Archive for 2012

Video Production – Remy Martin Jamaica Experience

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by
video production


Video Production - Remy Martin Jamaica Experience

The Hara Partners video production crew teamed up with Remy Martin to film a video exclusive of the Remy Martin Jamaican Experience.

The crew spent a week filming over 40 prize-winners and their guests celebrating at Sandals Grande Riviera and Villa Golf Resort, where they were treated to a Sean Paul concert, top-shelf cognac, and breathtaking scenery courtesy of Remy Martin.

In keeping with the spirit of the gathering, the Hara film crew brought the grandeur of the Jamaican landscape to the forefront. Prize-winners’ crackling excitement comes through in live shots against a backdrop of lush vegetation and idyllic Caribbean waters.

The video is packed with plenty of behind-the-scenes elements, including backstage access and interviews. Sean Paul himself shows up, humble and down-to-earth, as always.

Hara’s creative team was commissioned to create a video for Remy Martin’s Facebook social media campaign that truly conveys the scope of these events.

The creative and technical video production team carried the theme from concept to videography, then on to production and editing.

Take a look and immerse yourself in the moment.


Upgrading from Magento Community to Enterprise

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by

Many businesses are drawn to Magento because of its flexibility and ability to support a wide range of business needs. And Magento is the perfect platform for growth, as evidenced by increasing ranks of businesses under the Magento flag. Magento comes in a free Community Edition (CE) as well in a more sophisticated and scalable Enterprise Edition (EE).

Here’s what to consider when upgrading from Magento Community to Enterprise. Read on for a breakdown of the upgrade process, including important considerations you’ll have to address at each stage.


Magento Community to Enterprise: Step by Step


Evaluate all functionality and modules


The version of CE you’re using will affect your approach to upgrading. If you have version 1.5.0 or earlier, there is more work involved, beginning with version 1.5.1, Magento released architectural updates for CE that alleviate these difficulties somewhat. Unfortunately it is still a somewhat involved multi-step process.

First you should identify and record all extensions or plug-ins operating in your platform. Compare their functions with what Magento Enterprise provides. Magento Enterprise functionality is in general more stable and tested. Elements like coupons, promotions, and loyalty points can all be easily implemented post-upgrade. Keep in mind that you’ll need to migrate any corresponding data to the new format, so don’t ditch extensions outright without a way to preserve this information.

We do offer an in-depth module analysis that will explain to you all functionalities and our project managers will help you choose the right modules to support your business.

Of course, there are plenty of EE extensions available should you need them, many of which duplicate CE extension functionality not covered already by Magento out-of-the-box. You may have to purchase a different version or license key for full compatibility. Contact the extension provider if you have questions on how to upgrade extensions. In the rare case where an extension isn’t replicated in EE, budget and plan for code adjustments or a custom-built logic set. Also, decide whether you’d like to keep your current theme or install a new one. Chances are it will migrate as well, but back it up anyway.


Inspect all Magento core files


You need to know how and where changes were made to your core Magento files, as these aren’t upgrade-safe and it’s highly likely that an upgrade will overwrite most or all of them.

Hara Partners offfers the Magento Health Check to analyze your Magento code base.

It is crucial to backup all files used to integrate Magento to other systems, as these will be important points of verification as the process continues. Integrations are usually upgrade-safe, but it’s wise to backup all files just in case.


Staging and Testing


Do not perform any complex work such as an upgrade on your live website.

Your live website should not be touched until you have a working upgraded site. Even better is to have two sites run in parallel in case you need to pull the plug and go back for whatever reason.




An upgrade should follow a planned process, making sure to account for all core files and extensions.

We recommend not to add too many new functionality or features right off the bat—instead focus on launching a stable upgraded site as-is. Be patient and acquaint yourself with EE’s flexibility. Once the site is running, you’ll have plenty of time to explore all the new tools and learn which work best for you. Again, stability is key; with a solid, operable production platform at your disposal, you’ll be able to plan for new features accordingly in the new architecture.


Testing and Revisions


In many ways, this is the most crucial step. You’re now officially on the Magento Enterprise  platform, but you still need to validate the entire upgraded development site before it becomes your production site. All the details matter here; you must be positive that the site operates and interacts in a substantially similar manner to your previous instance.

Test the integration interfaces once again, paying particular attention to transaction behavior. Go through the extensions one by one and check that revised functionality based on EE out-of-the-box performs as expected. Allot time to test front-end functionality, identifying areas with special cache logic to integrate with Full Page Cache placeholders and cache lifetimes.


Prepare for Go Live


You have two options when converting your production site to EE:

Schedule minor downtime, with a “site down for maintenance” page ready to go, or cut over to a parallel EE production site, complete with upgraded software. This may leave a few orders behind in the old site, so plan to migrate that data or address them on the old site before terminating it.

Be aware that any DNS changes pointing to a new host may take up to 24 hours to become fully effective everywhere; to mitigate this, reduce Time to Live settings on your DNS entries to the lowest possible value three or four days ahead of time. Even with these precautions, expect some traffic to still route to your old IP address for a few days unless your firewall or network configuration can route to the new host internally.

