Planet Open Source Ruby & Rails Apps

Saturday, 14. November 2015

Redmine News ++ Jean-Philippe Lang

Redmine 3.1.2, 3.0.6 and 2.6.8 released

Redmine 3.1.2, 3.0.6 and 2.6.8 are maintenance releases for 3.1.x, 3.0.x and 2.6.x users.
The list of changes is available in the Changelog.

Security: these 3 releases include a fix for a potential data disclosure on the time logging form.

Redmine 3.1.2, 3.0.6 and 2.6.8 are maintenance releases for 3.1.x, 3.0.x and 2.6.x users.
The list of changes is available in the Changelog.

Security: these 3 releases include a fix for a potential data disclosure on the time logging form.

Friday, 13. November 2015

Discourse News

Our New Datacenter Cabinet

As Discourse grows, we’re adding more server capacity and newer servers to make sure our hosting remains blazing fast. We have one server cabinet at Hurricane Electric, which we have been very happy with, and we just upgraded our account to add another full 42U server cabinet and another gigabit internet connection. Cables, as always, are color-coded: █ IPMI VPN, █ private local i

As Discourse grows, we’re adding more server capacity and newer servers to make sure our hosting remains blazing fast.

We have one server cabinet at Hurricane Electric, which we have been very happy with, and we just upgraded our account to add another full 42U server cabinet and another gigabit internet connection.

new-cabinet-1

new-cabinet-2

Cables, as always, are color-coded:

IPMI VPN, private local intra-server network, switch cross connect

Right now it’s a minimally populated cabinet, just our standard Cisco 2960X switch (and an inexpensive netgear switch dedicated to the private IPMI management connections), and two of our new, faster, Skylake based 1U servers for internal testing. This also lets us exercise our cross-cabinet connection muscles, so if we need to add 3, 4 or even more cabinets to support our future customers, we’ll be ready.

Colocation isn’t our only plan. We’ve also been pushing for more of a hybrid cloud arrangement, where …

  1. Free trials can be deployed to the cloud for potential customers, and then migrated to our super fast hosted infrastructure when the trial converts.
  2. Enterprise customers who are uncomfortable with our single datacenter can have a backup cloud instance on hot standby that we can automatically switch to in the event that something happens to the he.net datacenter.

The first item is particularly exciting since it would let us scale up our free trials and offer Discourse to many more people at lower cost.

Here’s to an even faster Discourse hosting plan in 2016! Stay tuned!

Thursday, 12. November 2015

Spree Commerce News

5 tips for Do-it-Yourself Product Photogrpahy

Whether it’s family photos or professional head shots, do-it-yourself photography is all the rage lately. We all have and HD camera in our pocket, so why not? No disrespect to the professionals—they’ll always give you the best photos—but if you follow these tips you can get high-quality shots that will definitely fit in your budget.

Try out your Smart Phone Camera Fist

Obvious

Whether it’s family photos or professional head shots, do-it-yourself photography is all the rage lately. We all have and HD camera in our pocket, so why not? No disrespect to the professionals—they’ll always give you the best photos—but if you follow these tips you can get high-quality shots that will definitely fit in your budget.

Try out your Smart Phone Camera Fist

Obviously the first thing you’ll need to take a picture is a camera. But before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a name-brand, HD device, see how you like the camera on your phone. Take a look at the picture below, and you can see there may be little-to-no difference in the quality of the photo between a high-end camera and an iPhone.

If you like what you see from your phone’s camera, you can save yourself a lot of money by going that route.

Buy a Tripod

Even if you’re using a smartphone, you’ll want to invest in a tripod. Even the steadiest hands are hard-pressed to capture the perfect image, and there are even tripods that are designed specifically for camera phones. You can get a decent tripod for as low as $20, so it’s well worth the low-end investment here.

Setup on a White Backdrop

Often, shoots like these are done in front of a white backdrop. You can create a simple, inexpensive “do-it-yourself” method that will give you that professional look with just some craft paper and metal clamps.

If you’re going that route, roll the paper down a long and wide table, and use the clamps to attach the paper to something a few feet above the table. This will provide a smooth, clean base for your to shoot your product photo.

If you’re going the natural lighting route, do this in a big, open room with lots of windows. If you’re using purchased photography lights, you’ll want a darker room.

Use a Mannequin or a Model

If you were shopping, what would look more attractive? A lifeless shirt lying on some background? Or a shirt on a mannequin or model? Not only does a mannequin/model give the shirt the appearance it will actually have when worn, if you’re using a model, it gives a more personal feel to it.

If you’re in the clothing/fashion/accessory industry, getting that item off the lifeless backdrop is definitely the way to go. Look at the two shirts below. Which one would you rather buy?

Pay Attention to the Details

Avoid hard backlighting that will cast shadows on the surface of the object. Keep your lights or lighting on the same side as your camera, or slightly off to the side.

Also, be sure to check your photos as you take them. You don’t want to do all the work only to realize an ugly fingerprint on your lens ruined all your images. Using a digital camera makes checking your pictures as you go along simple, and will help you avoid the pain of retaking all those images.

Follow Spree Commerce!

Wednesday, 11. November 2015

GitLab News

GitLab 8.1.4 Released

Today we are releasing version 8.1.4 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE/EE: Fix bug where manually merged branches in a MR would end up with an empty diff
  • CE/EE: Prevent redirect loop when home_page_url is set to the root URL
  • CE/EE: Fix incoming email configuration defaults
  • CE/E

Today we are releasing version 8.1.4 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE/EE: Fix bug where manually merged branches in a MR would end up with an empty diff
  • CE/EE: Prevent redirect loop when home_page_url is set to the root URL
  • CE/EE: Fix incoming email configuration defaults
  • CE/EE: Remove CSS properties preventing hard tabs from rendering in Chromium 45
  • EE: Fix bug in JIRA integration which prevented merge requests from being accepted when using issue closing pattern

Upgrade barometer

This version does not include any new migrations, and should not require any downtime.

Please be aware that by default the Omnibus packages will stop, run migrations, and start again, no matter how “big” or “small” the upgrade is. This behavior can be changed by adding a /etc/gitlab/skip-auto-migrations file.

Updating

To update, check out our update page.

Enterprise Edition

Interested in GitLab Enterprise Edition? Check out the features exclusive to GitLab EE.

Access to GitLab Enterprise Edition is included with a subscription. No time to upgrade GitLab yourself? Subscribers receive upgrade and installation services.

Tuesday, 10. November 2015

GitLab News

GitLab + Tower = a Most Efficient Setup

This is a guest post by Tobias Günther, founder at Tower.

GitLab and Tower, the popular Git client, have more in common than just “Git”. They share the same goal: to make working with code easier. And just recently, with the release of Tower 2.3, they work together more seamlessly than ever.

You would think that cloning a remote repository was a simple process. And ye

This is a guest post by Tobias Günther, founder at Tower.

GitLab and Tower, the popular Git client, have more in common than just “Git”. They share the same goal: to make working with code easier. And just recently, with the release of Tower 2.3, they work together more seamlessly than ever.

You would think that cloning a remote repository was a simple process. And yet it can be quite a drag: You have to find the repository you want to clone, get hold of its URL, remember your authentication credentials (and method!) and fumble them onto the keyboard…

Solving such minor and major annoyances around Git has always been our motivation for creating Tower - a GUI client for Git that’s now used by over 50,000 customers like Apple, Google, and Twitter.

