BigCommerce Is Great

I recently set up a new online store for some friends using the BigCommerce store hosting platform. I have to say: e-commerce (and web applications in general) has come a long way in the last decade. The previous platform and setup that my friends were using before was simply awful for both usability and aesthetically. It really was a shame because they make beautiful handcrafted soap and their store simply didn’t reflect their high quality product.

BigCommerce offered many features that were especially convenient for them to manage as store owners, such as a nice back-end management interface, lots of reports, plug-ins to several third-party systems (like Google Base and Facebook) and a great order fulfillment process flow. As a developer, I was fascinated by the API and started working on a little project to make buying postage a little easier (using Stamps.com’s API), but I was highly disappointed that the BigCommerce API is presently read-only. This is a tiny downside in the vast upside that is BigCommerce. Customers will get many shopping features that they frankly expect, such as seeing order status and history, wish lists, instant shipping and tax estimates, and coupons.

The serious competitor to BigCommerce is Shopify right now. Shopify’s API is better and their app store is highly enticing to me as a developer. I couldn’t recommend it to my friends, however. Shopify takes a percentage of each sale in addition to a monthly fee, and I can see how this will cost my friends and clients more over the next year. I intend to find some more local merchants and see if they’d like to let me help them upgrade their stores to BigCommerce. If you’ve found this post and you’d like my help or advice in setting up your store, please contact me.

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The Government Simulator

Last July, Scott Adams (cartoonist of Dilbert fame) decided to poll 500 economists to ask them which presidential candidate has the expert majority’s support, reasoning that the more experts that weigh in on a subject the more likely you are going to get the truth. (Updates here, here, here, and here so far, but no results yet.) Why stop there? Why not ask all of the experts in the world their collective opinion on what the ideal government would be like? One step further: replace all experts with detailed computer simulations that test all possible permutations of government and law, and then put the most ideal system into practice. It is as quixotic as Scott’s idea, and just as doomed. Continue reading

For Each URI In Blog(“barnabas.wordpress.com”)…

…URI.Host = “bkendall.biz”.

That is to say, I have moved all of my previous blog content about technology to my own domain, bkendall.biz. Generally speaking, the old link should work if you replace “barnabas.wordpress.com” with “bkendall.biz”. I appologize if you arrived here from an old link or search listing. Eventually I plan to use this blog for personal articles and whatnot.  It will take some time before the Intarweb forgets though…