Category Archives: Magento

PreImagine 2017: A Celebration for the Magento Community

Author: Ashley Overton  |  March 1, 2017

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If you have attended Magento’s Imagine conference in previous years, I’m sure you’ve heard stories or maybe even had a chance to experience the Magento community celebration, PreImagine. If not, I highly recommend you look for #PreImagine on Twitter to get a taste of the excitement around this event in the community and to see what’s to come this year.

PreImagine is always held the day before Imagine and sets the mood for the conference by giving you the chance to mix and mingle with members of the Magento community in a fun and much more casual environment. While PreImagine has always been a chance for long-time Magento community members to reconnect, this is an open event so don’t be shy about attending if you’re a first-timer. Especially if you’re new to the community, PreImagine gives you the chance to get to meet in real life the people you probably already have seen (and maybe even talked to) virtually on Twitter, in blog posts, or elsewhere on the internet. Even for the old-timers in the community, there are always people to connect with that maybe you just haven’t had the chance to talk to yet. With the help of the many generous sponsors over the years, PreImagine is completely free so that finances aren’t a barrier to connecting with the others in the community.

Our team has eagerly attended PreImagine since it began 6 years ago, and we are more than honored to be organizing the event this year! We’re also proud to be sponsors again this year. Sponsors have always been key to making the event successful by keeping it free for attendees, collaborating with fellow PreImagine sponsors to get the word out, and to show support for the Magento Community that has always been critical to the success of the platform and the hundreds of thousands of retailers worldwide who use it.

Aside from PreImagine being amazing itself and serving as the pregame for the Imagine conference, it is located in Las Vegas. Magento obviously knows location is everything! You will find tons of fun things to do outside of the conference, so you may want to plan to come in a day or two early or leave a day or two later to have a chance to enjoy everything going on outside of the hotel walls. There are plenty of bars and restaurants around the hotel and, as you would expect, loads of casinos. Many Imagine attendees come in a bit early to take part in things like hackathons, MageRun, and, of course, PreImagine.

No matter the reason you decide to attend PreImagine: the great networking over complementary food and drinks, awesome swag, a fun time at a cool location, or to be involved as a sponsor, you will be more than pleased that you did. PreImagine is truly a party you don’t want to miss!

If you will be in attendance this year, be sure to find the ShipperHQ team to connect and grab some swag. We are psyched to see everyone this year and would love to meet some new friends. 

PreImagine 2017 will be held at the Wynn Hotel, Sunday, April 2nd at 5PM. See you soon!

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ATX Magento Meetup: Magento 2 Blocks & Widgets and Success with Magento!

Author: Ashley Overton  |  August 15, 2016

Brett on Magento 2 WidgetsThere has yet to come a time when I have left an ATX Magento Meetup without learning new and valuable information. Last Thursday’s ATX Magento Meetup (held at Capital Factory in Austin, TX) included talks on both Magento 1 and Magento 2. Attendees were incredibly diverse and ranged from those just researching Magento’s capabilities to long-time Magento experts. Within these events you will receive valuable information in a relaxed environment that allows the audience to fully interact with those who wish to present. 

Last week we discussed how Magento’s features can save you time and money when taking on new projects, and how you can find success with Magento. Read on for a recap of what was discussed!

Save Money and Time with Magento 2

Bret Williams, author of “Mastering Magento 2” wowed all attendees with a talk on Magento 2 Static Blocks and Widgets. He explained how you can easily use Magento 2 to turn a lengthy and complicated processes into a 3 minute project. “Widgets are an underused, powerful tool,” Bret explained, “it allows you to concentrate on the heavy lifting parts [your clients] really need you for.”

In his talk, he shared an example where his client presented him with a project that required putting Javascript code on two pages. He walked through two solutions, one using Static Blocks and Widgets and another without. By utilizing Static Blocks and Widgets, he was able to turn a project that most would charge $1000 to complete into a $20 job. Within this short talk and demo, attendees learned how they can save time while saving their customers money. 

Success with Magento

Magento 2 widgets talkWe also heard from David Sheeley, a Magento developer that shared his journey to Magento and a company’s success story. The key take away from his talk was to do the research before committing to any platform. He walked the group through what statistics he found useful to not only understand why his site wasn’t seeing the growth he wanted before switching to Magento, but also what to look for when researching potential platforms. As a B2B retailer, they sell products that were larger in size and had a large catalog of products. The look of the site and the ability for the platform to handle the complexity of his products were the most important components in his search.

He found that Magento was able to fit the product catalog and complexity of the products while giving the front end of the site a complete make over. He was able to use Magento and third party extensions to make the site more user friendly and in result has seen a measurable increase in traffic and sales on the site.

More to come

We host the ATX Magento Meetup every 6 weeks at Capital Factory. The ATX Magento Group covers discussions over eCommerce development and design strategies, SEO Marketing, and related topics.

We encourage all who are interested in learning about Magento and/or those who want to share what knowledge they have to come and mingle with the group. You can find Magento Meetups worldwide with a network of over 4,500 members. So even if you aren’t in the Austin, TX area you may find one in your area or in a city you’ve always wanted to visit.

If you are interested in speaking at a future event in Austin contact us!

 

 

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Prep up for Magento Imagine 2016

Author: Karen Baker  |  March 16, 2016

In just under a month the best of the Magento ecosystem will reconvene for the Imagine Conference in Las Vegas. As a veteran of the event I thought I’d share some tips for people attending for the first time.

When to Get There

The Sat/Sun are fully of pre-Imagine events, I’d definitely advise get in Sunday morning/lunch at latest so you can ease gently into the Imagine ‘experience’, trust me it get’s busy!

