X-Cart v4.6 released: the fastest ever

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Ksenia Emelyanova's picture
X-Cart v4.6 released: the fastest ever

Hello, X-Carters!

X-Cart v4.6 has been released.

Thanks to Jeremy Roberts, Steve Stoyanov and other X-Cart community members, who shared their concerns and suggestions about this new release on our forum in this thread. We appreciate your very helpful feedback and hope for further cooperation.

Many of you are already aware of this version improvements, as Vladimir Petrov, Alex Mulin and Max Vydrin have been announcing the upcoming changes on the forum.

But to tidy everything up I have prepared a new publication with a review of the latest changes.

Speed Optimization

This time the special emphasis was put on speeding the software up. It’s a known fact that X-Cart is very fast (faster than many other shopping cart platforms), but now when every second (even fraction of a second!) counts, when the customers are getting more and more impatient, we concentrate our efforts on making the software even faster. X-Cart architects did their best to boost the speed significantly.

We have improved the search scripts (it searches for products not only when you explicitly use the search functionality, but also when the category/manufacturer products are selected), session handling mechanism, import scripts, categories behavior in admin and customer area, etc. We found and fixed many bottlenecks.

To make sure the results meet our expectations, we have done lots of tests; to illustrate the achievements let me please show the results of several ones (these ones are for the Amazon EC2 M3 (Large) server, 12000 products in database, number of visitors online grows from 1 to 50):


Speed test1

Speed test 2

Speed test 3

The tests we performed demonstrate that X-Cart v4.6 is up to almost 5 times faster than previous ones.

X-Cart v4.5.5 and v4.6 with 12000 products in database, 50 users online, on Amazon EC2 M3 (Large) server
page max value for v4.5.5 max value for v4.6 win in speed
search 27.55s 5.78s 4.76 times
category 8.83s 5.18s 1.70 times
home 20.70s 4.92s 4.2 times
product 9.42s 5.97s 1.57 times

Responsive Skin

Not very long ago we used to announce the release of this great skin (authored by Mike White) as a separate module.

We still love this product very much and consider that Responsive Web Design is a must have for every store now, at the age of iphones, ipads, other tablets and mobile devices.

While the sizes of desktop monitors keep growing, number and variety of small screens grows as well.

Be prepared to offer best shopping experience to every customer, whatever device he uses to browse your store.

How it works


Convenient and friendly navigation is a part of customer care. Love your customers, and they will return your love.

X-Cart team is sure that such a template must be in every store, and in our product it will be available out of the box. Not only was the skin added to the default package, but also the template itself was optimized: tons of JS code were replaced with CSS media queries (with a special script being included so that to support them in IE), the support of many modules was revised and improved. So from now on X-cart users will benefit from using this responsive template, and your visitors will enjoy great shopping experience.

And let your sales grow!




AvaTax

AvaTax Calculation engine is a subscription-based SaaS(Software-as-a-Service) offering that is tailored to your specific business needs. AvaTax Calc dynamically delivers 100,000+ taxability rules and applies them across 11,000+ jurisdictions. The highest possible accuracy, instant results, automatic work - it’s a great asset for the US merchants. If I were a store owner, I would for sure have signed up for this solution - and it starts from only $15 per month!

We’re preparing a webinar about challenges and hidden rocks of ever changing tax system. Clete Werts, Avalara OEM E-Commerce Manager, who knows taxes in and out, kindly agreed to share his knowledge with you guys. More details about the webinar will be posted shortly.

Klarna (payment integration)

Klarna

This integration is of a special interest for the European merchants. Klarna is a Swedish payment solutions company. This payment solution is offered mainly in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherland, Finland, Germany), but Klarna is also branching out into other EU countries.

Klarna’s main difference is that they permit a customer to order an item without paying right away. The customer pays later, only after the product is received and it meets their expectations:

  • When the item is purchased, Klarna pays the merchant;
  • When the customer keeps the item, Klarna then bills the customer:
  • Klarna charges the merchant for the service. The merchant then decides whether to charge his customer or not.

Ability to order the item without necessity to pay immediately will tempt your customers and encourage them to order more and more. This integration can be a great tool for you, if you’re a European merchant.

By the way we’re preparing another webinar about the peculiarities of payments processing in Europe. After some research we found out that it differs from the US model, and we believe our findings can be helpful for you. Details (speakers, time and date, registration) will be available shortly.

Here we come to some screenshots ( please click to enlarge):

Apple look Klarna checkout -2 checkout page

Modules tab

We have improved the admin interface making it more convenient and informative for merchants, and converting into a good promo tool for developers.

The modules page layout is now presented in the form of tabs.

modules tab


  • The first tab is for already installed+built in modules. Since there are lots of them (and more can be additionally installed), the filters at the top of the page will help to narrow the results if admin does not want to scroll the page down.
  • The second tab is for commercial modules developed by X-Cart team. The admin can look through the new extensions and find the ones his store needs - such as eBay integration, Amazon CDN, Infinite Scroll, Refine Filters, Two factor authentication, X-payments and other.
  • The third one is for modules developed by our community partners (Kosmos Central, BCSE, CFL Systems, AlteredCart, xcartmods.co.uk, EWD hosting and other). Built in marketplace is a powerful promotion tool, which is developed especially for our partners. The merchants win too: they no longer need to search for the modules, these modules come into the admin area themselves.

Next product / Previous product

A small but useful improvement - 'Next/previous product' selection, ability to switch to the next product within the current category without necessity to leave the product details page. One more step towards your customers’ convenience.
next/previous product

Context help

We decided to help those e-tailers who are only getting acquainted with the software. Every page of admin area has now a context help section, which offers the articles from the knowledge base in accordance with the key words of the page the admin browses. Say, on the tax page the admin will see the links to tax-related articles, and if he is configuring product variants, he will see the results related to 'product options'.

This is how it looks like:

context help

Anything else?

Yes! There are many other improvements in this release, more technical details can be found in changelog, and as usual you’re welcome to try the product:

Play with demo »      Download free trial »

 

New X-Cart Extension - Two-Factor Authentication

2 factor authentication

The module integrates your store with Authy, which allows you to protect your accounts with Two-Factor Authentication system. You can enable Two-Factor Authentication for each type of accounts: admin, provider and customer, and we strongly recommend it at least for admins.

Authy proudly states that the system is fully mobile, and that’s true! The security token is either sent to your smartphone (iphone, Android, Blackberry) via special free application, or, if application is not/can not be installed, you will receive a text message - this feature will work even on an outdated-dinosaur-of-a-cell-phone.

How the token verification works:

  • Just as usual, the user enters the login credentials first.
  • If these credentials are accepted, the user is redirected to another page to enter a secure token.
  • Then the user receives the token via application or text message and enters it.
  • If the token is correct, then the person is securely logged in.
That’s it!

Compatible with x-cart 4.1.x or above. Hurry to grab one!
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