X-Cart:What's New in X-Cart 4.2
Here's a list of improvements introduced in X-Cart 4.2:
Design and appearance
CSS based layout
The pages of X-Cart's Customer area now use a DIV-based, tableless layout. The <table> tag is no longer used for layout purposes; tables are used only to display tabular data. The appearance of the Customer area is now fully controlled by CSS.
The advantages brought about by using CSS instead of tables include the following:
- The structural organization of X-Cart's pages has been improved. This is good for SEO, because web crawlers now find relevant content in the source code of X-Cart's pages more easily.
- With the presentational items placed separately in CSS files, X-Cart's pages have become smaller. This means that your server experiences less load, the page content is downloaded faster and uses less bandwidth.
- The main content of pages is now placed at the top of the source code. This causes the information to display first, leaving the presentational elements to load at the end. This way the main content of the page is immediately visible to the user; the user does not have to wait for an entire table with content and graphics to load as it happened with table based layout.
- The appearance of the storefront can now be changed significantly by editing the styles in CSS files (skin1/main*.css).
At present, X-Cart's layout is based on the 'Light & Lucid' visual scheme. The rest of X-Cart's traditional layouts (3-columns, 2-columns, small shop), color schemes and dingbat sets have been removed.
Separate template sets for the store's Customer area and back end.
The templates of X-Cart's back end have been completely separated from the templates of X-Cart's Customer area. Now you can customize the look and feel of the Customer area without fearing that you might ruin the design of the back end.
- CSS/DIV-based popup windows
X-Cart's Customer area now uses CSS/DIV-based popup windows instead of the standard popup windows used in the previous X-Cart versions. The new popup windows can be moved and resized.
- No splash page
X-Cart's splash page index.html has been removed. Now visitors of the store's Customer area get directly onto the Home page.
- New method of displaying detailed product images
It has become possible to enable such a mode of display of detailed product images where all the detailed images of a product will be displayed in the Customer area on the Product details page of the respective product as thumbnails below the main product image. When the mouse hovers over one of the detailed product image thumbnails, the respective detailed product image will be displayed in the place of the product's main product image; the size of the detailed product image in this case will be reduced to the size of the main product image. When a mouse click occurs on a detailed product image thumbnail, the respective detailed product image will be displayed at full size in a modal window. The modal window used to display detailed product images provides simple navigation controls allowing the user to view the next/previous detailed image of the product or select a specific detailed image of the product from the set. For more information, see the section Detailed Product Images.
- "Clean" URLs support
Now it is possible to define user and search engine friendly URLs for the pages of products, categories, manufacturers and embedded static pages - "clean" URLs. X-Cart allows you to keep a history of clean URL changes for each page so users can find the pages they have bookmarked even after the clean URLs of these pages change. For more information, see the section Using Clean URLs.
- Changes in the way meta tags are defined and used
It has become possible to define description and keywords meta tags for the product pages of your store. In previous versions of X-Cart, these meta tags were generated for product pages automatically based on the contents of the ‘Product name’ and ‘Short description’ fields. Now you have full control over the meta description and keywords of your product pages and can adjust these tags separately.
It has also become possible to define description and keywords meta tags for the manufacturer and embedded static pages of your store.
We also added an option allowing the description and keywords meta tags defined for a category to be used for the subcategories and products contained in that category.
As before, the 'General settings/SEO options' section of the Admin area allows you to provide description and keywords meta tags for your store site in general; however, these meta tags are now used differently: they are now applied only to those pages that do not have any meta description and keywords tags of their own and are not using any other meta description and keywords. For more information, see the section Using Page Title and Meta Tags.
- Automatic generation of product image thumbnails (GDLib 2.0 or better is required)
When creating or editing a product, it is now possible to automatically generate a product thumbnail from a previously uploaded product image. The resulting product thumbnail will be a reduced-size version of the product image from which it is generated. The size of automatically generated product thumbnails can be set by the store administrator. For more information, see the section Defining Product Details.
- Dimensional shipping
It has become possible to specify dimensions for each of the products in the store (See the Product details page) and to use these dimensions for shipping rates calculation by such online real-time shipping rate calculation services as UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc.
X-Cart now provides a packaging algorithm that allows it to split a single shipment into multiple packages in accordance with the limitations (maximum package weight and dimensions) imposed by the selected online real-time shipping rate calculation service. With this algorithm, it has become possible to receive real-time shipping rates for a shopping cart even if this cart contains a large quantity of products whose total weight and volume make sending these products in a single package impossible due to the limitations of the selected online real-time shipping rate calculation service.
