Learning Module Development Begins.

on February 14th, 2008 | File Under creloaded, oscuni -

by David Graham.

Well, after a bit of research
yesterday, and some maintenance on my exeLearning editor, I began
today to build the Fundamentals of eCommerce course.

While it is not yet complete, I have uploaded my efforts so far to
the site, and will continue to update the package as I work.
Wikipedia is featured heavily at the moment, but other pertinent
sites will be included as well. This in addition to my own articles
and excerpts from Inside CRE Loaded: Volume 1 (ICL1).

Its been awhile since I prepared training materials, and as the
best tool for the job at the time was an NROFF compatible text
formatter on my OS-9 (Microware – not that Apple rip-off!) it has
taken some time to get used to EXE. I highly recommend it to anyone
considering building training materials though. The use of
“iDevices” (Instructional Devices) makes sense, and helps structure
the development task nicely.

I also worked a bit with Wink 2.0. This freely available FLASH
tutorial development tool is definitely going to see a workout over
the coming months. Building the installation and usage tutorials
for osCommerce 2.2 RC1, Zen Cart, osC Max and CRE Loaded will be a
bit time consuming, but I’m looking forward to the job with such a
straightforward piece of software. I plan to make some of these
tools available for osC family hosting firms to use in customer
support as soon as they are ready….

Another interesting project in progress is the Doxygenation of CRE
Loaded. The RCI class is documented, though I am still working on a
good method of developing an index of call points. Other functions
and classes will follow soon, and this cross referenced document
will be posted in our resource center.

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Flash Tutorial development in progress.

on February 14th, 2008 | File Under creloaded, osC Max, osCommerce, oscuni, Zen Cart -

by David Graham.

Well, it has been awhile since I posted here, and a progress report is way
overdue, so here goes.

First, I’ve completed our first FLASH tutorial on CRE Loaded. This
movie covers installation, and will be followed within a week on
equivalent material covering osC Max (60% done), Zen Cart and
osCommerce (each about 10% complete).

WINK has been a real blessing. This free Open Source Flash tutorial
creator (found at http://debugmode.com) manages screen captures in
a variety of ways which make capturing tutorials a relatively quick
and easy task. Additional tasks such as affects for video markup
are a bit more involved, but the package is definitely well worth
investigation!

I have a pretty good sized number of tutorials to create before I
can launch a full course, but I expect to be able to move more
quickly as I get the first dozen or so created.

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Installation Tutorials near completion.

on February 14th, 2008 | File Under creloaded, osC Max, osCommerce, oscuni, Zen Cart -

by David Graham.

Well, more progress!

General Note:

Its been a difficult few weeks, hardware issues having slowed work
down tremendously. I had to replace my hard drive, and reinstall
the operating system. Fortunately, my data was stored on a separate
drive and I’ve lost very little other than time.

Tutorial Preparation:

Zen Cart installation remains a problem, and work there is stalled
at the moment, though recent server changes at
hosting-4-creloaded.com may resolve this situation and allow
resumption of development. Tutorials on the remaining distribution
have been put into Flash form and posted for review by gracious
members of the CRE Loaded Beta team, and the users of the osC Max
forums. Feedback so far has been good, particularly from the osC
Max community – Thanks!

Course Development.

Development of Moodle courses has resumed. The CRE Loaded rough
draft is now sufficiently advanced to be used, and has been posted
as our first complete course module. It is complete in that at
least each topic tells a complete story. I will be adding more
resources to them and fleshing this out. But it works as a course
as it stands, including lessons, quizzes and a final exam. The work
on this course provides an excellent springboard for osCommerce
standard and osC Max development which I expect to have complete
within a week. Once the Zen Cart installation issues are resolved,
that course also can be finished expeditiously. Next up on course
offerings will be store configuration.

I’ve conducted a review of our offerings and noticed the following.
In evaluating the eCommerce fundamentals course, it is apparent I’m
going to need to break it down into smaller chunks to make it
easier to manage. It is just TOO unwieldy.

The installation courses will need more resources. In particular
I’ve choses to cover FTP related issues usually uncovered by a
community which focuses on how to use a client program, and left
client program usage uncovered. I’ll put more resources there, and
add test questions to make sure the student can use one. This can
be better addressed as I break out parts of the eCommerce
fundamentals course into modules.

