Ubercart Sessions Coming to a Drupalcon Near You

Here on the Ubercart team we're developing a habit of making last minute decisions about Drupalcon attendance. Hopefully we'll learn to plan a little further ahead in the future, but doing it this way makes for a fun time finding lodging and flights. Wink I'll be flying to Boston for my first time with Andy to represent the Ubercart project in the soon-to-be-enjoyed Drupalcon. We're excited about the opportunities to meet with more developers, say hey to some familiar faces (I'll be looking for you, Joe!), and spread the word about Ubercart. We benefited a lot from my trip to Barcelona, making improvements in security, internationalization, and core features (like file downloads and role promotions) as a direct result of developer feedback.

Ubercart is gaining ground within the Drupal community and other web development corners of the web as the e-commerce solution of choice. We're also helping build Drupal's image as the "CMS" (although I agree that term sells Drupal short) of choice for online stores, and we want that trend to continue. To that end, we're hoping to expose as many people as possible to the features and systems offered by Ubercart. We also hope to capitalize on as much collective brain power as we can to shore up some of our weaknesses as we start planning toward Ubercart 2.0.

Read on to see how we hope to make the best use of our time in Boston!

The main thing I hope to do is talk to as many people about Ubercart as I can. I look forward to meeting folks from the forums face to face, and I hope to present at least one formal session. Being able to showcase Ubercart sites and the administrative backend is essential to drawing new users and supporters as the results from Barcelona prove. Further, I look forward to doing some serious brainstorming on improving our deficiencies. For example, we know we're not internationally savvy, and meetings with other Drupallers in Barcelona and over the forums have improved our core offerings for international stores... but we're definitely not there yet.

My session proposals are as follows:

  • Introducing Ubercart - For those just checking us out, this gives a brief overview of the project and showcases Ubercart's capabilities. This is a session designed for anyone to attend and benefit from.
  • Ubercart Development - This session is a more in depth look at the systems, APIs, and integrations driving Ubercart. This is about folding more developers into the community.
  • Ubercart Table Talk - This birds of a feather session is a more informal time where we'll field questions and brainstorm about all things Ubercart. If no one shows, I'll spend the time on my next Ubercart haiku.

Feel free to check them out, vote/comment on them, and let me know if I'm leaving something important out. Smile I've opened a session discussion thread in our forums, although commenting here is just fine, too.

My other goal is of course to soak in as much as I can about the goings on of the Drupal community outside of the Ubersphere. While I've dabbled in Drupal 6 a little, I look forward to being exposed to all the benefits Drupal 6 will be bringing to the table that will make Ubercart that much better. I already know we're in for a heck of a time when we get to updating. (We're looking at forms API changes, a new schema API, and a new menu API... basically, everything Ubercart is built on will require change.) So, I'll be looking to learn how to make the transition as smooth as possible and lay out our guiding principles for the updated modules. I can't wait to divvy up includes based on menu paths. Cool Kudos to chx and the others improving the menu system! It'll be awesome to have AHAH built into the forms API, too, instead of our various solutions to this in the existing modules.

So... pumping Ubercart, learning from everyone else, and certainly enjoying a few nights on the town with some good night calls to my wife (Mrs. Ubercart won't be attending :() sound like a good time in Boston. And I can't wait to slaughter some of you in laser tag given the chance. Cool

NASA streams spacewalks over the internet!

I just found out today that NASA streams spacewalk footage and commentary through their website. How cool is that?!? Cool

I'm listening while I work to a spacewalk that's working on setting up the new Columbus module. They're floating over the Northern Atlantic (just heard them "oohing" and "aahing" at the English Channel) and doing some prep work to get components out of the cargo hold.

If you care to watch/listen, here's a direct link:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html?param=public

Ubercart 1.0 Beta Nearing a Close

Well, I'm happy to announce that Ubercart has reached Beta 5 as of this evening. That wasn't necessarily a benchmark we were aiming for, but it's special because it marks the eradication of known issues and bugs from our beta-do list that were keeping us from moving on to the release candidate phase. The software has matured a lot, and all known hurdles have been jumped to push Ubercart on toward 1.0. We'll let it stew in beta 5 for a few days and solve any issues that pop up, but then it's off to the races with an official 1.0 release and no small amount of fanfare and hooplah. Wink

The beta 5 release includes a host of bug fixes and feature enhancements, and it also marks the inclusion of the recurring payments framework in core, updates to finally be PostgreSQL compatible (thanks japerry!), a new icon set to get those CC Share Alike Tango icons off of Drupal.org, and much more. For more information and a release haiku, check out the news post on Ubercart.org.

Many thanks to the super active and helpful community members in the forums. We couldn't do this without you! Greets to torgosPizza, TR, cYu, zmove, japerry, greenSkin, rak, kulvik and others who have been offering forum support and patches like the true Uber-heroes they are.

AOL Using Ubercart for Digital Products

Well, it was cool to see AOL Corporate pop up on Dries' blog as yet another company using Drupal (yacud, anyone?). What I didn't notice at the time was that AOL has also chosen to use Ubercart to "sell" digital goods, presumably for press related use. Fortunately, I found this out through a thread on d.o and quickly hopped over to test it out.

I quoted "sell" because AOL isn't actually charging a price for the materials, but they're making creative use of Ubercart to track who is requesting materials and what items they get from the site. They have a simple setup where links through the Media Gallery section of the site lead to various product nodes created by Ubercart.

They're taking advantage of the file download product feature to associate different .zip files containing the media and license information with the format you select (see an example). This is a cool feature in Ubercart that lets you do things like use the same product node to sell files of different formats or even to let the customer choose between a physical/digital version of the product (like a CD vs. mp3 download).

Checkout is a simple trimmed down affair that just requires an e-mail address. They're using our anonymous checkout system so that Ubercart creates a new user account upon completion and then associates the files "purchased" with that account. The files are then available through the user's account page or through a secure link sent out in an e-mail. Shawn coded in some nice restrictions for downloads like limitations based on IP, time, and number of downloads which are essential when actually selling downloads.

Pretty cool stuff, and I'm glad to see it's getting around!

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