Close

Blog

What's new in nopCommerce 3.1 ~ Friday, August 16, 2013

The nopCommerce 3.1 release has been out and about for 2 weeks now and we would like to share with you what's new in the system in a little bit more detail than the standard release note. So let's get straight to the point.

NopCommerce 3.1 comes two months after the major 3.0 release so there are no ground-breaking features like the multi-store, multi-vendor, or the new markup. Still there are a few quite important improvements in the system, which are worth an upgrade of your nopCommerce website.

The most important change in nopCommerce 3.1 is the absence of the product variants, which were an integral part of the system in the previous versions. Now in nopCommerce you have just products. And products can be either group or simple. Essentially all your products with product variants are replaced via a group product with simple products underneath. In addition simple products can show individually on catalog pages, like the category page for example. The Product Variants tab is removed from the Product administrator page. What you should be looking for is the Associated Products tab.

NopCommerce Group Products

This change makes the catalog system in nopCommerce simpler, at the same time more powerful. With the grouping between products and at the same time the possibility to show simple products individually you can cover complex catalog scenarios.

For example, let's say that you have a product Levi's Alfresco Jeans and two simple products underneath it: Alfresco Blue and Alfresco Green. The two simple products have separate skus and prices. You also have a separate category called Sale, where you show all your products that are on sale. You decide that the Alfresco Green is not selling very well so it needs to go on sale. Now because the Alfresco Green is just another product you can map it to the Sale category. Mark the Alfresco Green as "Visible Individually" and it will show in the Sale category. Previously this scenario was not possible due to the fact that product variants were tied to one specific product and the product itself was the leading entity in the catalog.

So the new group and simple products in nopCommerce 3.1 are a great feature for the nopCommerce store owner. But let me tell you that the nopCommerce developers as well as the nopCommerce team of course, will have to put a lot more effort when working or customizing the catalog system. But this is a topic worth a whole new blog post (very technical) so let's move to the other new features in nopCommerce 3.1.

If you are a nopCommerce store owner, you will definitely love this new addition to nopCommerce 3.1 as it was an obvious and most requested feature. In nopCommerce 3.1. you can associate a product attribute to a product picture. In other words if you have a certain dress, which you sell in two different colors : black and blue and you have two different pictures of the dress for each color.

NopCommerce Assosciated Product Attributes With Pictures

When the customer goes on the product page and chooses a color, let's say blue, the product picture on the page changes to show the correct image of the blue dress. This UI behavior seems natural and thus important but was missing in nopCommerce up till now. So it alone is well worth considering and upgrade to the newest 3.1 version of nopCommerce.

If you are still not convinced the new product bundling functionality in nopCommerce 3.1 could be it. Now you can have a bundle of products, which works seamlessly with the pricing and the order process in the system.

NopCommerce Bundled Products

To create a product bundle in nopCommerce all you need to do is to associate a product with an attribute value. Then when the customer selects the value, nopCommerce will know that you are actually buying the product associated with the attribute value. Do note that you need to have the Dynamic Price Update setting set to true in order to have the prices update with each product you choose.

Administering NopCommerce Bundled Products

NopCommerce 3.1 also adds several improvements to its multi-store support. Most importantly now you can enable\disable plugins per store.

NopCommerce Plugins

You can also configure payment methods per store as well as shipping rates by weight and dimensions.

NopCommerce 3.1 comes with a few performance improvements, which have to do with new database indexes and more presentation level caching. The release note contains also a list of small but useful bug fixes and improvements. If you are interested do check it out here:

http://www.nopcommerce.com/releasenotes.aspx

Let's summarize what we have learned so far about nopCommerce 3.1.

  • It simplifies the catalog system for the store owners
  • Adds very useful features for both the owners and the customers of a nopCommerce store
  • Fills multi-store functionality gaps
  • Come with the usual performance and functionality fixes and improvements

So the release is more than worth a look by all involved with nopCommerce.

