e-commerce Project Needs a Customer

For the past 2 months I've been working very hard to implement e-commerce as a new feature for mojoPortal. The project had minimal sponsorship from BrainBeacon who were my initial customer for this feature. They only needed to sell one downloadable product initially and they wanted to use the Authorize.NET payment gateway and they wanted to go live with their store in April 2007. After meeting their initial needs I planned to flesh out more features to support a broader array of e-commerce scenarios. Unfortunately, as I was about to work with them for initial testing they decided to dissolve their company and no longer plan to open a store or use the e-commerce feature.

Since I have no immediate need to use this feature myself I'm in a bit of a quandry as its hard to polish a feature that is not being used by real users and when no-one is available to provide feedback. So in short I'm looking for a new customer for this feature before I continue with any further development effort. I think having e-commerce will be a great feature and add to the popularity of mojoPortal but it will be hard to complete it until I have someone who wants to use it for actual e-commerce who is willing to provide testing and actual use and feedback. If you are interested in using this feature and possibly sponsoring continued development please contact me. Most of the feature is already built. If you need to sell a few downloadable products its pretty much ready for testing, if you have shipped products or additional scenarios I can work with you to implement the needed enhancements.

Update 4/4/2007:  I'm starting to get a few inquiries about this so I thought it best if I post some specific information about the kind of help that is needed to complete this project. The main point is that e-commerce is not a trivial feature, if it were a trivial feature it would be enough for me to test it to my own satisfaction but with a feature this complex I really need folks who can test it from a customer perspective and provide feedback until it meets their real needs. Developer's should not be the ones to do QA (Quality Assurance) testing on a feature they have built themselves, the more complex the feature the more validation is required from business users of the feature.

Ideally I'm looking for someone who can:
1. set up their own test environment using mojoPortal retrieved directly from svn branches/2.x and get it built with VS 2005 sp1 and running using MS SQL Server
2. Setup a test account at Authorize.NET so you can test your transactions against the Authorize.NET payment processing system
3. Test all aspects of the e-commerce solution administrative features and user features and provide feedback

I will respond to the feedback then the tester(s) will do a fresh svn update to retrieve my changes from svn rebuild the system and confirm improvements or submit additional feedback.

I am willing to do this with or without sponsorship but without sponsorship the pace of the process will be much slower because I will be fitting it in during spare time around my other customer work. If I get some financial sponsorship then it will be prioritized into my workflow along with other customer work but this will be substantially higher priority than without sponsorship. Sponsorship also means you can specify additional requirements and priorities within the project. If you need a different payment gateway than Authorize.NET I'm certainly willing to implement others for example.

Those who want to participate as testers and/or sponsors please contact me, then get started with step 1 above. I will then provide some additional instructions for setting up the store once your test site is working from the latest svn /branches/2.x

mojoPortal 2.x Works on Mono!

I've fallen a little behind in my blogging due to life but I'm very happy to announce that as blogged by Marek Habersack and also as blogged by Miguel de Icaza, mojoPortal 2.x runs on the latest build of Mono from svn!

Not everything is working perfectly yet but its mostly working and this is a major milestone both for the Mono Project and for mojoPortal. Its a milesone for Mono because mojoPortal 2.x uses many of the new features in ASP.NET 2.0 including custom SiteMapProvider, custom MembershipProvider, custom VirtualPathProvider, custom RoleProvider, Master Pages, ASP.NET localization and more and that means all these things are working in Mono's 2.0 ASP.NET implementation albeit likely with a few bugs here and there. The only significant new ASP.NET feature that is not yet implemented in Mono is WebParts which I have left out of the mojoPortal MonoDevelop solution for now until it does get implemented.

Huge Thanks to the Mono Team, especially Marek Habersack for all the great work in making this happen!

For those of you who would like to try it out yourself, I've added some documentation with instructions that should help you get setup and running.



You may also want to checkout my series of tutorials on setting up a test/dev machine for working with ASP.NET on Mono

A Few Nice Looking mojoPortal Sites

The guys at SharpStyle are using a customized version of mojoPortal for their sites.

Unlike me, they know how to make things look pretty.




Aside from having attractive sites they have some interesting products.

Looks like they are making some good use of Flash in their sites. I would say they are probably Flash experts since one of their products is a tool for developing Action Script in Visual Studio. Pretty cool stuff.


Camtasia still having some issues

I've setup a page here that will list the tutorial videos as I create them during the implementation of ecommerce for mojoPortal.

Here's a direct link to the first one:
Setting up The Solution and Projects

I'm still having trouble with Camtasia. I've tried a number of different audio configurations but after about a minute of capture the pitch of my voice seems to go up and the audio gets ahead of the video. I don't know if this is a bug, or  a secret limitation to the free trial version (which is supposed to be fully functional), or if there is still some configuration I need to make to get it to work correctly. Anyone with any advice or experience in solving this problem please let me know. I'm hesitant to purchase this product if I can't make it work easily. The quality of the video and audio output seems very good but timing is critical and not having it in sync is a major problem.

If it would just work I could crank out tutorials easily but if I have to do 5 takes of each one like this its not going to be very helpful. I'm a busy developer and can't afford to waste a bunch of time on these, it needs to be easy and it needs to just work as expected.

Update 7:18 pm EST I just tried an experiment changing the default format for the Camtasia Recorder to .avi instead of .camrec. I watched quite a bit of the result andit seemed to be staying i sync but I haven't watched the whole thing yet. I am about to go out for the evening so I'll check it later but here is the link for anyone who wants to watch it, it about 29 minutes long

Setting Up the Module Control and Pages

Hopefully this is better.

Update 2/27/2007
The above linked Flash movie stays in sync for about the first 20 minutes then the audio gets ahead of the video, so still having the problem. It seems somewhat iproved since it lot longer in sync before it goes out but its still not appealing to spend a lot of time making a tutorial only to find that it didn't produce what you wanted and there is no apparent way to get it to do what it should.

I'm thinking Camtasia

Though my initial experiments with Wink seemed promising as I tried to use it for more tutorials I ran into problems. After what I thought was a good take for a particular demo it crashed and lost my work. Then I did it again and the rendered content audio sounded slow and very deep, unintelligible.

So I downloaded the trial version of Camtasia Studio. It lasts 30 days fully functional and I think I'm going to have to buy it. It seems more feature rich and most importantly stable.

Here is the second take of a tutorial I did with Wink after the first take crashed

then I re-did it with Camtasia as seen here

It was an unscripted session both times I think I probably did a better take in Wink but the quality of the result with Camtasia is much better it seems to me.

Hopefully Wink will improve over time, I'll certainly keep my eye on it, but I need something more robust if I'm going to spend my time creating tutorials so it looks like I will pony up the dough for Camtasia soon, it seems very impressive to me.