NB_Store_01.01.05_Install_Beta1 feedback

Mar 29, 2009 at 7:08 AM
Edited Apr 9, 2009 at 1:55 AM
Hi Dave,

I hope this sort of feedback is proving useful. If I could code I'd help you out with that, but I'm afraid this is the best I can do here.

This is feedback for the last beta with the new backoffice. This time I'm working through the module pretending that I'm going to use it live on a site. I removed the previous release from the db and cleared out the db so that I'd have a fresh copy on my 4.9.2 DNN instance. I was also careful to try anf avoid all the problems I had with the languages options last time. I disabled all languages except for en-US and also disabled browser detection of languages. The idea was to try and make it run as if there were only one language.

I then also stepped through the xmls files and altered bits and pieces to suit how I'd want to use it. That worked fine and I'm loving how flexible you've made the module. It's very rewarding to work with!

As always, here are the notes I made as I went through everything:

  • The new backoffice is a great improvement, but would preferably (optionally) load into the site's own skin.
  • I've placed the Backoffice module onto the same page as the cart because it doesn't seem to need a page of its own anymore.
  • I had to remove the 750px wide table in the template so that the backoffice link would sit in a column - I dont' think it needs that fixed width anyway.
  • When signed in as manager, and I go into Utilities section, there is an “Add” link at the top of the grid... what would I be adding? When I click on it, there is no clue.
  • I realised later that the same "Add" option in the templates section is more obvious... I can add a new template.
  • The first thing I’m going to do is change the administrator email address
    • I click into the edit page. It says in large letters “Utilities – Settings”.
    • The tabs already display the fact that I’m in the Settings sub-tab of Utilities.
    • I would instead expect instead to see the name of the section I am inside: “Administrator email”.
    • I only have one language now En-US. I can’t tell what I’m supposed to click in order to just change the email address.
    • It offers me these things:
      • Update
      • Update to all languages
      • Default
      • English US
    • I’m going to leave it on Default and just click Update each time I come across this, but I have no confidence that this is going to be correct.
  • I still think that clicking Update should return one to the page one came from.. just like in any module.
    • Clicking Cancel to return just seems wrong.
    • I also find myself often clicking Update again.. because I keep looking away and forget if I clicked it. If it just returned to the previous page, that would make it more clear.
  • This time I deleted the following files before adding the module to the site because I was hoping I wouldn’t get stuck in the language mess I was in last time:
    • ordersreport_fr.xsl and ManagerMenuDefault.fr-FR.xml
    • I’m now going to modify ManagerMenuDefault.xml with a bunch of settings because I can see that it must be getting the defaults from here.
      Purchase by cheque – [Order:OrderNumber]
      Your order has been shipped – [Order:OrderNumber]
      Confirmation of your purchase – [Order:OrderNumber]
      Payment received – [Order:OrderNumber]
      Payment not verified yet – [Order:OrderNumber]
      And heaps of others.
  • What happens if I type "en-NZ" as the merchant culture setting... does it do anything?
  • Most of these settings, such as addresses, are short enough to be displayed in the initial settings datagrid - maybe some of them could be added in a new column?
  • I’m still confused by the column that reads ”Language – None” in the datagrid.. what’s it telling me that I need to know?
  • logintext.text – buttons are in French suggest Sign-in and Register for the English version
  • I’m assuming that any changes made to these templates are per-portal, not cross-portal.
  • When I first click on the backoffice.text template, is shows text “Welcome to NB_Store”. When I click to source view, the words vanish. If I switch to text mode and then cancel and return, I can see the text in the code – Oh I see.. the code is not valid – it has no TD tags in the table and FCK is confused by it. This is the code <table width="750"> <tbody> <tr> <h1>Welcome to NB_Store</h1> </tr> </tbody> </table>
  • The same issue also applies to dashboard.text
  • paymentOK.email – spelling: recieved should be received. Thankyou should be Thank you.
  • A lot of the radio button options in the utilities section seem to have their radio buttons shifted one row upwards. There is a single button alone as the first row, and then the last row has no button. This is in several sections.
  • About discounts: I think that you’re saying that Discount Vouchers are what would normally be known as Discount Coupons, and Discounts are what would normally be Specials.
    • I suggest defining these items, whether or not they are going to be cart features:
      • Gift Vouchers – customers purchase these – they are like cash
      • Discount Coupons – a code to apply a special rate to specific items
      • Specials – Special rates for specific items for everyone
      • Discount groups – Special  rates for specific groups i.e. Wholesale, trade, students
      • Loyalty points – Are received per purchase and are exchangeable for discount on specific items
    • The discounts above are usually not applied to items that are already on special or otherwise discounted. Only gift vouchers can usually be applied at 100% of their value on any product apart from shipping.
  • Shipping is of course hard to do in a cart, but I think it is going to need further granularity into zones... United States or Australia are very large countries and a single shipping rate isn’t going to work. Zones are mainly about distance, but are also about physical barriers such as islands or borders.
