners who often claim no technical proficiency or ecommerce experience.

We are very thankful to the Spree community and excited about making significant contributions to it. These contributions are, and will continue to be, in the form of new features, extensions, performance and scalability improvements, bug fixes, and knowledge sharing.

Please come out on Thursday, October 30th and meet the Online Store team at GoDaddy’s new Tempe, Arizona office and engage in enriching discussions with fellow Spree users, designers, and developers. We will be sharing more information on Online Store, how we made Spree multi-tenant, streamlined the default user-experience, made some key performance improvements to Spree, and solved other unique challenges while balancing open source considerations with corporate goals and requirements.

Agenda:

6:00 – 6:30: Meet and greet with refreshments
6:30 – 6:35: Welcome and introduction
6:35 – 7:15: Talk by Spree Commerce
7:15 – 8:00: Talks by GoDaddy Online Store team; topics including a client script extension, performance optimization, multi-tenancy, storefront themes engine, and performance and design improvements for Spree
8:00 – 8:55: Dinner and networking
8:55 – 9:00: Closing Remarks

By now you’ve probably heard about the launch of the partnership. So come get the details behind the Online Store, swap stories, brainstorm and grab a bite to eat at this Meetup!

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RailsGirls Summer of Code: Team BrowserSpree PT. 2

Posted on October 03, 2014 by Jam Black and Britney Wright

About Team BrowserSpree

Team BrowserSpree was one of the 10 sponsored teams selected in this summer’s Rails Girls Summer of Code, and had a pretty busy summer. Based in Washington, DC, teammates Jam Black and Britney Wright, along with their coaches, Patrick Peak and Tanya Bodanya, set a goal of integrating BrowserCMS, a Rails content management system, and Spree into a gem–- BrowserSpree. If you missed part one of this story, feel free to check it out now.

On September 30th, Team BrowserSpree welcomed its “bundle” of joy—our own gem—bcms_spree. It’s been a busy summer, all while both holding (new) full-time jobs, we managed to accomplish our goals for Rails Girls Summer of Code, including:

· Updating BrowserCMS, v 4.0 Beta documentation
· Giving talks at Steel City Ruby & Ruby for Good
· Building stores in BrowserCMS and Spree, separately
· Releasing our first gem—bcms_spree
· Creating our demo store

Bcms_spree

The bcms_spree gem is the glue that binds BrowserCMS and Spree in a single application. The installation process is slightly different from other BrowserCMS modules, as it involves installing BrowserCMS, Spree, and the module itself. As we built our module, we found that BrowserCMS 4.0 Beta was most compatible with Spree 2.2.4 due to gem dependency issues with newer versions of Paperclip 3.4.1 and Rails 4. Features that we built include:

Spree Storefront:

· Full access to Spree Storefront features and functionality
· Create products, process orders, accept payments

Single user model:

· Spree user attributes are added to existing BrowserCMS user model
· Links to Spree/BCMS frontend and backend in nav bar

Separate admin access:

· BrowserCMS and SpreeAdmin areas are separate
· Grant admin access to both areas, just one, or none

Product Portlets & Shopping Carts:

· Starter portlets included to display products on BrowserCMS project pages and most recent products added/viewed
· Display shopping cart on all pages
· Add shopping cart to BrowserCMS pages for visibility throughout the site

To demo the store, please visit: https://browserspree.herokuapp.com!
Check out our work on github: https://github.com/browserspree/bcms_spree!
And if you want to know more about how we got here, visit our blog: http://browserspree.tumblr.com!

We’d like to sincerely thank our coaches – Patrick Peak & Tanya Bodanya, our supervisor Markus Prinz, nclud for hosting us, and everyone affiliated with Rails Girls Summer of Code, including this summer’s sponsors.

RailsGirls Summer of Code: Team BrowserSpree

Posted on September 26, 2014 by Jam Black and Britney Wright

About Team BrowserSpree

Team BrowserSpree is one of the 10 sponsored teams selected in this summer’s Rails Girls Summer of Code, and has had a pretty busy summer. Based in Washington, DC, teammates Jam Black and Britney Wright, along with their coaches, Patrick Peak and Tanya Bodanya, set a goal of integrating BrowserCMS, a Rails content management system and Spree into a gem–- BrowserSpree.

