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Showing posts from 2008

Rapid Edit for the Yahoo! Store Editor

If you are like me, you spend most of your day editing pages in the Yahoo Store editor. And if you do that, you probably spend quite a bit of time navigating to pages and waiting for those pages to load in the editor before being able to edit them. All this waiting really drives me crazy so I kept thinking of ways to speed up my work while working in the editor. One shortcut I always use - if I know thet ID of the page I want to edit - is to erase the last part of the URL while in the editor, and enter the page's Id I want to edit with .html?dired=1 appended to it. For example, if I'm in the editor, and I want to edit the ind.html page, I'd look at the Address field of my browser:

http://ytimes.us-dc1-edit.store.yahoo.net/RT/NEWEDIT.ytimes/d695ff542abb/CD7fAAIJ (just an example)

erase CD7fAAIJ and add ind.html?dired=1 to it so it looks like:

http://ytimes.us-dc1-edit.store.yahoo.net/RT/NEWEDIT.ytimes/d695ff542abb/ind.html?dired=1

and hit Enter. This will take me to the edit fo…

Smaller is Better

You often hear the phrase "bigger is better". Sometimes it's true but not when it comes to JavaScript or CSS code in your Yahoo! Store pages. If you include JavaScript code or CSS either as linked files (the preferred method) or embedded inside your pages (obviously not preferred), making these files as small as possible should be your goal. Why? This is no rocket science: smaller files mean faster page loads = happy customers.

Ok, so what bloats JavaScript code? In general, white space (tabs, carriage returns, non-used spaces), comments, and the actual code, such as variable and function names.

You have control over all of these, however, if you don't use white spaces, carriage returns or comments, it will be immensely difficult to understand and modify your code. And not just for others, you too.

There are many commercial JavaScript compression tools around, but I've been using this handy and free utility: http://www.andrewkesper.com/jscrush/

This little utility ca…

Yahoo! Store Login Policy Update

With the July 30, 2008 Store Manager / Editor update a few shortcuts we came to love because useless overnight. For example:

- Rob Snell's Magic Edit button no longer works. There is an update on this at the Yahoo! Store forums.

- You cannot just type http://edit.store.yahoo.com/RT/NEWEDIT.yourstoreid into the address bar of the browser and go directly to the editor. Now, it will ALWAYS dump you into the Store Manager first.

- You cannot be logged into more than one store simultaneously.

The folks at Yahoo Small Business said these changes were necessary to tighten security. Ok, I buy that, and appreciate the fact that they are continuously looking for ways to make our stores more secures. My problem, though, is that I felt these changes seriously limited me in my daily work. Ok, I work with Yahoo Stores for a living, so maybe not everybody has 5-10 different stores open in different tabs all at the same time. But there are merchants who run multiple Yahoo Stores, and they are, too, a…

The importance of professional photography in e-commerce

The following is an excerpt from my conversation with Cathy Salamone of Direct Digital Photography. The use of imagery on any e-commerce web site can have far-reaching consequences. Read what the expert has to say about the subject.


How long have you been doing professional photography?

- Our Studio Opened in 1980 back then we went by the name "Studio A"- Since hen we have been providing photographic images for Advertising and Industry.

How did you get into digital photography?

- In 1994 we were approached by a cutting edge printing house offering ua partnership in their newest adventure "Digital Photography". We moved to their facility, changed our name tp "Direct Digital Photography" and entered into a brave new world. Back then no one had ever heard of digital photography-so it was a difficult sale. There were many challenges and being on he cutting edge was a bloody place but we paved the road and got an education about he new technology that very few …

Simple trick to speed up your Yahoo! Store pages

If your store uses images or other files stored in the "Files" library, there is an easy trick to improve the response time of those files - and make your pages load faster.

Typically you reference files from the library using this relative URL:

/lib/yourstoreid/filename

where you replace yourstoreid with the Yahoo account ID of your store. This is generally fine, because the Store is smart enough to expand this to the actual location of the file, which is at

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yourstoreid/filename

What I often see in stores is that the store operator enters things like this:

http://www.yourdomainname.com/lib/yourstoreid/filename

or

http://lib.store.yahoo.com/lib/yourstoreid/filename

What's wrong with that? Well, Yahoo! Store is still smart enough to find the correct file for you, but it doesn't come cheap. What happens is that the Yahoo! Store server does a redirect on these URLs so that they reference the file correctly from the lib.store.yahoo.net server. In a …

Catalog Request

You may have noticed that both the Catalog Request and Catalog Request Confirmation pages are now customizable through Checkout Manager. If you have already customized your Checkout Manager pages (or had someone customize them for you), and would like to have the same custom look applied to your Catalog Request and Catalog Request Confirmation forms, all you have to do is this:

Go into Checkout Manager, click Page Configuration and then look at how your Shipping, Billing, Review, etc. pages are set up; in particular, check if you have the Top Navigation and Left Navigation enabled.

Click over to the Catalog Request tab, and make sure you have the same settings next to Top Navigation and Left Navigation. Don't forget to hit Save or Save & Preview, otherwise your changes will be lost.

Click over to the Catalog Request Confirmation tab and there too, make sure you have the same settings next to Top Navigation and Left Navigation (so if those are enabled on your other checkout pages…

Yahoo! Cross-sell bug

In a recent release, Yahoo! made it possible to show cross-sells right on the product pages. Coupled with their auto-suggest feature (where products are automatically recommended based on past shopping history) this is a great conversion feature. There is, however, a minor bug in the way these on-page cross-sells are implemented. Here is the scoop:

As you may know, you can add the yahoo-generated cross-sells to your item pages by inserting <div id="ys_relatedItems"></div> anywhere in your pages' text or template. The bug occurs - in Internet Explorer only - if this ys_relatedItems div is the last child of its parent. In that case, and again, only in Internet Explorer, no cross-sell items will show up on the page.

In layman's terms, this means that if you have a closing tag after <div id="ys_relatedItems</div>, then this bug will cause your cross-sells not to show. So, for example, if you have a table and inside it the last element is your ys_r…

Choosing your image type is now possible

With a recent feature release, Yahoo! Store finally gave us the option to choose the format in which images are generated on the template-based store editor pages. Previously, unless you displayed an image unaltered (meaning in its original size, and without manipulating it with the RENDER or FUSE operator), the Yahoo! Store editor converted images into GIFs no matter what. What is wrong with that? Well, the GIF format, while small in file size, is best for graphics or clip art, and not for photographic images. The reason lies with the fact that GIF can only display up to 256 colors. With the new release, we can now choose among GIF, JPEG, or PNG.

JPEG is generally better for photos, but JPEG uses what is called a "lossy" compression - meaning that in order to reduce file size, the image is compressed by merging like pixels thereby reducing the image quality to varying degrees.

PNG is a relatively new format and is generally far superior to both GIF and JPEG. PNG uses "lo…