Do not also forget to checkout our nopCommerce themes and plugins, which are available for nopCommerce 3.1. Currently we are developing responsive versions and theme rollers for all our themes as well as new responsive nopCommerce themes. Every new theme we release is added for free to the Nop Ultimate Theme Collection package of existing customers.

So stay tuned as we continue to develop more products for the greatest (there is absolutely no doubt) .NET e-commerce platform on the market.

The Nop Mega Menu plugin adds a powerful and flexible dropdown mega menu to your nopCommerce web site. You can enjoy an easy and effective navigation in your store managed right from your administration panel.

To learn more about the Nop Mega Menu Plugin watch this video.

If just a few years ago the big question was whether to put the E in front of your business, now the more adequate question is whether to substitute the E with the more relevant M. If you are one of those retailers who are still pondering on the former, then you are obviously ignoring or even not aware of the M evolution. In this case, the chances are you are going to be left behind.

With the rapid growth of the mobile and tablet internet users it is now obvious that a major shift in the market is taking place, one that is already having a huge impact on the whole E-Commerce business. It is predicted that eventually by 2015 the mobile internet users will surpass the desktop internet users. Not only more and more users access the internet through mobile devices, but they are doing it with the intention to buy. The following infographic shows how this tendency is shaping up and whether or not in recent years we will be witnessing the last days of the desktop computer.

As a dedicated vendor of premium nopCommerce themes and plugins we at Nop-Templates.com are determined to keep up with the new trend so that we can help our customers build a successful e-commerce business. We are nearing the completion of a major new development on our nopCommerce road map. Can you guess what it is?

 

The infographic is courtesy of http://sixrevisions.com and is produced by www.34sp.com web hosting company.


After the successful launch of the Nop Fashion Theme Roller, we were eager to introduce this powerful feature to the Nop Electronics Theme. We are happy to announce that we finally did it! The Theme Roller allows store owners, developers and web agencies to customize the look and feel of their nopCommerce online shop on the fly.

Now you do not need to change the nopCommerce CSS in order to match the colors and styles of your company or your client's image. Just use the Nop Electronics Theme Roller to customize the theme to meet your requirements. Once done you can save your changes and download your customized version of the theme from Nop-Templates.com.

To see how you can re-brand the default Nop Electronics Theme, please watch this video. With the new Theme Roller you will impress your customers, sell your products and make your competitors envy the nopCommerce technology that you so successfully use.

We are constantly striving to improve our products, so stay tuned for more exciting news from Nop-Templates.com

Recently we released one of the most requested and powerful plugins for nopCommerce - the Nop Product Ribbons.

And of course we immediately decided to take advantage of it and to use it on our website Nop-Templates.com. After all what a better way to showcase our produts than by showing how we use them for our own nopCommerce website.

The challenge we faced

On our product list pages, we wanted to make a quick change so that customers are informed, which products are new and especially which are best-value for price. This information had to be clear and effectively communicated when our customers go to the Themes or Plugins pages. New products are important to our existing customers of the Nop Ultimate Plugin Collection or Nop Ultimate Theme Collection as they receive them for free. While best-value products are obviously the ones new visitors to our website should consider.


The solution: We decided to use our new Nop Product Ribbons plugin as it perfectly fits our needs.

Here is what we did after installing the plugin on our Nop-Templates.com web site, proudly running on nopCommerce.

Step 1: Create a ribbon and add the required settings to it.

Creating a Ribbon is very easy from the nopCommerce administration. We set its name to be "New products", so that the name implies on what products the ribbons will be shown. We left all the other settings to be the default ones.

Ribbons General Tab

We saved the ribbon and then continued with the next step.

Step 2: Position the visual part of the ribbon on the catalog/product list pages.

A product ribbon could look differently depending on where the product is shown - in the small product box on the catalog pages or in the big product box on the product page. For example on the category page the ribbon picture should be smaller because the product pictures are smaller, while on the product page it should be bigger as the product picture is bigger.


That's why the Nop Product Ribbons plugin allows us to have 2 different ribbons for the same product (depending on where the product is being viewed) and to enable/disable both of them independently.


