PayPal Digital Goods Subscriptions with PHP

Recurring Payments with Digital Goods for Express Checkout is the 8 word name PayPal chose for their most convenient subscription product. The verbose name is a good indicator of the API’s complexity.

It’s actually quite easy to integrate Digital Goods subscriptions. We send and receive a few HTTP requests and voilà, PayPal creates a subscription.

Unfortunately, the PayPal documentation is a labyrinth that never succinctly outlines the content and order of the HTTP requests required.

Nate, a PayPal staff member, helped map the labyrinth with this blog post. He didn’t cover subscriptions though, so this post will. You should read Nate’s post before continuing with this post.

3 Steps to Subscriptions

In a nutshell, the process for creating a subscription is like so:

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CSS Selectors for HTML5 Input Validation

If you are using the new HTML5 input types like input[type="email"] and input[type="url"], you will discover their automatic validation bubbles in Chrome. Soon after spotting them, you will likely want to change their style.

The good news is, Chrome makes selectors available as discussed on StackOverflow. The bad news is, well, there isn’t really bad news, it’s just a little fiddly & undocumented at the moment.

Not all the selectors outlined on StackOverflow worked for me. I found a page on that replaced the top-inner-arrow and top-out-arrow selectors with just an arrow selector. This worked a treat. I also found on that page an arrow-clipper selector for styling the area behind the top arrow.

The complete set of working CSS selectors I found are:

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Will OnSwipe Save Advertising?

JLB’s presentation at Demo Day makes my inner ad-nerd excited.

I love advertising. I don’t mean pop-ups, pop-unders, dog-ears, CPU chewing flash banners and all the other menacing forms it has taken in the last decade. I mean great creative campaigns. Old Spice is a popular example from recent times.

The last decade has given cause for concern with advertising’s future. AdWords, the dominant channel for online ads1, offers a medium perfect for search results but it lacks room for more creative campaigns. Sure, you can put up banners on the Google Content Network, but even Isaiah Mustafa would have suffocated in a 300 x 300px box.

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Startup Incubators: the Choice of a New Generation

In 2005, the hacker-saint Paul Graham and other luminaries launched Y Combinator. It was the tectonic shift that set off the incubator tsunami1.

Dozens, if not hundreds of incubators have since sprouted in cities around the world. The growth is partly due to the effectiveness of the model in creating successful companies, but I think its success stems from it being the perfect model for attracting the autonomy hungry Generation-Y.

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Two Reasons Tumblr is Upstaging

There was a discussion on WPCandy a few weeks ago asking if Tumblr was the new WordPress. Many commenters on the post tout Tumblr’s features, like post formats, as the key to its success. These are only a small part of the story.

In my opinion, WordPress is a better publishing platform. But, the only flavour of WordPress comparable to Tumblr, is missing two of Tumblr’s winning design decisions: publishing from other apps & reading from within the app.

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Will Apple buy Facebook? Or even Google?

Ridiculous right?

But with $65 billion in cash, such ridiculousness is becoming a real possibility.

The NYT notes:

acquisition of Facebook remained a remote possibility. … Facebook, which recently raised $1.5 billion in a financing round led by Goldman Sachs at a $50 billion valuation, continues to trade higher on the secondary markets, with recent trades putting its valuation north of $70 billion.

And as GigaOm points out: 

Apple’s cash pile represents about half of Google’s total enterprise value.

Cash-on-hand for Apple represents a greater worth than Nokia, RIM and Motorola Mobility’s market caps combined.

Apple have always bet on the future, so buying an incumbent tech giant doesn’t strike me as an Apple strategy. But perhaps buying a fellow superpower is remarkable enough in its own right to do it none-the-less.

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