Est. Reading Time: 5 minutes
Let me start off by saying, I”m a big fan of AspDotNetstorefront, have written several blogs about its benefits and features, and have been personally involved in over a dozen site launches or enhancements involving the ecommerce shopping cart. However, as with any out-of-the-box software, there are areas where I think it could be improved and therefore have put together this “wish list”. Also please note that these items pertain to versions 9.2 and older– they could be addressed in future versions (and as a Custom Development partner, we”ve heard that a number of these items are currently “in the works” and we eagerly anticipate sharing the enhancements with our clients when available!):
- Reports– Though there are a few reports that come out-of-the-box with AspDotNetStorefront, I wish they were more extensive and customizable. In addition, most of these reports are “on screen” display only and a “download to CSV” option would be ideal for every report. I”ve tinkered with the “Custom Reports” option myself, to create a few simple reports needed by my clients, but unless you have extensive knowledge of SQL and AspDotNetStorefront”s product and order tables (which Beacon”s developers do, I assure you!) you”ll want to stick to simple reports. Finally, I”ll give a shout out to our friends over at Compunix, that offer a nice variety of add-on reports that we use regularly to enhance our client”s sites.
- “Getting Started” Documentation– I use the and developer forums for AspDotNetStorefront daily and they are excellent, but I find that all the information is a bit daunting for a new AspDotNetStorefront administrator. Years ago, the developers provided a PDF with basic installation and administration information, but after it reached 500 pages, they discontinued its maintenance in favor of online documentation. Since this basic “how to” resource is no longer available from AspDotNetStorefront, Beacon has written a “primer” on site administration, with just the basic info like creating entities and products, editing topic pages, etc. It would be nice if a small PDF with just the basics like this was provided out-of-the-box.
- Hyperlink the product name in Admin “Browse by Category”– This is the smallest, nit-pickiest thing, but if you”ve had to do it 1,001 times like I have, you”ll appreciate the issue. In Admin, when you choose to look for a product by browsing the category (Organization, Manage Categories, click on Category name, click on Products tab). First, you have to click on “Show Selected Only” (see next bullet) and then, even though a list of the products in the category is there for you, you can”t actually click on any of the products to see their product pages. You have to copy/paste the product name or SKU into the search box and search for the product and then you can click on the product page.
- Show Selected Only– Directly related to the item above and similarly nit-picky, when you browse to a list of products via the Category, you have to manually click on the “Show Selected Only” checkbox to filter out the products that are NOT in that category. Huh? This is actually a simple customization that we”ve done several times to automatically have this box checked by default, but it should really come this way by default.
- Hide Seldom Used Topic pages– This is an example where AspDotNetStorefront is giving us TOO much functionality. By default, there are dozens of topic pages listed in the “Manage Topics” list in Admin, only a small fraction of which will ever be used by a “normal” small business. While I love to be able to enable these when needed, it makes for an unwieldy list for a new administrator. Could these be separated into “frequently used” (like hometopintro) and “other pages” so that the initial list is not so daunting?
- Test Publishing Environment — I”m really reaching here, but it would be so nice to be able to update a product or topic page and publish it to a Test environment first, before releasing it to the public site. I”ve been known to make ugly HTML errors from time to time, and I just hate to have them shown on the public site, even for a second. We accomplish this at Beacon by having a totally separate Test installation of AspDotNetStorefront for every site, so that theoretically, a client could go to the Test site first, enter their update in the product/topic page, check how it looks at the Test URL and then copy/paste the HTML version to the Production site. But this is laborious for a small change. Being able to view a “test” version of the page before publishing would be ideal.
- Include “product description” as basic sort field– By default, the basic AspDotNetStorefront search includes the following fields: Product Name, SKU, Manufacturer”s Part number. I”ve never had a client that didn”t want the basic search to also include Product Description. Again, this is a simple customization and we do it frequently, but it doesn”t make sense to me why it isn”t included as search criteria in the first place. Perhaps there”s a concern that it might cause a performance issue due to additional data, but if your server or database can”t handle an additional value like this, you have other issues going on.
Anybody else have a “wish list” item to include? Please share… Maybe someone at Vortx is listening/reading!