You can learn more in one month on TutsPlus than in 4 years at Uni if you do it right. If your goal is skills and knowledge, then choose TutsPlus.
Qualification: I have an information science degree from Penn State Uni, and studied at UNSW in Sydney. No client has ever asked about my degree. I take 2-3 courses on TutsPlus every month for fun.
On the flip side…
Not every author’s business model is pumping out new items. I prefer to support and enhance one lean and powerful item. Just one — and it’s an all-time best seller in its category.
The age of an item has no bearing on its freshness or applicability, nor do recency or frequency of updates. The only valid measure is quality and that is subjective. Old items can stay popular because they’re continually reinvented and improved.
Promoting new items for “newnesses” sake isn’t a worthy cause.
Creating a “popular new items” listing is also just delaying the issue. It won’t be long before people start complaining about how hard it is to get exposure there either. What Envato really needs is faceted navigation. For example:
“Category: WordPress” + “4 stars or higher” + “Is Responsive” + “Updated in last 6 months” + “Order by Sales”
Authors need to focus on items, and not on the 24 hours of home page exposure. There are nearly 3 million items on the marketplaces. Envato cannot give you more than 15 minutes of fame. If your entire marketing strategy relies on that, you’re destined to fail.
Reality: getting more than 24-48 hours of home page visibility is a thing of the past.
The marketplaces have grown and authors need to develop alternative strategies to market their goods. Relying on home page exposure alone is a lazy and not going to cut it. The impetus is on you.
@ bensmithett — Thanks for the update, dropping the modals is already a 2000% improvement for mobile devices.
I agree with #2 and #3, but not with #1.
Free customizations don’t help anyone in the long run. If you deserve to be compensated, get compensated. Buyers need services, they should pay for services. They have no problem doing this for plumbers, electricians, hair dressers, and doctors. Why not developers?
The key is setting expectations. In my item documentation I make it very clear what is support, what is consulting, and I have a 5 star rating. That’s the result of being fair with people and valuing your time by charging for it.
It’s your rating to lose otherwise.
Don’t forget the iPod Touch is an extremely cheap way to get an iPhone for testing purposes (minus the phone).
You should not be using a lightbox on small screens at all. It’s the wrong design pattern: http://bradfrostweb.com/blog/post/conditional-lightbox/
Regarding testing, if you intend to actually design for mobile devices then you must own mobile devices. You can’t simulate the dexterity of an interface on a laptop. That’s not the answer you’re looking for but you’ll never produce designs for mobile to your potential without real devices to test.
CSS frameworks are good when you’re starting without markup, and you use them to define your application’s architecture.
Magento has a very particular way of doing things. It’s a bad idea trying to shoehorn a CSS framework on top of Magento because you’ll have to edit and maintain hundreds (literally hundreds) of template files just to get it applied universally. That’s all before you do any customization.
The key is not fighting the system, but working with it. You can build your own micro-framework by piggybacking on Magento’s frontend conventions (and being smart about where you deviate). Granted, those conventions aren’t documented anywhere so you have to learn them by working with the system (aka experience).
But if you’re looking for resources, you should consider these:
All three are worth the price. The more you invest the faster you’ll learn.
Another issue that’s been a long-time annoyance is after editing a comment the page is redirected to the item’s comment thread. This reverses the sort chronology and means I have to scroll way down to read my edits — or return the dashboard (which it should have done in the first place).
@ Justin French — Glad to hear Envato is reacting to this kind of feedback, but I do wonder why it took a 1000 word journal of how bad a single component actually is to incite action. I’ve individually raised these issues (some repeatedly) over the years to basically no response except from other authors. I shouldn’t need to bring all the pitchforks at once, but my takeaway is that approach works.
I don’t have a major issue with “Mark all as read” personally. For under 20 comments per day it’s pretty manageable, but over in WordPress-land some authors might be hating this if they’re getting 20 comments an hour. It’s very likely they’re unknowingly marking comments that appeared in the last few minutes as read (downside of using AJAX for form submission / editing).
Realistically the only fool-proof method is giving each item an “is archived” marker in the DB — just like email. Whenever a new comment is posted in that thread, it should reset to false.
It’s not enough to assume if a comment has been replied to that it should be archived. Sometimes you need to follow-up, and other times a comment needs no reply but should be archived. Archiving and replying need to be separate actions, and you should still be able to “archive all”.
@ bensmithett — Yes, I noticed this after updating to iOS 6.1 last week.
Here’s a wild idea: theme users pay for expert support themselves — as needed. Don’t have to involve the theme author at all. I’d refer tons of customers to that.