TOTECS Platform Release 10.00

Spring is here at TOTECS and with it we have made quite a few changes to the platform over the cold wintry months. Over July, August, and September 2 releases to the platform have gone out through the 9.05.5 and 10.00 versions. These releases have added 2 new features, 21 improvements, and 29 bug fixes to the platform. A number of those items have come out of topics raised in the forums, so we highly encourage participation in the forums community to help the platform, and your business grow further.

We've decided to drop sending out the RealTalk newsletter on weeks when this RnD Labs newsletter gets sent out, but never fear there's plenty here to get you thinking. Without further adieu here's the cream of the release crop.

NEW! Product Stock Data Exports Using The Data API

www.squizz.com


This month brings a new feature that allows product stock data to be exported through the Data API (Application Programming Interface).

What this means is that 3rd parties, such as customers, or other external IT systems can now make requests to obtain stock data in an automated fashion by having their software directly call the API for a TOTECS project. An example is that a customer might buy products off your TOTECS website, then on their own website they may list and onsell these products, as well as show how much product stock is available to their customers. With this new feature they can now modify their website's software to call your TOTECS project to obtain the latest product stock data, and update the stock levels in their system without any person manually needing to key in stock values, a big time saver! This feature is particularly powerful for customers who use "drop shipping" to onsell your products.
 

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We have built several security mechanisms into the Data API to make sure that the product stock data export is not abused. Firstly customers will only ever be able to obtain product stock data based on the products they have permission to view, dictated by the inventory permission role assigned to the user who is accessing the API. There are also limits on how often the product stock export can be called, as well as how often new sessions can be created in the API. There are also permissions and settings that dictate if users can use the Data API to export data at all.

A new interface called Data API within the Administration Interface's Data menu has been created, and this interface shows a log of each time product stock data is being exported. This allows administrator users to keep an eye on which users are being used to export data, how many records they are exporting, and where the requests are originating from.

This new Product Stock Data Exporting feature is billed based on usage, and this ensures that if a large amount of traffic is calling the API to export product stock data, that we can add additional servers to the platform to handle the load.


NEW! Clone Emarketing Emedia Emails

www.squizz.com


We have added a great time saver that allows Administrators users to clone Emedia Emails within The Emedia Messaging interface of the Administration Centre. This makes its easy to Admin users to create a fresh Emedia Emails, that contains all the settings and data based on a previous Emedia Email sent out.

Admin users simply click on a Emedia row, then click the Clone button, and voilà... a new Emedia item will be created that contains all the same settings as the original Emedia, such as From Address, selected user groups, message content etc.. The cloning process will also create a new content managed web page that contains all the data of the original web page associated with the rich-text component of an Emedia Email. This ensures that any changes made to the cloned Emedia do not affect the original Emedia.

NEW! Product, Category, Flag Image Resizing Method

www.squizz.com


In the 10.00 release a number of improvements have been made to images in the platform. The biggest change is that there is now a new way for the platform to be able to resize product, category, and product flag images when they are uploaded. When any of these images are uploaded the platform will resize the images to different sizes, which allows for optimised downloading and viewing when the end users see the images in their web browser. Previously the platform would always resize images to fit within specified allowed dimensions. This resizing method would scale images up or down until the entire image fit within the allowed dimensions, but this meant that some images would not be exactly sized if they did not have the same "aspect ratio" as the allowed dimensions. Because of this it could cause some content managed webpage layouts to mis-align.
So we have added a new method to resize images, which allow images to be scaled up or down, as well as cropped so that the resized image's aspect ratio exactly matches the allowed dimensions. This makes for pixel perfect sized images, and that guarantees content managed webpage layouts are always consistent by having all images sized the same.

Lets take an example here's an image that has an aspect ratio of 2:1, where its width is twice the size of its height. In this case the image is 200 pixels in width, and 100 pixels in height.
 

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Scaling Resize Method
In the old way this image would scaled down to fit within the allowed dimensions eg. for a product image the small size could be set at 100px width by 100px height. So in this case the original image would be scaled down to fit within the bounds, and because of this it would be resized to a 100px by 50px image to preserve the 2:1 aspect ratio and ensure that no image data is lost. The consequence is that the image does not take up all of the available space.

www.squizz.com


Scaling And Cropping Resize Method
In the new way images are scaled then cropped to completely fill the bounds. In this case the image does not need any further scaling down, instead only the sides of it need to be cut off to have it fit exactly within 100 pixel by 100 pixel dimensions and completely fill it.

www.squizz.com

The consequence of this new cropping method means that parts of an uploaded image may be cut off, such as the sides to make its aspect ratio match. Settings have been created to allow administrators to control which sides of an image will be cut off when cropping needs to occur. For example if you have a water mark in the top left of all your product images, then you would configure the project so that only the right hand side, or bottom side of the images are cut off. To take advantage of this new image resizing method, read the release documentation to find out where the settings are located and how to use them.