  • Further shipping options would be various shipping methods, such as Standard post, Courier, and Signature-required Courier, and also Insured Post. Or even better, allow for some additional definable levels like those. Insurance would be a percentage of the value. Some products, such as a laptop, might require a certain type of shipping (insured and signature-required), whilst others, such as sheet music would allow the buyer to choose the shipping method depending on how fast they needed it.
  • Category sort order should be auto-incremented when adding categories
  • Template dropdowns would ideally only show templates that will work in the place they are being selected from, but this is not a big issue at all
  • Should be an “Add another” button when creating categories and products - there's too much clicking to find the next action when it would ideally have the most obvious action (add another product/category) already presented.
  • I'm now beginning to add some products
  • A master list of manufactures would be extremely useful – shoppers often head straight for the manufacturer’s dropdown list in other carts I’ve implemented. It’s a very popular browsing method that is outside of the categories menu.
  • Tax category help tip says “If you want this product to belong to a Tax Category select it here.” But what do I choose?.. the only options are the same categories I’ve just created... which one is right when there is just one tax rate for everything in the store. Maybe allow the dropdown to be hidden by some sort of single-tax rate setting? It's certainly confusing to be adding products in one caegory whilst assigning them to a tax in another (because the rate is the same everywhere here).
  • Still unsure about the options functionality. When I clicked the Add button to add more options, it wiped the 3 I had just added. Deleting options also clears the list. (I figured out a bit later that I needed to add option values on the right for each option.
  • Thie product page tends to have a delicate feel to it when adding products... I keep getting worried about clicking on things because of th erisk of losing stuff I've already typed or added. I'm now in the habit of constantly clicking the Update button at the top no matter if I need to or not. Ideally, nothing on a page should be lost during any postback. 
  • The sort order really needs to be automated for all of these items (options, images, models etc). Specifying the sort order should be optional in a computer application, not required.
  • Perhaps models and/or options might be able to use thumbnail images in future.. if an option is for a particular colour or wood finish, then the thumbnails would be to show the colours or finish.
  • I’ve created 3 options for a product but I can’t see where the options show - I figured this out later and made up some templates with the right tokens.
  • I have added 2 images for each product, and each product has two images, but they are the same image.. it’s as if the second image I uploaded for each replaced the first image as well.
  • Yet when I edit the products, they correctly show two images are present.
  • This turned out to be caused by the sort order - I had just left them all at 1 because that is what people are likely to do.
  • I ended up going back through all of the products again just to check and apply sort orders everywhere.
  • It should really be automated - and perhaps use those up/down arrows that are used in the DNN Tabs Manager and elsewhere.
  • I love the instant tidy appearance of the cart! This has great potential :)
  • Suggest speeding up the lightbox display time.. there's an option in the js, I'll look for it after this.
  • Suggest putting focus=none styles on the lightbox left/right buttons to get rid of the focus lines when clicking on them. I'll also look into this.
  • A very useful enhancement when viewing product details would be "prev/next product" buttons. Exactly what it steps forward or back to is debatable but anything is good... whether it’s the last list viewed, or just stepping through the category of the product being viewed. The main thing is to allow for browsing through product details views and not have to keep jumping back to list views.
  • Categories menu could use some additional non-category buttons: All products, New Products, Featured Products, Specials
  • Would be great to have tiny thumbnails next to each item in the main cart/checkout.. it helps a lot when products have similar names but are very different items.
  • I’m now finished adding products and a, attempting to order and buy something as an anonymous user
  • The minicart should in some way link through to the main cart ( I fixed this up later in the template)
  • I have set “Allow non-user order = yes”, but it still asks me to sign in or register – I’m guessing this option has to be set with “Disable login message = yes” at the same time?
    • Ok, yep that makes it work
  • When I clicked the radio buttons in the shipping section, it cleared everything I had typed into the billing address form.. gahh!
  • PayPal image is a red X – missing?
  • I think pay by cheque can also be used as pay by direct banking.. thats good.
  • Possible enhancement - Provide a print-page button/icon for orders
  • Possible enhancement - Provide a “Join Mailing list” check-box on the billing page
  • Possible enhancement - Provide a “I have read Terms etc.” checkbox if it isn’t already in there.
  • A built –in list of tokens would be useful in the template editor somewhere
  • The picture upload page could stay in place to allow more pic uploads without having to click back and forth – there’s a return button there, but the page goes back automatically anyway.
  • Very cool enhancement: Would love to see an enhanced description section that would have additional FCK editors that would populate a tabbed description section... e.g. Features, Specifications, Accessories, and perhaps even a dynamic tab for related products and reviews. Some products have pages of descriptions and features and it just doesn't fit on a single page.. tabs like you've made for the backoffice would be amazing.
