IndieCommunication: Release Notes, Updates, and New Features for IndieCommerce Bookstores [4]

Moving Forward

In early July, the IndieCommerce team finished the migration of the last store websites to Drupal 7 (D7). From here on, all new sites will be built in D7. The upgrade allowed not only infrastructure and stability changes, but also a move to Rackspace, a more powerful, more secure, and better supported hosting facility, resulting in unlimited computing power. With the migration completed, the team has turned quickly to its next set of goals: stabilizing the IndieCommerce platform, adding some popular and requested features, and providing comprehensive documentation and training materials.

Stabilizing the IndieCommerce Platform

The IndieCommerce platform now has a scheduled maintenance window on the second Tuesday of each month, at 7:00 a.m. ET. During maintenance, the team will run system updates and patches, including any updates released by Drupal for core and contributed modules. Every attempt will be made to limit downtime to 10 to 15 minutes.

Notifications for these maintenance windows —  and other important messages —  will appear in the store site’s Message Center; booksellers should check for notifications whenever they log onto the admin pages.

New Features

1) Search: As requested by many members, the IndieCommerce team has added the option to set “search weights.” Stores can access this setting by going to Configuration -> Search and metadata -> Search weights.

2) Bulk upload of books to book lists: This allows stores to upload books and products to a book list by entering ISBNs or SKUs in a form. The bulk upload feature will be enabled on sites upon request. To have this enabled, stores should write to [5].

This is just the start. More exciting, new features are planned, including some addressing the book data issues involved in search. Watch for new features to be detailed in upcoming editions of the IndieCommunication newsletter and in Bookselling This Week.

Documentation and Training Materials

The IndieCommerce Help Center [6] is being updated with new help topics for the Drupal 7 site.

By mid-September, the first batch of new help videos will be uploaded to the IC Help Center to address areas where booksellers have frequently asked questions. The videos are based on one-on-one consultations with stores. Webinars focusing on booksellers’ questions about the material in the videos will be scheduled for October and November; the webinar schedule will be detailed in future IndieCommunciation newsletters and in Bookselling This Week.

Store Outlets

For sites with multiple outlets, the pickup outlet selected by a customer should be displayed on the page with the list of active orders (store -> orders). This feature was available in Drupal 6 but was not part of the original upgrade to Drupal 7; in response to member requests, however, the store location display is now available on all Drupal 7 sites with multiple outlets.

Security Update

Following the security update implemented in June 2015 (see the IndieCommunication of June 9 [7]), the IndieCommerce team heard from several stores about staff and customers being unable to access secure pages on their sites. Last week, changes were made to increase the compatibility of the IndieCommerce platform with older operating systems and browsers. This should help minimize errors when logging in or checking out. IndieCommerce also recommends that stores not add links to external non-secure pages on secure pages like /cart/checkout, /user, etc.

Note: In June 2016, IndieCommerce will be forced by PCI standards to revert to a more stringent configuration.

Stay in Touch

Booksellers should continue to let IndieCommerce Manager Geetha Nathan and the rest of the IndieCommerce team [5] know what they need, what is working, and what isn’t. The IndieCommerce development list is created based on member feedback.

Regular IndieCommunication newsletters will be sent to stores in the weeks to come. If additional staff members should be receiving the newsletter, they can sign up in the IndieCommerce Help Center [6] (see form in left sidebar).