Blog posts of '2011' 'December'

Why nopCommerce themes? ~ Saturday, December 24, 2011

The team behind Nop-Templates.com have been following and working with nopCommerce since version 1.5 came out almost two years ago. But it has been only recently, since nopCommerce 2.0 entered the scene, that we decided to concentrate much more effort and energy on nopCommerce. Why you would ask? The answer is quite simple. NopCommerce 2.0 marks a new and a very promising beginning for the project, not because it uses the latest and greatest .NET web technologies, but because nopCommerce 2.x allows for what was not possible before: extensibility and scalability.

NopCommerce themes were extremely difficult, almost impossible, to develop with nopCommerce prior to version 2.0 and by a nopCommerce theme I mean a bunch of files that you deploy to your server, switch a setting on and you have a whole new web site. Not to speak of nopCommerce extensions of any kind. Not having your nopCommerce customizations as a standalone software piece (nopCommerce theme) meant hard work when the time came for upgrades to new versions of nopCommerce. And upgrades are something you cannot ignore, because clients just love moaning for new features and design. And they are right to do so. An e-shop that does not develop new features and new functionality to keep up with the trends in the dynamic e-commerce scene, is just like a shop window that noone decorates anew.

That is why it is very important for nopCommerce businesses and developers to understand how nopCommerce 2.x makes possible what was hard to achieve before, namely the development of nopCommerce themes and extensions.

Unfortunately our experience with web companies using nopCommerce 2.x shows that most of them are completely missing the point and failing to take advantage of the nopCommerce theming and extensibility capabilities. Changes are still being done directly to the nopCommerce source code, the nopCommerce views are being modified, even the nopCommerce controllers and models! This totally defeats the idea behind the new nopCommerce, not to speak that working with MVC is much more time consuming and requires more resources than the well established web forms. In many of these cases nopCommerce 1.9 could be a much better choice.

Why nopCommerce themes?

Customizations to nopCommerce 2.x should in all cases be implemented as a nopCommerce theme. In this way your nopCommerce source code is guaranteed to be:

1. Easy to manage. Your source code is in one place separate from the rest of the system both physically and logically.

2. Easy to upgrade to future versions of nopCommerce. This is extremely important as nopCommerce is evolving fast with new and cutting edge features.

3. Easy to extend with new functionality solely because by having a nopCommerce theme you have achieved a nice sepration of concerns.

4. Easy to interchange with other nopCommerce themes. You might have a different nopCommerce theme for Christmas or even for every season. Or you might want your web site to server one nopCommerce theme to customers from one part of the world and another to customers from somewhere else.

So far I am making nopCommerce themes sound as the ultimate solution. However the nopCommerce savvy reader would immediately spot that you cannot have MVC controllers and models in a theme. You cannot have MVC action filters even. Technically there is nothing to stop you from coding all these in a view but it would not be pretty, not to speak of totally breaking the MVC pattern. So how do we overcome this restriction? The answer again is simple due to the extensible nature  of nopCommerce. NopCommerce plugins! Most often a nopCommerce theme, needs to be accompanied by a nopCommerce plugin. Will this complicate matters? Not at all. A nopCommerce plugin is just as separate from the nopCommerce source code as is a nopCommerce theme. In fact all our themes at Nop-Templates.com come bundled with a plugin.

One would probably need a nopCommerce plugin to go alongside a nopCommerce theme for the following reasons:

1. To register new MVC routes or alter existing ones.

2. To implement custom controller actions or custom models,  which can be used to enhance existing ones.

3. To change the behavior of existing nopCommerce controller actions by intercepting the action execution somewhere in the MVC pipeline. This is achieved through MVC action filters which constitute one of the most powerful extensibility tools every ASP.NET MVC developer should be aware of.

