MageBridge and newsletter subscriptions
For some time now, MageBridge is offering the mechanism of Product Connectors, which allow you to enhance your after-sales process. Part of this was also that you could also subscribe customers to newsletters. This functionality is now enhanced.
About product connectors
For those of you not familiar with MageBridge Product Connectors: These are a MageBridge-specific extension-type (so not a plugin, not a component, not a module, but a connector), which allow you to trigger something when a Magento product is sold. For instance, if the Magento product is actually a virtual dummy, you can sell memberships, download-access, etcetera. But you can also optimize after-sales by subscribing the user who made the purchase to a post-sales usergroup (customer segmentation), or subscribe that customer to a product-specific newsletter.
Not product connectors, but newsletter connectors
Magento also has its own newsletter functionality, but it lacks many of the features offered by dozens of Joomla! newsletter-extensions. The product-connectors sound like a cool replacement, but actually they are not: They are triggered only when a product is sold, but not when the newsletter-checkbox is checked within the Magento checkout or when a customer modifies its newsletter-settings under its own account.
These shortcomings asked for a new connector-type. But when thinking things over, we came to the conclusion that we might just as well use the Joomla! plugin-architecture for this. Therefor, a new plugin-group "magebridge.newsletter" has been created. Plugins of this type can call upon the event onNewsletterSubScribe (with arguments $user and $state) to subscribe a Joomla! user to their specific system.
The power of event forwarding
With MageBridge, connecting Magento logic to Joomla! logic is made simple by using the events-mechanism available in both applications (Magento observers and Joomla! plugins). A Magento event can be forwarded using MageBridge to Joomla! to become a Joomla! event. This architecture made it fairly easy to implement a Magento observer listening to newsletter-events in Magento, forward them over the bridge, and call upon specific Joomla! plugin-events. Part of the new MageBridge 2.0 approach will be to heavily document this approach for other developers.
Migrating existing connectors to plugins
All product-connectors that are actually connecting to Joomla! newsletter-extensions will be migrated to this new plugin-architecture in August / September 2012. After that, we will work also on migrating the entire product-connector technology to Joomla! plugins instead.