BigCommerce Bulk Coupon Code Importer

A buddy of mine has an eCommerce storefront through BigCommerce, a hosted eCommerce solution. He was looking to run a Gilt City promotion, so he would have to import ~150 coupon codes into BigCommerce.

My friend spent some time looking around for an import codes feature and I would have assumed that a solution like BigCommerce would support a CSV import for coupon codes as well. However, we Googl’ed around a bit and it turns out BigCommerce does not support CSV imports for coupon codes. We stumbled upon this discussion on the BigCommerce forums discussing this shortcoming at length.

On the forum thread, someone had previously developed an iMacros script to automate importing the codes. Unfortunately, I tried using the iMacros script without any success. It looks like BigCommerce has updated the HTML on the page which is breaking the script. Anyway, looking at the iMacro and the opaque syntax I decided it would be easier to whip together a Chrome extension to automate creating coupon codes so decided to move forward with that.

Chrome extensions naturally lend themselves to automating things like this since it’s pretty straightforward to use the background page to maintain any state and hold variables and then use a content script to manipulate the DOM of the page and submit any forms that you need to.

You can grab the extension here Importer.crx you’ll obviously need to be running Google Chrome for it to work.

Also, fork it at

What it does is add a “Bulk Import” button to the “Coupon Codes” page on your BigCommerce site – http://[yourstore]

If you click that button, a copy of the “add code” form will be displayed along with a textbox. You’ll just need to fill out the form, enter a list of coupon codes you want to create – one per line, and then click “Start Import”.

Your browser will automatically go through and create all your coupon codes. Thats it!

As always, let me know if you run into any issues or have any comments.

Internet Explorer Extension Quickstart and Skeleton

Recently, one of our clients was looking to build a prototype/proof of concept browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. We were basically looking to inject a script, run it in user space, and modify some of the page’s DOM – like a trimmed down Greasemonkey script.

Doing this in Chrome and Firefox is pretty straightforward since the extensions are built Javascript, this is actually how I built the prototype extensions. Unsurprisingly, the “odd man out” is Internet Explorer, this is my first time looking into writing an IE extension and the experience was pretty jarring so hopefully this synopsis can save you some time and frustration.

The first sign of trouble was that there doesn’t seem to be an official Microsoft guide on writing IE extensions. There’s just a bunch of ad-hoc tutorials, some MSDN articles, and then code samples built against every possible combination of language and library.

As it turns out, Internet Explorer has actually supported extensions since IE5 using a technology called Browser Help Objects and continues to support them via BHOs through IE9. In contrast to Chrome and Firefox’s Javascript based extensions, a BHO is a Windows DLL and consequently must be written and compiled using your choice of a Win32 compatible programming language. Given this and from the discussions I saw, the most popular choice seems to be to use C++/ATL to create a COM DLL. Being that I’m deathly afraid of C++ and that this approach was described as “COM DLL hell” I decided to see what else was possible.

After a bit more poking around I found out that it’s possible to use C# and .NET’s Interop libraries to scaffold enough to get the DLL loading into IE. This Code Project article walks through the process but it has several typos and the download containing the files seems to have gone missing. I fixed the typos and built it successfully – you can grab the files from GitHub here.

From my extremely rough understanding of C#, what the code does is create an interface from C# managed code to the unmanaged COM code that IE uses to communicate with extensions. Then, the code registers an event handler to be called once the DOM has finished rendering.

In order to actually build the project, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Install a copy of Visual Studio – I used VS Express 2010 which is free.
  • You’ll then need to import my VS project and build your DLL. If it complains about references to SHDocVw or IHTMLDocument2 you’ll just need to make sure that references to the two DLLs in Greyhound/ exist in your VS project.
  • Once the DLL is built, you’ll need to register it with RegAsm – this is a bit tricky since you need to use the correct version of RegAsm available on your system. This article explains where it should be located. Once you locate it, run the following:
C:\[path to your .NET library]\RegAsm.exe /codebase bin\Release\Greyhound.dll

Thats it. Now start Internet Explorer and once the DOM on a page finishes loading you should see an alert box being generated via Javascript that your DLL is injecting.

The magic is all happening in the following function:

public void OnDocumentComplete(object pDisp, ref object URL)
   IHTMLDocument2 doc = (IHTMLDocument2)webBrowser.Document;
   doc.parentWindow.execScript("var d=window.document,s=d.createElement('script'),h=d.getElementsByTagName('body')[0];s.src='';h.appendChild(s);");

You’ll just need to edit that script tag to load your own Javascript.

Anyway, pretty gnarly stuff. It’s also extremely frightening that IE extensions are basically full fledged programs that have full reign over your entire system. No sandboxed, no permission limitations, just a fully integrated program that people “casually” download off the Internet.

UPDATED: New Facebook Phonebook Script

I realized this morning that Anonymous Coward’s Facebook Phonebook Greasemonkey script broke awhile back so I decided to rewrite it from scratch.

The original instructions for how to install the script are available here.

I updated the original Userscripts page with the new script so you can download it here.

Once again, this probably breaks your Facebook TOS so I can’t vouch for the safety of your account if you do decide to do this.

QR Bookmarklet

I got tired of having to find the same website (mostly recipes) on my phone after looking at them on my workstation or laptop so I decided to whip together a bookmarklet to throw a Google powered QR code on any page.

The bookmarklet will just slap a QR code image with the current page’s URL (window.location) so that you can open the page on your phone. ps. Barcode Scanner for Android will automatically open the URL in a browser.

Without further ado, QR Code Bookmarklet

Use Greasemonkey to extract your Facebook Phonebook

7/19/2010 UPDATE: There is a BRAND NEW version of the script available on Userscripts here.
10/12/2009 UPDATE: Added fixes from Marcel Chastain
UPDATE: It looks like the version that got uploaded was missing a * in the trigger URL! That might be the issue everyone is having.
UPDATE: Video of the process: fbimport

Facebook’s API + FBConnect is great but it has some severe limitations. Notably, it doesn’t expose all the functionality available on the Facebook  site. Tonight in particular, I wanted to be able to copy a dump of my friends’ names and phone numbers off the site to load into a fresh cell phone. Unfortunately, looking at the API this isn’t possible.

Never fear – Greasemonkey provides enough of a hook into Firefox that it would be possible to write a UserScript to accomplish this

Continuing beyond this point is probably against the Facebook TOS and will probably severely void your warranty.

You have been warned.

The following describes how to use this userscript to extract your Facebook “Phonebook”. It produces of a CSV of your friends’ names and phone numbers. Fair warning – this is a rough prototype and does almost no error handling. Also, since the “Phone” field is a free text field I can’t promise people will have formatted their numbers in any sane fashion. But either way it’s a good start to revering lost numbers.

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So here is what you need to do to use the script:

1. Install Greasemonkey –

2. Follow these instructions to install the script –

Edit: The script is also on Userscripts at

3. Navigate over to (You’ll have to login)

4. Answer yes to the prompt and sit back – the script will move through your phonebook and eventually dump you a CSV of the results.

5. Copy/Paste the CSV wherever you want.

6. Un-install the Greasemonkey script.

So that’s it, one less walled garden to worry about. And hopefully one less “I lost my cellphone!” event/group on facebook!

The script:

Facebook Phonebook Exporter