Detailed Shopping Carts Review. Part 1. Zen Cart

Posted: May 1st, 2011 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Content Managers, eShops & Other Web Software, Programming & Databases | 3 Comments »

This work ini­ti­ates series of arti­cles for those who are in search of shop­ping cart soft­ware. The goal is to cre­ate a pro­found review that embraces a wide range of ques­tions and unlike the vast num­ber of sim­i­lar works it aims at pro­vid­ing sub­stan­tial and pen­e­trat­ing analy­sis of var­i­ous shop­ping carts rather than merely enu­mer­at­ing and com­par­ing their fea­tures. The lion’s share of the pro­vided infor­ma­tion is tar­geted at web devel­op­ers. The goal is to under­stand how hard it will be to use each of the con­sid­ered shop­ping carts to cre­ate a trendy online store and sup­ple­ment it with extra fea­tures when­ever needed. Thus I intend to exam­ine the inter­nal struc­ture, code qual­ity and over­all per­for­mance. I can’t but admit that a part of this review may be con­sid­ered as a sub­jec­tive opin­ion. Nev­er­the­less I hope that it will become a source of use­ful infor­ma­tion even in regards to char­ac­ter­is­tics and fea­tures that can’t be mea­sured by pre­cise values.

Con­tinue reading »

Human Relations

Posted: June 1st, 2010 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Project Management | 2 Comments »

guys-in-officeAbout ten years ago I used to work for a com­pany which was hor­ri­ble at human rela­tions. Employ­ees con­sid­ered their man­agers as incom­pe­tent jerks (most of them deserved that) and man­agers behaved as though their pri­mary task was to dis­ci­pline and con­trol the hoi pol­loi. The company’s pres­i­dent who felt he was the hub of the uni­verse yelled at his vices, his vices yelled at the heads of the depart­ments and so on.  There was a lot of dis­re­spect and pres­sure. The only man­age­ment enhance­ments they could come up with was installing spy soft­ware on everybody’s com­puter to be able to check what a per­son is doing and mak­ing every­body record the time when he/she comes or leaves the office. That com­pany still exists but they still pro­duce low-standard prob­lem prod­ucts and are slowly going down. No won­der. It makes no sense to do your best for peo­ple who don’t respect you.

Con­tinue reading »

Great Specs. A Developer’s Point of View. Part 2

Posted: January 12th, 2010 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Project Management | No Comments »

In the first part of this arti­cle I was talk­ing about my under­stand­ing of what should be in specs. Now I’d like to por­tray the way specs should look. I want to make a start with the fact that project doc­u­men­ta­tion must be not only explicit but also con­ve­nient to work with. It’s sup­posed to be con­stantly used dur­ing the devel­op­ment by coders, design­ers, project man­agers, testers and every­body should feel com­fort­able read­ing and under­stand­ing the require­ments, find­ing spe­cific details, mak­ing sched­ules, and so on. The larger the specs are the more sig­nif­i­cant this prob­lem is. Let’s pon­der over what makes specs to be convenient.

Con­tinue reading »

Great Specs. A Developer’s Point of View. Part 1

Posted: September 15th, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Project Management | No Comments »

Func­tional require­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions must be under­stand­able, con­sis­tent, and con­ve­nient to work with and must pro­vide detailed descrip­tion of a project. While work­ing as a web devel­oper I had to deal with both excel­lent and hor­ri­bly inco­her­ent project doc­u­men­ta­tion. I wanted to learn from some spec authors and had to explain to some oth­ers what a devel­oper expects to see in specs.

Although I have already writ­ten quite a lot of specs myself this arti­cle is mainly an opin­ion of a spec reader and it can be help­ful for those who write project doc­u­men­ta­tion but have never been on the other side. The arti­cle doesn’t claim to be exhaus­tive but it includes some prac­ti­cal pieces of advice. I tried to avoid set­ting vague goals and put my efforts into pick­ing out essen­tial ready-to-use rec­om­men­da­tions. Still no rec­om­men­da­tions can guar­an­tee per­fect result. It’s impor­tant to design care­fully every sin­gle detail, try to fore­see future users expe­ri­ence and think over each sen­tence that has to be written.

Con­tinue reading »

Marketing Garbage

Posted: July 7th, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Online Marketing | No Comments »

I'm loving itZil­lions of web com­pa­nies pub­lish on their web­sites texts about their “phi­los­o­phy”, “method­ol­ogy” and “strat­egy”, how “agile” they are and how they adore their clients. A few of them are some­what con­vinc­ing but in 95% of cases these texts are lame, unimag­i­na­tive, and have been writ­ten by inflat­ing a few hack­neyed phrases. Stan­dard clichés make com­pany man­age­ment think they fol­low the lat­est trends but those of their cus­tomers who take some time to read that ver­biage only get Déjà vu.

Con­tinue reading »

How to Install Apache Ant on Mac OS X?

Posted: May 19th, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Mac OS | 2 Comments »

Some of you who are run­ning on Mac OS X and come to neces­sity of using Apache Ant can be slightly con­fused by the sys­tem require­ments posted on their offi­cial web­site. For exam­ple, it says “you must have a JAXP-compliant XML parser installed and avail­able on your class­path, such as Xerces”. “Wow! What’s that?” — one may think :-) Then it explains how to build Apache Ant from the sources and at that point you may hes­i­tate even more whether to pro­ceed with the instal­la­tion because there is dan­ger of spoil­ing some­thing within your oper­at­ing sys­tem or impos­si­bil­ity to get rid of the Apache Ant sources scat­tered in var­i­ous direc­to­ries if they don’t work. Then after brows­ing the net you may find some­thing like a piece of advice to install Dar­win Ports first. Is that sit­u­a­tion famil­iar to you?

Con­tinue reading »

The Key Method of Modern Marketing

Posted: April 25th, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Online Marketing | No Comments »

more-doctors-smoke2Believe it or not, but: The key method of mod­ern mar­ket­ing is manip­u­lat­ing facts.

Relevant Boolean Full-Text Search in MySQL

Posted: March 10th, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Programming & Databases | 6 Comments »

Many pro­gram­mers who try to make rel­e­vant full-text search in MySQL become slightly dis­ap­pointed when they real­ize that boolean search doesn’t sort the results by rel­e­vance as natural-language search does. In this arti­cle I’m going to offer a few solu­tions which allow to get relevance-ranked search results using boolean full-text search in MySQL.

Con­tinue reading »

Never Build “Exact Copy of…”

Posted: February 2nd, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Project Management | 2 Comments »

If your client comes and says that he wants you to build an exact copy of a com­plex web­site for a fixed price and writ­ing specs is not nec­es­sary since no specs can be bet­ter than a work­ing exam­ple… Don’t agree or you will regret about that many times. Any per­son with sober mind can come to this con­clu­sion him­self but the temp­tan­tion to make “quick” money can be too strong. This is just a reminder that can help to avoid the hook.

Using Counter Propagation Neural Network for Building Intellectual Decision Support Systems

Posted: January 10th, 2009 | Author: Andrey | Filed under: Neural Networks | No Comments »

This is one of my arti­cles about neural net­works pub­lished in Latvia in 2006. I hope some­one may find it useful.

Con­tinue reading »