Mico Solutions Blog

Custom Magento Extension Development for Printshops

  • Magento Quickbooks Sync Ready for Release

    We are proud to announce that our Magento Quickbooks Sync module/service is ready for release. We are looking for a few store owners who are interested in testing our release client and service. There will be no charge to the individuals we choose to test the module. Please send an email to support@micosolutions.com with subject line Magento Quickbooks and we will get in touch with you asap.

    Brief summary:
    Our Magento Quickbooks Order Sync module will automatically sync all orders and products to your local Quickbooks company file. There are many options to configure the import data from Magento to Quickbooks. More information will be released soon. A Magento to Quickbooks online module is coming next.

    That's all for now..

  • Aviary Editor Integration for Magento

    Introducing a powerful new add-on for our Mico Upload Ultimate extension

    Along with uploading image files directly to your store, your customers now have the ability to edit and apply visual effects to their images. To learn more about the Aviary web editor visit http://www.aviary.com/web.

    In short, Magento store owners can completely customize the flavor of their app editor at Aviary's website, enabling and disabling features as they see fit. Once configured, simply enter your app's API key info into the module config and go. That's it!

    View Demo

    One thing worth mentioning is that the free version of Aviary's web API editor only allows saving images up to 1 megapixel. This means if you upload an 8 megapixel image and then edit it with the free version of Aviary editor, when you save the image it will be downsized to a resolution respective to the original image size up to 1 megapixel in size. In the images below you will see that the original image uploaded was 2.7 megapixels and after it was customized it was re-sized to less than 1 megapixel. This is not our module doing this re-size, it is Aviary limiting the free version of their Web editor apps.

    That being said, if you want to unlock the true potential of this awesome editor app, you have be willing to fork our $500 per month. **Update** 08/27/2013 - You have to be ready to fork out $125 per month for high-resolution images to be returned, and another $275 to white label it to remove the Aviary branding. A small price to pay for such a great app. Learn more here http://www.aviary.com/about/pricing.

    Here's a quick sneak peak of the awesome image editing features this module adds to your Magento store:

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    View Demo

  • Simplifying the Web to Print Process for Magento Store Owners

    Magento Web2Print Reviewed

    A common challenge for many Magento store owners who use Magento to sell Digital Printing services online is receiving and handling customer artwork. The challenge is actually multi-tiered as there are many different ways for customers to order digital print products online. For example, some products only allow “print-ready” graphics to be uploaded to the product prior to checkout, other products allow the customer to upload an image or artwork source-files after checkout with the option of having a proof sent back prior to production, while other products are completely customizable online in the web-browser – these are the true Web to Print Magento products – and customers can dynamically configure size, text and colors, insert clipart or upload their own images, etc. to create completely unique print-ready graphics online.

    To overcome the various complexities mentioned above, we have created several web-to-print modules for Magento – ranging from incremental extension solutions to complete Magento web2print packages. The following article briefly summarizes several tools that we think will change the way Digital and Offset Printing companies use Magento to drive new business online.

    Smart Front-end File Uploaders: Flash, Silverlight, HTML4 and HTML5

    Our latest file uploader for Magento – Mico Upload Ultimate – is the best front-end upload tool for Magento yet. It comes loaded with features that every Digital print shop needs to successfully capture and manage customer file uploads. Some features include:

    Smart Runtime Detection

    The new line of Mico Upload extensions use smart browser detection to serve up the best uploader runtime available based on the capabilities of the customer’s bowsers. This means if the customer’s browser does not have flash, a HTML4, HTML5, or Silverlight runtime is served to them instead, and the module has graceful degradation so it will keep trying runtimes in a selected order until it can find one that the browser can use. It is fully supported on most android mobile platforms and we are even working on iPhone/iPod touch/iPad compatibility for a future release.

    Dynamic Image and Image Source-File Previews

    The Mico Upload Pro and Ultimate version take advantage of industry standard PHP libraries to enable real-time image and source file thumb creation to let the customer know “visually” what file they just uploaded to the server. This feature greatly enhances the customer experience factor and helps ensure the wrong files don’t get uploaded to the customer’s order.