  • Would be handy if Catalogue would default to products when clicked.. because, although categories are created first, there are usually only a few, whilst there are heaps or hundereds of products.... it’s just a constant extra click to get to the products section.
  • Sort orders are becoming a problem.. always have to keep going back into products to see if they are wrong on the images and options and models
  • I’ve changed the minicart template but it won’t update... it finally updated when I added a product to the cart - I eventually realised that there are two mini cart templates, but it took a while :)
  • I’m unsure why the options generally have "default" unspecified language but the products only list named languages.
    I’m trying to figure out how to make the details images smaller than the uploaded image size.. I’m sure there was a setting so Again, if there was a way to avoid the languages for a signle language site, then that would greatly simplify all of this.
  • Here's just something to think about – In bigger carts, the attributes/options are set up separately from the products so that they can be standardised for all products. Then, any given selection of options and option values and price changes are applied to any given product. So, something like "Size" is a standard option and  "Small, Medium and Large are standard option values. It saves a lot of messing around repeatedly creating them. However - the ability to copy an existing product to a new one is also a pretty good workaround.
  • I'm definitely having less trouble with the language bits this time around.
  • Lightbox sits underneath flash in Firefox.. wmode opaque and transparent don’t seem to help - I'll try and find a fix for this.
  • Do the tokens really have to have "TAG:" in them? Other modules seem to just have the words without any kind of pretext. It always feels like I'm typing unneeded characters. - this is not an issue.. just wondering about it.
  • Minicart should have some sort of default Checkout Now token or something.
  • Suggest adding a stylesheet to the templates editor to copmlpete the in-module template creation process.
  • I'm really linking the suggestion above to have additonal tabbed description fields... that would make this very cool
  • Sub categories don’t work very well in a vertical layout in the categories browser module. When a master category is clicked, the subcategories should appear directly below it and indented. Just like in a typcial list:
    • Mastercategory
      • Subcategory
      • Subcategory
    • Master category
  • Does deleting a category delete items and images in that category? – It will need a good warning if it does.
  • Perhaps allow the categories list module to optionally have a parent category specified. The idea is so that one can for example create a catalogue of art cards and posters and have the categories browser lists those categories, but then also be able to have a list of the artists whose work is featured on the cards.
  • Alternatively, as well as providing a mechanism for creating a fixed list of manufacturers, allow also for a fixed list of vendors/distributors/suppliers.  This can then be re-used for classifying products in other ways.
  • It’d be cool if the categories menu could be turned into an html list so that it could be styled in any manner using css.
  • Would be great if there were conditional tokens as is common in the Ventrian modules – things like [hasimage][/hasimage] or [hasoptions][/hasptions] – this are very useful when creating templates because you can add or hide other content or styling depending on whether these item is present.
  • Ideally needs some other form of continuing to browse a category other than always going back and forth with JavaScript go back - I already mentioned this further up.
  • Not sure what the “browsing disabled” options in the product module are for? Iv'e tried them but nothing seems to change?
  • Would be great if there were an easy to apply ‘catalogue’ mode that would hide prices and hide ordering options.. or optionally only hide them from anonymous visitors, and then only show them to a specific signed-in role – The point is to have a shop for wholesalers/distributors that can still be browsed as a catalogue by the public.
  • It would also be good to be able to run the cart with only list and no details view. With some product ranges there is no additional information for a details view and one simply wants to add products to the cart from the list view in a single click.
  • I've just discovered that Host really does mean Host, when in the utilities sections it should really mean Admin. This is going to be a problem in a multi portal system where there is one Host but many Admins. Suggest having an “Admin” checkbox next to the Host one so that options can be removed for module editors, and assigned to admins.
  • Did I already mention that there should be a stylesheet to go with the templates? With that in place the ability to skin the module would be fully self contained within the module.
  • Two folders become visible to all at portal root level - portalimages and temp. They both have read and write access by all users. Suggest not assigning any view or write permissions the these folders as this allows them to remain hidden from content managers in an environment where the content manager roles are not supposed to see any folders outside of their own folders. As soon as you assign read/write for all, those folders and their contents will show up on every file upload control. The images will still be able to be uploaded and displayed in the cart, and admins could optionally make them visible if needed for some particular reason.
  • This error started happening when I tried adding another image to a product:

Server Error in '/' Application.
The resource cannot be found.
Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one of its dependencies) could have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.  Please review the following URL and make sure that it is spelled correctly.
Requested URL: /Shop/tabid/1309/ctl/AdminProductLite/mid/3774/ProdId/8/SkinSrc/ /vtyp/2/DSEditLocale/en-US/RtnTab/1309/PageIndex/1/CatID/-1/Default.aspx

  • After some back and forth I realised it was happening only when I reached the image upload page via the edit icons in list or details views. If instead I access the image upload page via the backoffice link, it works fine.
  • This is the URL in the browser when the error occurs:

    And this is the same URL when accessed via the backoffice and no error occurs
  • Maybe there’s a clue in there?

Alrighty... I've reached the end for now and my head hurts. I'm going to move onto setting up the paypal bits next and see if I can make it all work.

Let me say yet again that this is a great little store you've managed to put together. There have been so many attempts at a DNN cart, but they all end up with a particular one issue or other that kills them. NB Store is fun to work with.. I've been playing with the templates today and it's very rewarding. For the first time in 3.5 years I've managed to get a cart working on DNN that looks good and works well, and so far I've not come across any serious flaws... well done!

And once again, take this all just as feedback and suggestions.. not requirements.
Thanks heaps!

Mar 29, 2009 at 8:21 AM
woops.. I forgot one other enhancement I wanted to suggest...

To be able to add a dropdown to the list page that lets one choose to sort the list by criteria such as price, name, manufacturer, model, date added etc...asecending and descending.

And I've also just now realised why the paypal image doesnt' show up... I can see it referenced in the paypal setttings. I'll try and sort that out now.
Mar 29, 2009 at 12:15 PM

There's also a variation of the tax display that is commmon here and would be a useful enhancement. Shops tend to display the product prices including tax (12.5% GST), but they want to see the tax amount at checkout and in the order manager.

I've just run a sample order through a zen cart to display as an example of what it looks like. (the shipping is free because it's over $150)

Your Total:

Sub-Total: $415.65
Shipping: $0.00
GST Amount: $46.18
Total: $415.65

 Whereas if the NB Store is going to display prices with tax, then the cart wont' show the tax amount:

(Product) $415.65
Shipping 0.00
VAT 0.00
Total: $415.65

Again, just a suggestion for enhancement :)
Mar 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM
Something else I'm looking at right now is the emails and the order manager.

I placed an order without signing in and that worked fine. The same email arrives both at the test client address and at the test merchant address.

When I'm lookin at the email, there seems to be no email address for the purchaser anywhere, however I'm looking at the "order.email.template" template and I can see a token [OrderUser:Email] at the bottom of the left column. Shouldn't that be showing me the email address of the purchaser?

Mar 30, 2009 at 8:40 AM
Hi Rob,

Thanks for the feedback.  An important part of devlopment is the feedback, so we can fix bugs and improve usability.  You've done a great job and I'm really grateful.  I've had a quick look through and it look s like you've found some bugs I'm aware of, and some I'm not, I'll fix these in the next release.

I've printed you feedback and will review it and fix what I can before the next release.

Thanks Again,