Archive for the ‘News and announcements’ Category

Export and Import Extended

By Yan Kulakov, Thursday, 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.

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Beta Testing Contest Winners

By Yan Kulakov, Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 in News and announcements

Hi!

At the beginning of CS-Cart 4.3.1 Beta testing we promised to reward the most active and contributing beta testers with 1-year CS-Cart licences. The beta testing is over and we are ready to name the winners.

When choosing the winners we were taking into account the number and severity of found issues. According to the results, three four winners get 1-year CS-Cart licenses:

  1. nmb scored 17 issues. He is the most active beta tester.
  2. ilib is the second active tester. He scored 7 issues.
  3. demeldoo scored 3 issues. Although he wasn’t too active during the beta test, he helped us discover a severe issue after the release.
  4. We also give a 1-year CS-Cart license to gurdji. He scored 3 issues during the beta test.

Congratulations! Soon we will contact the winners to give away licenses.

All beta testers did a great job and found nearly 50 bugs in total. We highly appreciate their help in polishing CS-Cart 4.3.1. Thanks to their contributions we released CS-Cart 4.3.1 in time as we planned.


Although CS-Cart 4.3.1 has been released, there still could be issues. If you find any, report them to our bug tracker.

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CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.1 Released

By Yan Kulakov, Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 in CS-Cart releases, News and announcements

Hello,

We’re happy to present to you the final CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.1 release.

CS-Cart 4.3.1 is faster and more feature-rich than any other CS-Cart version.

Speed Boost

CS-Cart 4.3.1 is fast:

  • SQL query optimization speeds up product search and filtering.
  • Optimized caching makes the search faster, if you call the same search twice. Storefront pages also load faster on the second visit because CS-Cart 4.3.1 caches the content during the first visit.
  • CS-Cart 4.3.1 supports Alternative PHP Cache. This technology speeds up PHP scripts on your server. Even well-optimized websites load with a delay because it takes time to execute PHP scripts. APC cache shortens this delay.
  • JavaScript code was moved to the bottom of pages so that the code doesn’t slow down page loading. Store pages now load faster on the first visit.

Functionality Improvements

Thanks to the community feedback during the beta testing, we’ve fixed nearly 150 bugs. Check out the changelog for all improvements and fixes.

Multi-Vendor: Fully Featured Vendor Storefronts

In Multi-Vendor 4.3.1, vendors make their own fully functional storefronts with categories, filters, search by vendor products, and more. Vendor pages in previous Multi-Vendor versions lacked most of these functions.

A vendor page in Multi-Vendor 4.3.1 looks like a vendor page on eBay or Amazon:

Vendor Page

New Blog Add-on

The Blog add-on lets you create a fully functional blog inside your store. Keep your customers informed by posting news and special offers in your blog.

Blog Add-on

Upgrade Center Refinements

The Upgrade center in CS-Cart 4.3.1 has become more user-friendly. The Upgrade center will guide you through the upgrade process, showing the process in detail.

We improved backup and restore. If something goes wrong during the upgrade, you’ll be able to roll back safely.

Export and Import Enhancements

In CS-Cart 4.3.1 we’ve introduced a long-awaited feature—export and import of option variants, option combinations, and option exceptions. This feature simplifies catalog updating and 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 options: blue color and M size.

Export product data with option variants and option combinations from your store. Then, import this data to the stock accounting software. You can now track the actual number of blue, medium-size T-shirts at the warehouse.

Bestsellers & On-Sale Products Add-on Expanded

New functionality allows you to show similar products on a product details page. We’ve also added an ability to create pages with all bestsellers, on-sale, new, and final sale products.

Bestsellers Add-on

Other Enhancements

CS-Cart 4.3.1 has a bunch of smaller enhancements, including:

  • Faster checkout
  • Easier navigation
  • Custom layout
  • Your own logo and favicon for each style
  • Displaying products immediately after choosing a filter
  • Ability to define a user group for a user via API
  • Improved protection from CSRF attacks
  • API 2.0 by default

How to Get 4.3.1

Download the CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor installation package.

Purchase a commercial license to get all features and support. Before purchasing a license, you can try CS-Cart or Multi-Vendor for free for 30 days. You can use CS-Cart for free even after the trial, but you’ll only have access to a limited set of features.

If you already have a license and an active upgrade subscription, download your personal installation package from the File Area in your Help Desk account.

Upgrade

License owners with active upgrade subscriptions have two options for upgrading from 4.0.1 and higher to 4.3.1:

  • Upgrade center. Go to your admin panel, Administration → Upgrade center, and click Download Install.
  • Store Import. To upgrade from CS-Cart 3.0.6 and earlier (except the Community edition) to the current version install CS-Cart 4.3.1 and import your store.

Please ask any questions regarding CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.1 in the comment section. How do you like the new features? We greatly appreciate your feedback!

If you find a bug, report it to the bug tracker.

