Shopping 5.0 – Behind the modern consumer app store

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The recent Shopping 5.0 release has been an exciting journey for the development team for various reasons.

The release was centered on a simple yet thought provoking vision of completely revolutionizing the overall user experience “UX” to make Shopping look, feel, and behave like a modern consumer App Store.

For the technical team, this meant that the Shopping web application component was in for a technological upgrade. One area we worked hard on was updating all our web pages to use an industry standard ‘MVC’ approach (MVC stands for Model-View-Controller and helps separate the business logic from the display control). The total embrace of MVC framework was a clear distinction that the team discussed at length. The MVC framework neatly instils single responsibility in your design. The benefits that developers reap by unit testing UI are not hidden. Additionally, the restful MVC clearly brings out the best in integration testing the overall product scenarios.

On the User interface end, the developers led the implementation of the new UI with a nice blend of MVC, CSS and jQuery tools to dish out the improved look and feel of Shopping 5.0. The use of standardized HTML and CSS was key to enabling cross-browser support.

One interesting series of conversations was around a particular behaviour in the new Shopping 5.0 UI. Each Application can appear as a ‘tile’ which automatically ‘flips’ when the user hovers over the tile with their mouse. There was differing feedback from groups who played with early versions of the UI – some loved the flip and some didn’t. The flip ended up being customizable with a CSS switch. The application tile flip adds quite a prominent usability touch that looks modern, clearly moves on from version 4.7, but allowing organizations who don’t like it to control it via CSS configuration.

On the architecture front, Shopping has also moved forward to integrate with the 1E ActiveEfficiency platform. This falls in line with the overall 1E product vision and allows Shopping 5.0 to take advantage of more common platform capabilities.

Our development team has been privileged to work on this wonderful product and we are already working hard on a load of new features for the next release of Shopping. Stay tuned.

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