The 4.o release of WP eCommerce is quickly approaching! We’re now in our beta period, and we’re taking this opportunity to share with you about all of the major changes that are occurring in this release. We’ll likely have 2-3 beta releases and 1-2 release candidates before we launch 4.0.
There’s something for everything, and some parts of this release have been in active development for over two years! It’s the last of our monolithic releases, and it is going to position us to move forward with more regular major releases, which we’re ecstatic about.
Without any further adieu, here’s an outline of some of the major changes to this release, along with specific areas to test in each area.
New Theme Engine
By far the largest, most revolutionary change in the 4.0 release, we finally have an updated, modernized theme engine in WP eCommerce. It has taken literally thousands of man hours, being in development since 2013, exclusively by core contributors to WordPress – so you know it’s good. Built on an MVC approach at the development level, filled with helpful actions and filters, and crafted from the ground up according to the best usability research available – there isn’t a better default theme engine in the market today. We’re incredibly proud of the work done here and can’t wait for you to try it. With all of that said, our commitment to backwards compatibility is as strong as ever. This new theme engine is actually only activated if we think it can be activated. That means if you have any template files from the old (1.0) theme engine in your theme folder, it won’t activate. If you have any plugins (including Gold Cart) active that hook into the old theme engine, it won’t activate. If you don’t have permalinks enabled, it won’t activate.
To be abundantly clear, this is the biggest change we have made to WP eCommerce in at least five years. We need a lot of help testing this out.
We’re delighted to announce the inclusion of more PayPal gateways than ever before. With the launch of 4.0, we now include the Digital Goods API, an updated version of Express Checkout, and for the first time ever, PayPal Pro Hosted. With the addition of each of these new gateways, our users have more ways than ever before to accept PayPal on their websites. Please, if you use PayPal, be sure to test any of these and give us feedback.
Amazon Payments Gateway
For the first time in a long time, we’ve cleared another payment gateway vendor for inclusion in our core platform. We don’t make these decisions lightly – our highest priority is always ensuring that we’re creating as much value as possible for our users – so that in turn, they can take care of their customers. With Amazon, we’ve found the right candidate to make sure that all of these things can happen. Amazon is nearly synonymous with global eCommerce and there is nary a more trusted name in commerce. By accepting Amazon Payments on your website, you decrease friction in the checkout process for your customers (who, in all likelihood, already have their shipping and billing information in their Amazon account). By decreasing friction in the checkout process, you increase conversions. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Updated Checkout Form Data API
We’ve updated our Checkout Form Data (
WPSC_Checkout_Form_Data) API. For a long time, we’ve had this API in place to allow developers to access the submitted checkout form data for a particular order. While this is really great and helpful, we had no way to update that information – which was pretty lame. Now, we do. By simply using very familiar conventions like
$form_data->set( 'billingfirstname', 'John' )->save();, developers can update information dynamically.
Updated Purchase Log API
Our purchase log API (
WPSC_Purchase_Log) is a really helpful API for accessing order information. It’s very mature, uses object caching, has filters and actions galore. However, setting and getting purchase meta hasn’t been the most elegant thing in the world to do. Now, it’s as simple as
$log->set( 'random_meta_key', $random_meta_value ). Taking cues from
WP_Post, setting and getting keys that don’t exist in the database table for purchase logs will automatically fall back to the meta table. This should make developer’s lives easier when it comes to building integrations that touch purchase logs, allowing for more elegant, object-oriented code.
Though we’re in the ‘beta 1’ phase, that doesn’t mean we’re quite ready for release. There are a number of known issues at this time, but none that we consider as blockers for the first beta. As always, take a look at the issues before reporting a bug. Be sure to test on a staging site, not on production. And always, always, always make a backup.
Lastly, and most importantly – thank you. Thank you to all of our users, customers, supporters, developer community, and everyone in between. You are the reason we keep on innovating, keep on moving, and keep on making a difference.