Summer of Code

Setting a goal of combing two separate Rails engines is by far no easy task–- especially for newbies, so to make things easier we broke our goals into milestones:

1. Orientation into BrowserCMS
2. Build a storefront using only BroswerCMS content types
3. Update “Getting Started” and “Content Blocks” documentation (based on experience)
4. Orientation into Spree Commerce
5. Add store features using Spree
6. Build a Spree Module
7. Build a BrowserSpree site

In July, we dove into BCMS using content blocks and portlets to build our own bookstore for our clients (in this case, our coaches). We knew that eventually, we would just look to Spree to perform many of the features below, but this was a good way to gain familiarity with BCMS. The functions we built included:

• Catalog all of the books that our visitors can browse
• View product pages individually
• Categorize by type of book (authors, fiction/nonfiction, politics, economics, young reader, vampire novels, etc.)
• Give authors their own pages that list their work
• Make authors’ other works visible even if we don’t have those books for sale
• When viewing a book, customers should be able to see all the author’s other books for sale
• When viewing a product, buyers should be able to see other related products

In August we received opportunity scholarships to attend Steel City Ruby where we gave our first lightning talk. We also participated in the first ever Ruby for Good, where we worked on BCMS 4.0 Beta documentation. In August, we also dove into Spree, and soon realized since Spree is an ecommerce platform, a lot of the features we built within BCMS in July were automatically included. So we moved onto the next hurdle— installing both gems in the same Rails app so we could see how these engines play together.

Along the way, we learned some helpful tips:

Google, Google, Google

This can’t be said enough. Not only when it comes to errors, but also when you have a feature you are trying to add, or a “how do I go about doing ‘x’ question.” It was surprising how much we found out just by using others people’s questions. Plus, Googling is a required skill to be a developer–- right under using Git or knowing the command line. And you would be shocked by how much even the most experienced developers rely on Google.

It’s okay to go over the basics

It’s hard to write a novel when you can’t first write a sentence. For one or two weeks, we had to cover some Rails basics— in addition to building our store so we could ensure we learned and applied the fundamentals of Rails and not just BCMS-isms.

Pseudo code

Pseudo code is writing in English what you are trying to accomplish in code. It helps to logically map out the steps to get to your desired outcome.

Break large tasks into smaller ones

Start small. When we added a feature, it seemed daunting and oftentimes felt like we had no idea where to start. Breaking one big action into smaller ones was key because it allowed us to start with what we did know–- and take it step-by-step from there.

Where to From Here?

As the last week of Rails Girls Summer of Code wraps up, we are putting the finishing touches on our gem and drafting documentation. Check back for our follow-up post to see how we crossed the hurdles of resolving gem dependencies, deciding what features to include in our gem and, finally, release the alpha version of BrowserSpree! To view this piece in its original format, visit our blog at Rails Girls Summer of Code.

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Spree Commerce Upgrades Shopify Integration for Wombat

Posted on September 24, 2014 by Alexander Diegel

Spree Commerce has released its upgraded, officially supported Shopify Integration for Wombat. Spree Commerce Certified Partner and ecommerce website design and development agency, NuRelm, built the upgraded connection to Shopify stores for Spree’s automated ecommerce integration platform, Wombat.

Wombat gives its users the most diverse and effective arsenal of integrations in the industry. NuRelm has extensive experience building integrations for Shopify stores and delivering exceptional, user-friendly websites for businesses of all sizes. For over 15 years, NuRelm has mastered and delivered web projects for small, as well as large, clients like Heinz and Mylan.

By using Wombat’s newly upgraded integration, Shopify storefront users can now connect to Wombat in just five minutes and have easy access to all of the convenient, out-of-the-box ecommerce integrations that Wombat offers.

“The Shopify platform is a great solution that makes it easy to launch your own online storefront,” said Sam Shaaban, CEO and co-founder of NuRelm. “However, as a business grows, so does the complexity of its operations. Wombat connects store owners to all of their mission-critical services and scales according to their business needs; eliminating complexity and preventing problems.”

For a complete rundown on how to easily connect with Shopify, join us on Wednesday, October 1st at 2PM EST for a co-hosted Shopify integration webinar. The webinar will be led by Shaaban, who will provide a detailed tour of how to quickly and easily integrate your Shopify storefront with Wombat. To view the full press release on ths upgrade, visit PRWeb.

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