PayPal IPN – Creating Listener Code to Process IPN Messages

You have finally decided IPN is the solution to your website application. You do not want to pay someone else to do it. It can not be that hard, can it? Where can you get some practical advice from people who have been there, done that. This article will answer these questions and help you decide if you are able to write that code. If you find it too complicated there are a few commercial products out there that will handle everything for you so do not lose heart if you find yourself stuck.

PayPal IPN

Instant Payment Notification is better known as PayPal IPN and is PayPal's interface for handling real time confirmation of purchases. A typical use for IPN is where you want to use the software to download.

PayPal provide 3 different types of account. Personal, Premier and Business. You will need Premier or Business to use IPN.

Listener

PayPal IPN messages are not synchronized with actions on your website. You detect IPN messages from PayPal with a piece of code known as a listener.

You specify the URL of your listener in your PayPal account's profile but you can override this for specific transactions when you setup a button or API operation. You can also temporarily turn off the sending of IPN messages, useful if your site is down for maintenance. They are still generated and stored until you switch sending back on again.

You must perform a number of checks on the IPN message received from PayPal.

  • Check the email address to make sure it is yours
  • Check that you have not already processed the transaction identified by the transaction ID
  • Make sure that the transaction's payment status is "completed"
  • Verify that the payment amount actually matches what you intend to charge

PayPal Sandbox

When you are developing your website you really do not want to be trying to get it working by experimenting on a real money system. Any early bugs in the system could leave security holes but even if you write perfect code it is best not to do your testing using real money.

PayPal provides what they call a sandbox, almost identical to the live PayPal system. You can setup fake customers with fake money and make as many test purchases as you want. The perfect system to fully test your web application.

There is a Sandbox Forum on the developer network. It's a great place for advice.

Testing your Listener

The Sandbox has an excellent IPN Simulator (under Test Tools) which lets you choose the transaction type, fill in all the parameter values ​​and send a test IPN to a specified address.

IPN History

PayPal provides an IPN history page under the My Account tab. Click on History to see it. It includes everything you want to know about each IPN message including the following Status values.

  • Sent: indicates that PayPal sent the message to your IPN listener
  • Failed: indicates that PayPal did not receive an acknowledgment to the message
  • Queued: indicates that PayPal is ready to send the message
  • Retrying: indicates that message was resent between 1 and 15 times and PayPal continues to be resend the message
  • Disabled: indicating that the message will not be resent because the merchant's account has been disabled

Conclusion

The best place to search for information is the PayPal Integration Center which has guides, code and links for everything to do with integrating your website with PayPal.

The one place you MUST visit is the PayPal IPN Forum on the developer website. As well as a constantly changing list of discussion topics about IPN, there are some good sticky posts about troubleshooting tips, IPN variables, template code etc.

PayPal IPN is a difficult subject but the combination of an excellent testing environment in the form of the sandbox and the good quality advice provided through the forums should make it possible for you to get your website application up and running.

Diabetes Weight Loss-Diet And Exercise

When people are diagnosed with Diabetes, their reactions range from, 'So what, another pill,' to, 'My life is over.' We're going to examine the serious complications of the disease, the available treatments and, most importantly, how you can personally reduce the complications and medicines through diet and exercise to lose weight. Since Type 1 Diabetes occurs in childhood, with medicine and diet control required for survival, the focus in this article will be on the more common disease, Type 2 Diabetes.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes? This is a disease where the body has been overfed with carbohydrates (carbs) for so long, it develops a weird kind of reaction to them. Insulin is a chemical your body makes, to turn carbs into energy in your cells, but, when you've been overdosing on carbs for a long time, your cells become resistant to the insulin and can not absorb the energy. Your cells begin starving even though there's more than enough carbs for energy. The carbs stack up in your body as blood sugar (glucose) and eventually get around your waist as fat, leading to obesity. The fat and starving cells make diabetics sluggish and tired, and almost continuously hungry. It's easy for Diabetics to develop food addictions because of this hunger. As we load up to satisfy our hunger, we send our blood sugar into a roller-coaster, where we risk stroke at high-sugar times and Diabetic coma at low-sugar times.