4. To install custom resource strings or change existing ones.

There isn't a customization to the nopCommerce core that could not be achieved via a nopCommerce plugin and easily integrated into a nopCommerce theme. So you can see how by a nopCommerce theme I don't really mean a bunch of CSS tweaks and images, but rather a full blown e-commerce solution. What could be better than that for a client looking for an e-commerce web site? Just look at the nopCommerce feature set: http://www.nopcommerce.com/featurelist.aspx

These features together with the clean and sound implementation of the nopCommerce core, no doubt beat many paid e-commerce systems, which cost thousands of dollars and which are produced by one the biggest software powerhouses in the .NET world.

Implementing nopCommerce projects via the nopCommerce theming and plugin infrastructure might seem a daunting task at first. And I would totally agree that it is not that easy, mainly due to the fact that the new nopCommerce came out recently and there is still no developer documentation. However nopCommerce themes is the way forward. Companies who manage to master the nopCommerce extensibility features will no doubt be much better positioned and capable to shine in the vast and ever changing world of modern e-commerce.

How to create a nopCommerce themes is next, so stay tuned for the coming blog posts from the Nop-Templates.com development team.

Nop Electronics and Nop Fashion Themes for nopCommerce 2.3 come fully packed with all our extensions.
The themes are now more powerful and provide much more options for customizations.


If you wonder why you should buy our nopCommerce themes here is a short list to consider:

Our absolutely unique Nop Ajax Filters are seamlessly integrated in the themes.
They are specifically styled for the themes for both options - checkboxes and dropdowns.
So you can choose the option that best suits your stores or your client needs.

Nop Quick Tabs plugin is used to display the product descriptions, specifications and reviews in a nice compact way into separate tabs.
More it allows you to add aditional information to your products by creating custom tabs and map them to all products in a given category or in a given manufacturer.
This is also the first plugin that gives you the ability to add your own themes and thus change the look of the tabs to your taste.
No need to know CSS to create new themes as you can use the powerful JQuery UI Themeroller.

Adding banners or sliders to your store has never been easier with our brand new Nop Anywhere Sliders plugin.
The themes come with sliders already integrated on the home pages. Any slider can be managed only from the nopCommerce administration.
The plugin supports widgets, so you can add any slider to any widget zone in your store.
Any slider can practically be displayed at any place in your store with just a single line of code.

Have improved categories navigation with Nop Categories Header Menu plugin.
It also allows adding links to other pages in the store.

The themes are SEO optimized. With Nop Smart SEO plugin you don't need to worry about the most important aspect of an online bussines namely the SEO optimization.
The plugin automatically generates the metadata content of your products and categories.

All our themes and plugins are entirely localized!
All our themes and plugins have a detailed online documentation with samples!
All our themes and plugins have Live Demos!
All our themes and plugins have their views open to modifications!
All our themes and plugins are easily upgradeable to new releases of nopCommerce as there isn't a single modification to the core nopCommerce framework!

Still wondering should you buy a theme from Nop-Templates.com?

Probably you should know that if you buy any of our nopCommerce themes, plugins, extenstion or templates then:
1. You will get any new versions available for FREE for 1 year since purchase date.
2. FREE Support for 1 year since purchase date.

Still not sure ...

You can use the coupon code below for 20% OFF for all the products in our store till the new year:
MERRYCHRISTMASFROMNOPT

We at Nop-Templates would like to wish you happy holidays and all the best in the new year 2012!

We are more than happy to announce the release of the new Nop Anywhere Sliders, which creation was pushed by the well known Nop Home Page Sliders. Many of the new features are inspired by the active nopCommerce community for which we are very thankful. The new plugin is much more powerful with a lot of new features including widget support, ability to create many sliders, display more than one slider on a page and more.

We will try to point the most important features of the Nop Anywhere Sliders.

1. Widget Support - any slider can be added to any widget zone or even to more than one widget zone with just a click from the plugin administration. You do not need to navigate away from a slider to add it to widget zones, which is very useful and gives a better user experience.

2. Add as many sliders as you wish on a page - with the old Nop Home Page Sliders this was impossible. After many requests we implemented the new Nop Anywhere Sliders in a way that the customers can create different sliders with their own set of images and settings, which gives them the absolute freedom to organize their websites and marketing campaigns as they wish. They can have a normal 2D slider, the fancy 3D slider and images acting as banners on a single page.

