What's new in nopCommerce 2.6?

Summer is in its full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere but the nopCommerce team does not seem to be on vacation yet. They have just released nopCommerce 2.6 and the release notes sheet is too long to be put in a nutshell as usual. Nevertheless let me try to summarize the changes that are coming with nopCommerce 2.6.

1. Performance optimization - Those of you who have been following nopCommerce might have heard this one before and if you are wondering why this comes with every new version you should know that making such a highliner (just look at the feature set) as nopCommerce run fast is not a picnic. The nopCommerce team have rightly adopted a gradual approach to this and are doing an extremely good job. The technically savvy nopCommerce users should know that in nopCommerce 2.6 a better performance is being achieved by:

  • More presentation layer caching, which eliminates trips to the database once the MVC presentation models have been cached.
  • Extracting long running business logic into the database layer.
  • Adding new shortcut properties to some of the major entities, which eliminates the calculation of the same on the fly. For example the ProductVariant and Category entities now have HasDiscountsApplied property. Determining this before involved loading all the discounts and making quite a few database calls.
  • Permission caching between requests. Before that permissions for the current user had to be calculated with every request.
  • Combining multiple queries used to determine a single result into a single query.
  • Html markup and CSS refactoring and HTML compression enabled by default.

The business oriented store owners should just take it for granted that nopCommerce 2.6 is running much faster than 2.5.

2. Shipping by weight is now configurable by states and zip. This is a much requested and awaited feature, which will no doubt come into use by the majority of the nopCommerce stores.

3. Support for FedEx shipment tracking.

4. Allow store owners to manage the customers fields required for registration. This is a nice addition, which was present in the pre-MVC nopCommerce 1.9 and now added back to the system.

5. New Activity Log Types such as "Viewed a category details page", "Viewed a manufacturer details page", "Viewed a product details page", "Placed a new order". These come with a new Activity Log tab on the Customer admin page, which would allow for some insightful analysis of the customer shopping flow on the web site.

6. Google Product Search plugin which integrates your nopCommerce store with the Google Product Search system. For more information please visit: http://www.google.com/shopping.

7. Allow store owners to set start and end dates for every news and blog post.

8. Full Text search support.

9. Flyout mini shopping cart.

10. Poducts are now being added to the cart via Ajax.

While there are other numerous improvements and features in nopCommerce 2.6, these are the bigger items on the list which are worth mentioning and which will be of interest to the store owners.

The nopCommerce hungry developers, which include our Nop-Templates team as well, should be aware of a few changes in nopCommerce 2.6:

1. Improved widget architecture and many more widget zones. There are widget zones now which are specific to the category or product pages. This is an improvement, which will allow some of our plugins like the Nop Ajax Filters to have widget support.

2. Possibility to add custom tabs to admin area pages like Product, Category, Manufacturer. This feature is really exciting and long waited for by our development team. This will allow all our plugins that have Product, Category, Manufacturer, etc. mappings to have a much more powerful and user friendly administration.

3. Generic Attribute support. Now new properties can be added to any entity without changing the database schema. This was previously possible only for the Customer entity. This is an extremely important and powerful functionality, which will much facilitate nopCommerce plugin development.

4. Plugins are now loaded based on their DisplayOrder. This is an important change, when you have plugin dependencies.

5. Support for custom email tokens. Plugins can now added their own tokens and thus dynamic content to the emails generated by nopCommerce.

The nopCommerce 2.6 release notes list is quite long. Should you wish to do a more detailed reading please visit:

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

Our Nop-Templates development team is currently busy working on the move to nopCommerce 2.6.

To all our customers please note that all our nopCommerce plugins and themes should be available for nopCommerce 2.6 by Friday July 6th. Those of you with valid 1 year licenses will have the products available for download as usual in the My Account -> Downloadable products section on Nop-Templates.com.

I hope this blog has been useful and please stay tuned for more exciting nopCommerce articles!