Archive for the ‘News and announcements’ Category

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


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!

We post all the CS-Cart news and announcements on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so follow us to stay informed.

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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


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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Pay $5 for Hosting on DigitalOcean and Get over 90 Google PageSpeed Points for Your CS-Cart Store out of the Box

By Yan Kulakov, Friday, November 27th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks


Earlier, we posted server tweaks for accelerating CS-Cart to 95 Google PageSpeed points. To apply those tweaks you must know how to install and configure PHP, its libraries and extensions.

Even if you know how to do that, you’ll need the full control over the server that the usual shared web hosting doesn’t offer.

We understand that most CS-Cart store owners are not system administrators. That’s why we prepared a script that will automatically configure the server on DigitalOcean cloud hosting for maximum CS-Cart speed.

Why DigitalOcean

We chose DigitalOcean cloud hosting for 3 reasons:

  • It’s cheap: the cheapest server with 512 MB RAM, 1-core processor, and 20 GB storage, costing $5 per month (2 hot dogs at Times Square).
  • It’s fast: all servers use solid-state drives (SSD) that are faster and more reliable than conventional spinning hard disk drives (HDD).
  • It’s popular: DigitalOcean has a big community and tons of official and unofficial documentation in different languages.

Prepare Your Hosting on DigitalOcean

  1. Go to the DigitalOcean website and register an account
  2. After you log in to your account, hit the Create Droplet button:
  3. Name your hosting and select a plan:
  4. Choose a region for your server. We recommend that you choose the region that is closest to your location:
  5. Select your server’s operating system. We recommend CentOS 7.2 x64:
  6. Click the Create Droplet button at the bottom of the page.
  7. Assign the domain name of your future store to your new droplet using these official instructions:
  8. Configure Your Server

    You’ll need an SSH-client to connect to your server, execute the configuration script, and install CS-Cart. Here are some free, commonly-used SSH-clients:

    • Mac OS X: Terminal, iTerm 2
    • CentOS and Linux: Terminal
    • Windows (except Win10): PuTTy

    We used the Terminal in the instructions.

  1. DigitalOcean has sent you an email with your server’s credentials to the address you had signed up with. Check your mailbox for the “Your New Droplet” email from
  2. Open the SSH-client on your computer and connect to your server using the username, IP address, and password from the email:
  3. After you connect to your server, reset the password.

    You have to change the password only at the first connection to your server. Please use a strong password—it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Execute the script for automatic server configuration. We strongly recommend that you enter this script manually and not copy-paste it:
  5. curl −sL | bash −s −− [your domain name]

    Take a coffee break—the script will set up your server in a couple of minutes.

  6. When the script completes the server configuration, you will see the path to your future store directory and database information. Save this data as you will need it later.

Install CS-Cart

  1. Go to the CS-Cart folder:
  2. cd /var/www/html/[your domain name]

  3. Download the CS-Cart installation package from our website:
  4. wget ‘’ -O

  5. Unzip the CS-Cart installation package:
  6. unzip

  7. Change the owner and set file permissions for CS-Cart installation by executing these commands one by one:
  8. chown -R service ./
    chmod 644 config.local.php
    chmod -R 755 design images var
    find design -type f -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 644
    find images -type f -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 644
    find var -type f -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 644

  9. Open your store’s URL in your browser and click [install]:
  10. Read and accept the CS-Cart License agreement:
  11. Enter your MySQL information, define admin credentials, and click Install:
  12. Congratulations! You now have a fast CS-Cart store hosted on DigitalOcean.

We hope that these instructions helped you quickly get your CS-Cart store up and running.

If you have any problems, please contact us or search for answers in the CS-Cart Forums.

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3 Major Changes in the Free Version of CS-Cart

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, November 9th, 2015 in News and announcements


We want as many people as possible to be able to use CS-Cart, that’s why we’ve been offering the free CS-Cart version.

The free version of CS-Cart 4.3.5 gets 3 major changes compared to the free version of CS-Cart 4.3.4:

  • You can add as many filters as you want to the storefront (maximum 3 filters in earlier versions)
  • We’ve removed 8 add-ons and added 2 add-ons from the full CS-Cart version—Image zoom and Social buttons
  • We excluded the multi-store feature because it was unpopular with free version users

Product Filters Unlocked

Product filters help shoppers find products fast by showing only those products that fit specific parameters. The more filters on the storefront → the more search parameters a shopper can select → the faster he or she gets the desired product.

Earlier, in the free version of CS-Cart, you could add only 3 product filters to your storefront. In the free version of CS-Cart 4.3.5, add as many as you want.

Set of Built-in Add-Ons Changed

Add-ons expand functionality of your CS-Cart store. Besides extra add-ons on the Marketplace, CS-Cart has a set of built-in add-ons.

In the free version of CS-Cart 4.3.5, the set of built-in add-ons decreased by 6 add-ons compared to earlier free versions:

  • We’ve excluded 8 add-ons: Bestsellers & On-Sale Products, Blog, Call requests, E-mail marketing, Newsletters, Payment dependencies, Store import, and Tags.
  • We’ve included 2 add-ons from the full version of CS-Cart: Image zoom and Social buttons:

Multi-Store Feature Removed

Store owners use the multi-store feature to create multiple storefronts on different domains and manage these storefronts via a single admin panel.

According to our statistics, 95% of the free version users have only one storefront.

After much debate, we’re removing the multi-store feature from the free version: the feature is unpopular with free version users, but we had to support it anyway. By removing the multi-store feature, we ease our support team’s work so they could spend more time helping our dear clients.

If you have questions about the changes in the free version, don’t hesitate to ask them in the CS-Cart Forums or here in the comments.

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СS-Cart on Web World Expo 2015

By Yan Kulakov, Friday, November 6th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements


Web World Expo is an annual conference that takes place in Athens and gathers web and application developers, e-commerce solution providers, and e-learning service providers.

Exhibitors share their ideas and experience with each other and with visitors that want to improve their presence on the Internet.

Web World Expo 2015 took place in the Zappeion Hall in the center of Athens on October 24-25. Almost 50 companies from different Internet areas participated in the event.

Our long-term partner from Greece CS-Cart Hellas was one of the participants. They represented CS-Cart on the conference for the 3rd year in a row.

Report from the Expo

Fotis Kourmadas, the owner of CS-Cart Hellas, reports that the expo was successful: over 300 people came by to check out CS-Cart. Fotis talked with more than 50 people in private showing stores that work on CS-Cart, demos, add-ons, and themes.

Here’s what Fotis says:

Saturday, we hold a speech about Free shipping in e-commerce and how CS-Cart works with that.

Sunday was a day for all the store owners to visit us as they had a day off and had the time to come by.

Fotis shared a bunch of photos from the expo:

We’d like to thank Fotis Kourmadas and the CS-Cart Hellas company for their love for our product and for making CS-Cart more popular.

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