WP e-Commerce to WooCommerce

There’s a pair of websites that I have looked after for a long time. They belong to a company that sells a few products, and have had quite a few sales over the years. This fall we’re doing some major renovations, and one of the things being changed is the underlying E-Commerce plugin for WordPress; we are changing from WP e-Commerce to WooCommerce. I expected that after installing WooCommerce it would offer to convert my WPeC store into a WooCommerce store. I was wrong. There was an official converter plugin but it was abandoned long ago.

Options to change a site from WP e-Commerce to WooCommerce

It looks like there are three ways to change a site from WP e-Commerce to WooCommerce:

  1. Use a commercial service like Cart2Cart. Cart2Cart looks great, but is made to move a store from one site to another, and I need an in-place conversion. They also charge per-migration, so if I want to migrate my localhost, modify the theme for WooCommerce, then migrate the live site, I’ll have to pay 1.5 times, (they give a 50% discount for re-migrating a site). With two sites my bill would have been around US$450, high enough for me to look at other, more complicated options.
  2. Create or update something like the old WooCommerce migration plugin.
  3. Manual Migration: This would involve a lot of SQL.

Cart2Cart looks ill-suited for my use-case, and expensive. Manual migration looks difficult, highly prone to errors, and not easily repeatable. This leaves creating or updating a migration utility. This migration script by Carl Hughes is bit newer than the WooCommerce one, promises to do more out of the box, and quick read-through doesn’t show anything too mysterious. It was my starting point.

Updating and Testing

It took three times as long as expected to update & test the migration plugin. Here’s what I learned, for anyone else that might be considering the same type of process:

  • This should go without saying, but this migration is destructive. If it fails the database will be in a strange state between WPeC and WooCommerce. Have a backup.
  • Since migrating from WPeC to WooCommerce changes the database, but only the database, (no media files are touched), a backup of the WordPress database is required. A lot of time will be spent reloading from the backup, so put it somewhere easy to get. Mine was on my desktop. Bonus points: a short bash script to reload the DB from the backup will save development time.
  • Make the backup be the exact state that the migration should run from. It is not efficient to disable a plugin in the WP Admin every time the database is reloaded.
  • Some plugins really slow down the migration. The most obvious ones are WP e-Commerce itself, and any Varnish caching plugin. If they are disabled the migration will run faster.
  • Each payment gateway, (plugin for a payment processor, in WPeC terminology), stores transaction data a little differently. I added the ability to port data from Authorize.Net credit card transactions, but separate routines need to be written for other processors.

Updated Migration Plugin

My fork of the migration plugin is up on Github, and a I sent a pull request to the original author so he can include my work if he wants. If you need to migrate from WP e-Commerce to WooCommerce hopefully this can help a bit. Read the readme. Migrating is harder than it should be, but it is possible.

Preview Laravel Password Reset and Verification E-mails in a Browser

I’m building something on Laravel, using the built-in Auth with 5.7’s new E-mail Verification feature. Today’s task was to tweak the design of E-mail notifications a bit, so I wanted to preview them in a browser. I thought it would be easy, but the built-in E-mails use the Notification system, bypassing Mailable objects. Some Googling didn’t help much, but combining the Notifications documentation and this forum post got let me preview the messages. Hopefully this post can help someone else preview their messages much more quickly than I did today.

The concept is similar to the “Previewing Mailables” documentation: define a route to view your preview on, and return something that will render the message. The trick is that the MailMessage objects that the Notifications’ toMail() methods return don’t have a render() method like Mailable class does, so we need to find something else. Since the built-in Auth uses Markdown mail we can use the Markdown class. A Notifiable object, (the User object for the user who will get the notification), and a Notification are also needed.

For this to work you need to have the right Notifications published to your resources/views/vendor directory. This is done with the Artisan command php artisan vendor:publish --tag=laravel-notifications.

And set up the preview routes:


Route::get('/reset-notification', function () {

    // Get a user for demo purposes
    $user = App\User::find(1);

    // Make a Reset Notification object, (subclass of `Notification`)
    $resetNotification = new \Illuminate\Auth\Notifications\ResetPassword( 'some-random-string-this-will-be-much-longer-in-real-life' );

    // get the `MailMessage` object
    $mailMessage = $resetNotification->toMail($user);

    // get the `Markdown` object
    $markdown = new Illuminate\Mail\Markdown(view(), config('mail.markdown'));

    // Render the vendor.notifications.email view with data from the `MailMessage` object
    return $markdown->render('vendor.notifications.email', $mailMessage->toArray());
});


Route::get( '/verify-notification', function () {

    // Get a user for demo purposes
    $user = App\User::find(1);

    // Make a Verify Notification object, (subclass of `Notification`)
    $verifyNotification = new Illuminate\Auth\Notifications\VerifyEmail();

    // get the `MailMessage` object
    $mailMessage = $verifyNotification->toMail($user);

    // get the `Markdown` object
    $markdown = new Illuminate\Mail\Markdown(view(), config('mail.markdown'));

    // Render the vendor.notifications.email view with data from the `MailMessage` object
    return $markdown->render('vendor.notifications.email', $mailMessage->toArray());
});

Once the Notification is published and the routes created it is possible to preview the Password Reset and E-mail Verification E-mails in the browser.