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Newsletter help


vidmarc
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We've just done our first newsletter, but is there a way of finding out who the newsletter went out to? We have over 5,000 customers in our database and we've had no feedback to far.

 

It seems that when we imported all our customers from an older site the "subscribe to mailing list" setting defaulted to no. Is there a simple way to change this to yes?

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How did you send your newsletter - through CubeCart or by exporting the email addresses and using a third party package or service such as Mail Chimp ?

 

If you did it through CubeCart then it is almost certain that most did not even get sent !!  Almost all hosting companies have a limit on the number of emails that can be sent per hour and for many this is 100 to 200 per hour (and that includes ALL emails sent through the hosting account, so everything through webmail or an email client as well !) - this is to prevent spamming from an account whether deliberately by the account holder or accidentally if the account is hacked.

 

CubeCart dumps all emails into the mail queue in one go rather than them being "throttled"

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GoChuggy has a MailChimp CC mod that I can recommend. It was easy to set up, and it automatically handles all subscribe/unsubscribes. You easily create attractive content in MailChimp and send it from there and get nice stats on the results, too. There is a sending limit for the free account, so if you send to all 5000 you might have a fee - not sure what the cutoff is.

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Sorry, it's a mod - but an extremely easy mod to install and super easy when it's time to upgrade CC versions. Here's the instructions:

 

MailChimp Integration CC5
By Andrew Hudson
www.chuggyskins.co.uk


**************IMPORTANT "BACKUP BEFORE INSTALLATION" **************************

PLEASE FOLLOW THE FOLLOWING STEPS FOR INSTALLATION

 

1. UPLOAD ALL the files contained in the UPLOAD folder maintaining the directory structure (MY comment - simply a MailChimp folder to upload into modules/plugins)

** IMPORTANT **  NO FILES WILL BE OVERWRITTEN


2. FOLLOW THE CODE CHANGES BELOW CAREFULLY TO COMPLETE
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CODE CHANGES BELOW ** PLEASE FOLLOW CAREFULLY
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OPEN classes/cubecart.class.php
FIND
                        case 'subscribe':
INSERT AFTER
                        //Subscribe to MailChimp Here
                        require_once 'modules/plugins/MailChimp/library/mailchimp_listSubscribe.php';
FIND
                        case 'unsubscribe':
INSERT AFTER
                        //Unsubscribe to MailChimp Here
                        require_once 'modules/plugins/MailChimp/library/mailchimp_listUnsubscribe.php';

SAVE AND CLOSE classes/cubecart.class.php

3.Go to your admin area, then plugins and configure the modification. You will need an API Key which is freely accessible from your mailchimp account area.
4.Once you have entered your API key you will see a drop down list of your lists from mailchimp, select which one you customers will subscribe to through cubecart.

ALL DONE!

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I can agree that the more edits there are the harder upgrading is - I've dealt with that with this upgrade in particular. Just wanted you to have an informed decision. Some of my mods involve a huge number of edits, unlike this one. But my experience with plugins has been equally maddening, with obfuscated code that could not be worked on if needed without developer's non-existent help.

 

So, back to square one. I think there's a discussion of throttling on the 3rd party forum and perhaps here, too.

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Can a plugin be written that will do this?

 

I though the whole point of Cubecart 5 being re-written was so plugins (rather than mods) could be installed, which would be much easier for us non-techy types who just want a website that works with minimum hassle.

 

I now look after 4 sites running Cubecart 5 and with each CC update comes a lot of hassle with each CC update due to hard coded mods.   :(

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As I understand it the hooks system is SUPPOSED to make the mod route the way to do it - but for some reason the developers for the most part don't use it. I sure wish they DID all use true plugins, without obfuscated code. Wordpress is a pure pleasure to upgrade, thanks to their plugin system.

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"Is it simply a matter of CC5 coders not understanding the plugin/hooks system?"

 

I don't think that's the case. They are "coders", are they not? But then, why have many of the established third-party commercial publishers gone missing since CC5? True, there would be a near-whole-cloth re-learning of how CC5 works (compared to already knowing how CC4 works), but I'm suspicious that there is more to it.

 

I know the basics of CC5 plug-in operation and it's really not that hard to grasp -- after a few weeks of intense study. (Lack of an SDK is absolutely a pain!) Plus (learned this just recently), it seems the Lite version doesn't do third-party plug-ins (nor code-snippets). So, hacking the code directly is the avenue I usually take.

 

The Hook system is not fully embedded. That is, plugins/snippets rely on a call to the Hook class:

foreach ($GLOBALS['hooks']->load('name-of-hook-point') as $hook) include $hook;

 

This method then means that only where this statement occurs is where plugins/snippets can do their work. Manually adding this statement where needed is, of course, exactly what you are trying to avoid. And this statement is not currently as sprinkled about through the codebase as thoroughly as third-party developers need it to be.

