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  1. #1
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    Default Update On Zen Cart v2.0.0

    Update on Zen Cart 2.0
    Much time has been spent in the last year working on many aggressive changes to the inner workings of the Zen Cart core. This includes a large number of significant improvements that will be adored by both designers and programmers alike. We are excited about what the new version has to offer when it is officially released.

    Here is an idea of what to expect in the upcoming v2.0.0 release:

    Speed
    As mentioned in previous Roadmap posts, an emphasis has been placed on improving performance by various methods, especially reducing the number of database queries required for processing pages.

    Code
    For the programmers among us, you'll be happy to know that the code has been largely converted to a much more efficient OOP structure, which will ultimately end up making future growth much simpler.

    Templating
    Templating is much simpler, in that the complicated PHP blocks that used to make them so hard to read or follow or customize have been removed.
    Stylesheets are leaner. And there are some very easy-to-use admin-side layout controls to make setting your desired layouts *much* simpler.

    Overrides
    The same override system exists for templates and language files, meaning that those already familiar with that part of the directory structure will find it easy to continue using.

    Languages
    UTF-8 support is now native, and the more complicated language files have been simplified and split off into their own for easier management.

    Written for PHP 5
    Zen Cart 2.0 takes advantage of features specific to PHP 5.2 and MySQL 4.1, thus, those are the new minimum requirements for your hosting service to provide in order to run it. CURL is also strongly recommended.

    And More
    See below for more detailed information on what's new and improved in 2.0!


    New/Enhanced/Improved:
    Abbreviated summary of enhancements, new features, and other improvements in v2.0:
    • Template system improvements
      • product listings consolidated to share display logic, making it easier to display different views of information in a consistent format
      • more control via the admin
      • simpler and more advanced and versatile stylesheets, with dynamic CSS used where needed ... can be overridden easily if needed
      • procedural code and other function calls removed from templates
      • jQuery support added
      • sideboxes have been renamed as "content boxes"
      • centerboxes are now "listing boxes" and can be rearranged much more intuitively via the admin, and the layout is now controlled by CSS, as is most of the template
      • language-defines are now accessible in templates as $paLanguageXXXXX variables
      • javascript onload scripts are now handled with a simple .ini file to control behavior
      • and more

    • New class-based structure
      • significantly reduced query counts
      • easy access to product properties
      • support for product types
      • most procedural functions converted to shared classes to reduce redundancy

    • Stock/sku support
      • stock can be set for attribute combinations
      • ajax suppport for stock display
      • sku can be set for attribute combinations
      • ajax support for sku display
      • individual reorder levels can be set per attribute/sku combination, and a global setting can optionally override

    • New DB abstraction layer
      • uses lightweight drivers based on abstract class
      • easier to add new drivers
      • Added innodb db driver
      • transaction support for MySQL databases using innodb

    • Data Access Objects
      • centralise all queries
      • easier to override for different db drivers
      • use of variable binding for increased security
      • allows for future changes to db abstraction layer/use of ORMs

    • New mail engine - the more reliable and contemporary and RFC-compliant swiftmail project has been integrated with Zen Cart
    • New installs based on UTF-8 by default.
      • (As such, all language-file edits and sql-file edits should be done with an editor that can save the files in UTF-8-without-BOM encoding format.)

