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Author Topic: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart  (Read 2195 times)

Offline OneMore

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Hello,

I am using AbanteCart 1.2.11 for a few weeks and just imported around 140 products from a previous tentative with PrestaShop.

I am the kind of person who likes to get my hands dirty, formatting SQL INSERT queries though a spreadsheet and a code editor.
There were no exceptions this time, and I imported my products through phpMyAdmin.
To create categories, I used AbanteCart's admin.

Here are few ideas coming from my experience with AbanteCart.

1) Please, show SKU everywhere!

SKU numbers are my personal product references in my catalog.
These are my product IDs, way more that the product ID that AbanteCart's gives to products.

I mostly sell spare parts, and most of them have a model.
But the SKU remains the reference that uniquely identifies a product in my inventory (Excel file, a.s.o.). Even the picture names of my products contains the SKU.
I assume that also for those of you selling new items in quantities, the SKU is of vital importance.
Currently, that my products (identified by their SKU) and their prices were imported, I still need to write their name in three languages, and to upload their images.

I applied this quick-fix temporary solution of duplicating the SKU in the "model" field using this SQL query:
UPDATE `ac_products` SET model=sku WHERE (model='' AND sku!='');

It is the only way for me to know who is who.

To my opinion, the SKU should be displayed at the following locations:
  • as a column in the products list
, preferably between the product thumbnail and the "name" field.
  • at top of the General tab, right to the cloning button
  • at top of the Media tab, and of all other products tabs, at a similar location (top left).
The SKU being the "instant identifier" of a product, I suggest these locations in the tabs rather than in the product information header, so that the SKU is more highlighted.

2) Attach a product to a category directly from the product list.
After importing my products, I had to attach them manually to the categories for my AbanteCart shop (which were different from those that I had in Prestashop).
I had to open two tabs in phpMyAdmin, first one with the view described in my answer to Old-Paul about bulk moving products to a different category, and second one showing the records of the 'category_description' table.
By comparing, I could manually edit the category IDs in the first tab, but it was painful.
I would suggest a one character wide droplist in the product list, that upon click would expand itself like a popup, Ajax-load categories, and let pick one. The categories could be listed in a classical drop list, or expandable tree.
A good location for the one-char-wide droplist could be beween the checkbox and the product thumbnail.

3) Add an EAN13 column in the backend, and structured data in the frontend.

Nowadays, EAN numbers as well as structured data (JSON-LD) are essentials to e-commerce.
I would really suggest adding a column for an optional EAN13 number in the main product table as a core feature.

Maybe I missed something, but I could not see JSON-LD data as native in AbanteCart.
There is in the market place a "SEO Rich Snippet Microdata for Products" extension that I didn't test.
Prestashop offers natively a field for EAN (as well as a few ones like ISBN which is limited to books).
I'm not in favor of increasing the number of fields excessively, but EAN sounds to me like a "must have".

4) Save and directly jump to next translation.
When saving a new product, if the shop is multilingual, I would appreciate two buttons: "Save" and "Save and jump to next tranlation".
So, after saving, one could directly be directed to the fields in which to edit the next language without having to select the language in the drop list and wait again that everythings loads.

5) If there are few languages: bar of toggle butttons instead of drop list.
I am aware this would increase code complexity, and reduce the core principle of AbanteCart's scalabily unless the drop list remains, but most shops are likely in just a few languages. In the admin, a bar of toggle buttons rather than a drop list would bring some gain of performance when editing products, categories, a.s.o.

6) Don't resize and don't rename the main product images
All my images are pre-processed and optimized (size, compression, ...) depending on the level of detail needed.
The automatic resizing of pictures to a size of 500 pixels is very painful and makes the zoom-scroll feature almost useless.
Make the resize optional with a toggle button in "System > Settings > Appearance" (set on "Off" by default) near to the suggested image size.
For users that upload unoptimized images, a dialog box could be fired, suggesting a resize and asking them if they accept it.
I will detail this idea more in detail below.

