Update from the Development Team

The development team has been hard at work with bugfixes and improvements, as well as ongoing support in the forums and responding to contributions via github, and more.
We're pleased to provide the following update about what we've been working on and some of the things ahead on our radar.

v1.5.5 is coming soon!

Subsequent to v1.5.4 we felt it was important to provide an update which incorporates the latest bugfixes and security updates.

But there has been a lot of work put into v1.6.0 to improve existing features, and to add broader compatibility with newer PHP and MySQL versions. We decided there were a lot of good improvements that were suitable to include in v1.5.5 instead of holding them back for later.

So, here's what v1.5.5 will bring:

- Template Update
One big request has been a new storefront template which is built for mobile and has a newer look-and-feel, so we’ve been working with Anne at Picaflor-Azul to incorporate a simplified responsive template which uses Raymond Barbour’s DIY Responsive template components. The goal for this has been to give support for mobile/tablet/desktop from a single template, while endeavouring to avoid dictating what features a storeowner might want to implement.

In addition to the newer mobile-friendly template, numerous improvements have been brought ahead into v1.5.5 including:
- all known bugfixes and security fixes,
- PHP7 compatibility,
- improved SQL queries to support latest MySQL 5.7,
- new responsive mobile-friendly template, as mentioned earlier,
- added order-details to checkout-success page,
- updated PayPal Checkout to support newer capabilities,
- improved error-logging for troubleshooting,
- improved/simplified code for db query handling, allowing simple foreach() iterations instead of requiring while(!EOF) loops,
- added hooks to allow for 3rd-party-handling of taxes,
- fix some rounding errors,
- customer password reset via Admin,
- rewrote zc_install,
- added cron code for automated currency-updating,
- replaced phpBB integration with generic hooks to allow for various external forums,
- some language-file cleanups,
- simplified the configure.php file contents significantly by retaining only the most-often-customized components,
- improvements to developers-toolkit and whos-online,
- modernized phpMailer integration,
- and much more.

While it’s still a work-in-progress, we hope to release before the end of December 2015. You can see the work we’ve done so far on https://github.com/zencart/zencart/tree/v155
The main thing outstanding is completing the template (which isn't quite ready to push up into github yet).

What about v1.6.0?

We’ve left a number of features for v1.6.0 specifically, because they would break too many things if we put them into v1.5.5.

That means v1.6.0 will bring features such as:
- modernized for HTML5
- guest checkout and other checkout flows
- new mobile template built on the “Foundation” CSS framework, which also takes advantage of a number of architectural improvements to make templating more flexible
- templating system allows for other CSS frameworks to be adapted using simple hooks
- template hooks to trigger minification of CSS, JS, etc
- more flexibility for custom per-page CSS and javascript placement-on-page
- using font-icons and CSS buttons instead of requiring creation of custom graphics
- added a middle-tier to the template structure, to allow for "shared" customizations which might apply to multiple templates
- product microdata markup
- support for externally-hosted downloadable virtual products (storable on AWS S3, and other places including Dropbox URLs and whatever else someone writes a plugin for)
- several features which lend support to multi-tenancy capability
- more cart-content helper/inspector functions to allow for more custom actions to be built around what’s in the shopping basket, including reacting to product weight, category, value, and more
- product-stock "availability" and product-"condition" indicators available
- language files simplified to relocate locale-specific content into a new locale.php file
- dashboard widget system for the admin home page
- ajax support in the admin
- began implementing a template system in the admin, which sets the stage for restyling and modernizing the admin console
- javascript graphing tools added to the admin
- spiffycal replaced with a more modern jQuery plugin
- numerous improvements to Coupon capabilities (combine Free Shipping with amount or percent discount, support more rules such as combining with sales, minimum order amount, limit by number of orders, export option, and more)
- allow Gift Certificates to be put on special, or disallowed for specials
- shipping supports insurance calculations for carriers that offer it in their modules
- single-attribute products can be added-to-cart from product-listing (instead of via “more info”)
- payment-module communications tester in admin
- standardizing of code used by shipping, payment, ot modules so they're easier to customize and support
- additional notifier hooks for things like customizing category-tabs, reviews, cart contents, downloads, product images and popups
- code modernization, progressively incorporating namespaced OOP rewrites of various segments ... the first phase allows for speedier and more-easily-templated pagination of page results
- and lots more to come