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Cash is dying – anyone can accept credit cards

Square hit the market with a bang. An innovative small piece of hardware took advantage of the microphone feature of a smartphone’s headphone jack to create a way to read a credit card and interact with software on the smartphone. You can buy a Sqaure at Target for $9.99 and I believe you get a $10 credit from Square. They make their money via a percentage of the transaction but you don’t need a merchant account.

Now Paypal is getting in on the "anyone can accept credit cards" game. Paypal is offering their smartphone card reader for free. Soon, your excuse of "I have no cash" to say no to Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn will be gone!

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Magento – Not currently favorite color

Why is debugging and troubleshooting in Magento so difficult? Because of error messages like this:

Notice: Undefined variable: rootNode in C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Eav\Model\Entity\Attribute\Source\Config.php on line 53
#0 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Eav\Model\Entity\Attribute\Source\Config.php(53): mageCoreErrorHandler(8, ‘Undefined varia…’, ‘C:\Domains\exam…’, 53, Array)
#1 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Widget\Form.php(196): Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Attribute_Source_Config->getAllOptions(true, true)
#2 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Customer\Edit\Tab\Account.php(54): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Widget_Form->_setFieldset(Array, Object(Varien_Data_Form_Element_Fieldset))
#3 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Customer\Edit\Tabs.php(58): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Customer_Edit_Tab_Account->initForm()
#4 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(642): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Customer_Edit_Tabs->_beforeToHtml()
#5 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Text\List.php(43): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->toHtml()
#6 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(643): Mage_Core_Block_Text_List->_toHtml()
#7 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(503): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->toHtml()
#8 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(454): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->_getChildHtml(‘left’, true)
#9 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\design\adminhtml\default\default\template\page.phtml(58): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->getChildHtml(‘left’)
#10 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Template.php(144): include(‘C:\Domains\leoa…’)
#11 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Template.php(176): Mage_Core_Block_Template->fetchView(‘adminhtml\defau…’)
#12 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Template.php(193): Mage_Core_Block_Template->renderView()
#13 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\Block\Template.php(81): Mage_Core_Block_Template->_toHtml()
#14 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Block\Abstract.php(643): Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Template->_toHtml()
#15 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Model\Layout.php(526): Mage_Core_Block_Abstract->toHtml()
#16 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Action.php(347): Mage_Core_Model_Layout->getOutput()
#17 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Adminhtml\controllers\CustomerController.php(117): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Action->renderLayout()
#18 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Action.php(376): Mage_Adminhtml_CustomerController->editAction()
#19 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Router\Standard.php(248): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Action->dispatch(‘edit’)
#20 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\code\core\Mage\Core\Controller\Varien\Front.php(158): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Router_Standard->match(Object(Mage_Core_Controller_Request_Http))
#21 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\app\Mage.php(459): Mage_Core_Controller_Varien_Front->dispatch()
#22 C:\Domains\\wwwroot\magento\index.php(65): Mage::run()
#23 {main}

Yes, it screams "undefined variable" which is rootNode but through Magento’s excellent use of object oriented spaghetti, the error does not in anyway reveal what is truly causing rootNode to be undefined nor where to even begin looking.

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Current Magento Questions – getCustomerFormData

The Magento ecommerce question I am trying to answer right now is what does getCustomerFormData() do?

In AccountController.php and Register.php there is this reference $data = $this->_getSession()->getCustomerFormData(true); and this reference $data = new Varien_Object(Mage::getSingleton(‘customer/session’)->getCustomerFormData(true)); respectively. I’ve searched using grep and within eclipse’s file search but can find no other reference to getCustomerFormData.

I can find no reference to getCustomerFormData other than these two lines of code. So what is this supposed to be accomplishing?

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Magento – Developer Killer

While trying to add some functionality to my client’s Magento ecommerce store, I came across an article that summed up my Magento experience quite well:

Most of us in ecommerce application development have already heard of Magento. Some would call it new ecommerce killer app. I myself stand with that statement for many of reasons. However I would like to call it with one more name, developer killer app. This developer killer is what I literally had in mind. Magento is currently one of the most difficult PHP systems out there a developer could learn and master. [Source, {}activecodeline, What makes Magento so hard to learn (emphasis added)]

I have put so much effort into learning this system that I both never want to touch it again AND must do more Magento development so that this exercise of gaining knowledge does not go to waste.

Today’s links for Magento success:

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Magento Actions

The Magento E-commerce system is an exciting open source alternative to systems like OS Commerce. The learning curve isn’t really a curve at all. The learning curve is more like a sheer, glassy. polished mountain face shooting straight up into the heavens. However, plenty of documentation exists, Google overfloweth with links to blog post, and IRC support is available on Freenode #magento (although I believe most questions go to /dev/null so expect to feel a little like you are talking to yourself but like your $200/hr psychologist will explain, sometimes that’s all we need).

As I work through understanding how Magento handles layouts, I struggle to find a simple list of actions and perhaps I’m trying to hard. So far the is this:


Ah! I found a reference! See page 7 of Magento Layout Files Reference (see also same document, different format).

Update: The Magento wiki has this defined under Designing for Magento.