7) Older dashboard pictures were better
It is a personal opinion, but I find the dashboard pictures from version 1.2.11 better than those of version 1.3.4.
Although a bit old-fashioned, they were clearer than those of version 1.3.4.
They were more intuitive, without the need for some further cerebral decyphering.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2023, 01:10:28 PM by OneMore »

Offline llegrand

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2023, 12:37:37 PM »
Hello OneMore,  been seeing your posts for a few days now.  I would like to suggest that you are using quite an old version of AbanteCart -  1.2.11 was release in 2017.

The most recent version is 1.3.4 released in 2023  You can check this page for more info of versions https://www.abantecart.com/shopping-cart-news

Based on your suggestions quite a few if not all have been added to the more recent versions over time. It is easy to update your version BUT you should consider doing in the proper methods -  one version at a time.   Or you can install the latest version  and reimport your product and update whatever you think still needs modification for your needs.   

Cheers and joyful holiday season to you.

Offline OneMore

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2023, 01:38:47 PM »
Hello llegrand,

Thank you for suggesting the newer version 1.3.4.
Good to know that some or all suggested features are already present in the latest version. I should try it.

I was aware of version 1.3.4, but I expressly picked AbanteCart version 1.2.11 as being able to run on PHP 7.1.33.

The fact is that I am creating my websites locally before they go live.
There are several websites that I still develop locally on PHP 7.1.33, mostly because the favorite and most stable version of the CMS that I am using, or its extensions, cannot run beyond 7.1.33. Same for other codebases that I am still using. I even had to port recently some of them from PHP 5 to PHP 7.

It is possible running several versions of PHP on a single xampp installation, but in practice it has revealed excessively complicated for me.

So far, PHP 7.1.33 has revealed for me one the most polyvalent version, as many software that I use can run with it.
I have ported lot of code from PHP 5 to PHP 7, but porting from PHP 7.1.33 to 7.2.5 (or beyond) can sometimes be difficult, and I would have some huge code bases to port. Hence, as for now, I decided to stay with PHP 7.1.33.

To keep tings simple as possible, I also left my remote multi-sites hosting with PHP 7.1.33.

For testing purposes, I also use a secondary budget hosting with PHP 8, but it is slow.

Would AbanteCart 1.3.4 be backward compatible with PHP 7.1, I would have tried this newer version, but this is unfortunately not the case. I didn't try bypassing the installer to see if the newest version could possibly run on PHP 7.

I could compare the files of AbanteCart 1.3.4 with those of AbanteCart 1.2.11, and maybe port AbanteCart backward to PHP 7.
But currently I don't have time enough for this.

Cheers and an joyful holiday season to you too.

Offline llegrand

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2023, 03:52:48 PM »
Updating -  AbanteCart v 1.3.4  requires a min of PHP 8.0

As to updating your PHP version here is my take after 40+ years in computers,  the number one reason is security, number two is performance.

Take a peek at this versions supported PHP info
https://www.php.net/supported-versions.php

Since we provide managed services as well as hosting to our clients we firmly support using current support OS and PHP versions again based on security and performance.

Unfortunately for most things in computer world as well as other areas of life - change is the only absolute.  But it does keep things interesting. 

Most hosting providers now have multi PHP versions.   And they can be applied to different domains.  So if you have one domain where you can install AbanteCart 1.3.4  -  and select PHP 8.0 at the minimum that would leave your other sites running different PHP versions,    Just a thought.

 8) 8)






Offline Basara

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2023, 01:57:42 AM »
I was aware of version 1.3.4, but I expressly picked AbanteCart version 1.2.11 as being able to run on PHP 7.1.33.

Hello.
I think 1.2.16 and 1.3.0 can run on PHP 7.1 why did you choose 1.2.11?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2023, 02:02:48 AM by Basara »

Offline OneMore

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2023, 07:12:17 AM »
Quote
I think 1.2.16 and 1.3.0 can run on PHP 7.1 why did you choose 1.2.11?
  • Because for AbanteCart 1.2.16 the minimal PHP version was not mentioned. We know there is PHP 7.4 support, but there is no mention about compatibility with previous PHP versions.
  • Because of similar issue with AbanteCart 1.3.0, for which PHP 8 support was mentioned, but not PHP 7. So, I believed it was incompatible with PHP 7.
  • Because I knew from another post read on the forum that the 1.2.11 version was compatible with PHP 7.1. Hence, it was for me a hassle-free choice.
So, in short, the lack of information about PHP compatibility is why I chose AbanteCart 1.2.11 rather than a newer version.

