04/04/2006

My Life and Sunshop

That last few weeks have been intensely busy, but productive. We seem to be working near round the clock; in fact, when I arose at 4:00 a.m., my husband had been at his computer for some hours. And it's back to work for me, though I wanted to mention some good news:

I've mentioned the Sunshop shopping cart (see my review). To be honest, I've been talking to the Sunshop guys for a few years, and have given them recommendations (some say "browbeat" them <grin>) for making the cart more optimizable. Indeed, Sunshop now has options for more search-engine friendly URLs and conversion to static pages (for pages that don't need to be dynamic; e.g., if they don't need currency conversion or the little box that shows what's in your shopping cart).

I had one last issue, which is going to be addressed in Sunshop 4: that the SSL is not implemented until the last page of the checkout sequence; apparently that's on the "to do" list for Sunshop 4.

That taken care of, it's "wish list" time. Thing is, for software developers who are selling to web designers and website owners, ease of implementation is BIG on the list. And I'd recently seen a shopping cart that had pulled its templates out of whatever back-end database thingy it had; one simply edited the templates, FTPed them to the server, and that was that. Rather breathtaking, considering some of the hoops one has to jump through when one doesn't want to use whatever design templates are available. Well, I wanted that too. For Sunshop. And so I wrote, in the Sunshop forums, On Better Template Handling … only to find out that that was on the developers' To Do list:

Trust me… this is something we have thought long and hard about and we continue to do so at this time. We are trying to make things as easy as possible for SunShop 4.0 in that we want upgrades to be easy, and we think that keeping things in the database will do just that. On the other hand, making the templates .html files or even .php files would make managing them a lot faster for those that aren't too comfortable dealing with the .template files as a whole. As it stands right now, for SunShop 4.0 we are moving the templates out of the database and into .html files. This will mean though that they wont be editable in the backend anymore unless permssions are changed on the templates directory as a whole.

We are trying to make the template management easier, you can rest assured on that. We are still trying to figure out the best way to do it.

Now as far as HTML standards go we are working on this as well. If you take a look at the 3 new templates that we added to 3.5.1 you will note that the outter shell has been completely changed to div/css HTML. We are currently working on transforming everything else as well to improve SEO.

How cool is that? I have to say I really like these guys, too. They're incredibly helpful and, from what we can see here, they're now ahead of my curve.

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