Tag Archives: Spiffy Stores

What the Batman: Arkham Knight PC debacle says about software development

So last weekend I needed to buy a new PC graphics card because my old one was starting to act up. I got a brand new latest generation card for a reasonable price which is faster, smaller and uses less power. So all is good.

Along with the card, I got a coupon code for a promotional copy of the new “Batman: Arkham Knight” game, which I duly downloaded on Tuesday when it was released.

Some preliminary playing around with the game revealed that the performance wasn’t really all that great and then a couple of days later, the full story came out that there were serious problems with the PC version and the game was withdrawn from sale.

I think we’ve been here before. Software development is not easy, and takes lots of skill and time to perfect. If you give the job to mediocre developers with not enough time, this is sort of what you get. It’s happened so often in the past and will continue to happen.

My years of experience in software development have shown me that it pretty much boils down to two choices.  Skimp on quality and make it look pretty with some slick marketing or take the extra time to build something with enduring quality.

When we started Spiffy Stores, we kind of wanted to take the second approach and build something that would really meet our customers needs and would work reliably over time as their needs grew and expanded with their businesses. This benefits our customers, but also we benefit because with more reliabe software, we spend less time fighting fires and fixing bugs which is good for everyone.

I’m not so sure everyone in this business follows the same path. In fact it’s quite clear that some of our competitors skimp on product development and push the marketing side in order to recruit as many customers as possible.

At the end of the day they may end up with the biggest share of customers, but I wonder if that’s a worthy goal if you’re short-changing them in the product that you’re delivering.

It’s kind of like “Batman: Arkham Knight”. Sure, the game’s playable, but it’s not really the best it could be and maybe our customers and their businesses deserve better.


Spiffy Stores helps with shipping – Product Export and Import

Spiffy Stores has recently added some new features to help online shop owners improve the way they calculate shipping rates during checkout.

As part of this process, we added seven new attributes to the Product Variations so this has meant that we needed to update the product export and import CSV files.

The seven new attributes are

Variant Free Shipping
Variant Tax Free
Variant No Shipping Required
Variant Ship Separately
Variant Length
Variant Width
Varriant Height

These attributes are now part of the CSV file when you export your products.

If you are currently using an import file, it’s not essential that you update it to add these new attributes if you’re not using them. Our product import code has been written to recognize even old versions of product CSV files, so you can keep using old versions until you’re ready to update them to use the new features.

You can read more about the Product Export/Import process in the Spiffy Stores Knowledge Base.

Theme Settings in Spiffy Stores Templates

After a huge development effort, I’m pleased to announce that Spiffy Stores have now announced a new feature for their theme templates…Theme Settings.

Although the Spiffy Stores Themes have always been highly configurable, this configuration necessarily required some knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Not any more.

The new Theme Settings ability means that theme designers can now create a custom settings form that allows the end-user to simply choose from basic theme configuration options such as colour scheme, custom logo configuration and design layout.

The settings are created using a simple settings configuration file which includes some industry-unique and innovative features such as colour filters which give designers the ability to create varied colour schemes from a single base colour.

More information is available in our Theme Settings Knowledge Base article.

Edit: Updated URL address

Is anybody there?

I’m so used to the Spiffy Stores features, that I kind of take some of them as granted, and forget that some of our competitors seem to ignore basic customer needs.

Take for example, the Contact Us form. Practically every ecommerce site needs one. Customers aren’t going to be very impressed if there’s no way to contact the store owners.

So with this in mind, Spiffy Stores includes a Contact Us form automatically. All you need to do is create two pages called “Contact Us” and “Contact Us Thanks”, and add the Contact Us page to a menu, and you’re done. You can add some customization and additional text and rename the pages, if you like (keeping the page handles the same).

In fact, your Spiffy Stores site is setup with this all done for you.

I can’t believe that other hosted shopping cart vendors make you sign up for an external form service just to add this simple form. I’m kind of glad that they do.

Creating multi-level menus can be such a drag

One of the neat features that we have in our hosted shopping cart, Spiffy Stores,  is the ability to create multi-level drop down menus by simply dragging and dropping menu items into the right position in a tree-structured list. There’s a simple liquid tag in the theme template which then renders the whole menu for you automatically creating a drop down menu with multiple levels and fly-out menu items.

I haven’t seen any other shopping cart or ecommerce product that comes close to this.

Continue reading Creating multi-level menus can be such a drag