As we wanted our ribbon to be shown only on our catalog pages, we set up the Small product picture ribbon only.
So we went to the Small product page ribbon tab:

Category page ribbon tab

We have several options to visualize the ribbon:

  • only picture - simply upload a ribbon picture or use one of the 80 predefined pictures.
  • only text - simply add some text. For example "New".
  • both text and picture - add some text and use a picture as a background.

The Nop Product Ribbons plugin offers a collection of more than 80 ribbon pictures, which you can use out of the box. This could save you a lot of time searching for ribbon images. Simply click edit picture and choose the one that suits you best.

The picture we chose to use contained text in it, so we left the text field empty.

Add product ribbon picture

After we added the ribbon picture we needed to position it relative to the product picture. There are 4 positions available - top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right. We left the default one, which is top-left  and we also fine-tuned the positioning a little bit via CSS - top: -23px; left: -23px; 

We didn't want to have a ribbon on the big product picture on the product pages that's why we skipped the Big product picture ribbon tab.

Step 3: Choose the products for the ribbon.

Finally we had to choose the products, which were going to have the ribbon. We had two options again - use the very powerful product conditions using the Conditions tab or simply choose a set of products using the Products tab. In our case we knew, which are the new products and simply added each of them from the Products tab.

Product overrides tab

 VOILA! We have our product ribbon shown for our products on the catalog pages. Below is a screenshot of our nopCommerce Plugins page.

Professional nopCommerce plugins and extensions with product ribbons

Now it is much easier to know that the Nop Customer Reminders and the Nop Product Ribbons are new plugins.

In this post we just scratched what can be done with the Nop Product Ribbons plugin to market your products effectively. For more information about the product ribbons you can check out the Online Documentation.

What's new in Nop Ajax Filters 3.0.2? ~ Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Product filtering in nopCommerce has never been a trivial task, especially when you need your filters to interact with each other, to update on the fly not only the availble products but also the available filter options. Our flagship product the Nop Ajax Filters (it was also our first commercial product) has seen a lot of attention from our development team over the two years since its launch. Most of development on the plugin was driven by our customers.

With the nopCommerce 3.0 released we are starting to see a greater number of large retailers and stores pointing their opportunistic radars in the direction of nopCommerce. Naturally we have been approached by customers who had thousands of products in a single category who required that the Nop Ajax Filters filter the products withing the range of 1 sec.

If you are familiar with the nopCommerce database schema and how the different Price Range, Specification, Attributes and Manufacturer filters interact with each other, you will know that is quite a challenge. Well...challenge accpeted!

And here we are with a brand new 3.0.2 version of the Nop Ajax Filters, which can select among thousands of products from the nopCommerce intricate database in the blink of an eye.

But that's not all. We have also enhanced the Nop Ajax Filters to work not only on a nopCommerce category page but also on a manufacturer page. Now you can make your nopCommerce manufacturer pages much more friendly to your customers, who will be able to find the products they are looking for in no time.

All our 3.0.2 nopCommerce plugins including the Nop Ajax Filters have received a new sidebar menu on their administration pages in order to facilitate the administration of the plugins:

We would like to point out that the Nop Ajax Filters 3.0.2 will work on any nopCommerce 3.0 installation. If you have the plugin already installed, please uninstall it and install the new version.

We would also like to thank all our customers who shared their feedback and most importantly large real-world nopCommerce databases with us!

Next we will be enhancing the Nop Ajax Filters to work on the nopCommerce search page. So stay tuned for more new features and improvments coming out of our amazing nopCommerce development team.

You might already be aware that nopCommerce recently announced a critical security issue affecting all nopCommerce 2.x installations.

We would like to stress the importance of this issue. All nopCommerce 2.x installation run the risk of having their customers and order information exposed.

We would not disclose the issue as it will contribute to the risk of having live nopCommerce 2.x shops hacked. It is related to a third party library used by nopCommerce and produced by a big software vendor, who have already been notified of the issue. However everyone running nopCommerce 2.x should apply the following fix to their website.