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As I understand it the hooks system is SUPPOSED to make the mod route the way to do it - but for some reason the developers for the most part don't use it. I sure wish they DID all use true plugins, without obfuscated code. Wordpress is a pure pleasure to upgrade, thanks to their plugin system.

 

Some developers dont understand hooks, some are lazy but there are also many places in the code where the hooks dont currently exist.  When we have written plugins we have spoken to the CubeCart team and asked for new hooks to be added if required and these are usually added in the very next release.  Al has publicly said he wants people to use hooks and is willing to add any new ones that are required - developers simply need to make the request !

 

It is generally quicker to change core files than it is to write a full plugin and people will often take the easy option.

 

Obfuscated code is seen by some as a necessity due to having too many mods / plugins stolen and distributed.  A reasonably complicated mod / plugin can take 20 to 100 hours to write and most in the CubeCart community want to pay a few pounds or dollars for that work and expect free on-going support - that is unsustainable and is why many good developers are no longer active around CubeCart.  WordPress plugins are for the most part free (there are some commercial plugins and more commercial themes) but support is either non-existent or is charged per year.  There is also a much wider audience and community for WordPress (some 20% of all websites on the internet now use WP) so even a small percentage of people willing to pay for on-going support or those who make donations (something that many WP developers rely on and is used quite often by WP users) when your plugin has been downloaded a million times adds up to a good income.

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I do understand why a developer would hide their code for financial reasons, but I've suffered the frustration of not being able to make very minor tweaks (like adding some text) that even I would have been capable of - or worse, having the code no longer functional due to an upgrade - with no support at all accessible - and I have made a financial investment, too!

 

It's good to know that CC will add hooks as developers request it. I have on occasion offered to pay a developer to create a plugin, rather than mod, with no taker. Now I understand why that may have been true.

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Hearing all this worries me. Have I purchased the best eCommerce software, when there appear to be so few developers out there working on plugins? All us end users want is a shopping cart that works "out of the box", and if it needs anything extra, then a plugin is what we would prefer. Most of us are not coders, just non-technical people trying to run a small business.
 
Surely the CC authors need to be doing more to develop a more dedicated user base? I would suggest the developers make it easier to contact them to request hooks etc as this would no doubt help matters immensely. Perhaps we need a developers area/"request hook form" on the site/forum so Al can take these things on board for future updates?
 
There are numerous eCommerce software solutions out there (I'm sure we've all tried a few already) and we no doubt prefer Cubecart and want it to improve and grow its userbase. For that we need more plugins and ease of use :)
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I've suffered the frustration of not being able to make very minor tweaks (like adding some text) that even I would have been capable of - or worse, having the code no longer functional due to an upgrade - with no support at all accessible - and I have made a financial investment, too!

 

There have been a few recent departures from the CubeCart community of people that had been around for a long time - several of which hurt a lot of users over a number of years which was regrettable although the writing was on the wall for several years - it was no over-night thing and we stopped selling and recommending mods / plugins to our user base, from these developers, a very long time ago.  The expectations for complex plugins to be written but then sold for a pittance and for them to be supported forever for free is the main problem - as I said it is not sustainable for most developers.

 

 

Hearing all this worries me. Have I purchased the best eCommerce software, when there appear to be so few developers out there working on plugins? All us end users want is a shopping cart that works "out of the box", and if it needs anything extra, then a plugin is what we would prefer. Most of us are not coders, just non-technical people trying to run a small business.
 
Surely the CC authors need to be doing more to develop a more dedicated user base? I would suggest the developers make it easier to contact them to request hooks etc as this would no doubt help matters immensely. Perhaps we need a developers area/"request hook form" on the site/forum so Al can take these things on board for future updates?
 
There are numerous eCommerce software solutions out there (I'm sure we've all tried a few already) and we no doubt prefer Cubecart and want it to improve and grow its userbase. For that we need more plugins and ease of use :)

 

 

CubeCart is one of many E-Commerce solutions that is true and ALL have their good points and bad points - there is not an "out of the box solution" for many people at all.  If your online venture is just something on the side or a hobby then you obviously need to look after costs.  However, users that are running a serious online business should understand that there are costs associated with doing this - if you were running a bricks and mortar shop, then your start-up costs would be much higher but you would still need investment each month / year into your business.  CubeCart can be made to work extremely well and we have several clients running multi-million pound businesses built up over a period of years and several others that only started a year or so ago that are growing very rapidly and consistently doubling turnover on a monthly basis - so it can be made to work very well !

 

There is no need for a developers area to request a new hook - most developers would know how to get hold of Al or the support team one way or another !  We have made a few requests over the last 6 months and they have always been added (or will be in 5.2.5 !)

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