I’m happy to offer you an overview of the new version of X-Cart 5 — version 5.2.9. This is not a major release in its traditional understanding — there’s no switch to the next branch, but from the point of view of changes amount it’s a major update and a huge step forward. Before you look through the list of changes below, let me please add a couple of notes:
Starting from v.5.2.4, we practice the multi-wave approach, so the upgrades will not automatically become available for all the users. Today, only the “developer wave” will receive a notification about the updates available, and after we make sure that test/dev stores owners are not facing any problems with the upgrade and its consequences, it will be opened for the production stores (“merchant wave”). By default the wave of your store is set to “merchant”, to assign your store to the wave of “developer”, go to System Settings -> Environment, and scroll the page down till you see section “Upgrade options”.
Starting from this version, the releases of X-Cart 5 will no longer be very frequent: instead of “monthly or so” frequency we’ll roll out the new versions “quarterly or so”. It does not mean we plan to relax: the team of developers will work as intensively, as they used to, but the new upgrades will be more “massive”, bringing you more features and improvements.
“Operate as this user” and order creation on customer’s behalf
A year ago Mike White ( you also know him as Xcartguru or totaltec) posted this idea: Add the ability to Operate as this user and place orders. It has also been quite a popular request on X-Cart community forums and in private communication with our customers.
You asked, we developed. The new functionality becomes available starting from version 5.2.9, it’s a part of all commercial plans — Business, Multivendor or Ultimate.
By the way, since we’re speaking about the orders creation, I should mention the update of printable invoice. The updated version is more compact and includes more information on a single page — see example.
Shipping markups, layout changes
Focused on improving the usability of the engine, we have reworked the shipping management pages. We hope you will find it more convenient and user-friendly. Or, at least, you will love the new feature: shipping markups (or “handling fee” in terms of X-Cart 5 interface) — that’s another idea from X-Cart ideas portal.
Markups and discounts based on Payment Method
Foreseeing your question about Payment markups, I would also like to introduce you a new extension that enables this. With Payment Method Fees module for $49.00 you can set both a positive and negative value, hence, enabling the discount or adding the fee to the order total. By the way, this feature has also been requested via the ideas portal 😉
New Payment Gateway Integrations
Since we’re already speaking about payments, meet a bunch of new payment gateways for America, Canada, China, Scandinavia, Europe: $39.00 — EACH!
New modules: Custom Order Statuses, Geolocation, Tags, Disable drag’n’drop, Back in Stock notifications
Custom Order Statuses — included in paid editions
Rename the existing payment and shipping statuses and add new ones. Right now this extension does not imply any advanced management like creating and assigning the email notifications to the administrator and customer, nor does it imply configuring the logic of work with the inventory, but this is planned. And yes, this is from the ideas portal as well!
Geolocation — included in paid editions
Use free IP geolocation database GeoLite by Maxmind to improve the user experience of non-logged in customers – “guess” their country and address for more precise pre-login shipping cost estimation. The module uses the downloadable database of IP addresses, not a web-service.
Product Tags — included in paid editions
Assign one or multiple tags to your products and improve the navigation for your customers, who can narrow the search results by tags in the Product Filters or, vice versa, see all products with the same tag.
Disable drag’n’drop add to cart — FREE for all stores
This extension disables the default drag-n-drop adding products to cart to replace it with the ‘add to cart’ button on the product list pages (category, search results).
This package has seen significant improvements – in accordance with your feedback again;)
Warehouse/Vendors as separate shops modes define, what ship-from address will be used, who configures shipping and how the shopping cart looks on checkout. In “warehouse” mode, it’s considered that all the goods are shipped from a single place, so admin specifies the single ship-from address to calculate the shipping costs, configures shipping methods and rates, and the shipping method is selected by the customer once per checkout. In case of “Vendors as separate shops”, the vendors should specify their own ship-from address and setup shipping methods. As a result, if the cart contains the goods from several vendors, these products will be grouped by vendor, and the customer will need to select a shipping method for each group separately – and only after that proceed with payment. The payment info is entered once per checkout in both cases, though – there’s no need to pay every order separately.
Another major step forward is the integration of Adaptive Payments by PayPal. This automates the transactions flow between the store, administrator and providers, or vendors, who receive payments to their PayPal accounts automatically, while the commission for the order goes to the store administrator – automatically as well.
As already mentioned above, starting from 5.2.9 the admin can specify the commission rates for the providers. Right now this setting is general for all the vendors of the store, there’s no way to decrease or increase the commission for a particular provider individually, but this is only the beginning. Even now the commission can be calculated based on either Order DST, Shipping cost or both.
The next feature you have been longing for — the coupons and discounts management by vendors. Each vendor can create coupons and discounts, that will work only for the goods belonging to them.
Notifications about new orders to vendors — another improvement making the life easier for both the administrator and vendors.
Such vendor info as Company name/location/description supports multiple languages now.
A nice bonus by CFL Systems, worth your attention: Watermarks
Image Watermark – $69.00
It was a very popular request. We’re happy to see the activity of our partners in satisfying the needs of X-Cart merchants. This time Steve Stoyanov steps in – meet his new extension!
This module helps protect products and categories images by adding watermark text and/or image to them. The module includes extensive set of options. You don’t have to upload or re-upload watermarked images — just add the original images to products/categories and the module does the rest to watermark them.
For developers: iterative hooks, moving admin directory, soft and hard reset
In X-Cart 5.2.9 we added the ability to create upgrade hooks that can be run iteratively. This allows time consuming operations on the store’s data to be performed without the fear that an operation may not be completed correctly due to exceeding a timeout value set in the web server settings. Read the guide and view code samples in this article.
We saw several requests of instructions on how to rename the admin directory, so this procedure has been simplified, and we also prepared an instruction in X-Cart knowledge base.
The “Bestsellers” module has been reworked to calculate the statistics not on the fly, but on the step when the orders are placed/modified. It gives a win in overall store speed.
We changed the logic of so-called soft and hard reset. See a comparison chart in X-Cart Knowledge Base.
Do you think we’re doing it right? Check it and share your feedback!
UPDATE 22.10.2015: Release of v 5.2.8
During the testing stage of v.5.2.7 (developer wave) we discovered a critical bug and took decision to release v.5.2.8 with the fix aboard. There are no changes from the functionality point of view.
UPDATE 27.10.2015: Release of v 5.2.9
The developer wave of v.5.2.8 has revealed another critical bug, so the package was updated, and the version number increased again. There are no new features in it, compared to 5.2.7 and 5.2.8.
This release also starts from a developer wave, so the upgrade will NOT be available for the production stores before we make sure it’s stable for live stores. After that, once the upgrade wave is switched to “Merchants”, you will see a notice in the admin backend about the availability of the updates for your store.