Since our recent update to version 2.3, Tower makes working with GitLab even easier. You can access your repositories right from within Tower and clone them with just a single click:

One-Click Cloning

Long gone are the days of wrestling with usernames, passwords, tokens, or URLs. Even creating new repositories in your account can be done via Tower. Cloning and managing repositories has become quite a bit easier.

Let’s look at some other pain points that developers face day after day.

Undoing Mistakes

One reason why I love Git is that I can undo almost anything. However, actually remembering all the different ways, commands, and parameters to achieve this tends to make my head spin.

That’s when I love to have Tower open: the GUI guides me so I can easily fix my last commit, restore any historic version, revert a certain commit’s effects, or discard local changes in my working copy. It’s great to know that I can’t mess up.

Dealing with Merge Conflicts

Admitting this one is a bit embarrassing: I had always been a bit of a coward when it came to merge conflicts. I had a hard time understanding what had happened - and an even harder time knowing what my options were. We’ve managed to find a visual way of presenting conflicts in Tower, which helps a lot in understanding the scenario.

I can clearly see which files clashed, how exactly they looked, who worked on them, and which commit introduced the changes. And, with this knowledge, I can decide what the solution should look like - simply by clicking the files I want in the final resolution.

Visual Merge Conflict Resolution

Optimizing Your Workflows

In my opinion, a graphical user interface has to provide some real advantages. Just a handful of pretty colors won’t cut it.

A Git example is that I don’t want to check for new changes manually all the time. That’s why Tower automatically and regularly performs a “Fetch” operation in the background for me. Thereby, I know when something new is available on my GitLab remote repo.

Also, tapping the full potential of a modern environment like Mac OS X means (to me) that I can use drag & drop for many actions. From creating and merging branches, to cherry-picking commits or applying even parts of a Stash.

Drag and Drop

Other things, like finding and opening any project, has to be a matter of seconds. Tower has a new “Open Quickly” dialog that lets me type just a few characters from the project’s name to open what I was looking for.

Quick Open

Lastly, Tower’s “Auto Stash” feature is a perfect example of the app’s philosophy - to take Git to the next level: Tower automatically saves your current changes to the Stash when you’re switching branches, pulling, or rebasing. Actions like these are best performed with a clean working copy - and Tower saves you the hassle of remembering and doing it.

Feel free to give Tower a try and see how it works with your GitLab account. You can download and test it 30 days for free.

P.S.: I’m curious to know what you are struggling with in Git and version control. Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 06. November 2015

GitLab News

GitLab 8.1.3 Released

Today we are releasing version 8.1.3 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE: Add support for Facebook OAuth authentication
  • CE: Use issue editor as cross reference comment author when issue is edited with a new mention
  • CE: Spread out runner contacted_at updates
  • CE: Force-update refs/merge-request

Today we are releasing version 8.1.3 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE: Add support for Facebook OAuth authentication
  • CE: Use issue editor as cross reference comment author when issue is edited with a new mention
  • CE: Spread out runner contacted_at updates
  • CE: Force-update refs/merge-requests/X/head upon a push to the source branch of a merge request
  • EE: Fix “Rebase onto master”

Upgrade barometer

When upgrading to 8.1.3 using Omnibus packages, downtime is required because of additions to the PostgreSQL configuration which will cause a database restart.

This version does not include any new migrations, and installations from source should not require any downtime.

Please be aware that by default the Omnibus packages will stop, run migrations, and start again, no matter how “big” or “small” the upgrade is. This behavior can be changed by adding a /etc/gitlab/skip-auto-migrations file.

Updating

To update, check out our update page.

Enterprise Edition

Interested in GitLab Enterprise Edition? Check out the features exclusive to GitLab EE.

Access to GitLab Enterprise Edition is included with a subscription. No time to upgrade GitLab yourself? Subscribers receive upgrade and installation services.

Thursday, 05. November 2015

GitLab News

Feature Highlight: User Preferences to Customize GitLab Behavior

In GitLab 8.0 we worked hard to refine the UI so it is really enjoyable to use. After the release we received a lot of positive feedback. However, users requested a few customizations to help the UI better fit their daily use. We considered all of this feedback and are happy to share some new user preferences in GitLab 8.1.

Among these new user preferences are the ability to choose betwe

In GitLab 8.0 we worked hard to refine the UI so it is really enjoyable to use. After the release we received a lot of positive feedback. However, users requested a few customizations to help the UI better fit their daily use. We considered all of this feedback and are happy to share some new user preferences in GitLab 8.1.

Among these new user preferences are the ability to choose between a fluid or fixed width layout and the option to choose activity as the default dashboard instead of the project list.

Layout width

GitLab 8.0 introduced a fixed width layout in an attempt to make content easier to follow. The fixed width layout on large monitors will have a gray negative space on either side of content.

Fixed width wide screen

Some users still like the idea of the fluid layout and now they have a choice.

From the GitLab dashboard, go to ‘Profile Settings’ and then ‘Preferences’.

Scroll down to the ‘Behavior’ section and choose ‘Fluid’ from the ‘Layout width’ dropdown. Save changes and you will now take full advantage of your large screen.

Fluid width wide screen

Default Dashboard

Another change in GitLab 8.0 was that the old dashboard containing both the project list and activity were split out in to two different pages - ‘Projects’ and ‘Activity’. By splitting them out we are able to add some additional scopes to each page, such as a tab for starred projects and starred projects' activity. Beginning in 8.1 users can choose between four different default dashboard views.

From the GitLab dashboard, go to ‘Profile Settings’ and then ‘Preferences’.

Scroll down to the ‘Behavior’ section and choose one of four options from the ‘Default Dashboard’ dropdown.

  • Your Projects This view is the default and shows a list of all projects in which you are a member.
  • Starred Projects This view shows a list of projects that you have starred. If you are a member of many projects you may want to star a few so this list will display your most common projects.
  • Your Projects' Activity This view shows activity for all projects in which you are a member. This is similar to the previous activity on the dashboard prior to 8.0.
  • Starred Projects' Activity This view will show activity only for those projects that you star. Again, if you are involved in many projects you may want to star a few so your activity is not so crowded.

Project view

Although not new for GitLab 8.1, it’s also worth sharing the ‘Project view’ user preference. By default, a project’s main page will display the Readme file. This is great for first-time visitors who are not familiar with the project. However, project members that frequent this page may be more interested in the recent activity.

From the GitLab dashboard, go to ‘Profile Settings’ and then ‘Preferences’.

Scroll down to the ‘Behavior’ section and choose either ‘Readme’ or ‘Activity’ in the ‘Project view’ dropdown.

Readme View

Project Readme View

Activity View

Project Activity View

Documentation

We hope these new user preferences allow users to customize GitLab in a way that best fits their daily use. See the GitLab 8.1 release post for information on upgrading so you can take advantage of these features today. Users on GitLab.com can take advantage of these features immediately.

Wednesday, 04. November 2015

Spree Commerce News

Black Friday Emails That Boost Sales

Another Black Friday is just around the corner and—likely—another record-breaking holiday sales season will come with it. Email campaigns are a proven way to effectively announce sales and boost profits. But what should you send? Take a look below for some ideas to use for the holiday season.

