New Auto Shopping Cart and Picture Resize Features
by Mitch Cohen - Webmaster

Dan approached the door. He could see a sign that said, "Inventing Inside.. Do not disturb..". Dan hesitated. As his hand prepared to knock, the door began to slowly open from the inside. A light reflected from around the door. A soy smell of stale Chinese food escaped. As the wooden door opened wider, Dan could make out the image of the Webmaster. The Webmaster stood in front of a large sun filled window. His hair was now thick and curly and his face was unshaven. It was difficult for Dan to see clearly through the glow of the sunlight. As he lifted his hand to shade his eyes, he could see that the Webmaster was smiling. Dan asked, "Is it time?" The Webmaster spoke, "Yes Dan.." (the Webmaster's smile grew as he paused for moment) "It is time." The Webmaster put his hands on Dan's shoulders and said, "Make It So".

(Note: for those of you who are not Star Trek Fans, the phrase "make it so" is Captain Picard's favorite phrase when he would command an order from the bridge)

Although the scene I describe above is a bit exagerated, it's not that far from the way it happened here at the offices. My staff locked me away in my office to work on a number of new features that we really wanted to add to our system. One of our main missions here at is to always strive to provide our customers with the best tools possible to help them be successful. We have had an excellent response from our customers over the past 3 1/2 years, and much of my time has been occupied working on building our network infrastructure and customer support staff so we could keep up with the demand. Now, I am able to focus on continuing to improve our system with new features.

Today, I am proud to announce the installation of our new Auto Shopping Cart feature and enhanced Picture Resizing features.

1) Picture Resizing:
The next time you logon, you will notice that there is a new picture resize feature. This allows you to resize large pictures quickly with one menu selection. I think you will find this option very fast and simple. You can quickly pick the best size for your picture to fit on your page without a complicated interface. This feature is currently available in the Article and Catalog styles. We will be adding this to the other styles shortly. You no longer need to use the separate picture resizer application. You can control everything with one simple menu.

2) Auto Shopping Cart
Also, you will notice that we added an automatic shopping cart feature to our catalog style. If you check the auto cart option box, the control panel will automatically create your shopping cart buttons. This is a powerful new feature that makes a number of time consuming tasks all automatic. Now creating a large catalog is even easier. It is no longer necessary to cut and paste shopping cart buttons from PayPal or Mal's Shopping Cart. Everything is done automatically for you.

The auto shopping cart includes support for PayPal, Mal's Shopping Cart, and We included many features our customers requested, such as the ability to add automatic choice boxes with pricing selections, membership package setup, support for selling ebooks and other downloads, "Out Of Stock" notices, and much more.

If you already created shopping cart buttons by pasting in the button code, don't worry, the old buttons will still work. We made sure that your current pages would work the same, so you wouldn't have to change them. For any new items, just check the auto cart button, and it will create your button for you without any cutting and pasting!

Here is a list of what the Auto Shopping cart feature will do for you:
1) Creates PayPal shopping cart buttons automatically
2) Creates Mal's Shopping cart buttons automatically
3) Creates buttons automatically
4) It can figure out which kind of button you need. For example, with PayPal, there are single purchase buy buttons, subscription buttons, and regular shopping cart buttons. Each kind of button requires a different type of coding. The system figures this out automatically.
5) You can ask for donations allowing customers to enter in their own amount.
6) You can include pull down menus that can include pricing selections. This used to only work if you used Mal's Shopping Cart with complex HTML coding. Now, we have incorporated this with PayPal's standard cart along with Mal's shopping cart. The buttons with the proper HTML codes are created automatically!
7) Added support for selling ebooks and other downloads. You can easily choose a "hidden download" page where you keep your ebook so that customers will see it after they pay.
8)It creates automatic view cart / checkout links when needed. The system will figure out whether you need one (for example, if you were just selling a single item, there would be no need for a view cart button).
9) Choose different shopping cart button styles.
10) Mark an item as Sold Out! When you check this option, your item will display a "out of stock" message automatically. We had many customers request this feature. You don't even have to regenerate your page for this to take effect. Just check the out of stock box on the item, click SAVE, and instantly the change is made. The next time someone clicks on your button for that item, it will come up with the out of stock message automatically!

There are a number of other changes that you will notice, such as a new sorting method for the article and catalog styles and a new WIDE page width setting to support newer computers with hi res monitors.

Regarding the new sorting method, my biggest challange was to make sure that current customer pages would still look the same after turning on the new sorting. I am very happy to say that we were succesful doing this. You will see a new much easier method of sorting articles and items on your catalog pages, and your old pages will still show up the way they did before!

Next on the list of new features is our auto-thumbnail option that will automatically create columns of smaller thumbnail pictures with captions that can enlarge to a detailed view! I am very excited about this feature, and it will be released very soon.

I hope you enjoy the new features. I'm going to take a few hours off (and give my favorite Chinese restaurant, the Silver Wok, a couple of days break) before jumping back into finishing up the Auto Thumbnail feature.


Mitch Cohen

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