One big strength of Prestashop is that their documentation is very clear about system requirements, with a very clear "PHP compatibility chart" where you instantly see which version of their shopping cart system is compatible with which (lowest - uppest) version of PHP.
See https://devdocs.prestashop-project.org/1.7/basics/installation/system-requirements/

I believe that a similar PHP compatibility chart would be very useful fo AbanteCart.
I understand that testing a large codebase with all versions is lot of work, but even if not all cells of the compatibility matrix are colored in green or red, they could be left in grey color, until someone in the forum confirms wether a combination is working or not.


Offline abantecart

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2023, 07:19:50 AM »
OneMore , Thank you for the feedback. We will work on the update
Please  rate your experience or leave your review
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Offline OneMore

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2023, 02:05:41 PM »
Thank you abantecart.

I added two more ideas (6 and 7) in my original post.

I want to detail more my thoughts about why the pictures of products should not be resized nor renamed (apart for those duplicated as thumbnails).

There are two kind of merchants:
  • those who pre-process / optimize product images,
  • those who don't.

1. Merchants that optimize product pictures
They have several reasons for doing so:
  • Products have by nature different sizes, and their visual inspection may require different level of details.
    Example: A 30cm motherboard might need a high-resolution picture so that one can inspect tiny inscriptions on components, whilst a 2cm CMOS clock battery is smaller by nature and doesn't need close inspection.
  • Make images faster to load (size, color depth, compression) and still good enough for the given purpose.
  • Metadata can be embedded inside the pictures for SEO optimization.
For this category of merchants, pictures being resized and renamed by AbanteCart is painful.
Hence, image processing by AbanteCart should be disabled by default.

2. Merchants that don't optimize pictures, either
  • because they are ignorant
  • beause they don't care much about the quality of the pictures for their webshop
  • because they don't have time, and just want to upload pictures form their smartphones
Keeping in mind this category of merchants, AbanteCart could perform several successive checks after the picture was uploaded, and fire dialogs where the user can accept or reject a suggested image optimization.
  • is the picture too large in size?
  • is the picture large is pixels (e.g. over 800x800)?
  • could the picture be in a better format for the web (e.g. webp instead of png)?
The dialog(s) could:
  • ask the user if he wants AbanteCart to rezize the picture or keep it as it is
  • suggest toggling on the image resize feature in the "Admin > Settings > Apparence" section.
  • offering a "Don't ask again" checkbox" (useful for those users who are doing image preprocessing)
  • make users more instructed, suggesting some softwares for image pre-processing (e.g. IrfanView, Gimp), or provinding a link to a documentation topic about this

In summary: a shopping cart system is not an image processing software and should not do what can be done better by a well-educated merchant using dedicated software.
However, AbanteCart could detect images that a priori seem unoptimized and suggest (not impose) resizing them.


N.B. CubeCart is doing things well, by placing the original images in a "image/source" folder.

Cheers.

Offline OneMore

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Re: Feedback and most wanted features after few weeks with AbanteCart
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2024, 05:43:08 AM »
Quote
I think 1.2.16 and 1.3.0 can run on PHP 7.1 why did you choose 1.2.11?

Quote
Because for AbanteCart 1.2.16 the minimal PHP version was not mentioned.
(...)
I believe that a similar PHP compatibility chart would be very useful fo AbanteCart.

See this link for AbanteCart's PHP compatibility chart:
https://abantecart.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/AD/pages/3768390/AbanteCart+System+Requirements#AbanteCartSystemRequirements-PHPcompatibilitychart

Many thanks to the developers, testers, and editors fo the documentation.

 

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