The Sale Announcement Email

We’ll start with the simple one first: Make sure your customers know

Another Black Friday is just around the corner and—likely—another record-breaking holiday sales season will come with it. Email campaigns are a proven way to effectively announce sales and boost profits. But what should you send? Take a look below for some ideas to use for the holiday season.

The Sale Announcement Email

We’ll start with the simple one first: Make sure your customers know you’re having a sale, and what it is, because you can bet your competitors will. Keep it simple. Everyone loves sales, so you’re subject header can just be “50% off Everything!” It will almost guarantee you that shoppers will at least open the email to find out more.

The Free Gift Email

Everyone loves free right? Including a free gift if customers hit a certain dollar amount is a great way to boost the average sale amount. If a customer has spent $90 and are $10 away from earning a free gift, they’ll likely spend that extra ten dollars to hit the target.

Again, the subject can be simple. “Free” will almost always get someone interested. You can also spin this so it doesn’t seem so salesy, and being that Black Friday is around Thanksgiving, in the body of the email you can include something along the lines of “Our way of saying thanks,” or “Our way of giving back during the holiday season.”

The Extended Sale Email

Black Friday sales don’t have to end on Fridays. If you’re in ecommerce—and you’re reading this blog so I’m assuming you are—the sale can last all the way to Cyber Monday. Last year, retailers brought in over $2 billion on the Monday after Black Friday.

Not everyone gets around to shopping on Black Friday. They may have missed the boat and will jump out of their seats when they see your “Extended 40% Sale off EVERYTHING” email.

The Black Friday Giveaway

This is a similar to philosophy to the “Free Gift” email—people love free stuff and rewards. Giveaways and contests are a great way to inject more life into your sales than those of your competitors.

The terms of the giveaway or sale will be up to you. One common strategy is to offer your customers a chance to win a gift to your site for every purchase they make. Or, you can guarantee a small prize—say a $5 gift card— for any purchase, with a chance to win the Grand Prize, such as a $1K gift card.

The Humor Email

You know what people like almost as much as free stuff? Funny jokes. Announcing your sale in a way that J.Crew did last year is a great way to get a leg up on competitors and their potentially similar sales.



You can also include a jokes specific to your business or industry. For example, if you’re in the clothing business, a post-Thanksgiving email featuring your stretchy pants might not be a bad idea.

Follow Spree Commerce!


Integrate PayU and Spree

Integrate PayU and your Spree store with our open source extension!

Spree has a flexible payments model which allows multiple payment methods to be available during checkout. The official `spree_gateway` extension already supports some well-known solutions like PayPal, Stripe or Skrill.

Yet, we felt that something is missing here. Yup, we’re talking about you—PayU!

PayU ga

Integrate PayU and your Spree store with our open source extension!

Spree has a flexible payments model which allows multiple payment methods to be available during checkout. The official `spree_gateway` extension already supports some well-known solutions like PayPal, Stripe or Skrill.

Yet, we felt that something is missing here. Yup, we’re talking about you—PayU!

PayU gateway is currently available in 13 countries, e.g. Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Latin America, Turkey and Ukraine, so if your storefront aims at one of those markets, why not to use our brand new open source extension?

The extension integrates your Spree store with PayU allowing your users to choose it among other payment methods. Simple as that.

How It Works

Wow, what a lovely Rails bag. Definitely want it! Let’s add it to the cart.

Let’s move to checkout. I’ll need to type my shipping address and other details…

Time to pay for the goodies. Here it is! Now you can choose between credit card & PayU. Isn’t it great?

Installation

All you need to do is add spree_payu_integration to your Gemfile…

gem spree_payu_integration

… then bundle your dependencies and run the installation generator:

bundle bundle exec rails g spree_payu_integration:install

For more information, installation and usage details, visit: Spree PayU integration repo.

Tuesday, 03. November 2015

GitLab News

Pivotal Cloud Foundry Tile for GitLab EE

Today we’re excited to announce the Pivotal Cloud Foundry tile for GitLab Enterprise Edition. With this partnership, developers will be able to easily deploy GitLab as a pre-configured appliance using Ops Manager (BOSH) for Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

About the tile

With the GitLab tile for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, deploying GitLab is a matter of clicking ‘Install&r

Today we’re excited to announce the Pivotal Cloud Foundry tile for GitLab Enterprise Edition. With this partnership, developers will be able to easily deploy GitLab as a pre-configured appliance using Ops Manager (BOSH) for Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

About the tile

With the GitLab tile for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, deploying GitLab is a matter of clicking ‘Install’.

GitLab Tile in Pivotal Cloud Foundry

GitLab on PCF will run highly available by default and can be scaled up easily by changing a single value.

Scale up GitLab by changing a single value

Further configuration of GitLab can be done fully within the Pivotal Cloud Foundry environment.

Configure GitLab in Pivotal Cloud Foundry

Configure GitLab's Redis in Pivotal Cloud Foundry

As enterprise developers seek more control of their development toolkit, this partnership will allow their development to be more customizable, more integrated, and more secure.

Thursday, 29. October 2015

GitLab News

One Million Downloads of GitLab

It has been a great week at OSCON in Amsterdam meeting with people from the open source community. We’re humbled by the enthusiasm shown by everyone for GitLab.

Today we announced that we have over one million downloads between Gitlab CE and GitLab EE. We started in 2011 as an open source project and have seen great growth, particularly over the last year.

Taking a trip down memory

It has been a great week at OSCON in Amsterdam meeting with people from the open source community. We’re humbled by the enthusiasm shown by everyone for GitLab.

Today we announced that we have over one million downloads between Gitlab CE and GitLab EE. We started in 2011 as an open source project and have seen great growth, particularly over the last year.

Taking a trip down memory lane:

2011: GitLab is created as an open source project. This commit was the very start of GitLab.

2013: GitLab becomes a bootstrapped company with full-time employees.

February 2015: GitLab participates in Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 class

March 2015: Hailed by Techcrunch as “YC-Backed GitLab Is Like GitHub But For Enterprise”

August 2015: GitLab Raises $4M Series A Round From Khosla Ventures with Vinod Khosla commenting at the time, “there is a very large market demand for a more open solution that enables engineers to create, review, collaborate, and accelerate the iterative process by deploying code that brings products to market faster.”

September 2015: Since 2011, we’ve been releasing new updates to GitLab on the 22nd of every month. September’s launch of GitLab 8.0 was our largest release yet with product improvements, integrating GitLab CI into the core product, and an all-new design.

October 2015: We hit 1 million downloads of GitLab CE and GitLab EE. More than 100,000 organizations currently use GitLab on premises including CERN, Alibaba, SpaceX, O’Reilly, IBM and Expedia. GitLab’s Enterprise Edition is now being used by a large percentage of the Fortune 500.

We’d like to say thank you to everyone that has helped along the way. We have such a loyal, vocal community of more than 800 contributors that have helped us roll out new features and countless people helping others to get started with GitLab. We look forward to the next million!

Wednesday, 28. October 2015

Spree Commerce News

How to Make Marketing Emails Work for You

Marketing emails can be a great tool to boost sales. But to do so, you have to do it right. What do I say to my customers? And just as importantly, when do I say it and how often? These tips will make sure you’re emailing the right way, and will help you take your business to the next level.

Content and Relevance:

This isn’t Lord of the Rings and one email does not rule them all.

Marketing emails can be a great tool to boost sales. But to do so, you have to do it right. What do I say to my customers? And just as importantly, when do I say it and how often? These tips will make sure you’re emailing the right way, and will help you take your business to the next level.

