CS-Cart 2.1.3 Released

This CS-Cart release introduces numerous regular fixes and a bunch of marvelous improvements such as greater opportunities for more precise shipping rate estimation, reduced storefront load time, checkout through Amazon Payments™ and two brand new free design themes.

Less DB Queries, Faster Page Load

Number of database queries from the major front-end pages was reduced significantly. This is another step to huge performance gain, which follows block caching added to the previous CS-Cart version. Now front-end pages are loaded much faster even if visitors open them for the first time before the HTML output has been cached. The diagrams below reveal what our tests showed when we compared the number of database queries from different storefront pages in default installations of CS-Cart 2.1.2 and CS-Cart 2.1.3.

New Online Payment Processors

60+ online payment options available in previous CS-Cart versions were supplemented with three brand new payment processors: Payment21, Paytrace and the most eagerly awaited Amazon Payments™.

Revised Integration with Popular Shipping Services

Integration with the most popular shipping services was revamped completely in CS-Cart 2.1.3.

The most evident change concerns the location of configuration pages of shipping service providers that support real-time rate estimation (e.g., FedEx, DHL, USPS, etc.). They no longer use global settings, but are configured separately for each shipping method in the store. This change has the following advantages: the ability to set up two or more UPS (or FedEx, DHL, etc.) shipping methods with different accounts, and the ability to add a surcharge to real-time rates to cover extra expenses.

However, the most significant improvement concerns the accuracy of real-time shipping rate estimation for popular shipping service providers FedEx, DHL and UPS.

First, CS-Cart now supports multi-package shipping, i.e. it can assign products from the order to separate boxes, calculate the number of required boxes and send this info to a particular shipping service provider. The received callback with the final shipping cost will consider these packages. The number of necessary boxes is determined according to the products’ dimensions and minimum/maximum allowed number of product items in a box, which are defined on the product details page in the admin area.

Second, UPS users can enable their account-specific negotiated rates.

Third, shoppers are allowed to select the type of their shipping address: residential or commercial. This improvement is relevant to the shipping through FedEx only because UPS can detect the address type automatically while DHL does not consider this parameter at all.

Moreover, CS-Cart now connects to UPS, USPS, DHL and FedEx through their latest APIs. This not only brings the software up-to-date, but also enables a number of additional functionalities like the extra services by USPS.

Notice for those who use FedEx: The new API requires that you use two new parameters Authentication key and Authentication password in addition to your Account number and Meter number. Otherwise, FedEx shipping rates will not be calculated in your store.

Extra Features in CS-Cart Community

This free edition of our shopping cart software now includes two great features that were previously available only in commercial editions:

  • SEO add-on to replaces ugly dynamic URLs with clean search engine friendly and human-readable URLs like http://www.example.com/true_product_name.html;
  • Upgrade center to provide for a seamless automated upgrade of a store to a newer CS-Cart version directly from the web interface.

New Free Front-end Themes

Two brand new design themes were added to CS-Cart Professional and CS-Cart Multivendor. “Jewelry” is good for a web store selling decorations while “Food” will suit a web store selling food and drinks. Click on the thumbnail to zoom in.

Jewelry ThemeFood Theme

As usual, you’re welcome to download this new release from your personal Help Desk account or simply try the online demo.

To review the complete list of fixes and improvements in CS-Cart 2.1.3, please refer to the release changelog.

Your feedback is much appreciated! Please post your suggestions and ideas to the CS-Cart Idea Tracker and report about all found bugs to our publiс bugtracker.

10 thoughts on “CS-Cart 2.1.3 Released

  • February 2, 2011 at 22:12

    Thanks for update Amazon payment and looking forward to Amazon Integration.

  • February 2, 2011 at 23:24

    What about USPS module/class update? We’re using a workaround currently.

    • February 3, 2011 at 16:50

      It appears that USPS does not officially support multiple packages in real-time rates.

  • February 4, 2011 at 23:04

    You guys are great! Always active and always improving! Question: Is there a way to upgrade the site without loosing my custom programming? Every time I upgrade, I have to re-program and design the whole site. Is there a way to prevent this? Other than that, great work and seems to work pretty well. Let me know if there is any way around my issue.

    • February 9, 2011 at 17:58

      Thank you for your kind words! They’re really important to us!

      As regards your question, there cannot be a universal way to avoid re-programming during the upgrade, I’m afraid. You see, each modification is developed individually to meet specific needs, and sometimes it may interfere with the functionality that gets upgraded in a new release. Unfortunately, this can hardly be predicted.

      A workaround here would be to introduce new functionalities through hooks and modules, although it may be impossible sometimes. Anyway, it should be discussed with the engineers who are working on your project as such possibility depends a lot on the type of the modification.

      • February 12, 2011 at 13:31

        though the whole point of having a modular system is that you actually can upgrade without to much hassle as otherwise the modular approach does not help. Making changes in the TPL files for every update is not that great as it breaks every customised template.
        A clear guideline how to modifying templates without having to spend a day or so after each update would be great.

        • February 15, 2011 at 16:06

          Hi Steve,
          I would second that. I would very much like to read a clear guideline on how to modify templates too. The headache comes every time when we need to re-code the modifications.

  • February 5, 2011 at 20:25

    When alertpay mod will be release ?

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