1. Open the Web.config file located in the root of your nopCommerce website.

2. Remove the following three lines of code:

<add verb="GET,HEAD" path="asset.axd" validate="false" type="Telerik.Web.Mvc.WebAssetHttpHandler, Telerik.Web.Mvc" />

<remove name="asset" />

<add name="asset" preCondition="integratedMode" verb="GET,HEAD" path="asset.axd" type="Telerik.Web.Mvc.WebAssetHttpHandler, Telerik.Web.Mvc" />

3. Once this is done, change your password to the database as well as any payment provider credentials you might be using.

Again we would like to stress that this is a very important issue, which makes hacking your nopCommerce 2.x website extremely easy.

Please do take notice and apply the fix, which should not take you more than a few minutes.

Any issues you might have with this, do let us or the nopCommerce team know!

I am sure all of us who are in the e-commerce business have noticed the following trend. Clients visit your website, add products to their shopping carts and then disappear never to return and checkout. The three cursed words describing this phenomenon are - abandoned shopping cart. Statistics shows that in the last couple of years the abandoned shopping cart rate has risen to approximately 70%, which means that 7 out of 10 shoppers, who place an order, do not complete it. A rate that high is not to be underestimated, especially when it is in a direct relation to revenue losses.

Clients abandon their shopping carts for number of reasons: problems with the payment processor or lack of trust in it, problems with credit cards, not being ready to buy, doing compare shopping, unwillingness to register with the store, high prices and shipping costs. Whatever the reasons, the result is always the same: abandoned shopping cart.

How to overcome this negative tendency? Here are some useful tips on the topic.

A checkout process made easier

Before you start investigating the shopping cart abandonment issue, ask yourself a simple question. Why do people prefer to shop online? The answer is simple; it is much easier, convenient and less time consuming. Then why make it more difficult for your customers and spoil the user experience with a difficult and confusing checkout process? Making the checkout process easier is a good starting point for solving the abandoned shopping cart dilemma.

Reduce the number of pages and the steps a customer has to complete before checkout. Ideally, a one-page checkout form is a step in the right direction. Ask only for information and details that are most necessary for your business purposes. Don’t make your clients feel as if they are being cross examined. The more annoyed a customer gets while placing an order, the greater the chance is to leave your website without completing it.

Another widespread e-commerce practice that has proven to be most irritating is asking your customers to register with your store before placing an order. Nowadays, people are asked on daily bases to make some kind of registration. Sometimes even the simplest thing as thinking of a new password and remembering it can discourage customers to register with your store. Instead, try another strategy, ask them to register after they have completed an order or invite them to complete a guest checkout and to create an account afterwards. 

Going through multiple page checkouts, filling out forms and answering a ton of unnecessary questions can be the difference between revenue earned and a shopping cart abandoned.

As a customer myself I have a single principle when buying: I am willing to buy from those who are willing to make my money worth spending. The same principle applies when being on the other side of the line.

Don’t bamboozle your clients

Many online stores make a crucial mistake when hiding additional fees and term. Make the shopping process in your site absolutely transparent. Always be honest with your customers and clear about shipping and handling costs, sale taxes and other relevant information.  Unpleasant surprises throughout the checkout process in the form of hidden fees and terms may encourage your clients to abandon their shopping carts.

Some online store owners may say that there will always be inexperienced or absent-minded shoppers who will overlook such details and still make a purchase. I would say, don’t rely on this. In the short run you may be able to make an easy profit from such shoppers. However, in the long run such attitude can have extremely negative consequences on your business. You risk losing your credibility which can be critical for your business success.

One thing you can be certain about: try to trick customers and they won’t consider your products or services again.

Remind, reassure, promote!

As an online store owner you may have done everything I have already mentioned, and still have high shopping cart abandonment rate. Go a step further and consider e-mail reminders. The e-mail reminders are a smart way to decrease your levels of cart abandoning especially if done properly. Just remember one important thing: the point is to subtly remind your customers about a purchase opportunity, don’t bombard them with information trying to push them to buy at all costs.