Content and Relevance:

This isn’t Lord of the Rings and one email does not rule them all. In other words, what’s relevant to some customers won’t connect with others. For example, if you sell clothing, sending your male customers a coupon for a sale on ladies’ underwear is not going to get you very far. Worse yet, it might make the impression that your store specializes in women’s apparel and have your male customers looking elsewhere.

Tracking your customer information, such as gender and age, will help you send targeted emails, which will in turn increase your open rate. Tracking sales information will help you target as well. The above example was pretty simple, but what about a business that doesn’t make it as easy as splitting up your customers into a 50/50 (emails for males, emails for females) group?

If you sell a wide variety of items, such as pet supplies, it would make sense to track customers’ sales. If Susan has spent a year buying nothing but cat toys, would it make sense to send her information on a sale for all goldfish products? Probably not.

Keep in mind, there are times when it makes sense for you to send customers information about stuff they don’t typically buy. Keep this in mind for the holidays, when customers aren’t necessarily shopping for themselves. Speaking of appropriate times…

Timeliness:

When to send an email is just as important as what to send. The sooner you send an order confirmation, the better. The longer the customer goes without receiving that confirmation, the more apprehensive he or she will be that something went wrong with the process.

Likewise, a shipment confirmation will also placate any fears that the order is NOT on the way. With the confirmation, include a realistic time that the customer can expect to receive the package, such as 3-5 business days.

Lastly, an email asking the customer how he/she likes the product is a nice way to wrap up the sale. It shows that you care that your customers receive their products as they wanted, when they wanted. Schedule this for a couple of days after the long end of your confirmation (using the above example, send the email on day six or seven). If you send this email too soon, it will have customers thinking they should have received it by now and something went wrong, when in reality the item is still on its way.

As far as emails that are intended to have customers buy again, research shows there’s certain times that will lead to higher purchase rates. Monday through Wednesday, as well as Sunday, have proven to be the best days to send your salesy emails.

On top of that, there are certain times of day that correlate with higher purchases as well. During the workdays, as well as during commutes home, have proven to be the best times to reach out to customers.

Frequency:

This last point is key, and can also be tricky to manage correctly. Email too often and you risk annoying the customer, who will in turn likely tag your emails as spam. Not good. Go too long without contacting your customers and you risk them forgetting about your company and going with a competitor. Also not good.

There’s no all-encompassing guide to point to that will provide best practices for all businesses, but as a general rule, you don’t want to email your customers more than once a week (with the exception of the aforementioned post-transaction confirmation emails), and you also don’t want to go more than a month without sending out your email campaign.

Hitting that sweet spot of perfect frequency will often depend on your business. For example, if you work in a subscription business, you’ll want to time replenishment emails with the frequency of the customers’ needs. If he/she buys dog food once a month, a reminder to place the order every three weeks would be appropriate, to give the customer some leeway and provide time for shipping. This way, the food will be there by the end of the month and Fido won’t go hungry.

Tools that Can Help

When you’re starting out, you can probably manage many of these tasks on your own. But what about when you’re handling 100, 500, or 1000 orders per month? Using an email service like MailChimp or MailChimp will help. Coupling one of those services with a tool that can automate the process will allow you to easily and efficiently communicate with your customers.

Follow Spree Commerce!


The Future of Spree Open Source Software

There have been a lot of questions and speculation regarding the future of the Spree OSS project. Please understand that our acquisition occurred as First Data was preparing for its IPO and there were significant restrictions on what we were able to discuss publicly during that time. Now that the IPO is behind us we can resume our public conversation with the community.

What is Happening to

There have been a lot of questions and speculation regarding the future of the Spree OSS project. Please understand that our acquisition occurred as First Data was preparing for its IPO and there were significant restrictions on what we were able to discuss publicly during that time. Now that the IPO is behind us we can resume our public conversation with the community.

What is Happening to Wombat?

Our Wombat product is being discontinued as of March 31, 2016. It’s been a privilege to help and watch our Wombat customers grow over the years. We are working closely with our customers to ensure an orderly transition. Wombat is a closed source product and so the source code will remain private and closed source. The integrations for Wombat, however, have always been open source. They will remain open source even though we will not be maintaining these integrations going forward.

What about the Website and Demo?

We have made several changes to the Spree website. We’ve removed the references to Wombat and we’ve discontinued the “sandbox” demos where you can try out a hosted version of Spree without installing it locally. The sandbox takes quite a bit of time and resources to maintain – especially keeping it up to date with the latest version. Developers interested in the open source software can still try it out easily enough – just clone it from Github like you would any other project.

We’ve also disabled the extensions directory. The directory contents are quite out of date these days and it requires time and energy to curate everything in there. Unfortunately there aren’t enough volunteers who want to spend time on such a thankless task.

Will we Continue to Support Open Source Software in general, and the Spree Project in particular?

Our team continues to be interested in both using and supporting open source software. You can expect to see us continue to contribute to both new and existing open source projects going forward.

We will be spending significantly less time as a company on the Spree project. Several of our employees remain personally interested in the Spree OSS project, but as a company we can no longer dedicate significant resources to this effort. This means that you can expect a decline in contributions from employees who were previously being paid to work on open source as part of their day job.

What about a Foundation?

We’ve also heard people asking about the possibility of setting up a foundation. It’s unclear how this would resolve the lack of a strong core team with a unified vision. A proper foundation (see Drupal or Linux) requires significant legal and administrative expenses. More importantly it requires a dedicated group of volunteers to run it. Spree needs a new group of core contributors that are willing to volunteer a large amount of time to help maintain it. A foundation won’t help us to achieve that – it will actually be counterproductive since it will just add to the overhead needed to run the project.

Who will Contribute to Spree going Forward?

Like any successful open source project, Spree requires a continuous supply of new contributors. There are, however, some unique challenges in the case of the Spree which is somewhat of a niche framework. It appeals to Ruby developers who are interested in ecommerce. That’s actually a pretty small universe of people, especially when you factor out everyone who is doing ecommerce for just a single project and then moving on to something else. It’s much easier to form an active core team for a project like Rails since it’s a generic framework that can be used by a much larger universe of developers (people interested in web applications).

In addition, as the Spree software has matured over the years, many stores that use our software have “locked in” on a particular version of the software. This tends to result in short bursts of contributions by initial adopters followed by long periods of inactivity.

As a result, over time our community has generated a lot of developers who are incredibly interested in the future of Spree but they also have a very specific vision for how Spree should move forward. In many cases, this vision is at odds with what other developers need for their specific projects. For instance, developers working on legacy installations are not always interested in adding new features to Spree. They may be more focused on improvements in performance and keeping up to date with security enhancements.

What’s the Deal with Solidus?

Solidus is a fork of the Spree project. The contributors are primarily developers from Bonobos as well as a consulting company that has done work for Bonobos and other Spree customers in the past. The developers behind this project have a lot invested in a specific version of Spree and they’re working to improve performance and making other subtle improvements. If you’re looking to work on a very stable version of Spree and you’re comfortable with locking in on the version that Bonobos is using, then this might be a good option for you.

Spree Needs a Strong Core Team with a Unified Vision

Spree needs a new core team of dedicated contributors. That’s easier said than done. Our experience over the past several years is that for every ten people who say they want to contribute – only one of them actually follows up with a meaningful level of contribution. That number gets even smaller over time since most contributors tend to drift off to other projects within twelve months.

