Archive for December, 2015

CS-Cart Boilerplate Theme: Minimum of Code, Maximum of Flexibility

By Yan Kulakov, Friday, December 25th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

Hello!

At CS-Cart, we’re continually developing and polishing storefront design—the built-in CS-Cart Responsive theme. The Responsive theme is mobile-friendly, customizable via the Visual Editor, and perfect for a startup.

But owners of the big online stores often order custom designs or install third-party themes to make their stores look unique. And here comes trouble for theme developers: to develop a new theme from the Responsive theme, a developer has to completely rework the Responsive theme by deleting tons of code.

We’d like to ease the work for theme developers, so we’re presenting to you a special CS-Cart Boilerplate theme that has a minimum of code and is easy to develop.

What Makes the Boilerplate Theme Easy to Work With

We’ve contacted our developer partners and asked them to provide us with feedback about CS-Cart theme development: difficulties, special aspects, and requests.

We’ve analyzed the feedback and created the Boilerplate theme—a skeleton that has much less code and files than the Responsive theme:

  • The Boilerplate theme uses Bootstrap 3.3.5—an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript framework that developers use as a basis for creating responsive websites.

    Bootstrap is easy to work with because you can use dozens of pre-built components such as dropdowns, navigation, buttons, and other interface elements. No deep HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge required—copy-paste the pre-cooked code and you’re good to go.

    Bootstrap is open source and available on GitHub.
  • The Boilerplate theme supports both Glyphicons, which ship with Bootstrap, and Font Awesome icons. These icons simplify and speed up theme development—you add a ready-made icon to your theme by copying the pre-cooked code.
  • Since the Boilerplate theme uses Bootstrap, we have re-factored all the templates—now they use bootstrap components and have simplified HTML.
  • The Boilerplate theme has 1,000 lines of our CSS code left (Responsive has 11,000 lines). Less code—less work to do.
  • The number of template files decreased by 131 files compared with Responsive.
  • Unlike the Responsive theme, which uses a 16-column grid, the Boilerplate theme has a more common 12-column grid.
The Boilerplate theme is open source, so you are welcome to send pull requests.

Plans for the Future

After the release of the Boilerplate theme, we’ll continue to polish and simplify it. Here’s how we’re planning to improve it in the future:

  • Through the theme, you’ll be able to override store settings—in the theme’s manifest.json file, you can change product page templates, thumbnails size, number of layout columns, and more.
  • We’ll rework JavaScript by simplifying it and deleting redundant code. For example, jQuery UI will be totally removed.
  • We’ll reduce the amount of the CSS code that developers have to modify during theme development and simplify the templates’ logic.

You are welcome to download the Boilerplate theme. Please test it, and post issues if you find any.

Tell us what you think about the new Boilerplate theme in this forum topic. We greatly appreciate your feedback!

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Meet CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.5

By Yan Kulakov, Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 in CS-Cart releases, News and announcements

Hi!

We are happy to present to you our new release—CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.5.

Besides bug fixes, version 4.3.5 has a bunch of new features and improvements:

  • Currency conversion for PayPal payments: CS-Cart sends invoices to PayPal in a currency other than the store’s primary currency
  • PayPal in-context checkout: customers complete purchases with PayPal in 2 clicks without leaving your store
  • Updated integration with DHL: DHL works for any country
  • Free shipping methods: customers can choose a shipping method for free shipping
  • Improvements to ease store management: trash category, full path to the product on the product editing page, extra info and filters for add-ons, and convenient price-list generation

Other honorable mentions in CS-Cart 4.3.5 include updated integration with eWAY and Rocketgate payment processors and RTL languages support for invoices and packing slips.

CS-Cart 4.3.5 has the improved eBay Synchronization add-on that allows storeowners to sell their products on eBay.

We’ve put a lot effort into polishing our eBay add-on and have significantly improved product export to eBay. We’re still gathering feedback from our users and soon we’ll publish a detailed post about the improved eBay Synchronization add-on in this blog. Stay tuned!

You can find other changes in the changelog.

Currency Conversion for PayPal Payments

In earlier versions of CS-Cart, the currency in the PayPal payment settings had to match the store’s primary currency. Because of this restriction, CS-Cart had issues with sending invoices to PayPal in a currency other than the store’s primary currency.

For example, you have two currencies in your store—the US Dollar, which is your store’s primary currency, and the Euro, which is the secondary one. And in the PayPal payment settings, you chose the secondary currency—the Euro.