    Custom File Handling – Post Checkout Server File Management

    A huge task that often gets overlooked prior to launch is the default file handling of Magento for customer uploaded files. The default filing structure in Magento (behind the scenes) for uploaded files can be rather cumbersome for the pre-production team as it organizes the files into several directories based on the state of the order and actual filename, putting files in a structure like:

    /media/custom_options/quote/

    OR

    /media/custom_options/order/

    And then into two more child directories based on the first two letters of the actual file-name. So in the end, customer file uploads with the names like Image_012.jpg and Source_ART_FINAL.psd end up in the Magento file structure like this:

    /media/custom_options/orders/i/m/filename.jpg (or hex number for filename)

    /media/custom_options/orders/s/o/filename.jpg (or hex number for filename)

    This default method makes it almost impossible for any Magento store owner to access the server via FTP to download all files related to an order. Our solution to this problem was to provide a way for the store owners to override the storage location for completed orders to make it easier to follow and manage. A common file structure most clients prefer is: /orders/ordernumber/filename1.jpg ...

    Along with changing the file save location for completed order, our new uploader allows for filename manipulate as well. The store owner can add product details directly to the filename so that they can instantly tell how to use the file just by looking at its name. Options like sku, quantity, option-title, etc can be inserted directly into the filename to make it is easier for pre-production and other pre-press scripts to set up files respectively. Click here to learn more about the new Mico Upload Ultimate file uploader for Magento

    Pre-press and Image Proof Integration Directly in Magento

    A vital and much needed integrated feature for all Magento-driven Print stores is the ability to engage with the customer directly from the Magento back-end/Admin area. By default Magento provides a method for store owners to offer comments and status updates related to an order but it currently does not allow the customer to comment back or upload files, and especially not approve or decline proofs associated with orders. As a result we have developed an extension called Advanced Proof Systems (APS) for Magento.

    Magento Proof System with Customer Comments and Approval Actions

    When installed, the Advanced Proof System allows Magento store managers to submit proofs directly to an order with comments and with a way for the customer to approve or decline the proof, comment back, and even upload a new file if necessary. This extension takes advantage of the built-in comments stream on the front-end of Magento in the customer dashboard area so all comments and proof details related to an order can be visible to the customer at any time. The APS extension also has the ability to change an orders status based on approval or decline, and even the ability for the Magento store to email a specific manager address when a customer uploads a new file for a proof or approves or declines a current proof. With this module, the workflow from order capture to production is significantly improved as all details are contained and managed from within Magento. Full details on the APS are coming soon. The module is completed but the documentation and public sandbox examples are currently being built.

    Complicated Magento Pricing Made Simple with XLS and CSV Spreadsheet Price Solutions

    By far one of the most challenging hurdles for any print store in Magento is the pricing structure. So many products, so many discount tiers, so many variations and algorithms for materials, inks and other production tasks to consider. Our solution for this challenge is a spreadsheet strategy. Everything from custom price tiers based on quantity and square footage or both, to variable product based add-ons, to dynamic weight based on size. Our goal is to allow Print shop owners to configure and manage their pricing in the same fashion they normally do, in a spreadsheet.

    CSV Pricing per Product or Group of products

    Some clients prefer to set price sheets for each product in their store. We offer modules that use industry standard commas separated value (CSV) to set the pricing for products with all their variations. CSV price sheets can be uploaded individually to each product or uploaded globally and then assigned to one product or a group of products.

    XLS Pricing for All Products in One File

    Other clients prefer to have one complete Excel file that encapsulates all the products they offer in the store. The advantage to this is simply all data for pricing is in one locate, one file. Each product can be its own sheet within the Excel file and options and variation for the products can be set differently per sheet. When prices or variations need to be changed, the store owner simply opens the Excel sheet, makes the needed changes, and then re-uploads the file to the Magento store and the updates go into effect immediately.