Use sharp, straight-to-the point and witty messages. Don’t try to bully your customers with phrases such as “it is one time opportunity”, “get this offer now or never”, and “buy only now”. The chances are nobody will pay attention to your ceaseless pleading.  Be clever about it and offer something that can make customers reconsider buying from you. Things such as a discount, coupon code, free shipping or support won’t hurt your overall sales performance, but can boost your customer’s satisfaction.

I have good news for those of you using nopCommerce for your online store.  You can now automatically recover abandoned shopping carts, incomplete registrations and unpaid orders with the Nop Customer Reminders plugin. The plugin can be configured to send automatic reminder messages to recover abandoned shopping carts, incomplete registration and unpaid orders.

The Nop Customers Reminders plugin uses a flexible configuration framework where the store owner can specify as many reminders as they need and configure various settings for each reminder. A reminder can be configured:

  • To use one of the three predefined rules (Abandoned Shopping Cart, Inactive Customer, Unpaid Orders)
  • To use a specified period within which each rule action should fall into for a customer to receive a reminder message. For example send a reminder to all customers who have added a product to their shopping cart and not bought it within the last 60 days but not earlier than 30 minutes from now.
  • To send more than one message
  • To use a message template with tokens specific to the nopCommerce store, the customer and the specific action that they took (added a product to their shopping cart for example)
  • To explicitly exclude customers from receiving a reminder message.

Whether you are using nopCommerce for your online business or not, I am sure you have come face to face with the abandoned shopping cart phenomenon. Spend time to understand and deal with this negative tendency, because high abandoned shopping cart rate is lost profit for your business.  

The current growth of the e-commerce industry entices many entrepreneurs to dip in this immense pool of opportunities. However, not all willing to try, manage to stay in business. Why is this happening?

Most people believe that setting up an e-commerce shop is all there is to starting up a successful e-commerce business and that after that they can relax and wait for the money to start pouring straight into their pockets. Setting the online shop is the easiest part. What needs to be done beforehand and after the initial launch requires fulltime commitment and hard work.

Here are some useful tips on how to make your e-commerce business successful:


Niche down your idea

I am sure you have great ideas that you believe are going to make your site the supernova in the e-commerce sky. The reality is different though. The moment you come up with a promising idea, you can bet that there are several people already working on it. Learn how to be a step ahead of these people.

The simple thing to do is to niche down your idea. Instead of focusing on too many cases, try to narrow down your possibilities and find a “kicker”, something that will differentiate you from the competitors and make you have an advantage over them. Finding a niche is not easy. You can get inspired by your hobbies and interests and look for potential business ideas there. Or you may focus on what you are good at and try to use the knowledge and experience to your benefit.

When deciding on a niche, don’t forget to research your target group. I will illustrate how important this is with a simple real life example. Freebord is a US based company, giving the alternative to snowboarding in the summer. The target group is core riders, who breathe snowboarding, in this case snowboarding the streets. A few years ago a bunch of enthusiast decided to start selling this product in Bulgaria. The idea was fantastic, the product was new, mind-blowing. Did they succeed? Not yet. The problem was that they did not spend much time researching their target group. Freebording is a dangerous and expensive sport, which is appealing mainly to core riders. It turned out that in Bulgaria there are not too many such riders and a small number of them could afford investing in such an expensive sport. Moreover Freebording is a brand that is being developed internationally mainly online. Did the core riders spend too much time online? In fact some of them were so busy being outdoors that they did not even have a Facebook account.

On the other hand take Crockpot, which was again a brand new product on the Bulgarian market and again developed by young entrepreneurs. They managed to market it with an amazing speed again mainly online. But this time their target group was women, wives, mothers. A higher income group and of course we all know that women rule the internet.

Test your idea

Once you have a business idea, research the demand. No one wants to spend time and resources on a project, only to find out that nobody cares. In order to avoid this happening, try to find out whether there is interest in your product or niche and that investing in it will be profitable. One way to do it is to start writing about your product and see the response. Get to know your competitors. Learn about their business, so that you know what challenges you are facing.