What Are The Diabetic Health Risks? Stroke and coma are just the 2 immediate extremes of Diabetes. When you add in the fact that Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure, a major cause of cardio-vascular diseases and a contributing factor in many cancers, pneumonia and other serious diseases, Diabetes could be the number one cause of death in the US Short of death, Diabetes is nothing to ignore. It's a leading cause of blindness, nerve diseases, periodontal disease, vaginal yeast infections and amputations of fingers, arms, legs, ears, noses and other extremitudes. It slows healing from all diseases and infections. Diabetes needs to be treated seriously in order to extend your life and retain a high quality of life.

What Treatments Are Available? Diabetes treatment can be as simple as monitoring and diet / exercise control, to adding a pill to your daily medicines, to insulin supplements, to complex and painful surgery and living assistance for normal daily activities. There are new treatments being discovered all the time but you should have the attitude of 'less-is-more' when it comes to treatment. The less treatment you need, the longer and better your life will be. Even with minimal treatment, you'll need to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly to make sure everything is going right. Your doctor will recommend a home glucose monitor, other diabetic supplies and blood glucose lab tests for every 3 months. As your disease progresses, the monitoring and labs will be more intensive. Once you're taking medicine, you should test your blood glucose at least twice daily, when you get up and 1-2 hours after your biggest meal. If you're using insulin injections, you'll be testing more often than that. No matter what stage of Diabetes treatment you're in, diet and exercise can help.

How Do Weight Loss Diet And Exercise Help Manage Diabetes? Unfortunately, many people approach Diabetes like a headache … taking a pill is enough. With this disease, you have to look at diet and exercise as medicine. I reduced my average blood glucose by 50% (to normal) in 6 months just by changing my diet and exercise. Most medicines do not claim to do as much. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) [http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp] is a great place to learn about the disease, treatment, diet, research, etc. Using the ADA diet as a guide, I ate smaller meals with 3 in-between meal snacks, keeping a balance of proteins, carbs and fats, I added high fiber fruits and vegetables, lots of water, and I watched my cholesterol. I should point out that I was less hungry on this diet than when I ate without control. I did aerobic walking and other exercises for 30 minutes, 5-6 days per week. As diabetics, if we reduce our weight by just 5%, we can make improvements of up to 30% in our blood sugar. For a 200 pound person, that means losing 10 pounds … anyone can do that. You can find more information on diet and weight loss all over the internet. Just be careful to consult your doctor and not do any fast type diets because they lower your blood glucose too much.

We who suffer from Diabetes need to recognize that this disease will progress, but we can control how fast it progresses. If we just take the meds the doctor gives us, the prognosis is not good for the length of our lives or the quality. If we decide to fight the disease by controlling our diet and exercise, we may not need medicine for years, we'll add many years to our lives and have a far better quality of life during those years. What's your choice?

Lowering Child Support Payments Through Unspecified Vacations

You want to pay the fair amount of child support and spend as much time as possible with your kids. Easy, right? Unfortunately, no. It can be very difficult for divorced parents to agree on a child custody schedule that lets them both enjoy their children as much as possible. Usually there is a custodial parent who has the kids most of the time – and the non-custodial parent gets to spend some time with them and pay child support. The non-custodial parent may feel completely helpless about getting more time with the children and he / she may feel like there is nothing they can do to lower the child support payments. Fortunately, there are things a non-custodial parent can do to gain more time with the children – and if they spend more time with the children then the child support payments generally go down. One way to do this is to use unspecified vacations.

