NopCommerce 2.8 is out and here we are again with our usual digest of the more important features released with this new version.
First of all the release schedule of nopCommerce 2.8 was cut short by a month due to an important issue, which prevented SSL from working with nopCommerce on mobile devices. Therefore the nopCommerce team decided to wrap up the work on the 2.8 version and release it earlier than the announced release for the beginning of February. So first thing first, SSL now works on nopCommerce for mobile devices.
The pivot feature of the new 2.8 release is the new default theme, which has a more modern look than the previous DarkOrange theme. Our Nop-Templates development team was supposed to refactor the markup of the theme to make it more modern, more consistent, much easier to work with and more optimized. But due to the last minute change in plans this work item dropped out and is now due for the next version of nopCommerce.
One of the features in nopCommerce 2.8 that we like the most are ID-less urls for blog and news pages. So if we were to use nopCommerce 2.8 on Nop-Templates.com today, and we will very soon, our blog url instead of:
This is a great improvement for every nopCommerce web site with a proper SEO strategy. In our previous blog post about nopCommerce 2.7 we mentioned that it is obvious why keywords in urls are much better than meaningless ids. While this is true for product and category pages it is especially appropriate for content pages like blogs and news, which content is the most looked at by search engines. For more information on clean url design please visit this page from the google web master section.
But wait a second! What is going to happen to our previous url http://www.nop-templates.com/blog/34/whats-new-in-nopcommerce-28? Google has already cached it and users will click on it in their search results. Well the nopCommerce team (they are awesome by the way) have thought of that and implemented a 301 permanent redirects for all the links that contain ids, this includes product, category, blog and news links. So you do not even have to lift a finger to have your super clean nopCommerce urls working.
In nopCommerce 2.7 you would have seen a new tab in the administration of the products and categories, which looks likes this:
ACL in nopCommerce stands for Acess Control List and means that store owners can specify that only certain groups of users see the products in the public part of the web site. This was new in nopCommerce 2.7 and was implemented for products and categories. In nopCommerce 2.8 the ACL feature is also available for manufacturers. This is an extremely handy feature for scenarios where you would like to show different products to different users. For example you can have one set of products for distributors or whole sellers and one for normal clients.
Our favorite new features in nopCommerce 2.8 are the ones that we ourselves can use and the ones that will have real value to retailers using nopCommerce. The new "Color squares" attribute type is certainly one of these features. Now if your products have colors and you would like the customers to choose one of them you have a nice way of representing this to the users by using squares with the colors of your product. Customers can click on these color squares to select the color they need. This is one of the more modern and better user experience approaches, which is used mostly by the biggest online shops. It is also quite useful for filters, which contain Color attributes and as such will be supported by our Nop Ajax Filters.
Prior to nopCommerce 2.8 product specifications could be defined only via a set of specifications values. In other words if for example you are selling electrical products and wanted to have a specification like Power 150 (W) on a product you had to have a set of Watt values and choose one of the values in the set for every product:
Now imagine having to define a set of all the possible Power values of your products, which are pretty much arbitrary and could be hundreds and then having to map a value to each product separately. Fortunately in nopCommerce 2.8 store owners can specify custom values for specification attributes or in other words specify an arbitrary specification value for each product without having to define a set of values before that.
Another much requested feature that larger nopCommerce stores will appreciate a lot in nopCommerce 2.8 is the ability to specify SKU, Manufacturer Part Number and GTIN for product attribute combinations. What this means is that if you are tracking product inventory by attribute combinations, for example you have separate stock quantity for each (green\size xl pair of jeans), now you can specify a different SKU, Manufacturer Part Number or GTIN for each of these attribute combinations.
As with every other release of nopCommerce there are numerous other small improvements, bug fixes and changes in the code to make development easier. For more information please read the release note.
Our nopCommerce 2.8 release is due this week starting from our nopCommerce plugins, which will be released today and followed by the release of our nopCommerce themes. So stay tuned for more nopCommerce 2.8 news!