News & Discussion

Updates 6/27/2012

Today we want to announce some super cool news for the developers of Zencart, it’s exciting for us to announce several updates:

1. The Zencart Plugin Framework will now support frontend controller as well. It means that as a developer now you can add new “pages” into the zencart site without going through the usual hassles. More on this later in a separate post.

2. Our CSS Javascript loader now supports adding library on the fly, this will give the devs a way to use the libs that are not included by default on the CJLoader package. Again, more on this later in a separate post

3. Last but not least, as you can see we are still working on our site. A store will soon be added to the site which will features many Free and Commercial modules we have been working on for Zencart.

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While I was working on our new cross sell module, I was kinda bugged by the way I have place files all over zencart (some files for database tables / filenames in the extra_datafiles folders both in admin and catalog site, classes files in various places as well as template files etc). How do I completely uninstall this module if I want to, I asked myself. The installation process is a long one: go to each folder and delete all the files the module uploaded, it just seems like there should be another way.

I ended up spending the time to rewrite/edit many modules so that I can place all module/plugin files in its single/separated folder for easy installation, distribution and uninstallation:

  1. Module manager to add news update feature (you will get the news via your admin page when one of our module has a new update)
  2. CJ Loader to support loading css/js files on admin side
  3. Module manager to support placing plugins’ files in their separated folders
  4. BlockManager to separate block feature from Ajax class

Due to this detour (as well as porting BlockManager to ZenMagick), I will have to delay the release of the new Cross Sell module a bit.

We also have some good news regarding the new Cross Sell: I have finished implementing the algorithm for suggesting top N products to a specific customer based on past orders info. The algorithm can be read in more details here:

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and rss feed, I promise this new cross sell will be the best tool ever available on Zencart to increase your sales.

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Zencart 1.3.9 beta testing

Just a quick notification for all zencart users, the long over due 1.3.9 is now available for beta testing, if you want you can pop in zencart forum to read the announcement and download the package to test.
Seems like there are still bugs to be fixed, so it is not ready for your live sites yet.

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Some thoughts about Zencart’s current newsletter subscription system

Today I was going through my inbox in my regular routine to clean up the spam/ads mails. It’s amazing how much spam I’ve got so far, my inbox has 3000+ unread emails after just a couple of months (these are all emails I don’t bother to read).

Some of them are not exactly spams, they are newsletters emails from various sources I subscribed to in the past. Just simply marking them as spams can be bad for these authentic news sources since email providers like Google flag the sources as spam sources based on users’ reports(BTW, if you are interested in Googles’s policy, check it here: So I opened these emails to find the un-subscription link, and here are the 3 cases I encountered:

  1. No un-subscription -> mark as spam, you DESERVE it
  2. un-subscription requires login, and for 99% of the cases I already forgot my login and don’t want to bother trying to remember it -> mark as spam
  3. un-subscription link allows me to opt out right away, they also have a comment box which I do fill in from time to time when I’m in a happy mode ^_^

So obviously, we all don’t want to be in the first and second cases, we want our emails to the customers who still want them to be delivered in the inbox, not the spam/bulk mail box. We want our users who opt out for any reason at least not filling (more) pissed off, and so I recommend you all checking your current email un-subscription system and see where does it fall in.

As a Zencart user as well as service provider, I also feel disappointed to find out Zencart’s system is falling somewhere in case 2. Perhaps it is time for the developers to fix this issue by providing an easy way to opt out?

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Simple Seo Url + Zencart news

Recently some hosts have made a move to php 5.3x, this causes a bunch of problems for many Zencart store owners because ZC 1.3.8a and older versions of SSU are not compatible with php 5.3x.

If one day you find your website suddenly stops loading, first thing to do is to contact your host to see if they have made any recent changes on the server. If they upgraded to php 5.3x, you should go to Zencart and grab the patches for php 5.3x

For stores that are using SSU, we have also released a new version for SSU just a few hours ago which fixes compatibility issue with php 5.3x (this version also has some changes that should improve performance of SSU)

  1. Please download new version on
  2. Please also upgrade module manager
  3. Make sure you clear up SSU cache after upgrading

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Zencart, is it time to move on?

Last year, the Zencart developer team has announced a new Zencart version 2.0 to be released by the end of the year, every user was excited with the news. More than 9 months passed since then, and now it is “you’ll get it when you get it”.  Kim at told me:

A client said to me “All this secrecy is very uncomfortable, this is my business were talking about…”

As I have put it before, Zencart is an open source project developed by a closed team, the people inside the team don’t want to open up to ideas and opinions  from people who use their products. We don’t know exactly what’s going on, who is working on what, and when can we expect things to be done to plan ahead. All this gets to your nerve over time, especially if you have worked on it long enough (like me).

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Using canonical link tag on Zencart

Just a few days ago I posted an article about canonical link tag and how it helps your zencart stores, in that article I also warned about certain misunderstandings regarding how canonical link tag works and how should it be used. I later took a step further and brought up this question on, a rather well known and trusted source for seo info, below is the quoted question and answer for those who are interested.

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