- Shipping from providers and per-provider shipping cost (X-Cart PRO)
It has become possible to specify an individual seller address for each provider and to use this seller address for shipping rates calculation by online real-time shipping rate calculation services. This improvement makes it possible to use X-Cart PRO for warehouse stores in which a common storefront is used to showcase the products of several different stores that ship products from different locations. A provider’s seller address can be specified in the provider’s user profile.
- Pre-authorization support for the following payment modules:
The store administrator can now specify the mode in which they wish the payment transaction to be performed on order placement if a customer chooses to pay for the order using one of the following payment methods:
- PayPal Website Payments Standard
- PayPal Website Payments Pro
- PayPal Website Payments Pro Payflow Edition
- Express Checkout
- AuthorizeNet: AIM
- AuthorizeNet: SIM
- NetRegistry e-commerce
- Protx VSP Direct
- Virtual merchant (New payment module that replaced ViaKlix)
Two modes are supported: “Auth and Capture” and “Auth only”:
- In the “Auth and Capture” mode, the customer’s card is billed at once as soon as the customer completes the payment (the authorization and capture actions are completed simultaneously; the store administrator does not have to perform any additional actions to capture the funds).
- In the “Auth only” mode, when the customer completes the payment, only authorization is performed to make sure the required funds are available on the customer’s account; the action of capturing the funds that have been authorized is postponed until the moment the store administrator manually performs the capture. The administrator may choose not to capture the authorized amount and unlock the temporary hold placed on the customer’s funds; in this case the administrator can void the authorization. For PayPal, Authorize.Net, LinkPoint, Protx VSP Direct and NetRegistry e-commerce, the capture and void actions can be performed through X-Cart’s administration back end (using the 'Capture' and ‘Decline’ buttons on the order details page) or through the respective payment system account backoffice; for VirtualMerchant, the capture and void actions can be performed only through the VirtualMerchant account backoffice.
The system of X-Cart order statuses has been changed to accommodate the ‘Auth only’ mode: Now, when a payment is performed as ‘Auth only’, the order is assigned the status ‘Pre-authorized’. Later on, after the authorized amount is successfully captured, the order status is changed to ‘Processed’. If the initial authorization is voided, the order status is automatically changed to ‘Declined’.
In connection with the Pre-authorization support feature, the following options have been added:
- Number of days in advance that you want a reminder to be sent to the Orders department e-mail address about an order in Pre-authorized status for which the authorization period is going to expire (General settings/General options)
- Maximum fraud risk factor value after which an online payment transaction is performed in 'Auth only' mode, even if the payment module is set to work in a different mode (General settings/Antifraud options)
- Allow customers ordering egoods to use only payment modules that support Pre-Authorization (General settings/Egoods options)
- Payment module changes
The following payment modules have been removed and are no longer supported:
- 2Checkout ver.1
- World Swift
- Bank of Asia
- Smart people
- Trolley Gateway
- Velocity Pay
- viaKlix 2.0
- Bank of America
- Bank of America (web-based)
- A customizable 404 error page for your store site
X-Cart now has its own 404 error page. This is a new page in your store which can be used to display the 'Page not found'error (HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found) when a visitor attempts to access the store site using a URL for which no page exists.
The 404 error page looks similar to the rest of your store site and provides navigation links allowing the visitor to go back to the store's home page or to take a look around the site.
The look and feel of X-Cart's 404 error page, as well as its textual content, can be changed by editing an HTML file. In stores supporting languages other than English, a version of the 404 error page can be easily created for each of the languages.
For more information, see the section Adjusting the 404 Error Page.
- More efficient management of news list mailing lists
X-Cart now provides an easy method to export the entire list of subscribers of any news list to a CSV file. It has also become possible to remove selected subscriber addresses from a specific mailing list or from all the mailing lists by importing them into X-Cart as a list in CSV format. For more information, see the section Mailing Lists.
- Adjustable page filename format for the HTML catalog
X-Cart now provides editable templates that define the format according to which X-Cart generates filenames for the product, category, manufacturer and embedded static pages when generating an HTML catalog. For each of the said types of pages, you can set up a separate page filename template. This feature gives you full control of the filename format by providing you with the ability to specify the components that you wish to be included into the filename and the order in which these components must be included. For more information, see the section Adjusting the Format of Page Filenames for the HTML Catalog.
- Adjustable currency symbol display format
It has become possible to define the currency symbol display format for the primary currency and the alternative currency. For more information, see the section General Options.
- More flexible security settings
A group of new security options has been added in the 'General settings/Security options' section. For more information, see the section Security Options.
- New logging options
X-Cart now supports logging of user activity with secured data. For more information, see the section Logging Options.
- User interface improvements
A number of small usability improvements have been made to X-Cart's user interface.
- Smarty changes
Smarty has been updated to the version 2.6.20 and moved from X-Cart root to the directory <xcart_dir>/include/lib/smarty.