    Turnkey Web to Print (W2P) Extension for Magento

    Lastly, our capstone product for Magento is our new Mico Web to Print (W2P) extension. This module is the most advanced module we have created yet. It allows customers to customize text, fonts, colors, sizes, and graphics directly online and then saves the design in a print-ready format that can go straight to pre-press for review and production. Store owners can upload templates to each product that can be used as the base design for customers to start out with. They can be layered and have images and text. The module will prepare a PDF proof for the customer and also a print-ready design file for the store owner available in the order review area in the backend or via FTP in an organized file structure.

    The advantage of the Mico Web to Print extension is that it does not require any third-party processing server, images are processed on the same server as your Magento server. There are some minimum RAM requirements and Linux module requirements necessary for use but they are usually met on 90% of the hosted platforms available. More information and formal documentation on the Web 2 Print module will be available soon. Email sales@micosolutions.com for more details or to request a demo.

  • Introducing a New Mico Uploader for Magento

    New Uploader for Magento Released Shortly

    We are gearing up to release a new uploader for Magento. We took all the customer feedback from our first upload module - Ajax Flash Upload Pro - and created an entirely new module. The new uploader supports multiple browser runtime formats and is far superior to our previous extension. In fact, the entire front-end Magento Uploader experience has been enhanced.

    All customers who purchased our first uploader module can request an upgrade code which will provide a significant discount. Notifications will be sent via email. If you do not receive the upgrade email and would like to upgrade to the newer module, please send us an email. Be sure to include your original order number and email address of the original purchase.

    HTML5 Uploader for magento

    That's right folks. The new uploader has built-in support for HTML5 upload along with Flash and other upload runtimes. Our focus was on keeping it simple so we scaled down the admin config area and scaled up the thumb creation and post file-handling features.

    The new uploader for Magento will come in 3 different packages - Basic, Pro, and Ultimate. Basic is just what it sounds like - basic file upload support for Magento enhanced with the Mico Upload functionality. Pro and Ultimate have more features that are useful for Magento stores that deal with printing and who require special handling of the image files that are uploaded by customers. Pro and Ultimate come packaged with a new thumbnail controller (mico engine) that uses ImageMagick to support thumb generation for various types of image related files and image editing source files (e.g. PSD, AI, PDF, TIFF).

    More details and full specifications released soon. Please email us if you have any questions. We also have 4 new Magento extensions to release, all of which were designed for the Digital Printing and Large Format Printing industry. These modules will also be released soon and full documentation will be release shortly.

    Stay tuned.

    -MS

  • Mico Status Update

    Things have been quiet on the blog over here because we have been so busy behind the scenes. We have been working on some really great projects and expanding our range of Magento related services, as well as developing some really cool and new Magento extensions that will change the way many people use Magento altogether.

    Modules that you can expect to see released soon are:

    Ajax Flash Upload Pro (Bronze, Silver, Gold versions)
    CSV table-based pricing *
    XLS table-based pricing
    Banner pricing **
    T-Shirt printing price module **

    That's all for now.

    MS

  • Introducing Mico Uploader Add-ons

    We have just finished developing and testing some really cool add-ons for the Ajax Flash Upload Pro extension for Magento. Extension add-ons that will enable store owners to add features to the uploader as they need them.

    How it works:

    The Ajax Flash Upload Pro extension is the base extension, it must be purchased first in order to use the add-ons. Each add-on can be purchased separately to increase functionality, each independent of one another. The result is a custom mix-match of add-ons based on the needs of the store.

    Here is a the list of add-ons available for the uploader extension:

    • Auto thumb creation using Magento re-size class or ImageMagick
    • Custom file handling for completed order images
    • Quality detection/feedback based on resolution
    • User session image handling, uploaded images can be used at more than one product
    • Multiple file upload support per single option
    • PDF image preview
    • Admin order editor, change and replace images

    Stay tuned for details.

  • Super Cool Socks, Super Cool Magento

    Watch out World, Richer Poorer socks is now on Magento CE!