The University Book Store

Development of content on the “http://www.oscommerceuniversity.com” title=”University Book Store”
target=”_blank”>University Book Store continues, and we are now
able to dispense with the categories box, and use the page box as a
Site Directory. This should improve traffic flow downward in the
site. Next up is work on better connections from the school to the
store. As we start building commercial courses this will be
important.

Also coming up in content development will be more material related
to supporting programs and books. Pithy Productions, Inc. offerings
will be documented, including sales links as several of their books
will be used in upcoming courses. Magnetic One products will be
included, as well. I plan to feature them in several courses, as
use of desktop tools to manage a store is becoming a highly valued
option in some parts of the community. The third focus of content
development will be extending the FAQ system to provide more
coverage of CRE Loaded, and initial coverage of osCommerce, osC Max
and Zen Cart.

We also have some potential for multilingual development coming up.
Arrangements are in progress for generating French language
translations of course materials and multimedia publications.

So, while I’ve not written much in the past month, its certainly
been a busy one, and osCommerce University continues to grow. I’m
pretty excited about getting course material live and starting
educational activities. Hope to hear some feedback from students
and see more posting in our forums soon!

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Inside CRE Loaded Revisons Done!

on February 14th, 2008 | File Under creloaded, oscuni -

by David Graham.

Well, finally got Inside CRE Loaded revisions done. The eBook is compiled and
deployed. I’m happy to see that done, as we were able to include a
great deal of new content which brings the book much closer to what
I had originally envisioned.

The new revision contains more “How-To” content, adding process
summaries after the informational material and bringing the book
much closer to being exactly the text book we’ll need going
forward. We changed the title slightly, it is now “Inside CRE
Loaded: Volume 1 – Essential Blueprints”, and has been issued an
ISBN number. This brings us much closer to preparing a paperback
title which will make the material available more easily to Mac,
Linux and Asian PC users.

Product Keys is complete as well, and is likely to see sales on
other sites. While I really don’t want to focus on software
development, it is definitely essential at this point that the
university create as many sales as it can from software we have to
develop for in house use. Fortunately, this seems to be mostly
complete with RSS feed management being the remaining task to
tackle.

I plan to manage this with a merger of some general XML/RSS
generation code into the Import/Export module system so that others
can pick that up and build a good replacement for Easy Populate.
This should be cross platform stuff eventually running on
osCommerce, and osC Max at least.

The RSS Feed project is already generating instructional material
for future coding classes. As part of building the separate page
system I wanted for this content, I generated a page template set.
This consists of two files, a root file and a content template
file. These will be used in generating the Flash content I will use
along with Inside CRE Loaded to build the basic coding
courses.

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Site Maintenance and updates..

on February 14th, 2008 | File Under creloaded, oscuni -

Well, I took time this morning to do some rather overdue site updates.

After the recent CRE Loaded SQL Injection vulnerability report, the store was
updated pretty quickly. In the process, I noticed some omissions
in maintaining the store front in synch with the Moodle contents.
The new osCommerce installation course was not present, nor was
our new Cafe Press shop. Those are now linked.

RSS feeds are coming to the front page soon as well – with this
blog being fed to a mainpage module in order to improve
visibility and content density. This should help get more news to
more people..

There are some issues yet in CRE Loaded’s Content Director
System. Top level URL overrides don’t function as expected. This
has forced my link to this blog down to a secondary page.
Further, updates become a bit dicey if you don’t remember all the
original installation details. I’ll have to add this type thing
into the upcoming installation and upgrade checklist forms,
though that is a bit further down the timeline than the
templating tutorials…

I have continued to work on two templates over the past month or
so, as time between writing bouts allowed. The first one is a Web
2.0 “Amazon Style” template. This one has taken quite awhile
because it involves some Javascript, something I have not worked
with directly before. The process has been interesting, and I owe
Kiran a debt of gratitude for his help with the integration of
the floating menu script attached to the main navigation bar.
This project is a primarily commercial cooperative venture based
on the template at http://www.oscommerce-resources.com. We have a
bit of work left to do yet but the working code already includes
a few interesting points for those who follow template design for
CRE Loaded stores. The Javascript inclusion is moved mostly to
the bottom of the page. This should speed page rendering and
initial results tend to bear this out.

The second template will adorn osCommerce University – and form
the basis of a class in development of ATS templates. I’m hoping
also to have time to strip down the boxes.tpl.php classes, and
get some serious optimization on both of these packages – while
generating some useful Flash content and development tools as
part of the educational package.

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