CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.3 Released with Upgrade Center Improvements

By imac, June 25th, 2015 in CS-Cart releases, News and announcements

Hi!

The CS-Cart team is happy to announce another minor release of CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor.

CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.3 is a scheduled maintenance release. It fixes several minor issues discovered since 4.3.1 and improves the Upgrade Center:

  • a couple additional checks were added to make upgrading more stable;
  • if the translation for your store’s language is missing in an upgrade, English is now used as a fallback, so you won’t have missing texts after upgrading;

See the full changelog on our site.

Upgrade

If you have an active upgrade subscription, you’ll get a notification about the new version in your admin panel within a week. Click on it and your store will be automatically updated to the newest version.

In 4.3.3, we had to temporarily exclude the Store Import add-on.
If you’re upgrading from CS-Cart 2 or 3, use the Store Import add-on to migrate to version 4.3.2, and then upgrade via the Upgrade Center.


We greatly appreciate any feedback! Please share your ideas about CS-Cart improvements on our UserVoice.

If you find issues, report them to our bug tracker.

Follow CS-Cart on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with CS-Cart news.

Follow CS-Cart news & promotions

Five Reasons to Prefer Self-Hosted Ecommerce Software over SaaS

By Yan Kulakov, June 18th, 2015 in Articles, Tips and tricks

Why people might want switch from SaaS ecommerce solutions to downloadables like CS-Cart. Here in CS-Cart, we actually offer the both, so we do have expertise on the topic. Besides, there are clients who come to CS-Cart from Shopify and Bigcommerce, and they share their reasoning with us.

Here are five points I find most important.

Bigger Projects Need More Control

The more the sales, the more the responsibility. Large stores with thousands of users can’t risk to rely on a third-party service. However unlikely, should anything happen to the service, and all the reputation, customer base, order history is gone. Depending on someone else’s professionalism is no fun when huge business is at stake.

Security

Most popular SaaS nowadays are secure enough to prevent data leaks (then again, you have to trust them), but the service’s employees usually have the access to your data. Of course, it’s an exceptional case, but your private commercial data can leak through this channel.

Also, if you store is served in another country, there’s no guarantee that that country’s laws will protect your data.

You Need Significant Modifications

Even the best SaaS (like Merchium) can only offer you modifications restricted by their API. This restriction is in the very essence of SaaS; it just can’t function the other way.

If your store needs a customization that’s outside of this particular SaaS’s API, you’re practically stuck.

Integration with Third-Party Services and the Offline

Often, a store is not the only thing in online business. There’re blogs, sites, services, and offline stores that are all part of your business network. If you want them deeply integrated, there’s a chance the SaaS API doesn’t support your particular service combination. In this case, like in point 3, you’re stuck.

Features You Need Are Always with You

SaaS is a mass product, and it has to offer the features most users will appreciate. If your business has a specific need that is not quite popular among other users, you just deal with it.

In even worse scenario, the service can freely take features from their product if they are not popular enough. Imagine if the unpopular feature happens to provide an essential part of your workflow. You wouldn’t want to be in that position at all.

With self-hosted software, you pick the features, you decide what remains and what is removed.


What of these two models suits your business best? What pros and cons do you see in both solutions? Share your opinions here in the comments.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to know CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor news.

Follow CS-Cart news & promotions

CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.2 Released

By Yan Kulakov, June 9th, 2015 in CS-Cart releases, News and announcements

Hi!

We’re introducing a minor release—CS-Cart & Multi-Vendor 4.3.2.

Since version 4.3.2 is a maintenance release, it’s composed mostly of bug fixes. Besides fixes, this new version has one functionality change—showing product filters on the home page.

Earlier versions had this feature, but we removed it in 4.3.1 because filters on the home page slowed down the store. At our clients’ requests, we’re bringing filters back to the home page. We have reworked these filters and now they don’t slow down the storefront.

    To add filters to the home page, create a special filters block:

  1. Go to Design → Layouts → Homepage and add a block:
  2. Switch to the Create New Block tab and create the Product filters for home page block:
  3. Name the block on the General tab, switch to the Content tab, and add filters manually:
  4. Select filters, click Add filters and close:
  5. Click Create:

Upgrade

License owners with active upgrade subscriptions will see the upgrade available in their Upgrade centers within a week.

If you have an upgrade subscription, you can download your own installation package from the File Area of your Help Desk account.


We greatly appreciate any feedback! Please share your ideas about CS-Cart improvements on our UserVoice.

If you find issues, report them to our bug tracker.

Follow CS-Cart on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with CS-Cart news.