The community runs:

  1. PreImagine with KalenHackathon – Starts Saturday, wonderful place to learn, meeting all types of developers & exchange ideas/learn/code
  2. Great Dam Run – I seem to have volunteered for this event for some mad reason, please sponsor me as I aim to do a 5K for the first time in many years!!
  3. Pre-Imagine Party – Infamous and sponsored by the wonderful Magento community this is THE event to attend at Imagine, its intimate, a great way to network especially if you are new to the ecosystem, full of very intelligent people where everyone is an equal and everyone is your friend

Formal sessions at Imagine start Monday morning, evening reception is unlike any other conference and the first keynote is Tuesday morning.

Where to Stay

I assume most of you have booked already. If you haven’t then suggest you either stay at the Wynn, or very close by.  You will do a lot of walking around and the schedule is fairly tight, with the last keynote in the evening really being a pretty much straight run to the evening reception, so staying close by allows you time to go get changed, take a break and just chill for 5 minutes!

Footwear

This deserves it’s own section! Be prepared to walk. A Lot.  You can reasonably expect to be doing 5 miles per day, I reached 10 miles each day last year, you need some decent footwear! If you are working on a booth it’s an absolute must to wear shoes that are worn in, and with plenty of padding. Personally I go with the sneakers, there is no way I’m walking in uncomfortable shoes for 3 days.  The Wynn is very large, and breakout rooms tend to be spread out, another reason for staying there.

Food

You won’t have to worry too much about food during the conference, it’s laid on for you.  I’ve found tho that because of all the networking (& drinking) it can be easy to just miss the evening dinner completely, so just bear in mind. I tend to go have Keynotebreakfast meetings in the Wynn restaurants (which always get packed) and use that as the alcohol recovery time 😉

Sleeping

It’s a bit like having a baby really, make sure you sleep before.  It does depend on your personality type of course, and just how stupid you want to get, but its been known for people to be on the tables gambling until the extreme early hours before. But given the need to get to the keynotes would def recommend try to get some sleep in where you can. Ultimately we are all there to do business so everything in moderation…Actually sod it just enjoy the time lol.

What to Wear

Business Casual, if you are a dev you don’t care anyhow.  Women tend to get dressed up in the evening in my experience, but it really does vary a lot.  Definitely need changes of clothes for day/night tho if you can.  Weather will be warm and all the evening events are outside (unless we get an unexpected storm roll thro like in 2013 I think it was), so prepare for that. Dancing does happen on occasion.

Meetings

It’s best if you can to arrange meetings beforehand if you need to have longer chats with partners/friends/foes/etc.  The event really does flash by extremely quickly and if you are not organised you can miss having vital conversations, especially with people that are much in demand (like the Magento team for instance).  Make sure if you are having lots of meetings that you schedule in some free time, otherwise the event can just overwhelm you. Make sure you have space to just enjoy it.Wynn

Sessions

The keynotes at Imagine are legendary. The Buzz Lab are an external company that do a lot of work alongside the Magento team around video production, staging, etc and what they produce is just amazing. Every year is different, and its definitely fair to say you leave the keynotes feeling invigorated, ready to fight another day and just buzzing. Thats the Imagine effect.  So don’t miss them!

Schedule beforehand which breakout sessions you fancy if you can, and don’t overload yourself. Make time to go see the exhibition stands, and of course come see us at ShipperHQ. We were previously flying under the WebShopApps banner, trust me its the same team, just with an amazing new product that absolutely nails what merchants need for shipping rate management in the next 4-5 years.

Lastly on Wednesday afternoon there are some amazing Barcamp sessions where you will see subject matter experts giving hopefully useful technical detail around subjects chosen by the community.  I’ll be speaking here about building shipping extensions in Magento 2 so please come along and see my talk!

Networking

Always difficult, and as Imagine has gone on it’s so much different now, there are much larger teams, people are more closely aligned, a lot of the community are very close friends, etc etc.  What I can say from personal experience is that this is probably the most friendly commNetworkingunity of people you will ever meet at a conference. It’s not like IRCE or Shop.org, its a much more intimate affair, and 99%+ of the people there are open to conversation, thats why they are there.

So let me say this. If you are in the event and spot someone on their own, or a couple of people looking at their mobiles constantly then go say hallo, introduce yourselves and just spend a little bit of time getting to know their story. You never know what you have in common, I’ll tell you this, you definitely have Magento and thats a good start. And if you do find events awkward then come find myself & the ShipperHQ team, we are more than happy to extend our welcome to you.

And Lastly

Just enjoy it.  You have the opportunity here to meet amazing people, learn about whats hot in the world of Magento and Commerce generally today, plus just get a break to expand your mind and think bigger for a little bit. Put on that out of office, turn the phone on silent and immerse yourself in what is still the greatest conference in the calendar.


 

About Karen & ShipperHQ

Karen Baker is the founder of both WebShopApps & ShipperHQ.  The wife of a small merchant, in 2008 Karen decided to take her software engineering skills learned in the corporate IT space and apply it to eCommerce.  She decided she could do things better around how shipping is calculated/displayed and manipulated in the checkout.  8 years on WebShopApps has over 17K paying customers, with many now having transitioned or transitioning to the ShipperHQ platform which brings together all the WebShopApps capabilities into a single cohesive offering.  ShipperHQ are Gold Sponsors of Magento Imagine, and have been Gold Technology Partners with Magento since 2011.  ShipperHQ is proud to be a 100% founder/staff owned company based on the key principles of hard work, passion, innovation and customer service.

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