Creating a Magento Extension that uses a jQuery Plugin

Ajax, API's, E-commerce, JQuery, Magento, plugins

While developing the DevoutGeek.com site, I created a number of Magento extensions. The first extension that I created was Configurable Colors. This extension creates color swatches in place of the color drop-down for configurable products. I created a jQuery plugin to display the color swatches and make ajax calls to the extensions controller method to display the relevant images. Through a bit of trial and error, I learned a great deal about creating Magento extensions (and incorporating jQuery into them).

There are many articles that discuss how to create Magento extensions, so this post discusses how to incorporate a jQuery plugin into the extension. For information on how to create an extension, read this.

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Magento Extension: Configurable Colors

E-commerce, Magento

I created a few Magento Extensions while working on DevoutGeek.com, The first one that I created was Configurable Colors. Configurable Colors is an extension that enables you to create color swatches for Configurable Products. You can create swatches using HTML Color Names, Hex values, and images. This extension also comes with image zoom. Below is a video that demonstrates the use of Configurable Colors.

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Using Responsive Menus with CodeIgniter

Ajax, Codeigniter, JQuery, plugins

In a previous post (A jQuery Responsive Menu Plugin), I discussed how to use the gpResponsiveMenu jQuery plugin to create responsive menus. While developing the plugin, I tested the options with CodeIgniter (I use CodeIgniter for my demo site). I had to make minor changes to the CodeIgniter navigation in order to use the plugin.

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Changing the Column Count for Magento’s Grid List

E-commerce, Magento

One of the final design updates for DevoutGeek.com was change the column count for the main category pages only. I’m using Magento’s 1-column layout (no sidebar) for the sub-category pages (and category pages that do not have sub categories). These pages display 3 columns of products, but I want the main category pages to display 2 columns of products because I am using a 2-column layout (left sidebar) and I do not have enough room for 3 columns.

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A Responsive Menu jQuery Plugin

Ajax, JQuery, plugins

While doing the final testing of DevoutGeek.com, I found that I did not like the way the main menu displayed on smaller devices (Ipads, phones, etc). I took a good bit of time implementing a responsive design on DevoutGeek.com, but the main menu did not flow to my liking. So I decided to create a jQuery plugin. I have seen other responsive menu plugins, but most implement a single strategy (i.e, change the menu into a drop-down select). The plugin that I created, gpResponsiveMenu, has 6 options that are implemented based upon media queries. The plugin can be used with both primary and secondary navigation (simultaneously).

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Launch: DevoutGeek.com – Apparel For Geeks

E-commerce, t-shirt

My father used to say that anything and everything can be used to start a conversation. Well, geek t-shirts are definitely a conversation starter. When I wear a geek t-shirt to the gym or to one of my kid’s games, I always receive positive comments – from non-geeks and geeks alike. These situations convinced me that I should start a business selling geek apparel (and other products). So today I launched DevoutGeek.com.

In this initial launch, I will only be selling t-shirts. And while there are a few sites that already sell geek t-shirts, I want to be more than a geek t-shirt company. I’m trying to create a brand – like Nike, but a geek apparel and products company. Most of the other sites sell a variety of products from many contribut0rs (which admittedly, may be a better business model). But I intend to sell Devout Geek products only. Some of my initial ‘designs’ are similar to (or variations of) designs that I have seen (and liked) from these other websites – but the vast majority of the shirts are of original design.

I started with the name RockPaperGeek. I spent months searching for a domain name that had the word ‘Geek’ in it. I liked RockPaperGeek for a couple of months. And then I didn’t. I told my wife that I like names with two words – GrasshopperPebbles, GreenScorpion, etc. So I pivoted to finishing up the development of MobilePebbles.com while I thought of a new name. Yes, I’m a procrastinator, but I always have other things to do. I’m a web developer and I stay fairly busy working on other projects.

Now that DevoutGeek is complete, it’s time for me to move on to another project.

I have purchased products from a few of the other t-shirt sites – and I probably will in the future. But I think that geek branded apparel is an intriguing concept. In many circles, geek is no longer synonymous with nerd (although, there is clearly overlap). But I’m proud to be a geek in any circle. I have been a self-professed geek before it was popular. I am what one would call a Devout Geek.

Note: I created a special coupon code for the initial launch. It’s 10% off your order (pre-shipping cost) and can only be used once. It will only be available for a few days and you must be logged in to use the code: P4UZ6JNLVBYY.

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Custom T-shirt Labels and Tags

E-commerce, t-shirt

So I am close to launching my t-shirt website. In a previous post, I discussed that I plan to print the t-shirt designs myself using a heat press and a vinyl printer. To increase my brand awareness, I plan to replace the existing t-shirt tag with a label that included my logo. While researching the market, I found that I have multiple options. I also found that the Federal Trade Commission has a rule (The Care Labeling Rule) that requires manufacturers and importers to attach care instructions to garments.

The blank Gildan t-shirts that I purchased contains two tags – the first displays the Gildan brand name and the other tag displays the size and care instructions. I had to decide whether to remove both tags or just remove the Gildan branded tag.

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What to do with my Raspberry Pi?

Geek Toys

I purchased a computer that cost less than $100. I have been hearing so much about the Raspberry Pi lately, that I finally decided to purchase one. It’s something that I really needed – I just have to figure out why. Although the Raspberry Pi was created for a different purpose, this is a true Geek toy.

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Updating footer in a Magento theme

E-commerce, Magento

I’m still working on the Magento theme for my upcoming t-shirt site. I recently started updating the footer. It took some time to figure out how to add/remove the footer links as well as add other items such as a newsletter block. I thought I could update a single file, but it wasn’t that simple.

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