Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, I want to talk about the plans for the next major release of OXID eShop.
Thanks to the newly introduced feature request tool, we now have metrics for gauging the community’s wishes and so this marks the first mostly community-developed roadmap. Of course, number of votes wasn’t the only criteria the team took into account: When we introduced the tool at the Partners Day 2009, some decisions were made together with the partners taking part in this workshop.
Please note that this roadmap is always subject to change. OXID eShop version 4.3.0 will include the following enhancements:
In some countries (e.g. USA, Japan, Canada), the address format contains a field for entering the state/province. Payment services like PayPal treat this field as mandatory, and may refuse payment if no value is set for state/province. On Partners Day, we were told by several shop owners that delivered to these countries that this is critical functionality for them. In OXID eShop 4.3.0, consumers will be able to choose their state/province from the order process in the shop front end and this field will be available to be handed over to any interface.
- Our highest rated request was to „Add the possibility to upload one base picture„. In order to implement this request, and close bug #1550 (Icons are not generated when pictures are uploaded via FTP), the new version will prompt the shop administrator to upload the picture with the highest resolution first, and all other picture sizes will be calculated from this one by default. Alternatively, it will be possible to upload a different picture for any other size if you wish.
- Excluding products and categories from vouchers has not been possible until now and will be introduced with version 4.3.0 of OXID eShop as requested. At first glance, this functionality looks low priority, but it becomes really essential when dealing with legal stuff like book price control.
During the last year, forum users very frequently asked how to switch off special parts of the front end from the admin panel without touching the templates. As agreed at Partners Day, options will be included in the admin panel for switching the following design blocks off or on: OpenID, Partners and Seals, credits and OXID logo in footer, Compare Products, Recommend Products, Listmania, Wishlists, Gift Registry, Social Bookmarks and Price Alert.
Another piece of functionality requested and chosen on Partners Day is „Put more than one product from the product list view into the basket with a single click„. This feature doesn’t need functional changes in OXID eShop, the templates themselves would have to be adapted. Since this may affect the clear template structure, it seems safer to implement this as an extension.
At the moment, a field for an European Article Number (EAN) is provided in OXID eShop which is not very useful outside of Europe. In order to clear this up, an additional input option for other article numbers will be implemented. This feature was also suggested and decided upon on Partners Day.
When it comes to „intelligent search“ enterprise shopping cart features – like FACT-Finder provides – it becomes essential to increase turnover. With the new upcoming version of a related OXID eFire module, we will provide three more templates for an optimized display of the (after) search results as well as automatic search result optimization. Also, when using the FACT-Finder black box in-house instead of the hosted solution, the ability to access the internals of the black box will be provided from now on.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google’s Webmaster Central Blog announced „Rich Snippets“ last year. OXID eShop will support that using RDFa from version 4.3.0 on. Not only do Rich Snippets give users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance, they also most importantly boost your search engine optimization if you use Rich Internet Applications (RIA).
All demo data in OXID eShop database have been translated into English. After choosing the English language in the setup routine of version 4.3.0, the shop comes up with English as the default language.
Also, we have solved some painful issues with the setup procedure, especially the well-known problems with .htaccess and file permission issues while installing on some operating systems.
For quality management of OXID eShop’s code functionality we use PHPUnit, a framework that makes the writing of tests easy as well as the functionality to easily run the tests and analyze their results. Up to now, we haven’t published our Unit Test code because tests for the different editions had not been separated yet. With 4.3.0 and onwards, we will support developers by making our PHPUnit tests available to the public.