An even bigger challenge is to get a sufficient level of core contributors that agree on the future direction of Spree. We attempted to do this last year when we convened an in person “summit” with several of the key contributors and users. There was a lot of agreement on the types of things that needed to be done but very little agreement on the best path to achieve them. The biggest problem was that everyone was pretty much locked into a specific version of Spree and they only wanted to change what was needed for their specific agenda. This culiminated in the Bonobos and Freerunning guys deciding to create their own fork of Spree. That’s not a bad thing – developers need to focus on their own problems first and foremost.

What’s Next?

All software projects have a shelf life. The first Spree commit was made over eight years ago when Rails was in its infancy. Since that time there have been over 15,000 commits by over 700 different contributors. If you take a look at other popular Ruby libraries from 2007 you’d be hard pressed to find one that remains relevant today. The fact that Spree has remained a popular open source project for such a long time is a testament to the efforts of all of us working together to constantly improve the code. We have done all of this while trying our best to maintain backwards compatibility for our existing users.

We’re going to leave it up to the community to decide how to proceed. Our users need to decide if they want to continue forward with the current Spree codebase, use the Solidus project, or perhaps start another fork using a completely new approach. If we’re presented with a credible plan to maintain the project long term, then we’ll gladly turn over the keys. In the absence of such a plan, however, the project will naturally move it into “maintenance mode” and something new will eventually take its place.

It’s been a privilege building Spree together with you for the past eight years. Over that time we have learned from each other, empowered our customers, started numerous companies and forged lifelong friendships. Regardless of what happens next – we should all be proud of the great work we’ve done together.

Tuesday, 27. October 2015

GitLab News

GitLab 8.1.2 Released

Today we are releasing version 8.1.2 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following changes:

  • CE/EE: Require CI jobs to be named
  • CE/EE: Prevent a 500 error when editing CI services
  • CE/EE: Correct styling for runner status badge
  • CE/EE: Fix “Edit Readme” link on project home page
  • CE/EE: Fix clon

Today we are releasing version 8.1.2 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following changes:

  • CE/EE: Require CI jobs to be named
  • CE/EE: Prevent a 500 error when editing CI services
  • CE/EE: Correct styling for runner status badge
  • CE/EE: Fix “Edit Readme” link on project home page
  • CE/EE: Fix cloning wiki repositories over HTTP
  • CE/EE: Fix .gitlab-ci.yml lint rendering
  • CE/EE: Allow users in the “Developer” role to manage builds
  • CE/EE: Fix link to specific runner on the CI build page
  • CE/EE: Fix Redis version check on Debian
  • CE/EE: Add migration to automatically remove the satellites directory
  • CE/EE: Add missing database index for project paths
  • EE: Prevent a 500 error related to the JIRA external issue tracker service
  • Omnibus: Fix sysctl code in gitlab-ctl reconfigure

Note: We planned to release 8.1.1 yesterday but discovered a missing database index that briefly brought down GitLab.com after we deployed the release. We’re releasing 8.1.2, which includes all of the changes intended for 8.1.1, and adds the missing database index.

This release also addresses a minor security issue introduced in 8.0 that disclosed the names of CI runners that the user may not have had permission to view.

Upgrade barometer

When we released GitLab 8.0 last month, we promised to automatically remove the satellites directory in 8.1. This seems to have slipped our minds, but we’re now including a migration to automatically perform the promised cleanup in this patch release.

Due to this migration, an upgrade to GitLab 8.1.2 may cause your GitLab service to be offline for longer than a standard patch upgrade. The amount of time depends on the size of the installation and, by extension, the number of remaining satellite directories.

If you’d prefer to manually remove the satellites directory and avoid waiting for a potentially lengthy migration to complete, you can use one of the commands below for either Omnibus installations, or installations from source:

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# Omnibus
sudo gitlab-rails runner "require 'fileutils'; FileUtils.rm_rf(Gitlab.config.satellites.path)"

# Source
cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rails runner -e production "require 'fileutils'; FileUtils.rm_rf(Gitlab.config.satellites.path)"

Please be aware that by default the Omnibus packages will stop, run migrations, and start again, no matter how “big” or “small” the upgrade is. This behavior can be changed by adding a /etc/gitlab/skip-auto-migrations file.

Updating

To update, check out our update page.

Enterprise Edition

Interested in GitLab Enterprise Edition? Check out the features exclusive to GitLab EE.

Access to GitLab Enterprise Edition is included with a subscription. No time to upgrade GitLab yourself? Subscribers receive upgrade and installation services.

Thursday, 22. October 2015

GitLab News

GitLab 8.1 With Deeper CI Integration, MR Improvements, and More. Released From Our Team Summit in Amsterdam!

With last month’s release of 8.0, we made a lot of improvements to GitLab. Today we bring you GitLab 8.1, which brings you a deeper CI integration, the ability to check out any merge request, design updates, and more.

We as a team are really excited about this release not only for the increased performance and great new features but also because we are all together in Amsterdam for

With last month’s release of 8.0, we made a lot of improvements to GitLab. Today we bring you GitLab 8.1, which brings you a deeper CI integration, the ability to check out any merge request, design updates, and more.

We as a team are really excited about this release not only for the increased performance and great new features but also because we are all together in Amsterdam for our team summit. Our team is fully remote from around the world so this is a special update for us to be releasing GitLab 8.1 together from Amsterdam. Next week the team will be attending OSCON so please let us know if you’ll be there. We’d love to chat!

The GitLab Inc Team

GitLab now consists of 20,000 commits! This is a great milestone for our community. With every release of GitLab, new people from this great community contribute code and time. GitLab truly is a product built by the community and we’re honored to be part of it.

Zeger-Jan van de Weg did several nice contributions this release and we’re happy to elect him as this month’s Most Valuable Person (MVP)! Thanks Zeger-Jan!

GitLab = GL + CI

In GitLab 8.0 we integrated GitLab CI into GitLab, making it a single application where you can collaborate on, test, and deploy your code.

With GitLab 8.1, CI is everywhere. You will find build status in the commit list view, in commits, and on the front page of your projects. You’ll also find graphs of CI in the graphs view and a new builds page for quick access to your project’s builds.

GitLab CI Build status in the commit view

GitLab CI build graphs under graphs

Design Updates

In our ongoing effort to improve the look and feel of GitLab, we have made many changes big and small this release.

We now have a new color scheme for major interface elements:

Further improved looks

Check out Merge Request

Previously, checking out a merge request from someone was only possible if the branch was in a repository you can read. Right now, you can check out any merge request made to your repository, even if it’s from fork.

Checkout any merge request

You could do this previously, but now we make the remote branch available locally, making it much faster.

Commit Status API

With the integration of GitLab CI in GitLab, we want to make it easier for everyone to use CI. You can now get the status of any commit through the API.

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GET /projects/:id/repository/commits/:sha/statuses

In addition to this, you can even set the commit status. With this, you can easily use any existing CI in combination with GitLab and still see the commit status reflected in GitLab’s interface!

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POST /projects/:id/statuses/:sha

The commit status API makes it easier to integrate your existing CI tools with GitLab. We’re looking forward to see what you’ll use it for.

Further improvements

Auto-engage CI

GitLab will now automatically turn on CI for a project when you push a .gitlab-ci.yml file. If you have some shared runner setup, this should make it easier for your team to start using CI.

