Update from the Development Team

Earlier this year we published v1.5.5 which included a number of improvements, including the addition of a responsive mobile-friendly template, compatibility with the latest PHP 7, and some significant performance optimizations.

Since then we've been actively working on the promised v1.6.0, and I'd like to give you an update of what's been happening in that area.

Notes about the following list:
- Many of the following features are a result of contributions made by community members. Thank you!!!
- Some of the listed features have way more capability than I have space to write for them here. This is a broad overview.
- You may recognize some of these from a previous post I'd made.

Feature Improvements in v1.6.0:

Easier install/setup:
- no more need for /admin/includes/configure.php !!!!!! The site will run from just a single /includes/configure.php file for all its settings.

- guest checkout and other checkout flows (no password required until end of checkout; optional abbreviated checkout for virtual+free purchases)
- shipping supports insurance calculations for carriers that offer it in their modules

Designers will love:
- modernized for HTML5
- templating system allows for various CSS frameworks (think Bootstrap etc) to be adapted using simple hooks
- template hooks which could be used 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

- language files simplified to relocate locale-specific content into a new locale.php file ... so most sites will now touch fewer files for customization
- multilingual "country names", configuration menu
- orders remember the customer's language, so order updates are sent in that language

Product Features:
- single-attribute products can be added-to-cart from product-listing (instead of via “more info” taking you to the product page first)
- 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)
- product microdata markup
- product-stock "availability" and product-"condition" indicators available

Admin improvements:
- the Admin has a templating system, which allows for restyling to suit own theme preferences
- added a dashboard widget system for the admin home page, which includes new things like Current Customer Activity, banner-imprint graphs, sales history graph from last several days
- spiffycal replaced with a more modern jQuery plugin for date-selection

Promotional Tools:
- 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

Developers will love:
- 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
- additional notifier hooks for things like customizing category-tabs, reviews, cart contents, downloads, product images and popups
- several features which lend support to multi-tenancy capability
- code modernization, progressively incorporating namespaced OOP rewrites of various segments ... it's a work in progress
- functions consolidation: functions that were "duplicates" (or partial-duplicates) in both the admin and non-admin, are now shared from one place: no more duplication
- nginx configuration template

There's a lot of activity going on each week. Anyone interested in watching the process or contributing issues or code can get involved at https://github.com/zencart/zencart
New to github? Take a look at our guide to contributing at http://docs.zen-cart.com/Contributing