26 03, 2015

AspDotNetStorefront 9.5 – Exploring the new release

By | 2017-08-08T08:41:29+00:00 March 26th, 2015|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , , |

I recently had the opportunity to set up a brand new eCommerce store with AspDotNetStorefront Version 9.5 (released in January 2015) and have the following review. Please note that some of these features may have been available in versions before 9.5, but they were new to me.

Stuff that I like (love?)

  • Admin site user interface- Just WOW!  By far my favorite enhancement of the release, I can’t help but start here… The older versions of Admin were a bit clunky and “old school” visually and technologically.  The new UI is much sleeker and easier to navigate.  New thought has been given to terminology as well, so things are easier to find if you really don’t know where to start (“Settings” instead of “Appconfig Parameters” – hurray!).  Another particular favorite of mine is the “Quick Adds” option on product detail pages.  Previously, if you forgot to add a manufacturer (a required field) before entering a new product, you had to stop, save the product with another manufacturer, go add the manufacturer, go back to the product and revise the manufacturer selection.  Now the “Quick Add” feature allows you to complete these steps in one pop-up screen – yes!
  • Responsive skin– Skin 3 that’s included out-of-the-box is responsive and, upon preliminary but not thorough review (yet), it holds up quite well on tablets and phones.  A far superior option to the older “mobile site” offered in previous versions (and apparently still supported in 9.5).
  • Help interface– Previous versions are documented in the online manual at http://manual.aspdotnetstorefront.com/, which is packed with useful information that I use daily when working on a new AspDotNetStorefront implementation.  I was terrified to lose such a valuable resource, but my fears were for nothing, as the new version uses a different and superior help interface which is cleaner and easier to navigate and search.  The inclusion of Print, Bookmark and Email links are particularly useful.

Stuff that’s now included

I was delighted to find that the following great features that at one point were “add-ons” and required additional purchase, are now included with the purchase of 9.5 and Year-Round Benefits (annual support and upgrade coverage):

  • Smart Mini Cart
  • Smart One Page Checkout
  • Natively Responsive Skin

Stuff that has gone away

According to the 9.5 release notes, the following features are no longer available in 9.5.  This is important to note for clients using these features in previous versions, as custom coding may be required to continue to use these features after upgrading to 9.5:

During the build of AspDotNetStorefront 9.5, a positive decision was made to remove features that, for a number of reasons, were not felt to be right for inclusion. Reasons varied, and largely covered performance hits, legacy architecture and feature overlap.

Our primary focus in 2015 is to deliver software that helps attract traffic, and we are delivering services (like 500+) that support the ‘more traffic’ initiative. After all, we say, what use are more ecommerce features on a store that rarely gets visited? We would sooner be building a cart that helps make sales, than a cart that just wants more bells and whistles than the next guy.

These are the omitted features:

  • Google Checkout
  • Component Art
  • Recently Viewed Products
  • Gift Registry
  • File-based entity/product descriptions
  • Gallery
  • Line Item Notes on Orders
  • Polls
  • Show In Product Browser (for entities)
  • Subscriptions
  • Stop/Start Dates (for products)
  • Cardinal MyECheck Payment Method
  • Spec files
  • Swatch Images
  • Mailing Manager
  • NoScript field (for products)
  • Topic Mapping (topics can still be filtered by stores via Store Mappings page)
  • sitemap.aspx
  • Customers who bought X also bought Y
  • Gateways:
    • eWay
    • HSBC
    • iDeposit
    • iTransact
    • JetPay
    • Moneybookers
    • Netaxept
    • NetBilling
    • Ogone
    • PayFuse
    • PayJunction
    • PayLeap
    • Payment Express
    • Paymentech
    • Pinnacle Payments
    • PlugNPay
    • SecureNet (v2)
    • Verisign
    • WorldPay

Other Stuff

The following additional features are also mentioned in the release notes, but I didn’t have an opportunity to review them for this post.  From the descriptions, they appear to be great for SEO, administration and performance and I look forward to playing with them in the near future.

  • Added support for Google Tag Manager
  • Continued work on Rich Snippets (Schema.org)
  • DotFeed connector embedded natively
  • Tightly coupled feed from store to Google’s merchant center
  • Now supports Google Universal Analytics (analytics.js)
  • New ‘bulk’ actions allowing volume data throughput
  • AspDotNetStorefront now natively runs on .NET 4.5 Framework
  • All remaining ntext database fields converted to nvarchar(max)
  • Redundant files and images removed

Previous Reviews

If you are interested in my previous reviews and articles about AspDotNetStorefront, please feel free to browse!

17 04, 2013

Display different product prices in AspDotNetStorefront

By | 2016-11-23T10:31:15+00:00 April 17th, 2013|Categories: Ecommerce|Tags: , , , , |

Recently one of our AspDotNetStorefront clients asked me to come up with a way to modify the display of his products that vary by price.  One of the things I really like about AspDotNetStorefront is that there are often “hidden gems” or functionality that you might not use one day, but come up with a way to incorporate it later.  For this client, I recommended that he investigate either the product attribute features of a simple product or set up the products with separate variants.

Attribute Option

This is the easiest product setup and, in general, requires the least XML package modification/development, but may not be the ideal user experience, depending upon the type of product being sold.

  1. Log into ASPDNSF Admin and search for the product to modify
  2. Click on the product and then on the Main tab
    • Change “Color Option Prompt” to the appropriate label to indicate why this product has multiple prices (for example “Product Options”).
    • Change the XML package to product.simpleproduct.xml.config
    • Hit the “Update” button.
  3. Go to the Product Variant link, click on the default product variant displayed and then click on the Attributes tab
  4. Enter text like this in “Colors” field– “Product Option 1[-100.00],Product Option 2[-50.00],Product Option 3”.  In this example, product option 1 will be $100 cheaper and Product Option 2 will be $50 cheaper than product option 3.  Add as many product types and prices as needed; separate all product options by commas.
  5. Hit “Update”  and then view the product on the live site.  Selecting “Product Option 1” from the drop down should  discount the item by $100 when added to the cart
  6. See http://manual.aspdotnetstorefront.com/p-967-varying-price-by-sizecolor.aspx for more info on this setup

Variant Option

Depending on the type of product, I think this is the best looking option for the customer, but sometimes requires modification of the XML package by a developer to display correctly.

  1. Log into ASPDNSF Admin and search for the product to modify
  2. On the Main tab
    • Change the XML package to product.variantsindropdown.xml.config
    • Save the product with the “Update” button
  3. Go to the Product Variant link and clone the default/existing variant using the “Clone” link.  Create as many clones as there will be product options for this product.
  4. Click on the first variant in the list.
  5. Change the variant name to “Product Option 1” (or other applicable label) and change the price field to the correct price for this product option and then save the variant.
  6. Click on each subsequent variant in the list and change the variant product name and price for that product option.
  7. Save the product and then view the product on the live site.  Each product variant will appear as a separate choice in the drop down box along with the applicable price for that product variant.

I hope that you find this information helpful!