It may have been a little quiet around here for while, but behind the scenes we’ve been burning the midnight oil like there’s no tomorrow. Tomorrow is, of course, coming and it couldn’t look any brighter from where we’re sitting. There’s a lot to share about where the project is, a bit of looking back and juicy tidbits of where it’s headed.
We’ll start with the release of Shopp 1.1.5. Moving on there are a couple of add-ons we just have to talk about that came out around the same time as the big 1.1 release. Also we want to announce a sweet deal for merchants running Shopp that are concerned about validating their sites for PCI compliance.
The project continues to see really strong growth, and it’s time we start hiring more helpers. We’ve got some part-time work opportunities for those interested in getting paid to help others, be part of an open-source project and work from home in your PJs (if that’s your thing).
Lastly we’ll touch on what’s on the horizon in 2011 for Shopp.
1.1.5 Maintenance Update
To call it a maintenance update sounds so underwhelming considering what’s been accomplished. This release packs over 90 fixes that cover a broad spectrum of issues. Some of the highlights include:
- Fixed an date offset causing “Product Not Found” issues in the storefront even when the product is published in the admin
- Refinements to PayPal Standard & Express to make them even more reliable for a larger variety of hosting environments
- Cleanup in the checkout process for better multiple payment method handling that reduces checkout abandonment
- More detailed and complete checkout form validation to prevent problems before they happen
- Several promotion and tax logic fixes
- SEO improvements further reducing duplicate content issues plus better canonical Shopp URL handling
- New template tags to add PayPal Standard, PayPal Express and Google Checkout direct checkout buttons to the shopping cart template bypassing the Shopp checkout process altogether for really simple checkout in really simple scenarios
- Fixed RSS feeds to fully validate with W3s feed validation service
With 1.1.5 we took the time to really polish up the codebase. It is a very worthwhile update and also makes the transition from 1.0 to 1.1 even easier. Find the complete changelog in your WordPress plugin manager by clicking the “View version 1.1.5 details” under Shopp.
ShipWire Order Fulfillment
In case you weren’t aware, we released an add-on to integrate Shopp with ShipWire, an order fulfillment service provider that will cut out a lot of hassles in managing your e-commerce storefront. ShipWire is a storage, sales and shipment platform. You store your products in any of the 3 million square feet of Class A facilities in ShipWire’s global warehouse network. When your Shopp-powered store gets a new order, they ship the order out for you. Automatically. Like magic. Even the inventory for products is magically updated on your website.
It’s Shopp and ShipWire, and it’s seamless. The ShipWire add-on for Shopp implements all of the ShipWire services integrating your Shopp-powered storefront with automated order shipping, shipment tracking updates, inventory updates and adds real-time shipping costs for shoppers during checkout. It can’t be overstated what it’s worth to use ShipWire and eliminate the common headaches from online store management. It’s easy to start a free trial from ShipWire.com and they offer reasonable monthly rates that scale with your needs. Sign-up to a free trial from ShipWire, and grab the add-on for Shopp from the Shopp Store.
Asset Storage in the Cloud: Amazon S3
With Shopp 1.1 we also introduced a new asset storage system that is modular and extensible. And with it, our first entry in this space is the Amazon S3 storage engine add-on. Storage engines allow for seamless storage and retrieval of the two major assets Shopp currently supports: images and digital product files. The Shopp core plugin includes support for database storage and file system storage right out of the box. Database storage is the default because it stores your stuff with literally zero configuration. The file system storage module uses your web server’s file system and takes a little more setup, but includes features like support for larger files and resumable downloads.
The Amazon S3 add-on lets you move storage and delivery of these assets to the cloud. It saves you money by reducing your hosting storage and bandwidth needs, instead storing and delivering your content through the global Amazon web infrastructure. It’s a secure, fast and highly scalable service that is extremely economical.
You can use Amazon S3 for storing catalog image assets, but be warned there is some extra overhead that is unnecessary for most image operations and may actually degrade performance instead of improve it. Using it to store really hefty digital product files in the gigabyte range is where you’ll see the most benefit. The add-on for Shopp supports expiring URLs for your assets to keep them secure, and all of the power, scale and speed of the Amazon web infrastructure. Sign-up for Amazon S3 from Amazon Web Services and grab the Amazon S3 add-on for Shopp from the Shopp Store.