    • Language files have had some alterations. They no longer directly "include" other files. Each contains only define() statements. Some content has been split off into separate files.
    • Language files now contain a "locale.php" file, in which locale-specific settings can be made, apart from the rest of the language files. This makes some translation simpler for certain locales, as well as changing of DOB format, etc.
    • System now attempts to assist in setting config files to read-only status if they are found to be writable, to help minimize some confusion on permissions settings
    • Group-pricing facility expanded to allow future growth to additonal group handling
    • customers_info table merged into customers table for simpler data-mgmt and less problems with incomplete imports when people guess at table-names when doing ad-hoc extracts of their database
    • Session handling improvements
    • Spider-detection improvements, and more known spiders detected (also now allows for mixed-case specifications in spiders.txt)
    • Hit-counter improvements (no longer tracks spiders as page hits)
    • Automatic re-optimize of table data when deleting products etc using admin UI
    • HTMLarea replaced by FCKeditor
    • Improvements to included product-type filters
    • Improvements for more accurate language-detection when set in browser-detect mode
    • Improvements to prevent errors in whos-online data display when file-based sessions are in use
    • Lengthening of several table fields to accommodate longer (esp multibyte) data
    • Has been subjected to a Security audit (prior to official release)
    • Search improvements
    • Improvements to prevent certain error messages that could occur if an added language was defined but its files weren't present on the server.
    • Payment and Shipping module code standardized. Now allows prefixes to be set for submitting order numbers to gateways. Also allows module updates to happen more easily, without having to uninstall and reinstall in order to obtain new settings
    • Core gateway payment modules allow use of a store-identifier-prefix so multiple stores can be more easily identified when sharing a single merchant account.
    • Improvements to data made available to affiliate tracking systems on checkout_success
    • Order Data now separates first-name and last-name, as well as storing telephone numbers for each address
    • Now even more detailed information is stored with each order, making it easier to reconstruct an order as at the original point in time when it was created. It's now less dependent on original product details being present in the database.
    • Attribute data is now stored with orders in such a way as to retrieve the data so that it always shows up in the same order in which it was added to the order initially. This prevents some confusion which used to occur when multiple rows of text attributes were added but showed in mixed order.
    • Configuration simplification: configure.php file contents abbreviated. Commonly-untouched components moved to common_paths.php file, which loads after configure.php and is thus overridable by defines in configure.php
    • Session name ("zenid") now definable in configure.php file. Same with zenAdminId in admin.
    • Credit Class system bugfixes and improvements
    • Application program logging and improved error handling
    • New "/logs/" folder added for storing debug logs from the store in general, or from modules that communicate with external servers etc.

    New Functionality
    • New email templating system -- makes it easy to visually configure how both text and HTML emails will appear
    • Country status - can now set countries to active/inactive instead of deleting unused countries
    • Admin can change customer password from admin side
    • Visitor cart can be set to be discarded, or restored upon next login
    • Prevents credit card slamming & login slamming
    • New fields added for product data (can now specify short-descriptions for product listings, an "is-new" date, expiry-date, allow-backorder flag, product dimensions, display-weight, etc)
    • Product Statistics now separated from products table, to minimize record-locking conflicts and minimize problems when using external tools for import/export of product data
    • New fields added to customer record, including some user-definable fields, mobile-phone number, etc
    • Salutation support added, with choices editable via admin interface
    • Regulations: when customer agrees to TOS and/or Privacy Policy details, that fact is stored in the order/customer record respectively
    • Newsletter handling split off from customer record into dedicated tables, and added ability to handle multiple newsletter choices
    • About-Us page added
    • Contact-Us page now optionally allows entry of subject and telephone number.
    • Site-wide Order number prefix/suffix can now be set (for display purposes only - does not change the existing method of storing order numbers sequentially)
    • Database backup re-integrated back into the Admin->Tools menu
    • Shopping Cart class is no longer session-bound. It's a separate object in the zcRegistry.
    • Download system now allows notifier hook to allow intercept if alternate handling is required. This can allow for other protocols and even alterations to download content before delivery.
    • Metatag generator improvements. Custom metatag data no longer stored in separate tables, thus minimizing queries and simplifying some synchronization problems.
    • "Home" link improvements. Now includes session ID if needed, and its format can be more easily changed by setting the desired parameter in the zen_href_home_page_link() function call if really needed
    • New options allow additional email addresses to be set for "bounce" and "system alerts" purposes.
    • Store Manager now has additional database cleanup options including the ability to purge certain sets of temporary data to improve performance and managing high-traffic tables


    REMOVALS:

    NOTE: The following components have been removed from the core, in favor of being treated as addons instead:
    - Offline Credit Card payment module removed from core, in favor of addon
    - NoChex payment module removed from core, in favor of addon
    - phpBB class removed from core, in favor of addon


    MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
    NOTE: Zen Cart v2.0.0 has the following MINIMUM requirements:
    - REQUIRES PHP 5.2 or newer
    - REQUIRES MySQL 4.1 or newer
    - CURL support not "required", but VERY strongly advisable
    .