3. Much better organization of the administration part of the plugin which gives the power to the clients to do everything with just one or two clicks from a single place.

4. The images are fully localizable so that if the website has more active languages, the images can navigate to different pages depending on the current language.

5. The images will be auto resized to the sizes set in the settings of the slider to which they belong.

6. Open views for easier customization if needed.

For a live demo and more detailed information please visit the Nop Anywhere Sliders page at Nop-Templates.com.
The new version of the plugin is now paid but it comes with 1 year FREE Support and 1 year FREE Upgrades.
The FREE version of the plugin for nopCommerce 2.0/2.1/2.2 is still available for download.

The new powerful Nop Anywhere Sliders are integrated in our professional nopCommerce themes.

All current users of our nopCommerce themes, will receive the new upgraded nopCommerce 2.3 version of the themes for FREE.

We are glad to announce the release of Nop Quick Tabs plugin for nopCommerce 2.3.
We would like to thank all of you who contributed with your priceless feedback in shaping this product.
With this release we pushed the plugin to a new level.
Here is the list of improvements of the Nop Quick Tabs:


1. Themeable Support - the tabs come with three predefined themes that you can choose from in the Admin panel.
   You can easily create your own new themes using the JQuery UI Themeroller.
   There is a step by step tutorial about how to do this on the plugin documentation page.


2. Ajax tabs loading is now configurable!
 You can enable/disable the Ajax loading of the tab content from the Admin panel.
   Turning Ajax off can be very useful if you want the search engines to index the content of your tabs.


3. Tabs sharing has never been easier!
   Have you ever wanted to add a tab with specific Sizing Chart information to all products of a given Manufacturer?
   Have you ever wanted to add a tab with specific Delivery information for all products in a given Category
   No problem, you are now covered as you can map Tabs to categories and manufacterers.
   Even more it will improve the consistency of your store as the Tab will automatically be shared with any new products added for the given category or manufacturer.

For a live demo and more detailed information please visit the Nop Quick Tabs page at Nop-Templates.com
The new version of the plugin is now paid but it comes with 1 year FREE Support and 1 year FREE Upgrades.
The FREE version of the plugin for nopCommerce 2.0/2.1/2.2 is still available for download.

We would also like to let our customers know that we are currently working on integrating the new Nop Quick Tabs in our nopCommerce themes.
All current users of our nopCommerce themes, will receive the new upgraded nopCommerce 2.3 version of the themes for FREE.

For all our newsletter subscribers we are running 20% discount for the Nop Quick Tabs.

With the release of nopCommerce 2.3, we have pushed our Nop Ajax Filters to the next level. Today we have released a new version of the plugin for nopCommerce 2.3, which features a number of enhancements, all of which have been driven by customer feedback. We would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to talk to us regarding our nopCommerce products. So please do continue to share your feedback with us, as we continue to improve our nopCommerce plugins and themes.

The new Nop Ajax Filters comes with:

1. Automatic support for Checkbox and Dropdown controls. This means that the different filter groups can be presented either in a checkbox list or a dropdown list. This is controlled via a setting from the administration of the plugin.

2. Ajax support for the Sort Options, View Options and Page Size dropdowns on the nopCommerce category page. This allows customers to sort the products or change the product view or product page size when the products have already been filtered and vice versa. This is done without any postbacks to the server.

3. Support for Clear and Clear All filters. Customers are now able to clear their filter selection for individual filter groups or for all filter groups.

4. Toggle filter group visibility. Should customers need to organize their product search\filter experience better they can hide or show individual filter groups.

A nopCommerce demo of the filters for the default Dark Orange nopCommerce theme can be viewed here.

Existing customers of the Nop Ajax Filters can download the new version for free from their My Account section on Nop-Templates.com.

We would also like to let our customers know that we are currently working on integrating the new Nop Ajax Filters in our nopCommerce themes. All current users of our nopCommerce themes, will receive the new upgraded nopCommerce 2.3 version of the themes for free.

For all our newsletter subscribers we are running  20% discount for the Nop Ajax Filters.

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