When a customer added a $100-product to the cart, CS-Cart sent a €100 invoice to PayPal during the payment. The problem was that CS-Cart didn’t convert $100 into the PayPal currency (Euro) when sending the invoice to PayPal:

In CS-Cart 4.3.5, we’ve implemented the currency conversion when sending invoices to PayPal. Now your CS-Cart store sends correct invoices to PayPal, no matter what currency you set in the PayPal settings, and customers see the true, recalculated price on the PayPal website.

PayPal In-Context Checkout

Usually, when customers pay with PayPal, they automatically leave your store and go to the PayPal website to complete their payment. It takes time to pay on desktop computers, and it’s inconvenient on mobile devices.

In CS-Cart 4.3.5, we’ve improved PayPal Express Checkout by adding PayPal In-Context Checkout—the PayPal pop-up window opens right in the store. Using this pop-up, customers log in to their PayPal accounts and pay for orders without leaving your store for the PayPal website.

PayPal In-Context Checkout makes the payment process quick and seamless, and more convenient on mobile devices.

Updated Integration with DHL

In earlier versions of CS-Cart, the DHL module used the legacy DHL web service and worked only for companies within the USA. We’ve updated the DHL module so that it now works with the up-to-date DHL global web service called XML-PI.

Thanks to this updated integration, DHL now works for any country and has simplified settings.

Free Shipping Methods

In earlier versions, products with the enabled Free shipping property under the Shipping Properties tab technically didn’t require shipping. That’s why customers didn’t know what shipping method would be used for these products and couldn’t choose another, more convenient shipping method for products with free shipping.

In CS-Cart 4.3.5, each shipping method has the Use for free shipping property in the Extra section. Enable this property to allow your customers to choose this shipping method for products with free shipping:

The Use for free shipping property excludes products with free shipping from the shipping fee calculation. If an order also contains products with paid shipping, CS-Cart calculates the shipping fee only for these products.

Improvements to Ease Store Management

In CS-Cart 4.3.5, we’ve added new features and updated the existing ones to make store management easier:

  • If you delete a category, you won’t lose its products—CS-Cart moves them to the new hidden Trash category:
  • You see the full path to the product on the product editing page:
  • In Add-ons → Manage add-ons, you see versions of the installed add-ons and filter add-ons by specific parameters. For example, you can view only built-in add-ons or only third-party add-ons:
  • The Price list add-on is now more convenient and the price-list generation is more stable: the add-on settings have a more convenient interface with the price-list generation buttons, and the price-list generation goes smooth even if you have over 100 000 products in your store.

Get CS-Cart 4.3.5

If you’ve never used CS-Cart before, download the installation package and buy a license.

Existing license owners with active upgrade subscriptions will see a notification about the upgrade in their admin panels within a week. Click the notification or visit the Upgrade Center to upgrade your store.


We greatly appreciate your ideas about CS-Cart improvement. Please share them on our UserVoice.

And please, report any issues to our bug tracker.

If you have any questions about new features or the upgrade, feel free to ask them here in the comments or in the CS-Cart Forums.

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What Multi-Vendor is Capable Of

By Yan Kulakov, Thursday, December 10th, 2015 in Articles, Tips and tricks

A Multi-Vendor store is an e-commerce mall—different vendors sell their products in a shared marketplace, and the root administrator regulates vendors’ activities.

Generally, Multi-Vendor stores sell common products, like electronics, apparel, video games, cosmetics, and others, from various vendors. But Multi-Vendor is not only about selling electronics and apparel—it’s open to your creative ideas.

We’d like to show you 3 Multi-Vendor stores that use creative business ideas.

Tombokka

The Tombokka store offers apparel, cushions, bags, wall clocks, phone cases, and laptop sleeves with unique designer prints.

Tombokka has a catalogue of its vendors, who are actually artists. Each artist creates prints in his or her own style—you will find a t-shirt to your taste or a wall clock that matches your interior.

For the Man I Love

For the Man I Love is another Multi-Vendor marketplace that uses a creative idea—it specializes on gifts for men only.

Sometimes, finding a gift for a husband or a boyfriend becomes a real challenge. For the Man I Love helps to find the right gift for the modern man. The store offers a great choice of grooming products, accessories, menswear, gadgets, and other products from vendors all over the world.

Prondo

Prondo is an online publishing company from Russia.

Although this website uses an old version of Multi-Vendor, it combines impressive features in one place:

  • Self-publishing for authors—authors publish their books keeping the copyright
  • Selling e-books—after an author publishes a book, he or she sells it as an e-book
  • Printing books on demand—Prondo prints a copy of a book after a customer orders it; also, an author can demand 30 or more copies printed for personal needs or distribution
  • Publishing services by the Prondo team—designing book covers, editing, proofreading, marketing, and other services


There are a lot of creative business ideas around you, and Multi-Vendor can help you convert them into reality.

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