No matter which option you choose, make the production move at the beginning of a low-traffic period. This doesn’t necessarily mean weekends—do a little research and pinpoint the ideal transfer period. Inform all support, administrative, and customer service personnel ahead of time so they are prepared to handle a spike in call volume or customer inquiries.


Post-Upgrade, Pre-Launch Support


Of course, Murphy’s law inevitably plays a role in any large-scale endeavor. There will be problems you couldn’t anticipate during and just after the launch. To combat this, your support staff may need to put in extra time during off-hours periods. For at least a week, your entire office should be prepared for unpredictable customer behavior or bursts of activity. It’s just part of the process of moving from Magento community to enterprise, and it won’t last forever. Once the first week or so is over, you’ll see comfortable patterns reemerging, and then you can begin to think about further features or functionality to explore.


[adapted from this article on]

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 by

Happy Thanksgiving from Hara Partners

We at Hara Partners would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Thanks to all of you, we have established and furthered great relationships across a variety of industries.

We are also grateful for our team for consistently delivering outstanding e-commerce solutions with professionalism and aplomb. We’re proud to expand the Magento community with creative, successful online business platforms.

Warm Regards,

Mai Erne, CEO


Magento Developer Class in L.A. – December 10-14, 2012

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 by

Magento Developer Class in L.A.

We are excited to announce that another Fundamentals of Magento Development course is coming up soon:

What: Fundamentals of Magento Development

When: December 10 – 14, 2012

Duration: 5 days Classroom

 Where: Culver City, CA, at the Magento headquarters

Who should attend: Any Magento developer who wants to dive deeper into the Magento platform and learn about the basic concepts and architecture. 1-2 years of object oriented programming experience is recommended.

Format: Instructor-led, Physical Classroom

 Price: $3,850.00 per student

This class is a great opportunity to have your developers trained in the architecture, terminology, and core functionality of Magento. The class teaches the essential development skills for implementing and customizing solutions on the Magento platform with 40+ hours of hands-on training. Additionally, your developers will have the opportunity to engage with our Magento U instructor and other students.

Course Outline

Day 1: Basics

  • General OOP and MVC concepts
  • Event-driven architecture
  • Magento module-based architecture
  • Magento directory structure/naming conventions/code pools/namespaces/module structure
  • Configuration XML
  • Factory and functional class groups
  • Class overrides
  • Event observer Page 6 v.021811
  • Request Flow
  • Application initialization
  • Front controller
  • URL rewrites
  • Request routing
  • Modules initialization
  • Design and layout initialization
  • Structure of block templates
  • Flushing data (output)

Day 2: Rendering

  • Template structure
  • Blocks
  • Design layout SML schema, CMS content directives

Day 3: Working with Database in Magento

  • Models resource and collections
  • Magento Object Relational Mapping
  • Write, install and upgrade scripts using set up resources

Day 4: Entity-Attribute-Value model

  • Model concepts
  • EAV entity
  • Load and Save
  • Attributes management

Day 5: AdminHTML

  • Common structure/architecture
  • Form and Grid Widgets
  • System configuration XML and configuration scope
  • ACL (permissions)
  • Enabling and configuring extensions

Learning Objectives
Students will leave the course understanding the Magento architecture, MVC and data models, how to work with Magento modules, and how to customize and extend Magento to ensure the best upgrade path for the websites they extend. Specifically, they will:

  • Understand basic Magento structure
  • Be familiar with terminology and core functionality
  • Be able to perform basic functions such as:
    • Set up new modules
    • Create new table in the database
    • Write an upgrade script
    • Set up new configuration variables
  • Be familiar with basic Magento customization techniques such as:
    • Overriding classes
    • Using observers
    • Creating custom controllers
    • Overriding controller/action
    • Basic operations with layouts
    • Basic skinning operations

Cuddl Duds and Fashion Delivers provide Hurricane Sandy relief

Friday, November 9th, 2012 by

cuddl duds

Cuddl Duds

We’d like to promote the humanitarian efforts of one our premier clients, Cuddl Duds. They’re teaming up with Fashion Delivers to donate 12,000 items of women’s clothing to Hurricane Sandy victims. Their layered garments will provide warmth, safety, and comfort as ongoing relief organizations struggle to cope with the aftermath and colder weather. We’re proud to contribute design elements in the interest of bringing this worthy cause to the public’s attention. Through the strength of our collaboration, timely aid can be delivered to those who need it most.

Additional donations of clothing and home goods, as well as monetary support, are welcomed at Fashion Delivers. You can get involved and contribute here.

About Cuddl Duds: Cuddl Duds, a Komar Layering brand, specializes in smart layering products for women that are both functional and stylish. Their collections are designed with varying climates and preferences in mind, offering a variety or colors and prints available in classic styles, including v-necks, crew necks, turtlenecks, hoodies, leggings, and more.

About Fashion Delivers: Fashion Delivers battles the effects of poverty and national disaster by supporting hundreds of community-based social service agencies throughout the U.S. and around the world. They work with adult apparel and home fashions industries, collecting donations of new products to help individuals and families in need and liaising with a broad network of nonprofit agencies to quickly distribute items. Read more about their agency partners.