July 2011 - Lightcommerce

Our new site and what’s going on

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Hello again,

Sorry for the lack of updates, life has a habit of getting busy ;) Not that we’re complaining!

Just to keep you updated, there are a few things in the works.

The new lightcommerce web site

That there is a screen shot of our new home page! It’s been a long time coming and I’ve been working on the site content with whatever spare time I get. We think it looks awesome and we can’t wait to unleash it on you. It will have full details on our service, our history and our platform. We’re hoping it will help answer any questions anyone has on what our goals are and how you can benefit from working with us.

I’m looking to get this site live this coming week.

Tumbling over to WordPress

Another item on my list is to migrate this blog to WordPress. This was actually a request from Paul (lightcommerce’s social media guy) who is itching to start contributing on the blog and other social profiles. We’re migrating to WordPress over Tumblr for better support for multiple authors, better theming and a few other things. In theory it shouldn’t be a complicated process as we currently have less than 20 tumblr posts but the URL of the blog WILL change from blog.lightcommerce.co.uk to lightcommerce.co.uk/blog.

I may even get that done over this weekend ;)

Two awesome new lumini features

I’m going to be implementing the following two new features for our e-commerce platform lumini;

  • Barclays ePDQ payment method
    Very similar to WorldPay with a hosted payment page on the Barclay’s servers.
  • Bulk discounts for product prices
    So you can define, for example, a base price of £1.00, £0.90 if buying 10 or more, £0.75 if buying 50 or more.

Both of these new features originate from client requests. Are you beginning to notice a pattern with our development? :)

Stay safe! Until next time…

PayPal and other payment method changes

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Hello again!

We’re on a feature release roll recently! The following changes have just been release for our platform;

PayPal integration

I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d integrate PayPal into the platform. I’ve just added an integration for PayPal Website Payments Standard using PayPal’s Instant Payment Notification system to update orders within lumini when they’re completed.

A new way to configure payment methods

So far to configure payment methods you had to set them up using our normal settings page. Which if I’m honest isn’t very pretty or user friendly. It’s another change on the unending list of improvements we have in store! I have now rewritten how payment methods are configured and there is now a new payment method area where method has it’s own settings page.

From here you can also set whether the method is live (or test), enabled and per a recent client request, which of your sites (US/UK etc) it appears on. The client wanted to use PayPal for their US site and WorldPay for their UK site. Problem solved!

Until next time! (I’m sure it won’t be long)

Complex tax rules and multi-site changes

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Hello again,

The following changes have been released on our e-commerce platform;

Complex tax rules

As mentioned in the previous post, you can now create complex tax rules based on delivery address or product category. You can assign a tax rule to your sites within your multi site setup and when a user browsing the site switches between the different multi-sites, the tax is automatically recalculated at the basket and checkout stages so the user always knows the correct amount of tax they will be paying. This means you can be editing a tax rule and as soon as the user visits the basket page again or continues to the checkout their order’s tax values are recalculated instantly.

Multi-site changes

I’ve been improving the way in which you define what sites a product appears on. I’ve also added the ability to have some shipping methods appear on one site but not another etc so it’s easy to have for example, a US only shipping method or a Europe only shipping method which only appear when browsing the US or Europe sites.

Bug fixes and speed improvements

Found an obscure rare bug that caused an order to lose it’s shipping address after payment which stopped it being marked as completed properly. Added some speed improvements – mainly to the admin area. Fixed a cache bug which meant one of the main navigation areas wasn’t cached properly which has improved the speed at which the main navigation gets shown.

More to come! Until next time…

Feature sneak peak

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Whilst I work on yet another set of new features, I thought I’d whet your appetite with a small sneak peak…

Complex tax rules

Had a client who wanted to have one tax rate for one US state, another tax rate for the other US states and then the standard tax rate for the UK. I’m working on the ability to have any sort of tax rules you want, and what’s more each site within your multi-site setup can have a different tax rate!

I may post another teaser soon. Right; back at it!

Plethora of updates!

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Hey,

Apologies for the delay since the last update. We’ve been hard at work adding a number of new features, tweaks and UI enhancements.

Configurable search index

Product search on an e-commerce web site is important. You need to make sure users can find what they’re looking for easily. I wrote the search indexer to automatically index all product field values and product data, such as product description, name, meta data etc.

It was brought to my attention that people wanted more control than this. We have a client who only wanted users to be able to search through product names, authors and ISBNs (authors and ISBNs were setup as product fields).

You can now use a simple interface to define what fields are excluded by the indexer. Problem solved! There’s also a new button in the admin UI to rebuild the complete search index whenever needed.

Configurable order statuses

While developing lumini I’ll admit that the inner workings of order statuses were not the top priority. 

That’s all changed now! A client wanted to be able to create a new order status that would only be applicable to that one client. They also wanted this order status to trigger an email to the customer.

You can now create order statuses and tell lumini to email the customer, you (the client) or both. Of course, this links into the email templating system and uses email templates that you can design yourself using any of the order’s data. Simple!

Expand user admin

Up until recently the user administration are only show the basic user details, the user’s profile and the user’s groups (for the user access control). It now includes the user’s address book and previous orders.

Mark product field as default

Product additional fields can now be marked as “default”, which means that when a new product is created that field is automatically assigned to the new product, ready to assign a value.

By default all product additional fields are marked as default.

Promotions that can add products to a user’s order

A client wanted to be able to offer a promotion which when used, added a free gift to the user’s order. We gave the client this ability and went a step further.

When editing a promotion you can tell lumini to add a “virtual” or “real” product to the user’s order. This means you can add a product to the user’s order that doesn’t have to exist in your online catalogue. You simple provide a name, price, SKU code and image path. You can also add a product to the user’s order which already exists within your lumini site, either using it’s current price or a new discounted price that you define. Voila!

Admin UI improvements

I love jQuery. Always have and always will. The lumini admin interface uses a number of jQuery UI elements. Up until recently I’ve been using one of the stock jQuery UI themes. I thought it was past due that lumini started using it’s own custom theme. I think it looks awesome.

I’ve also improved the code for the floating admin menu which follows you as you scroll down the page. The lumini administration area is really come along nicely now.

Along with that list there are a number of speed improvements and general code optimisations which I won’t bore you with!

Until next time!