Of course, you can disable CI for projects you don’t want to use it for.

Fast, Faster!

We’ve been working hard to improve page speed. Issues, searching for users, the trending page, signing in, and more will now load much faster.

Create Directories from the Web Editor

You can now create directories straight from the interface!

Create a directory from the GitLab interface

Activity on Dashboard

If you prefer to see activity on the Dashboard by default, you can now easily set this in your profile:

See relevant activity on your GitLab dashboard

Sign in as other user

GitLab Administrators now have a simple, useful tool: you can sign in as any other user.

Log in as other user as GitLab Admin

Visit a user through the admin panel to find the button above.

Quick Submit

Simply use CMD+ENTER on Mac or CTRL+ENTER on Win / Linux to quickly submit an issue or comment.

Faster and more reliable ‘git archive’ downloads

Each project in GitLab has a ‘download’ button that lets you grab a ZIP file with the contents of the repository at the revision you are viewing. In GitLab 8.1 we have reduced the delay before the download starts and optimized the way the ZIP file is generated and sent to the user by shifting some of the work from the main GitLab Rails application to gitlab-git-http-server.

Note: if you are not using the Omnibus packages and their built-in NGINX settings this means that you will have to update your NGINX/Apache settings when upgrading to 8.1.

GitLab Mattermost Update

Omnibus-GitLab packages are bundled with the latest version of Mattermost. Mattermost version 1.1.1 comes with a large number of improvements and is even more integrated with GitLab. Realtime notifications from GitLab can now be received by Mattermost, using incoming webhooks.

The latest version of Mattermost also includes a large number of config changes. If you have any custom configuration make sure you read the Upgrade from v0.7 to v1.1 notes and make sure you check the latest config options available for GitLab Mattermost.

Mattermost is looking great with its latest release

Rocket Chat is still working on adding PostgreSQL compatibility and there is no estimated time when it will ship.

Other changes

This release has more improvements, including security fixes. Please check out the Changelog to see the all named changes.

Update (2015-10-27): When we released GitLab 8.0 last month, we promised to automatically remove the satellites directory in 8.1. This seems to have slipped our minds for the official 8.1 release, but we included it in the 8.1.2 patch release. See the release post for more information.

Upgrade barometer

If you are upgrading from GitLab 8.0 and none of your users are using GitLab CI then you can perform the upgrade to 8.1 without downtime. If your users are using CI you need to stop GitLab before performing the upgrade.

Note: If you are upgrading from a GitLab version prior to 8.0 and you have CI enabled, you have to upgrade to GitLab 8.0 first.

To see if your users are using GitLab CI go to gitlab.example.com/ci/admin/projects and look if there are any projects. No projects means no CI.

Please be aware that by default the Omnibus packages will stop, run migrations, and start again, no matter how “big” or “small” the upgrade is. This behavior can be changed by adding a /etc/gitlab/skip-auto-migrations file.

Note: If you’ve encountered an /etc/init.d/ci-{SERVICE} does not exist! error during the reconfigure run, use the package 8.1.0-ce.1 or newer.


Installation

If you are setting up a new GitLab installation please see the download GitLab page.

Updating

Check out our update page.

Enterprise Edition

GitLab EE-only features like LDAP group support can be found in GitLab Enterprise Edition. For a complete overview of EE please have a look at the feature list of GitLab EE.

Access to GitLab Enterprise Edition is included with a subscription. No time to upgrade GitLab yourself? A subscription also entitles you to our upgrade and installation services.


Thanks to Cyndi for the picture of the GitLab Inc team.

Wednesday, 21. October 2015

Spree Commerce News

Tips to Perfect Customer Service

Customer service is they key to ecommerce growth. You can have the best products in the world, but if your customers have a continuously bad experience it will tarnish your brand, and possibly do irreparable harm to your company’s reputation. Follow these steps to ensure you’re providing outstanding customer service every time.

1) Provide Timely, Effective Communication

Customer service is they key to ecommerce growth. You can have the best products in the world, but if your customers have a continuously bad experience it will tarnish your brand, and possibly do irreparable harm to your company’s reputation. Follow these steps to ensure you’re providing outstanding customer service every time.

1) Provide Timely, Effective Communication

Effective communication can solve a lot of problems and, more importantly, eliminate them before they happen. Sending a simple order confirmation will eliminate any doubt a customer may have that his or her order went through. Additionally, giving the customer a reasonable expectation of when to expect the item and/or providing shipment updates will keep customers informed and happy.

When your business reaches a certain point in its growth, you’ll find that keeping up with these emails can be a headache. At that point, automating your communication through services like Twilio or MailChimp can greatly simplify this process.

2) Provide a Customer Support Option

In the off chance that something goes wrong at any point in the process—whether an item’s out of stock, an order didn’t arrive, or the customer received the wrong size—you want to provide an easy way for customers to get in touch with you or your customer support team.

Depending on where your business is in it’s level of maturity, this could be a simple “Contact Us” link in your website that provides an email address and/or phone number. If and when your business is a little more established, you may want to look at a third-party service, such as Zendesk or Desk.com to help you with support tickets and error resolution.

No matter how you go about it, be sure whoever is on the receiving end of these issues/inquiries is prepared to give timely, effective, and friendly resolutions.

3) Engage in Social Media

Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, 78% of all customers see social media as a customer service alternative. Some may go there directly, some may go there if whoever’s manning the options on point two has dropped the ball.

If it’s the latter, that raises the stakes even higher on social media, making it even more important to respond quickly and effectively. If a customer has a bad experience, you can be sure that they will call out your company on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social profile you have associated with your business.

Conversely, if you provide a great experience, they’re likely to commend you and your business for all to see. Make sure you’re the retailer receiving the positive publicity, not the negative.

4) Track all Customer Interactions

Tracking all correspondence can save you, your support staff, and your customers a lot of headache. If customers have an issue and talk with two different people without a history of previous interaction, they will be left frustrated when they have to start from scratch with a new person.

Conversely, if a customer calls in and you can quickly say “Yes, I see you called in about exchanging your shirt for a different size on June 16th,” he or she will be left both impressed and relieved that someone is on top of the issue.

Create labels in your emails, attach notes to the thread, or do whatever it takes to keep all customer interaction in one easy-to-manage place. If you’ve talked with Joe Smith before, you should be able to easily search and find any and all correspondence with Joe.

Down the line, an error resolution service like the aforementioned Zendesk isn’t a bad idea. Zendesk tracks all correspondence that comes in via email, and all you have to do is search the support ticket number through your Zendesk account.

5) Never Argue About Returns

All of the above is great, but if you or a staffer argue with customers, especially about returns, they’ll think of your company in an extremely negative light. And with Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc. that’s not something any growing business can afford.

Remember, this is people’s money you’re dealing with, so put yourself in the customers’ shoes. You’re selling your product based off of an image on a computer. There’s going to be problems. And when there are, friendly, understanding, timely and efficient resolutions are the ways to keep customers coming back and sending their friends to your web store.

Bonus tip: Provide Online Chat

This tip is definitely for well-established businesses with customers on their site all day, but why else would you be in ecommerce if not to grow and dominate your market? Heck, some of you may already be there.