    We had the awesome pleasure of working with the folks at Richer Poorer last week, one of the hottest up-and-coming clothing companies from Capistrano Beach, California. If you haven’t heard of them yet or seen any of their products, you will soon. This brand is about to skyrocket this year in 2011.

    For most people, one look at the brand and they’re sold. Richer Poorer socks scream style and resonate impressions of high-fashion and subtle street, something everyone with good taste can identify with. Quality shines in every stitch and with product names like the Bandit, Luchador, Sleepwalker, and Visionary it’s easy to see why this brand is going places fast.

    About this project

    [big_box title="Applied Services:" bgcolor="#f15d22" txtcolor="#FFFFFF"]
    • Magento Setup and Configuration
    • Magento Theme Customization
    • Design Translation / CSS
    • Custom Javascript
    • Wordpress integration
    • Custom image gallery
    [/big_box]

    For this project we provided all the opening setup and configuration of the Magento CE framework on their server. We were able to successfully translate all of their Photoshop designs to CSS and customize their existing Magento theme to look exactly the way they wanted according to their designer’s specs.

    For the custom image gallery we tied it directly to the Wordpress integration for their blog. All they have to do is post some images to their blog in the "gallery" category and their site automatically creates the gallery page. Pretty awesome! The end result was a super minimal, stylish store for some super cool socks.

    Thanks Richer Poorer, the pleasure was all ours.

  • Coming Soon: CSV and Table Based Pricing for Magento

    Our latest work in progress is by far one of the coolest extensions ever created for the Magento eCommerce platform. It is going to change the way people use Magento.

    In short, the extension allows the store owner to upload a CSV price sheet to enable table-based and matrix pricing for Magento. Custom options/attributes are automatically generated based on CSV headers/column titles. Price offsets are field based (column -> row).

    It will also be possible to use the CSV file for “range-based” pricing. For example, user inputs two values on the front-end of your store, x and y, and the price will be determined by their intersection point or range of intersection on the price sheet.

    If you are interested in participating in the beta testing for this extension, please post a comment on this post. We will email you at the address you provide when ready. Our goal is to see all the different price sheet variations out there so we can come up with an extremely diverse extension with amazing options.

    -Mico Solutions

  • A Better Magento Ajax Uploader by Mico Solutions

    Introducing Ajax Flash Upload Pro - an Ajax uploader for Magento. This extension takes less than 5 minutes to install and can instantly match the design of your store with a few lines of CSS.

    The great thing about Ajax Flash Upload Pro is that it is super easy to use, extremely simple to customize, and it has a very lightweight footprint on the server – no Perl or cgi necessary. The most unique feature about Ajax Flash Upload Pro is that it has two modes of operation: Ajax only mode and Flash only mode (with fallback to Ajax if Flash not detected in the browser). Why Flash you ask? Answer. Flash is faster and more accurate and very lightweight on the server. It is completely optional and can be turned off in the admin area.

    Ajax Flash Upload Pro also has a built-in preview system for both the product page and cart page (including order email and admin order review area). This preview can be customized directly in the admin area with a few lines of short-code. This allows the preview to use any lightbox methods that are installed and available in your store (if any). You can also choose to just show the uploaded filename with or without a link, or choose to show both image preview and filename with link. The customization is up to you and limited to your imagination.

    Lastly, and perhaps the best feature of Ajax Flash Upload Pro is that it does not modify any core Magento files at all and can be enabled or disabled with the click of a button. This makes it easy to bpth upgrade the extension and upgrade Magento when necessary.

    Learn moreView the demo

  • Square Foot Carton Pricing Gets a Makeover

    The Square Foot Carton Box Pricing extension for Magento received a makeover this weekend. It now supports the ability to show price based per square foot or square meter rather than just the price per carton or box. With the quick flip of a switch you can change the display on the front-end of your store. Check out the screenshot of the admin config area.

    Learn more about this extension or [button size="small" color="#f2f2f2" text="#666666" link="http://demo.micosolutions.com/carton/square-foot-carton-pricing-demo.html"]View the demo[/button]

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