    Zen Cart - putting the dream of business ownership within reach of anyone!
    Donations always welcome: www.zen-cart.com/donate

    Remember: Any code suggestions you see here are merely suggestions. You assume full responsibility for your use of any such suggestions, including any impact ANY alterations you make to your site may have on your PCI compliance.
    Furthermore, any advice you see here about PCI matters is merely an opinion, and should not be relied upon as "official". Official PCI information should be obtained from the PCI Security Council directly or from one of their authorized Assessors.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Coming Soon: Zen Cart v2.0.0

    Release Schedule
    As some will know, we went on record more than a year ago saying that we would release the new major version sometime in 2008, based on a number of optimistic factors. Clearly, 2008 is quickly winding to a close. It's unlikely that a release will be ready this year. It will come when it's ready.

    When Will It Be Released?
    Due to the fact that many things can change while the development process is underway (including the new release of PHP 5.3 which incorporates several somewhat unexpected PHP 6 features and thus compatibility problems, etc), some of which are entirely out of our control, it's impossible to give a specific release date.

    Please do not ask about release dates. An official release announcement will be posted right here, as a reply to the posts on this page. You can subscribe to these announcements by clicking the "click here to subscribe" link at the top of this page.


    Releasing a Public Beta
    In the interest of keeping with the original plan as closely as possible, and in light of the fact that there are a few components of the 2.0 code that are not yet fully production-ready, we have decided that when we release the 2.0 code, it will start as a public beta. This affords numerous benefits: (i) language-pack translators can get a jump start, making the final touches after the beta much faster, (ii) addon-developers will have access to the code so they can prepare their own beta updates to work with the new version, (iii) the community gets a chance to look at it, play with it, and give feedback, (iv) you get to help us identify any bugs, before they hit live stores.

    The following is a *tentative* schedule for the beta program (subject to change):
    In approximately 30 days - first installment of public beta
    30 to 60 days after first beta - second installment of public beta
    30 to 60 days after 2nd beta - third installment of beta ... hopefully coined as a Release Candidate
    Sometime after the 3rd beta - official release, no longer in beta status
    There maybe more, or hopefully fewer, beta phases, depending on various factors after the first beta goes out.

    Bugfixes will be discussed in a separate 2.0-specific section of the support forum, and commits of said fixes will appear weekly in the SourceForge SVN for immediate download by those who have need of SVN updates.


    CAUTIONS about BETA releases

    This beta program is voluntary. No registration is necessary, and there is no restriction on who may participate. However, participation is done at your own risk.

    As with any Beta software, it is intended for use ONLY in a TEST environment, and NOT on a production site ... ie: NOT on a LIVE store!

    Use of beta software on a production site puts you at risk of business downtime if a bug is discovered. You do so at your own risk. Running beta software on your live store is your own decision, and does not obligate Zen Cart or its support team to provide you with immediate solutions, and Zen Cart and its support team cannot be held liable for any business losses you may incur while using the software.
    .

    Zen Cart - putting the dream of business ownership within reach of anyone!
    Donations always welcome: www.zen-cart.com/donate

    Remember: Any code suggestions you see here are merely suggestions. You assume full responsibility for your use of any such suggestions, including any impact ANY alterations you make to your site may have on your PCI compliance.
    Furthermore, any advice you see here about PCI matters is merely an opinion, and should not be relied upon as "official". Official PCI information should be obtained from the PCI Security Council directly or from one of their authorized Assessors.



  3. #3
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    Default Re: Coming Soon: Zen Cart v2.0.0

    What about 1.4.0?
    For a number of important reasons, it was decided that it would be best to release 1.4.0 as 2.0.0. Everything previously advertised as an officially planned feature for 1.4.0 is in 2.0.0, and more.

    What about the 1.3.x series?
    v1.3.9 will be released as a rollup of all the published bugfixes and security patches applicable to v1.3.8. This is expected to be the last official release of the 1.3.x series.

    v1.3.8 and 1.3.9 will be supported for a short period after v2.0.0 (official, not beta) is released (See Support Life Cycle post for more details.) However, once the 2.0 release comes out of beta, you are encouraged to put a plan in place to upgrade your current site to the v2 release.
    .