An online chat will require a paid solution like Olark and a staffer to monitor the chat, but once your business gets to a certain point, it’s well worth the investment. 77% of customers agree that online chat positively impacted their experience with the company. You simply can’t get any faster resolution than chatting with your customers in a live, real-time interaction.

Follow Spree Commerce!

Tuesday, 20. October 2015

Diaspora* News

diaspora* version 0.5.4.0 released

As planned, a new minor release following the new release schedule is now released. Over the past six weeks, we have managed to collect 90 commits made by 12 contributors for this minor release.

A huge thanks to all the contributors from diaspora's amazing community! If you want to help make diaspora even better, please check out our getting started guide. Please see the changelog fo

As planned, a new minor release following the new release schedule is now released. Over the past six weeks, we have managed to collect 90 commits made by 12 contributors for this minor release.

A huge thanks to all the contributors from diaspora's amazing community! If you want to help make diaspora even better, please check out our getting started guide. Please see the changelog for a complete list of changes made in this release.

Notable Changes

  • diaspora* users can be made moderators of their pod. See the pull request for more information.
  • You can now view a stream of all public posts received by your pod. See the pull request for more information.

Updating

Update instructions are available as usual in the wiki. For those of you who have been testing the release candidate, run git checkout master before the update to get back to the stable release branch.


Next minor freeze (0.5.5.0): 2015-11-22 Next release (0.5.5.0): 2015-11-29

diaspora* Rapid Release: ICS feed, HTML version

Wednesday, 14. October 2015

GitLab News

GitLab 8.0.5 Released

Today we are releasing version 8.0.5 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE/EE: Correct lookup-by-email for LDAP logins
  • EE: “Multi-project” and “Treat unstable builds as passing” parameters for the Jenkins CI service are now correctly persisted.
  • EE: Correct the build URL when &ldq

Today we are releasing version 8.0.5 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE/EE: Correct lookup-by-email for LDAP logins
  • EE: “Multi-project” and “Treat unstable builds as passing” parameters for the Jenkins CI service are now correctly persisted.
  • EE: Correct the build URL when “Multi-project” is enabled for the Jenkins CI service.

Upgrade barometer

This version does not include any new migrations, and should not require any downtime.

Please be aware that by default the Omnibus packages will stop, run migrations, and start again, no matter how “big” or “small” the upgrade is. This behavior can be changed by adding a /etc/gitlab/skip-auto-migrations file.

Updating

To update, check out our update page.

Enterprise Edition

Interested in GitLab Enterprise Edition? Check out the features exclusive to GitLab EE.

Access to GitLab Enterprise Edition is included with a subscription. No time to upgrade GitLab yourself? Subscribers receive upgrade and installation services.


GitLab OSCON Challenge 2015

Once considered a radical upstart, open source has moved from disruption to default. Its methods and culture commoditized the technologies that drove the Internet revolution and transformed the practice of software development.

Since 1999, O’Reilly Media has organized OSCON, an annual convention for the discussion of free and open source software.

OSCON is where all of the pieces

Once considered a radical upstart, open source has moved from disruption to default. Its methods and culture commoditized the technologies that drove the Internet revolution and transformed the practice of software development.

Since 1999, O’Reilly Media has organized OSCON, an annual convention for the discussion of free and open source software.

OSCON is where all of the pieces come together: developers, innovators, business people, and investors. At OSCON, you’ll find everything open source: languages, communities, best practices, products and services. Rather than focus on a single language or aspect, such as cloud computing, OSCON allows you to learn about and practice the entire range of open source technologies.

GitLab will be sponsoring OSCON in Amsterdam from October 26th to October 28th, 2015. Would you like to join us?

We have one special pass to give to one of our users. This pass is worth 1,545 Euros and it will give you access to all sessions, keynotes and tutorials, 2 months of Safari Pro, access to all on-site networking events and lunch from Monday to Wednesday.

Sounds interesting?

The Details

Create a page like the OSCON speakers page and include why you use and love GitLab and why you’d like to attend OSCON. We love creativity, so don’t be shy!

You must submit a Merge Request in OSCON 2015 Repository with your name in the namespace.

Tweet, mentioning @GitLab and sharing a link to your Merge Request. This tweet should also have #OSCON included.

Tweet your MR by midnight PDT on October 22nd, 2015.

After the submission deadline on October 22nd, GitLab employees will review and vote on all entries to pick the top winner. We’ll send out notifications to the winner by midnight PDT, October 23rd through Twitter.

The prize

The winning entry will receive a gold pass to OSCON Amsterdam 2015. This pass includes:

All sessions (Mon-Tue) All keynotes (Mon-Tue) All tutorials (Wed) Video Compilation (All tutorials, keynotes, and sessions) 3 months of Safari Pro Sponsor Pavilion (Mon-Tue) All on-site networking events Lunch (Mon-Wed)

For more information regarding OSCON Amsterdam 2015, visit OSCON 2015 website.


Spree Commerce News

How to Increase your Brand’s SEO

SEO has been something of a buzzword lately. But what is it? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is described by wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked

SEO has been something of a buzzword lately. But what is it? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is described by wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.”

What that means for a business owner is, whatever search terms that resonate in your industry, you want to be at or near the top of the listings that appear whenever people put that term or phrase into Google. The more people that see your site, the more people will shop on it, and the more shoppers you have, the more sales you’ll get.

Follow these tips to maximize your SEO to see your webstore’s traffic spike, and the sales roll in.

Identify Keywords and Phrases

You need to figure out what key terms and phrases you want to trigger your appearance in a search. For example, if you’re a high-end shoe retailer, then you’d probably want to have an appearance when customers search for “High end shoes.”

Maybe you’re not ready to take on Nordstrom’s or Barney’s (the first and second results to appear on Google when you enter that phrase) and you still do a high volume of sales inside your physical store. In that case, your location can help you drive customers to online and offline sales, such as “High end shoes in Pennsylvania” or more specifically, “High end Shoes in Philadelphia, PA.”

Content-Driven Traffic

Whatever you determine to be key terms and phrases, maximize their use through fresh and engaging information on your web store. Running a blog is a great way to keep new content on your site. One thing you don’t want to do is force these keywords into the content. It has to seem natural, as it will turn off readers/shoppers, and will be recognized as a forced attempt at maximizing SEO by the search engines.

The more fresh content you have, the more traffic will come to your site. And, again, the more traffic you have is the more opportunities you have for sales.

Share on Social Media

Whatever new content you have, be sure to share it on any and all social accounts that you have associated with your store. These are just more channels for you to attract traffic. Sharing on Google plus, specifically, will directly help your ranking on Google’s search listings.

Blogs, news about your company, and new/featured products are the kinds of things that you want to share with your community. Social media is having more and more of an impact on ecommerce, so start sharing now.

Follow Spree Commerce!

Wednesday, 07. October 2015

Diaspora* News

diaspora* hackathon, Paris, 8–11 October

If you happen to be around Paris between the 8th and 11th of October, diaspora* will be holding a small hackathon at the Mozilla office there. This hackathon is the first of its kind for this project, so we are really excited about starting something that will hopefully become a tradition.

What will we be working on?

The hope is that – in addition to spending time with each other, of co

If you happen to be around Paris between the 8th and 11th of October, diaspora* will be holding a small hackathon at the Mozilla office there. This hackathon is the first of its kind for this project, so we are really excited about starting something that will hopefully become a tradition.

What will we be working on?