PCI-DSS Assurance from Shopp & McAfee
Since the 1.1 release, Shopp passes the McAfee SECURE PCI-level scans. If that alone isn’t enough to make you excited, this should do it…
Ingenesis has partnered with the security experts at McAfee to provide the $319 per year McAfee SECURE scanning service to Shopp customers at an unbeatable $99 per year!
This has been a very high priority for our team to assure our customers that we are providing a PCI-compliant e-commerce platform. Since PCI compliance is a regular process, not a setup action, it’s really important for our merchants to have affordable access to an ongoing validation service that meets the PCI-DSS requirements.
Essentially, businesses doing onsite payment card processing are required to certify and report their compliance on a quarterly and/or annual basis. If your website is using offsite payment systems like 2Checkout, PayPal Standard, PayPal Express, or Google Checkout, those services handle the payment and take care of the compliance for you. If you’re taking credit card numbers on your site using gateway processors like Authorize.net and PayPal Pro, or even the Shopp Manual Processing add-on you are required to certify. If you’re not familiar with the PCI DSS, you should read Getting Started with the PCI Data Security Standard.
McAfee SECURE is a simple way to secure your web server and Shopp already passes the scan. All you need to do is sign-up for McAfee SECURE to take advantage of this special opportunity from Ingenesis, the team behind Shopp, and McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security company.
What’s Next for Shopp?
Shopp officially launched two years ago on December 30th, 2008. With the release of 1.1.5, we’ve shipped 24 releases of Shopp. That’s 1 release for each month since the launch! Obviously some individual releases, like 1.1 took a lot longer to release, but others we delivered with almost blinding speed to address critical issues and keep Shopp solid, secure and stable.
Looking back on the past 2 years, Shopp has been an overwhelming success on a number of fronts. That success, however, has not been absent of some nasty growing pains. We’re learning. We’re adapting. We’re growing to meet these new challenges head on in the coming year. As the new year approaches, 2011 has a lot in store for the Shopp e-commerce platform.
Here’s a taste of things to come:
We’re growing. We’re growing fast enough we need help. Specifically we need help helping our customers. We’re serious about providing the best support and customer service experience possible and recognize how important it is to have a top notch support team. If you are a good communicator, technically minded, and interested in some part-time work helping out, we have both part-time employment and contract support opportunities available.
Themes with support for Shopp are popping up and the team from ThemeRefresh is poised to unleash some gorgeous professional WordPress themes with Shopp template support. Kudos to the team at ThemeRefresh! They are jaw-dropping good, and sport custom settings for Shopp that make it the most seamless theme integration for Shopp yet.
Jonathan Davis (the Shopp Grand Pooh-Bah) and his lovely wife will be at WordCamp Phoenix 2011 at the end of January to meet, greet and hang out with WordPress/Shopp users at what promises to be an amazing event. Give him a shout on Twitter (@jonathandavis) if you plan to be there so he can make sure to find you and talk WordPress and Shopp for a bit.
We have a pretty substantial website update in the works and while not a total redesign, it is a significant facelift with some serious information architecture refinements and some killer new community collaboration features. We can’t wait to get it up and running to see how the partnerships and collaboration on Shopp projects take a giant leap forward.
Development for Shopp 1.2 will start first thing in January with a focus on support for recurring payments that will add new product types for subscriptions and memberships. Also slated for that release is support for WPML to allow for multi-lingual storefronts using Shopp. Also we’ll be adding new “named” image control settings in the admin that is sure to make a lot of people happy. Perhaps the most exciting news about 1.2 is a streamlined development schedule that would put release for 1.2 near the March/April timeframe. In fact we have an aggressive development schedule all year that could see 1.5 delivered before the end of 2011. Supported customers can get access to the tentative, ever-changing Shopp Development Roadmap in our online documentation.
The future for Shopp is very bright, and we’re only scratching the surface of what’s in store. With that, we celebrate 2-years of e-commerce solution building, and wish all of our fans and critics, our professional developers, designers and consultants, our merchants, business owners and entrepreneurs that depend on the Shopp platform (and our team) all the best in the new year!
We’d love to hear from you. Have a thought, comment or critique about what’s coming? Let us know in the comments! We do ask that you request technical support from the Help Desk and keep them out of the discussion here. Thank you!