    Zen Cart - putting the dream of business ownership within reach of anyone!
    Donations always welcome: www.zen-cart.com/donate

    Remember: Any code suggestions you see here are merely suggestions. You assume full responsibility for your use of any such suggestions, including any impact ANY alterations you make to your site may have on your PCI compliance.
    Furthermore, any advice you see here about PCI matters is merely an opinion, and should not be relied upon as "official". Official PCI information should be obtained from the PCI Security Council directly or from one of their authorized Assessors.



  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Coming Soon: Zen Cart v2.0.0

    What About Upgrades?

    This is a major version upgrade. Many features have been altered for improvement, many things have been added, and in this case many things are done differently now than they were done before.

    Thus, a number of aspects are affected.

    Templates
    You will need to rebuild your template fresh.
    YOUR OLD TEMPLATES WILL NOT WORK.
    The good news here is that identifiying places to change things, and making changes to templates and stylesheets is a whole lot easier.
    Even some new layout formats are automatically handled via some admin switches.

    Languages
    Old language packs will need to be updated. The biggest change is the need to re-encode language files as UTF-8-without-BOM format. And, of course, add translations for new texts.
    Also, the english.php file has been separated into a few additional files, including the locale.php and systemWarnings.php files, and a few others. Just a couple things for translators to note.

    Addons
    Every addon will need to be rewritten using the new infrastructure.
    The good thing to note here is that many addons can now be done using the notifier/observer system far more efficiently than they could in the past. This makes it possible for many addons to be truly plug-and-play: Just drop in the new files and it works!
    It will take time to get used to using the new classes and approaches to accessing data more efficiently. Some observer/notifier examples will be provided as a starting base.

    DATABASE DATA
    All your customer, product, and order data is stored in the database, and there are MANY changes to the database in this new version.
    The good news: Your orders and customers (and indeed all existing database content) will be preserved when you use the provided zc_install scripts to upgrade your database content to the new structure for you, making this part of the upgrade quite simple.


    Upgrading from Older Versions
    Your data can be upgraded to v2.0.0 directly from any v1.2.x or v1.3.x version. As indicated above, templates and addons will have to be rebuilt anyway.


    IMPORTANT NOTES
    Remember, you need to be running PHP 5.2 and MySQL 4.1 minimum on your server before trying to use Zen Cart 2.0.0
    .

    Zen Cart - putting the dream of business ownership within reach of anyone!
    Donations always welcome: www.zen-cart.com/donate

    Remember: Any code suggestions you see here are merely suggestions. You assume full responsibility for your use of any such suggestions, including any impact ANY alterations you make to your site may have on your PCI compliance.
    Furthermore, any advice you see here about PCI matters is merely an opinion, and should not be relied upon as "official". Official PCI information should be obtained from the PCI Security Council directly or from one of their authorized Assessors.



  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Coming Soon: Zen Cart v2.0.0

    See it in action?

    There is no demo site available at the present moment.
    When a demo site is ready for preview, a link will be posted here.
    .

    Zen Cart - putting the dream of business ownership within reach of anyone!
    Donations always welcome: www.zen-cart.com/donate

    Remember: Any code suggestions you see here are merely suggestions. You assume full responsibility for your use of any such suggestions, including any impact ANY alterations you make to your site may have on your PCI compliance.
    Furthermore, any advice you see here about PCI matters is merely an opinion, and should not be relied upon as "official". Official PCI information should be obtained from the PCI Security Council directly or from one of their authorized Assessors.



  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Coming Soon: Zen Cart v2.0.0

    When Will It Be Released?
    Please do not ask "when will it be released?", or "has it been released yet?". Those questions will be answered right here, as a reply to this post, when the time comes. If you want immediate notification when the release happens, go to the top of this page and click "Click Here to Subscribe To These Announcements".
    .

    Zen Cart - putting the dream of business ownership within reach of anyone!
    Donations always welcome: www.zen-cart.com/donate

    Remember: Any code suggestions you see here are merely suggestions. You assume full responsibility for your use of any such suggestions, including any impact ANY alterations you make to your site may have on your PCI compliance.
    Furthermore, any advice you see here about PCI matters is merely an opinion, and should not be relied upon as "official". Official PCI information should be obtained from the PCI Security Council directly or from one of their authorized Assessors.



 

 

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