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I've been programming since 1977, when I started at IBM programming hardware diagnostics for specialized naval computers. I continued with IBM performing hardware simulation, programming automated-teller machines, a banking application and PC-BIOS and diagnostics. In 1995, I started working for Dell programming PC and PC-server BIOS. When I retired from Dell in 2003, I was a Senior Technical Staff Member in their server division providing system-software specifications. Between those filed at IBM and those at Dell, I authored or co-authored 221 U.S. patents.

I started customizing Zen Cart v1.3.8a in 2009, creating my needlework website www.latitude9needlearts.com1. That was my first introduction to PHP, CSS and JavaScript and, due to the nature of what I sell on that site, I learned a lot about Zen Cart attributes and downloads. Even though I bought the no longer available book, it took me 3 months before I felt that the site was ready to open. When Zen Cart v1.3.9 came out in 2010, I went through a very painful upgrade process because of the methods I used to make the core-file changes I felt were necessary for v1.3.8a. During that upgrade, I re-examined each change and used more "proper" overrides and observer-class methods for my changes. Because of that, the site's upgrade to v1.5.0 in early 2012 went very smoothly … if I do say so myself … as did the upgrade to v1.5.1 later that year! That site was upgraded in 2016 to v1.5.5a, running a "clone" of the responsive_classic template and again in 2020 to Zen Cart 1.5.7a, running a "clone" of the updated Bootstrap-4 Template1.

In 2010, my husband and I decided to build some rental villas on our Costa Rican property so I started with a v1.3.9 base to create another website (www.lasvillasdelguabo.com1) to handle the reservations. The website is multi-lingual (English and Spanish), so I learned a lot about the multi-language aspects of Zen Cart. That site's upgrade to Zen Cart v1.5.0 (and then 1.5.1) also went very smoothly, since I'd applied what I learned in the v1.3.8a-to-v1.3.9 transition. That site, too, was upgraded to v1.5.5a in 2016, running a different "clone" of the responsive_classic template.

I've been active on the Zen Cart forums, where I post as lat9; you can view my Zen Cart profile here1. I noticed on the forums that there are a lot of people using Zen Cart that are not comfortable performing PHP file updates. I've got skills that can help others get the most out of their Zen Cart — that's how Vinos de Frutas Tropicales came into being.

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