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Why Upgrading is Convenient in CS-Cart 4.3.1

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, April 27th, 2015 in News and announcements

CS-Cart Store admins upgrade their stores on the Administration → Upgrade center page. The Upgrade center receives data and upgrades the store automatically.

The Upgrade center in CS-Cart 4.3.1 inherited features from the one in earlier versions, including: auto-setting permissions, viewing contents of the upgrade package, etc.

We’ve also introduced new features that make the upgrade safer and faster.

The new Upgrade center features are first introduced in CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor 4.3.1. All future upgrades will benefit from these features.

Upgrading from 4.0.1+ to 4.3.1 itself will use older versions of the Upgrade center that don’t have these features.

Backup/Restore Improved

The Upgrade center backs up files and the database automatically during the upgrade. Images aren’t backed up.

You can back up files and the database manually on the Administration →Backup/Restore page. Manual backup allows you to back up images, attachments, and downloadable files:

If your store doesn’t work properly after the upgrade, restore the backup on the Administration → Backup/Restore page:

You also have an emergency restore option. This is useful if you cannot access your admin panel. During the upgrade, a restore.php file is created. A link to this file is sent to your admin email. Click this link to restore the backup.

Easy Database Actualization

During the upgrade, CS-Cart data and the database structure change. The database structure must be actualized so that the database works with a new CS-Cart version. To actualize the database structure, the Upgrade center uses migrations:

A migration is an instruction for the Upgrade center on renaming, creating, or removing database tables. Actualizing the database structure via migrations is safer and faster than removing and recreating the database from scratch.

Add-ons Upgrade

By default, the Upgrade center upgrades only CS-Cart including built-in add-ons. It doesn’t upgrade third-party add-ons, which is inconvenient.

Since CS-Cart flexibility is one of our priorities, now you can expand the functionality of the Upgrade center to upgrade third-party add-ons as well. To do this, develop a special add-on for the Upgrade center. If you are not familiar with CS-Cart add-ons development, hire a developer for this task.

Languages Installation

CS-Cart is a multi-language platform. Language variables are used to translate CS-Cart into different languages. Language variables stand for menu names, add-on names, settings names, etc.

If the upgrade adds new settings to the admin panel, the Upgrade center installs only those language variables that stand for these new settings names. It doesn’t reinstall existing variables as it did before, which makes the upgrade faster.


Do you find the Upgrade center in CS-Cart 4.3.1 convenient? Would you feel comfortable upgrading your store from 4.3.1 to newer versions? Share your thoughts in the comments section. We’d appreciate your feedback!

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Faster Checkout in CS-Cart 4.3.1

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, April 6th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

With CS-Cart 4.3.1 customers spend less time on checkout

Fast checkout

Hello!

After adding a product to the cart the customer proceeds to checkout to pay for the order. During checkout, the customer completes four steps:

  1. Signs in to an existing account or registers a new one
  2. Enters the billing and shipping addresses
  3. Chooses the shipping method
  4. Chooses the payment methods

Checkout steps

CS-Cart 4.2.4 and earlier have two checkout styles. The store admin switches between them on the Settings → General page in the admin panel:

  • Multi-page checkout—when a customer proceeds to the next checkout step, the web browser reloads the whole page. Reloading a page takes almost as much time as initially loading it.

Multi-page checkout

  • One-page checkout—moving through steps doesn’t reload the whole page but only updates a part of it. Since there’s less to load, switching between steps is faster.

One-page checkout works on the AJAX technology. AJAX allows data exchange between browser and server without the full reloading of the web page.

One-page checkout

In CS-Cart 4.3.1 we have removed the multi-page checkout style. From now on, CS-Cart uses one-page checkout by default.

Checkout Settings

The checkout settings have been relocated from Setting → General to Settings → Checkout. You will find a description of each checkout setting on the Reference Guide → CS-Cart → Settings → Checkout page.

Three of these settings let you hide checkout steps:

  • If the sign-in step doesn’t require contact information, you may want to hide this step. Choose Hide step completely in the Configure “Sign in” step setting. When the first step is hidden, unlogged customers place orders anonymously. Logged in customers don’t see this step as well. If a logged in customer has indicated the billing and the shipping addresses in his or her profile, the second step is completed automatically.
  • It may be that there is only one shipping method accessible for your region. Place this method first in the Administration → Shipping & taxes → Shipping methods list. Now, go to Settings → Checkout and hide the Shipping options step to use the method you’ve just listed first by default.
  • If you offer only one payment method, e.g. credit card, make sure this method is the first in the Administration → Payment methods list. On the Setting → Checkout page, hide the Billing options step. Now, payment by credit card is used by default.

If you want your customers to choose shipping and payment methods themselves, leave the checkboxes ticked:

Checkout settings

By hiding all three steps, you let unlogged customers complete only one checkout step instead of four. Registered customers who indicated addresses in their profiles, place orders in one click. Handy!


What checkout style have you been using in your store? What do you think about the refined checkout in CS-Cart 4.3.1? We would appreciate any comments!

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