VirtueMart 3, Core is ready for testing
We finally can announce that the VirtueMart 3 core is ready as Release Candidate 2.9.8. Now the remaining job is to test the core intensively on joomla 3.3 and to add missing backward compatibility for easy updating. As far we can see all API changes are done.
The primary task is now to test the plugins, adjust them to the new joomla 2.5 style and if necessary add fallbacks or provide developer information for switches in our Code adjustments for Virtuemart 3. This manual will grow, the more developers provide feedback, the faster. The plugins for the customfields must be updated. All extensions working with the customs need to be updated. Except for the plugins for the customfields, the old plugins will almost directly work. The xml files must be updated to j2.5 style. They need some adjustments anyway to run with Joomla 3 like using vRequest (respectivly JInput).
The changes in VirtueMart 3
Our priority for VM3 is to develop a robust core providing a cleaner structure and less code. We reduced the dependencies on joomla, but increased on the other hand the integration. For example, the core now uses only the JFormFields of joomla 2.5 and not any longer the old vmParameter, but we added vRequest (MIT) as choice for JInput. Developers can now use the normal JFormField joomla conventions for all plugins.
You can re-use your layouts by using the new sublayouts (like minilayouts). They give your store a consistent appearance and make it easier to adjust standards for different layouts in one overridable file. The input data is very unified which makes it stable against updates.
The new core has an advanced cart with enhancements to provide better update compatibility. For example the new custom userfields now include an option to be displayed on the checkout page and can use their own overridable mini layouts making it easy to adjust the cart to legal requirements without touching the template. The data stored in the session is minified and therefore the cart now uses normal products, which can be easily modified by plugins (for example to adjust the weight).
The new jQuery versions are now mainly the same as in joomla 3.3 (jQuery v1.11.0,jQuery UI - v1.9.2, legacy complete). Shops using joomla 2.5 with VM3 will also benefit from this. It will prevent needless configuration problems.
Frontend Editing combined with the joomla ACL now allows your vendors to directly access the VirtueMart backend from the frontend, without having real access to the joomla backend. This feature is still under heavily development and we are still looking for funds to complete it. So far vendors can just create new products, edit their products and list their products. It is the first step to make multivendor accessible for normal endusers.
"Additional Shoppergroup" is a new feature for shoppergroups, which do not replace the default groups.
New internal program caches reduce the sql queries for the most used tasks by more than 20%.
and of course the new customfields. With new options, redesigned and a lot more flexible to use.
A new trigger system, only for the checkout is started. It needs a new derived function/trigger and cannot be done with the old triggers. It will work with some kind of event system and call the proper plugins directly. We will write this after the first release. Old plugins then just need to be updated with the new trigger to participate in the new system.
Please download and test
VirtueMart Support Membership
We have successfully introduced a membership for the VirtueMart Project recently. We recognized that VirtueMart users want a safe support address if they find a bug and that a public forum is not adequate for serious business owners. In the past two years the core development team also had to spend too much time to provide customizations to make their living. Providing a really good maintained and professionally tested core takes more and more time and the complexity required to keep it simple for endusers and web agencies is increasing with every version.
- VirtueMart continues with one free version
- Members are customers with access to our ticket system
- The membership helps the core developers to focus on the project and enables us to provide a very high code quality
- Any tier gives a vote for a desired feature to influence the roadmap
- Added value (multi-add layout, display shipment costs for products,...)
There are also some nice ideas to enhance the core. For example multi-image upload, different sizes for images, more different layouts to choose from, angular js (very fast), more multivendor, multi-language tools, enhanced js for the BE, flexible and configurable OPC, ...
We also already invested into the new router of Hannes Papenberg and it will be provided to the VirtueMart Support Members.
There is also already a thread about this in the forum http://forum.virtuemart.net/index.php?topic=124355.0