Handling clients: My goodbye email to a client

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In 2011 I, was trying to establish my own business and to build my own company (Cecko’s Lab). I was taking baby steps and I was really bad at handling certain business situations. The “developer me” dominated the “entrepreneur me” and I cared more about to deliver “the best code ever”, but I was overlooking something very important – building / finding healthy business relationships.

In 2011, I convinced that I could handle situations if I could write quality code and at the same time handle continuous communication with clients. Well, when I look back I see that I had overestimated my capabilities. I lacked the maturity that I have now but when I look at the email archives I actually feel very happy how I’ve handled some clients.

Below I will share the “goodbye letter” that I sent to one of my first serious clients. The payments from this client were really good but I couldn’t handle the communication with him and he was a bit too much controlling for me. I tried to maintain strong business boundaries but after 1-2 weeks he found a way to violate them. After 3 months of working with him, I had a good amount of money but I was totally exhausted, and this was affecting my personal life, so I had to put an end to it!

I wanted to do it in professional way, so I read blog posts about “How to say goodbye to a client?”. What I understood was that I should be direct and point the most significant reasons why I wanted to stop working with particular client, to suggest how he or she could improve and if we were separating on good terms, then suggest somebody who could replace me.
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Magento: Add column index from upgrade scrip

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During the last few weeks I’ve been having a lot of fun with my current project. Recently I had to invent SQL queries in order to fetch data from the database. “At the end of the day” I had a nice looking-query but it was really slow. The query was taking around 1.2 sec to execute but it was really simple and had to be executed in a production environment every 30 minutes. By our standards, we couldn’t allow such a slow query on a Magento production shop. In addition, I will say that the query was executed on a table where we had many insert and update queries while the customer was interacting with the Magento frontend.

After a short investigation I found out that adding and index to a column that I was using in the where clause reduced execution time from 1.2 sec to 0.02 sec. The good news was that the table to which I wanted to add the index was part of our own module (not part of a core or community module) and I had the freedom to add this index without doing any “harm”.
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Magento: Free shipping for registered customers in combination with OneStepCheckout

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In my last project, I had to deal with the following task: All registered customers and all guest customers who tick the “Create an account for later use” option on the checkout page to get free shipping in combination with the OneStepCheckout extension of Magento. This was the first time I had to manage a task of the kind, and in situations like this, I first decided to ask Google for help.

And I came across this page: Free shipping only for registered users where Srdjan Bajic had provided a solution. As I mentioned at the start, this should work with OneStepCheckout and now I am going to show you how I implemented it in OneStepCheckout.
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PDF Font embedding problem in Magento / Zend Framework

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Have you ever had problems with custom fonts embedding, while trying to generate PDF ducoments in Magento or using Zend Framework. May be I found solution for you, If you get next error message:

This font cannot be embedded in the PDF document. If you would like to use it anyway, you must pass Zend_Pdf_Font::EMBED_SUPPRESS_EMBED_EXCEPTION in the $options parameter of the font constructor.

As a result of my research I decided, that the problem comes from Zend Framework core and seems, that it doesn’t recognize correctly if your custom font can be embedded if has some embedding permissions.

What I mean, when say embedding permissions:

  • Licensed for print and preview embedding
  • Licensed for editable embedding
  • Licensed for modification

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1 year Cecko’s Lab

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Really busy 3 weeks for me. I had no day off, even in the weekend I worked hard, some sleepless nights, but found time to prepare something for the 1 – st birth day of domain name ceckoslab.com ( That’s the way to enjoy Palma de Mallorca ) 😛

Let me summarize what happened in the past year:

Evolution:

Thanks to @tomislavbilic who reminded me, that I don’t have favicon.
@ceckoslab has faviconless website :) ;P
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Magento: Translate untranslatable labels in admin area

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During the last 3 weeks I’ve had to write a couple of modules that work in the Magento admin section. From here, I got the idea to write a series of short articles about the things I learned during this period.

Quick Overview

I’ll begin with an article that describes one way of translating the labels of some of the form fields in the admin section, which are generally not subject to translation from a CSV file or the Magento inline translation system. I decided to pack my idea into a module that, if you want, you can download and use for your own purposes.

Download: CeckosLab_UntranslatableAdmin

I found another approach, that solves the same problem. You can check it on Inchoo.net blog and the articles is written by Ivan Galambos: How to translate form labels in Magento’s Admin Area …. check it, because it is possible this approach to be more useful for your needs 😉

Personally, when working in the admin section, I prefer to have the interface translated into the default language, i.e. English. My client, however, said he’d like the interface translated into his own language.
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Magento Developers Paradise 2010 and Me

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This article discusses the experiences, impressions and conclusions of the Magento Developer Conference held between October 10th – October 12th in Palma de Mallorca.

MDP 2010 – My viewpoint

It’s been several months after the Conference but I can say that I am still enthusiastic and still keep the positive spirit of the event.

Personally, I value MDP 2010 more as a social than as a professional experience. In fact, one of the reasons why I attended the conference was sheer curiosity – to see the community, all gathered at the same place. I wanted to prove to myself that behind the nicknames and the forum threads there were real people. It was a pleasant surprise to meet the people thanks to whose articles I made my first steps in the field of Magento.

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Is Magento for you?

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This article draws on my own impressions. The conclusions in it are the result of decisions I have made, which could be interpreted to mean that it is a subjective article. Please read carefully and take everything for what it is worth; this, after all, is my own opinion. I would hate to kill someone’s hopes. If you feel you have any criticism about what’s said in here, please send me your comments.

I was provoked by the fact that there are companies, which recommend Magento to their clients without realizing the need to know the architecture and capabilities of the system in advance. It also seems like Magento have made quite an impressive marketing campaign and the owners of online stores have gone crazy about the platform. I’ve noticed that some of the owners of online stores choose Magento as a platform with no preliminary examination of the system; they’ve simply heard somewhere that it’s great!
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Magento: Sucks Test – An exercise for optimists!

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This article does not claim that Magento is no good, in fact it works perfectly for me, but I just wouldn’t use it for every project I am doing. The choice of an e-commerce platform is serious business and you should have already examined a couple of platforms before you can say which one is the best for you.

I recommend you to read Is Magento for you? too.

A Magento Story

A while ago, I had a discussion with Stefan (one of my colleagues at the office) regarding the platform to choose in order to start a project. One of the questions was whether Magento would do the job.

I sketched the possibilities Magento gave and we decided to run a few tests the next day.
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