The hope is that – in addition to spending time with each other, of course – lots of code and blueprints will get written. Items on the agenda are, for example:

  • discussing the concept of pod migration;
  • finalizing the chat feature;
  • working on some remaining tasks for the API first phase;
  • and, in general, tackling issues regarding the up-coming release of version 0.6.

Check out our kanban board for some ideas we have.

But most importantly, this is an event for fellow enthusiasts to hang out and work on our favourite open-source project together.

Who can join?

Anyone wanting to discuss or work on diaspora*! Come and meet some project members and chat about diaspora*. Know code but not familiar with contributing to diaspora*? Good! We’ll help you set up an environment – just bring your laptop.

You can pop in briefly or stay the whole time. Also, we will very, very likely be spending the evenings eating and drinking in Paris, so you’re welcome to also join us over a drink or a few.

How do I sign up?

No need to sign up in advance, but of course we appreciate knowing in advance who is planning to come. And to enable us to give you exact information on how to find us, an email address could be nice. Let us know via the contact details in the wiki page regarding the hackathon. Or just turn up; we will post a reminder in the days before the event.

Where

The Mozilla Paris office
16 Bis Boulevard Montmartre
75009 Paris, France
map

When

From Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 October 2015.

Sponsors

We're really grateful to Mozilla for sponsoring the space for this event. ♥

Notes

  • As most of the core participants will be arriving in the evening of 8th of October, we recommend that you arrive on the 9th, 10th or 11th.
  • Please let us know if you plan on coming. Contact details are in the wiki page regarding the hackathon.
  • If you want to meet up during the evening, send a message to some of the contacts in the wiki and let's make it happen!
  • The Mozilla office has a reception that will be aware of the hackathon. Please ask there for information when arriving.

Spree Commerce News

Ecommerce Product Description Best Practices

You can have the best products in the world, but if you can’t communicate that quality effectively, how are customers going to know? And, more importantly, how will they feel comfortable clicking that “buy” button? Here’s some tips and advice that will help you seal the deal.

Show Don’t (Only) Tell

We’re not here to tell you NOT to tell the story behind the product (in fact, look at

You can have the best products in the world, but if you can’t communicate that quality effectively, how are customers going to know? And, more importantly, how will they feel comfortable clicking that “buy” button? Here’s some tips and advice that will help you seal the deal.

Show Don’t (Only) Tell

We’re not here to tell you NOT to tell the story behind the product (in fact, look at the next point) but don’t ONLY tell. Include multiple high-quality images of your product. Show different angles, viewpoints and elements of your goods.

Remember, you’re selling online. Your customers don’t have the option to hold and feel and get comfortable with the item they’re about to buy. So do your best to recreate that in-store feeling by providing big, beautiful images of your goods. Provide 360 degrees worth of angles or, even better, make it a gif.

Tell The Story Behind the Product

Your business has a story, and so does your product. Tell it. For inspiration, check out Ayr’s blog, Editions. Ayr, a women’s fashion startup, releases new apparel every season, and additions to their line receive a one-paragraph story of the goals and thought process behind the design.

You don’t necessarily need to include such in-depth descriptions on every product, (you don’t want to get too wordy) but new and/or featured products deserve extra attention, and are worthy of a story behind their production.

Emphasize Uniqueness

Your competitors are going to have similar products, but there’s something about your inventory that makes you different. Whatever it is—the design, the manufacturing process, the price—make sure you emphasize this in your descriptions. If your customers don’t know why your products are better/different, what’s to stop them from going to the competitor next time?

Include an Obvious Call to Action

You’ve got the customer interested. They’ve looked at the product images, read the story behind the product, and really like what they’ve seen thus far. Now it’s just a matter of sealing the deal. You can push the customers over the edge by simply providing a “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button within the page that features your product description. If they’ve made it this far, they’re already interested. Turn the opportunity into a sale with a strong call to action.

Allow Customers to Easily Share their Experience

If your customers have a positive experience shopping with you, they’ll be willing to share your product with their friends and family. Now they won’t write a blog about it, but if you provide simple buttons to like, tweet, pin and/or share, it will open their friends and followers’ eyes to your brand.

Word of mouth has always been a great sales/marketing tactic. Social media has given the opportunity to spread the message faster and to a wider audience than ever before. Take advantage of it!

The Bottom Line

You’re going to have competitors; it’s unavoidable no matter the industry. But you can set yourself apart with unique and effective product descriptions. Making that sale is the first step to turning a customer into a “brand ambassador.” Once they see why you’re the best option for them, they’ll keep coming back—and sharing with their friends.

Follow Spree Commerce!

Tuesday, 06. October 2015

GitLab News

GitLab 8.0.4 Released

Today we are releasing version 8.0.4 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE/EE: Fix Message-ID header to be RFC 2111-compliant to prevent e-mails being dropped
  • CE/EE: Fix referrals for :back and relative URL installs
  • CE/EE: Fix anchors to comments in diffs
  • CE/EE: Remove CI token from build trace

Today we are releasing version 8.0.4 for Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE).

It includes the following fixes:

  • CE/EE: Fix Message-ID header to be RFC 2111-compliant to prevent e-mails being dropped
  • CE/EE: Fix referrals for :back and relative URL installs
  • CE/EE: Fix anchors to comments in diffs
  • CE/EE: Remove CI token from build traces
  • CE/EE: Fix “Assign All” button on Runner admin page
  • EE: Fix multi-project setup for Jenkins

Omnibus-gitlab packages note: Before announcing this release, inital set of packages that was built contained an error. We’ve noticed this and yanked the packages(version 8.0.4-ce.0). Sadly, the packages were publicly available before this blogpost was live so if you installed/upgraded your GitLab in the timeframe(approx 12:00PM-12:45PM CET on Oct. 06, 2015.) where the broken packages were available, you will run into a SyntaxError during installation. Run sudo apt-get update to get the correct version of the package (8.0.4-ce.1) and install the package again with sudo apt-get install gitlab-ce (or gitlab-ee).

Upgrade barometer

This version does not include any new migrations, and should not require any downtime.

Please be aware that by default the Omnibus packages will stop, run migrations, and start again, no matter how “big” or “small” the upgrade is. This behavior can be changed by adding a /etc/gitlab/skip-auto-migrations file.

Updating

To update, check out our update page.

Enterprise Edition

Interested in GitLab Enterprise Edition? Check out the features exclusive to GitLab EE.

Access to GitLab Enterprise Edition is included with a subscription. No time to upgrade GitLab yourself? Subscribers receive upgrade and installation services.


Perforce Launches GitSwarm Based on GitLab

Today Perforce launched Helix GitSwarm built on top of GitLab. GitSwarm combines Perforce and GitLab to enable easy project and team management while allowing developers to collaboratively code using their preferred version control system, Git.

We’re happy that Perforce chose GitLab to help their customers create, code, and deploy together. To learn more, have a look at the GitSwarm over

Today Perforce launched Helix GitSwarm built on top of GitLab. GitSwarm combines Perforce and GitLab to enable easy project and team management while allowing developers to collaboratively code using their preferred version control system, Git.

We’re happy that Perforce chose GitLab to help their customers create, code, and deploy together. To learn more, have a look at the GitSwarm overview.

pluto.models/1.4.0, feed.parser/1.0.0, feed.filter/1.1.1 - Ruby/2.0.0 (2014-11-13/x86_64-linux) on Rails/4.2.0 (production)