Follow CS-Cart news & promotions

Five Server Tweaks to Get Maximum Speed out of CS-Cart 4.3.1

By Yan Kulakov, June 1st, 2015 in Articles, Tips and tricks

CS-Cart 4.3.1 is now available. We’ve done a solid piece of work to speed it up.

CS-Cart 4.3.1 is fast because it’s well-optimized, but the speed also depends on the server configuration.

We’ve prepared five server tweaks that will help you get the maximum speed boost from CS-Cart 4.3.1.

Before tweaking, check if your server has all the required libraries and modules:

  1. Create the phpinfo.php file in your server’s root directory.
  2. Open the file via any text editor and type this code:
  3. <?php
    phpinfo();
    ?>

  4. Save the changes and close the file.
  5. Visit the URL of the phpinfo.php file in your web browser. For example: http://localhost/phpinfo.php. You will see the detailed information about your PHP version, installed modules, libraries, and more.
  6. Press CTRL + F (Command + F for Mac) and type the library or module name.
  7. If you can’t find a library or a module, your server doesn’t have it. Before tweaking, install missing libraries and modules.

Use PHP 5.6

CS-Cart 4.3.1 works faster with PHP version 5.6. Update PHP on your server to 5.6 to accelerate your store.

Enable OPcache

Use the OPcache caching engine to speed up PHP scripts.

Every time the PHP interpreter runs a PHP script, it compiles the script into what’s called byte code. OPcache allows the PHP interpreter to compile the script only once and save the byte code into the memory. Every time CS-Cart calls the PHP script, the interpreter retrieves the byte code from memory. Retrieving the byte code from memory is faster than compiling the PHP script again.

CS-Cart 4.3.1 uses OPcache by default if you have it installed and enabled.

Install mod_deflate

The mod_deflate module compresses web pages in CS-Cart. The smaller the page size, the faster a web server transmits page data, and the quicker a customer sees the page.

Ask you hosting provider if the server has mod_deflate.

Use Imagick

Imagick is an image processing library for PHP similar to GD. It supports more file types and image transformations than GD.

    To use the Imagick library, complete these steps:

  1. Install ImageMagick software suite and imagick library.
  2. Clear your thumbnails cache.
  3. Change the library name in the config.local.php file:
  4. 'image_resize_lib' => 'imagick'

    Enable APCu and Redis

    APCu is a caching technology that stores (i.e., caches) data generated by CS-Cart. Once the data has been cached, CS-Cart retrieves it from the cache when needed. Retrieving data from the cache is faster than generating it again.

    Redis is another data caching technology. It caches data into RAM, so that it’s quickly accessed. We recommend that you use Redis for PHP sessions.

    Install APCu and Redis to speed up CS-Cart 4.3.1. Then modify the lines in the config.local.php file as follows:

    $config['cache_backend'] = 'apc';
    $config['session_backend'] = 'redis';

    Check the CS-Cart Forum for more tips on configuring your server.


    We hope these tweaks will help you get the maximum speed out of CS-Cart 4.3.1. You are welcome to ask any questions about server configurations here or on the forum.

    Follow CS-Cart on Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with CS-Cart news.

    Follow CS-Cart news & promotions

Export and Import Extended

By Yan Kulakov, May 28th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

In CS-Cart 4.3.1, we’ve introduced a long-awaited feature: full export and import of option variants, combinations, and exceptions.

This feature is useful for stock accounting. For example, you sell a t-shirt model that comes in different colors and sizes. You need to track the exact number of blue t-shirts of size M at your warehouse. These t-shirts have a combination of two option variants: blue color and M size.

You can now export products with option variants and combinations in Administration → Export Data → Products:

CS-Cart exports data into CSV format, which any stock accounting software supports. Import the CSV file into your stock accounting software. You can now track the actual number of blue, medium t-shirts at your warehouse.

This feature simplifies catalogue updating. Imagine that you’ve received 3,000 products from your supplier. You’ve also received a CSV file with option variants, number of products, and descriptions. Without the new export and import feature, you’d have to add option variants, combinations, and modifiers manually. The new functionality does it automatically and saves you time.

P.S.: During export and import of product data, CS-Cart exports and imports these fields:

  • Options
  • Option variants
  • Option combinations
  • Option exceptions
  • Price and weight modifiers
  • Images and captions

We’d like to know what you think about the new export and import functionality. Does it simplify your store management?

You are welcome to share improvement suggestions on our UserVoice.

Don’t miss CS-Cart news—follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow CS-Cart news & promotions