Design a professional website

Just setting up a site is not enough to make an impression and to be remembered. If you want to have a successful e-commerce business, build a professional website – with slick design and excellent functionality. The website is the first impression that your customers will have of your business. Don’t let your customers view you as just another fish in the sea, be the fish in the sea. Make an impression and people will remember you.

Make strategic alliances

Startups often lack the resources to fund big advertising campaigns in order to make clients notice them. To compensate for this, they try to offer their customers some unique proposition, such as discounts and promotions. Will this be enough though to make your customers loyal? Often, when you want to make something big, you have to think small. It can be something as simple as making customers feel safe and comfortable buying from you. You can achieve this by making alliances with other businesses, which presence will breathe more trust into your business and make your customers feel more comfortable buying from you.

Be Honest

In order to build a successful e-commerce business, it is not enough to get a customer buy from you once. How do you create a loyal customer? Apart from offering great products and service, you can do better by simply having the right communication approach. Making your customers loyal is the equivalent to committing to a long term relationship. Be honest! Show your customers that you understand their needs and concerns and that you can offer them the right solution. Make your customers feel comfortable and secure shopping from you and you will change from being just a vendor to being their partner.  

Use the power of content marketing

Content marketing seems to be largely underestimated when it comes to e-commerce business. Once you get the hack of it, it will turn into a powerful tool for developing your business. Don’t just write anything in order to boost your SEO. Write meaningful content about your industry or product. Write something that will get the audience stirring and will raise interest enough to make them share the content. Thus, you can establish yourself as e real professional in your field. Write in forums and be active on online venues related to your business. This will not only make you build connections, but also will keep you updated on what is happening in your market.

Choosing the right platform for your e-commerce site

We won’t beat about the bush. We use nopcommerce because it is awesome and we love it. It is a powerful free platform, which:
•    offers an unlimited number of products, categories and manufacturers
•    supports multi-store, multi-vendor
•    integrates with many payment and shipping providers out of the box
•    has powerful marketing and customer service features
•    has an active community
•    uses an enterprise technology (MS .NET and MSSQL Server ) despite the fact that it is free
•    has a network of vendors, like Nop-Templates who can contribute the missing pieces for you

In any case these are the features you should be looking for, when deciding on your e-commerce platform. We do recommend nopCommerce so if you would like, give it a try at www.nopcommerce.com. To add a professional look and additional functionality to your website browse through our nopCommerce themes and extensions.   

If you have missed the other parts of this blog series, please feel free to read more here:

What's new in nopCommerce 3.0 - part 1 - multi vendor support.

What's new in nopCommerce 3.0 - part 2 - multi store support.

What's new in nopCommerce 3.0 - part 3 - Nop-Tempalates themes and plugins.

The multi-store and multi-vendor are the big stars in the nopCommerce 3.0 release. But there is one more major feature, which we have not talked about yet. NopCommerce 3.0 will be released with a brand new HTML and CSS. The whole markup of the system has been refactored to be clean, optimized, semantically correct, modern and most importantly easy to work with and customize.

This major feature was done by Nop-Templates and contributed to nopCommerce. We have had our top front-end developer work on the system for almost 2 months so that the markup that nopCommerce generates can be, as he likes to put it, "Shining"!

There are three major directions, which were followed during the refactoring.

1. Add or remove elements to achieve flexibility of styling.

Take the sorting options on the nopCommerce category pages for example:

NopCommerce Sorting Options

Imagine you would like to style the sorting options panel, put a background on it or a border. Before the refactoring the sorting options panel elements (the three dropdowns) did not have a parent element and styling the whole panel was quite difficult. You would probably end up overriding the category template view, just to do that. Now these elements have a common panel and if you would like to change it, you only need to work with CSS.