Let's start with a fairly typical child custody arrangement. The child visitation schedule is set up so that the non-custodial parent has the children every other weekend. Since the children are most often with the custodial parent, the child support payments will be large. With this visitation agreement, the non-custodial parent has about fifteen percent of the customs time. Negotiating for unspecified vacations, however, can increase this time.

Unspecified vacations are general periods of time set aside in a visitation plan for one parent or the other without any specific dates attached. A typical order would read: "Father may take a vacation with the children each year of up to one uninterrupted week two times per year and must notify Mother of specific dates thirty days prior to vacation." This means that Dad gets two separate weeks a year when he can take the kids – and he can do it whenever he chooses. Attorneys generally use this type of unspecified vacation when parties want the flexibility to go on trips – but not at the same exact days and times each year. Also, it's useful for parents who simply want more vacation options or are uncertain about plans for summer break.

So, the smart parent will look through the calendar and choose vacation times that will maximize the time with their children. The parent should choose the weeks when they do not already have custody of their children. A parent can also look into purchasing a child customs software that will calculate the best time for them to schedule the vacation. We scheduled two of these vacations with the scenario used before – and the percentage time shot up to eighty percent. This is a double bonus for the non-custodial parent. You'll get to spend more time with your child and, since child support payments are based on the percentage of time spend with the child, your child support payments will decrease. And, there's the obvious fact that now you get to take your kids on vacation whenever you want during the year. So, take the money you save in child support and you're on your way!

Brand Marketing Online – Creating Your Loyal Customer Base The Easy Way

Brand marketing online is easier than your think these days. The average business owner has no clue about the simple tools that you will read about here. Many of your competition are spending thousands of dollars in advertising and not making the impact they desire. You can stand out from the crowd with these easy and cheap tools of the marketing business. There are a lot of really good ways to brand yourself, but here are what we feel are three of the best performers.

Create a massive and loyal customer base with these simple and cheap marketing tools.

1) Blog Site - The very best tool for brand marketing online is a common blog site. You will be amazed how simple it is to set one up and get your information on it. This marketing platform can be adjusted by just about anyone who can use a word processor. The blog site will use small programs that are called plug-in to automate a lot of the customization. These work much like the apps on our phones. Each does a different thing and there are thousands of them out there. You can also host all kinds of files, posts, and media on them as well. You can set up a membership section to allow for additional information or savings to go to your loyal customers. Blogs are very powerful and inexpensive to run.

2) Flip Style Camera - A camera is an easy thing to get these days. There are a multitude of styles and brands out on the market. If you are brand marketing online, you really do not need to spend a lot of money on these at all. $ 150 would be the most, but I just got a nice one for $ 99. Shop round. You really want one that takes decent stills and HD is always preferred for your marketing videos. Now what will you us this for? In marketing there is a hierarchy of impacts from written, still pictures, audio, video, and then a combination of all of them? You will want to use your new toy, I mean tool, to capture and share all of those. Pictures and video about your business and your life in general will allow your customers to get the sense that they know you. That is very powerful in marketing. People do not buy from companies; they buy from people they trust. Get a camera and start shooting everything!

3) Facebook Page - This is where your brand marketing online will really start to take off. Use the other two tools in conjunction with this one and you will be on top of the industry in no time. Now we are not talking about a Facebook account profile page. We mean a page or what they used to call a fan page. This will let you post and have more than 5000 users that like it. The key factor is the likes and you can use your camera to add valuable information about your industry here. Just remember that you are never to market or try to sell anything on this page. This is just to inform. You can sell from your blog site and you can move people between the two seasons freely.

When you are brand marketing online, you are selling yourself at the same time as you are mentioning your business. It is important to become a person in the eyes of your customers. As they get to know you, they will begin to trust you and your judgment. That is important to any sales relationship. So no matter what it is you are trying to sell these three tools, if used properly, will make all the difference to your success. The largest factor to consider now is the education on how to best use these tools. Finding a solid marketing and mentoring group will make it easier to accomplish your marketing goals.