NEW! Shopping List Products Import Form Content Managed Web Page Area

www.squizz.com


In the TOTECS 9.05.5 release we added a new content managed web page area that allows users to add all products in their basket into a new, or existing shopping list. This functionality provides the same functionality as in the Trade interface, and makes it easy for users to store a list of products, that they can import back to their basket at a later date for purchasing.

LAST CHANCE TO GET FREE TRADING TOKENS! Squizz.com Early Adopters Program

www.squizz.com


This is the last opportunity for TOTECS customers to sign up to the early adopters program at Squizz.com and get $200 worth of free trading tokens when the new platform officially launches. If you like free things then Email service@totecs.com to be added to the program. The Squizz.com platform is actually up and running, however it's currently going through internal testing. When the doors are officially opened the early adopters who have signed up will receive a personal invite to register before anyone else, and get ahead of the game.
 
IN DEVELOPMENT Integrated Freight with IFS SmartFreight

The development for the integration between IFS SmartFreight and the TOTECS platform is currently underway. it didn't quite make the 10.00 release, so now it has been scheduled into the 10.01 release. There is still time to have your say about the development of the feature, so if this freight integration interests you, please comment on your interest at the forums, or Email service@totecs.com.

Had Enough Yet?

There's a whole bunch of changes that we haven't even talked about in the 9.05.5 and 10.00 TOTECS release. Visit the Administration Centre or the forums to review the complete list of Release Notes. If you wish to be a part of the process to get a piece of functionality into the platform, please get in contact with us or visit the forum's wishlist topic. As always, until next time happy online trading :) Here's a wrap up of the new features and improvements developed over the last 10 weeks and placed into the 9.05.5 and 10.00 releases.
 

Optional Features (fees apply)
  • Product Stock Data Export - Data API Endpoint.

 

Available Features
  • News Comment Form content managed web page area to send out Email notifications to other users when a comment is posted.
  • Additional fields to sort products by within the "Product Sort Field" setting.
  • Product, Category, and Product Flag Image settings moved to the Images settings Admin interface under the Inventory menu.
  • Cloning of existing Emedia items within the Emedia Messaging Admin Centre interface.
  • Emedia Messaging Admin Centre interface shows the completion status of sending Emedia Emails out
  • Additional fields to choose from to set the product description field within orders sent to the connector.
  • Settings to allow product and category images to be re-sized and cropped to exactly fit dimensions for image sizes.
  • All Emails from the platform to be sent out with the Sent Date in the message data.
  • Hyphen characters allowed in the Email field of the Order Details page within the Trade interface.
  • Automatic payment type selection within the Order Checkout/Submission content managed web page areas.
  • Settings to control pixel dimensions for product flag images.
  • Basket Summary content managed web page are to have hook to display total products amount as integer.
  • Shopping List Products Import Form content managed web page area.
  • Rounding of order surcharge pricing when added to basket and orders.
  • Assigning or un-assign contract flags to products when a product is added to a local contract through the Customer Account Contracts admin interface.
  • Settings to customise the labels for volume discounts in the Trade interface.
  • Saving an existing news/blog item within the News/Blogs admin interface to not reassign the user who created the item.
  • Guest users to be able to set letters and numbers in the postcode field of the Guest Order Checkout/Submission content managed web page areas for allowed countries.
  • Parent combination product links set for products in content managed web page basket areas when products are imported to and from shopping lists.
  • Shopping List Products content managed web page area displaying product quantity as decimals based on project settings.
Note: Some functionality may require labour for setup and configuration.

Listed below are the features that we look to work on over the next 3-12 months.
Please Note: Development is dependent on funding, demand and scheduling.

  • IFS SmartFreight integration
  • Generic Adaptor within the Connector
  • Emarketing enhancements
  • TOTECS documentation centre
  • News/Blogging Search content managed web page areas
  • Integration with Jiwa Enterprise Resource Planning system
  • Integration with Microsoft Dynamics AX Enterprise Resource Planning system.
  • Ebay Integration

The 10.00 TOTECS release brings the ability to clone Emedia Emails within the Emedia Messaging interface of the Administration Centre To do so follow these steps:

  1. Login to the Administration Centre.
  2. Click on the Marketing menu button.
  3. Click on the Emedia Messaging menu item.
  4. In the Emedia Items table click on the table row of one Emedia item that you wish to clone.
  5. Click on the Clone button.

A new Emedia item will be added as the top row of the table that will contain a copy of all the settings and data from the original Emedia.

Note: It is recommended to create new Emedia items each time you send out a new version of an Emedia Email. This ensures that there is a historic reference of the old Emedia, and if there are links to the web version of the Email rich-text page, that the link still goes to the original Email, not an updated version.