Work, Work, Play?

Well, school is out for the summer (I definitely won this semester) but I’ve been keeping busy between work and personal projects. We’re killing it at work, just cranking out better websites every day and I’ve been learning tons about the capabilities of WordPress. First I’m going to talk about that!

I’ve been dealing with an eCommerce solution called Shopp which is a $55 WordPress plugin that will allow you to set up a fully functional store front as part of your custom WordPress site. Now, Shopp gets a pretty bad reputation when you are initially researching it but it’s competitors aren’t doing much better. I’ve been working with Shopp pretty intensively for the past couple of months and I’ve done a number of customized real-world online catalogs for real life customers and I’ve got to say that Shopp is not nearly as bad as most of the reviews make it out to be. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, the API documentation definitely needs a little bit of work as it seems to be outdated and if you don’t think like a programmer I can see how one could easily get lost. I am going to be bold and say that a lot of the people dealing with Shopp and giving the bad reviews are probably Web Designers who do WordPress installs for customers and probably aren’t looking forward to serious PHP development which actually isn’t necessary unless you are doing a lot of shop specific customization and even then it’s not too bad but you need to have a basic understanding of programming concepts. A downside is that Shopp is lacking a built in product importer at the moment, there was a plugin but it no longer works with the newest version. I built my own custom csv importer using all of the functions and hooks provided by Shopp for a customer who needed that functionality, so the tools are all there but if PHP isn’t your thing then you may find yourself in need of help. Overall, I think that Shopp is actually a pretty slick eCommerce solution for WordPress sites and I would recommend it, they get my approval. 🙂

Finally, and perhaps my favorite part of this post, I’ve been playing with 2 Java powered game engines lately and I will probably start a simple game project to have fun with this summer. One of the engines is a 2D engine called Slick, I actually haven’t really started tinkering with this yet so there will be more to come on that. The other is a 3D engine called JMonkeyEngine which has been pretty cool so far. Both of the engines are Java powered which I like because I’m the most familiar with Java and because, well, I just like Java. Both engines have great documentation and API/Javadocs, the community around each of them seems great and super-helpful so if you’re into game development, looking for a Java engine, and haven’t checked these out yet, I’d recommend taking a look at them.


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