Nov
29
2016

Technically reviewed Magento 2 Theme Design book

Magento 2 Theme Design book

I recently received a copy of Magento 2 Theme Design book by Fernando J Miguel.

Magento 2 Theme Design book cover

The book is designed to be a guide for web designers and developers wanting to get started with building Magento 2 themes. As author of Magento theming books for Magento 1 (mostly recently, Magento Responsive Theme Design), I’m credited on the cover, and I acted as technical reviewer on the book.

Table of contents

  1. INTRODUCTION TO MAGENTO 2
  2. EXPLORING MAGENTO THEMES
  3. MAGENTO 2 THEME LAYOUT
  4. MAGENTO UI LIBRARY
  5. CREATING A RESPONSIVE MAGENTO 2 THEME
  6. MAGENTO 2 STYLES DEBUGGING
  7. MAGENTO UI COMPONENTS
  8. MAGENTO LAYOUT DEVELOPMENT
  9. MAGENTO 2 JAVASCRIPT
  10. SOCIAL MEDIA IN MAGENTO 2
  11. THEME DEVELOPMENT BEST PRACTICES
  12. MAGENTO THEME DISTRIBUTION

Nov
1
2016

Peacock Carter is 10 years old

My web design agency, Peacock Carter, is 10 years old today. There’s a more formal post over on Peacock Carter’s website, but here’s some reminiscing for the softer-at-heart.

In some ways, the time has flown by, but when I look back over the 10 years, both the company and myself have

10 years of clients

We’re a small web design agency, and we’ve pulled in some great clients you may have heard:

  • Directgov (back in the days before Gov.UK was launched!)
  • NHS Direct
  • Business Link (again, back when it existed)
  • the NHS (once again!)
  • the International Life Sciences Institute
  • City & Guilds
  • University College Dublin
  • the University of Edinburgh

Alongside the bigger names, we’ve had a lovely range of smaller clients, some of whom have grown with us; it’s always great to see the work we do make significant contributions to the success of our clients!

10 years of landmarks

  • We started as the rather pompously-named Peacock, Carter & Associates. That didn’t last too long before we adopted the shorter “Peacock Carter”.
  • We’ve moved around a little bit: starting in a bedroom in Durham, we moved in to offices in Gateshead a year afterwards. From there, we moved in to Newcastle upon Tyne near Central Station.
  • Our time and money has done a lot of good around the North East, and wider UK. Causes include the fantastic Fairy Bricks and that stunning icon of the North East, Durham Cathedral

 

Jun
23
2016

3 things you learn as Magento developers

Being a Magento web developer puts me in a fairly small minority of web developers in the UK. From endless Xmen jokes to sharing Magento’s love of XML, here are some of the things I’ve come across as a long term Magento developer.

1. You definitely will get sick of people calling it “Magneto”, and X-Men jokes

I’ve heard just about every X-Men joke possible. If you spell Magento wrong, it does look like an X-Men character. I get it. Every Magento developer gets it. We’ve heard it a million times! ;)

I’ve worked with Magento since 2008, so even if I wanted to spell “Magneto” instead of “Magento” it takes a lot of concentration these days.

At least Google accepts you’re trying to spell Magento these days, though!

2. Magento loves XML

Configuration. Layout in themes. Everything that could potentially be done in XML, is done in XML in Magento.

As a Magento developer, you will come to love XML.

3. Developers fear Magento (?)

A more serious point: a lot of web developers seem to fear the unknown. They’ve heard that Magento is has a steep learning curve, but haven’t tried it to assess for themselves. Magento definitely does have a learning curve (especially up against platforms such as WordPress), but these days there is plenty of great documentation on Magento for developers.

Mar
24
2016

Cathedrals & Cola: Coca-Cola vs Pepsi

Of the many stupid varied ideas that have come in to my head, the idea of recording whether each cathedral in England (based on good ol’ Wikipedia’s list) sold Pepsi or Coca-Cola has been one of the most persistent.

This probably stems from a long term obsession with cathedral cafés, team rooms and restaurants, as well as spending a lot of time next to the Durham Cathedral Restaurant (the Chicken Chasseur is recommended, by the way) as a regular volunteer for Durham Cathedral in LEGO.

So, here’s my (work in progress) list of English Cathedrals and their preference for carbonated soft drinks:

The list: Coke vs Pepsi at England’s Cathedrals

Cathedral name Coke or Pepsi? Date visited
Durham Cathedral
Cathedral Church of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Cuthbert
Coca-Cola March 2016
Leicester Cathedral Coca-Cola March 2016
Newcastle Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Nicholas
n/a – no café March 2016

Sep
2
2015

Everything Magento

We’ve worked with Magento for years at Peacock Carter. It’s a fantastic ecommerce platform – and that’s not just me saying that, it’s clients as well!

We have a deserved, but hard-earned, reputation in the North East and the UK as expert Magento consultants, and this has shown in how we’ve developed our Magento offering at Peacock Carter recently. We have developed a range of new Magento services to cater for the demand we’ve found alongside our more traditional Magento consultancy work:

  • Magento website audits: sadly, with Magento becoming more popular as an ecommerce platform, web design agencies attempt to take on Magento projects and make a mess of it; there’s a particular learning curve to Magento development which training courses are a great “short cut” in to overcoming that curve
  • Magento Enterprise consultancy: the licensed Enterprise platform is something we’ve worked with for years, but have never really offered separately. With recent projects over the past year or so, we’ve developed our skills hugely on the Enterprise platform
  • Magento website migration: one of the side effects of Magento’s (well earned!) popularity is that more merchants want to move to Magento. Migrating an ecommerce store can be a painful experience – it’s not just product data that needs to be moved, but customer accounts, order histories and more, to ensure that the new store is not presenting a barrier to your sales – and Peacock Carter have had a lot of experience now in migrating from other platforms to Magento

I’m also looking forward to speak at the Ecommerce North East user group this month on the topic of Magento: it’s important to us as a leading Magento agency to spread our knowledge, and help ensure other agencies and freelancers are aware of best practices. For one thing, that will make our job easier!