Another good example for this type of refactoring is the product page of nopCommerce where you have a separate line of markup for each product variant:

NopCommerce Product Variant

It is common to divide the elements for each variant (picture, description, attributes, buttons) into two separate panels, left and right. Before the refactoring to achieve this, each element had to be floated separately as there were no elements to act as left and right panel. Imagine doing this also for your theme RTL support. Now this is easily achieved as there are two separate panels, left and right, and elements can be arranged in these panels.

Another good example of this newly added markup to achieve flexibility are new class names added to table elements so that columns in a table could be styled separately. Before the refactoring separate styling of columns could not be achieved via CSS only. Now this is possible and is handy on pages like the shopping cart for example where you might need different font, color, centering, etc for a column:

NopCommerce Shopping Cart

There are numerous such changes through the code, which involve not only the pages mentioned so far but also blog, news, etc. pages. The purpose of this refactoring direction was to add flexibility to the markup so that customizations to the nopCommerce pages could be achieved only via CSS and not by overriding views and working with Razor, which complicates not only the development process but also creates problems with the maintenance and upgrade of these changes.

2. Unification of common elements. This refactoring direction has to do mainly with adding class names to common elements so that they can be styled together.

Take the nopCommerce category navigation for example:

NopCommerce Category Navigation

In this case the Categories and Recently Viewed Products navigation require the same styling as they both present a list ot items. Before the refactoring this could be achieved but without a common class declaration as there was no such class. Now these two panels can be styled with a single class declaration.

Such unification changes were done to many nopCommerce page elements like form elements, form lines, form labels and controls. Before the refactoring the nopCommerce forum for example had a lot of common tables, but without common class names. Now the nopCommerce forum is much easier to style because of this. This is also valid for the MyAccount pages, which depend heavily on form elements. Unification changes were done to whole pages too. The search page of the web site and of the forum were unified for example.

3. Remove deprecated elements and code approaches to achieve standard-compliant and semantically correct markup.

If you are a front-end developer familiar with nopCommerce you could be reading this blog only to find the answer to this question.

Is the <div class="clear"/> still used in nopCommerce 3.0?

The answer is no! This was an old, deprecated approach to clear floats, back from the days when HTML was written with IE 6 in mind. It was semantically incorrect and added waste to the HTML markup of the system, which not only looked bad to developers and search engines but was more difficult to work with. Now floats throughout nopCommerce are cleared only via CSS, which means that you cannot expect it to be perfect in IE 6, but to be honest who cares about IE 6. In fact please do good to developers and the web by not using this browser:

http://www.ie6countdown.com

With the <div class="clear"/> out of the way we had to take care of the next big front-end oldie: using table elements for layout. Table elements should be used where there is table data, like the nopCommerce shopping cart for example. But using tables to achieve layout, like presenting the products on the catalog pages for example is wrong and also frowned upon by search engines. So all tables used for layout were removed from nopCommerce.

NopCommerce Products

Another example of semantically incorrect use of HTML markup in nopCommerce, which was corrected by the refactoring is definition lists (dl elements) being used to define forms in the website. This was replaced with a more appropriate markup as definition lists should be used where there is specification data, (color - blue, material - cotton, etc.).

The whole nopCommerce generated markup was rid of all old-fashioned and semantically incorrect elements and approaches to make the system modern and much more appealing to developers and search engines.

The HTML Refactoring is not as widely talked about and advertised as the multi-store and multi-vendor support, which bring direct benefits to the nopCommerce store owner. The refactoring is a feature, which the developers will relate to. But as such it is extremely important. It will boost the theme development in the community and will allow nopCommerce developers to complete more quality nopCommerce projects much faster and with greater ease, which will again result in benefits for the store owners.

If you are a developer keen on looking at all the HTML Refactoring changes, please follow the changes in this nopCommerce branch:

http://nopcommerce.codeplex.com/SourceControl/network/forks/7Spikes/HtmlImprovement

This concludes our insight into the nopCommerce 3.0 major release. I hope you have found the series useful. Do not forget to send us your feedback and thoughts in the comments below or on the related facebook post on our facebook page.

Nopcommerce 3.0 will be released next week so stay tuned and do consider following us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next ... Last
Find us on Facebook