I am now upgrading to 1.5.7c. It is stable at this point with no major bugs identified so the likelihood of another letter level for 1.5.7 is unlikely.
There are a couple of new features in 1.5.7 that I really like and actually had a hand in facilitating. Most impressive is the new plugin manager. Very few mods are ready for this but the included mod is one I had asked for long ago – error logs. Now if you have error logs in that log folder, you will see a message in the admin header alerting you. You can then sift thru the actual log text and/or delete them there.
It’s a great way for site owners to understand that something untoward is happening. Most owners won’t understand what those log messages mean but it then can help notify the site owner if the php level has been changed on the server to higher one. Too often this happens and the owner has no idea until a customer gets irritated enough that he contacts the owner ’cause something isn’t working. Of course I like it because it can highlight issues for me while I’m working on a site.
Also included is the define page for the shopping cart – one mod I introduced long ago. Now you can post quickie messages to the customers before they start to check out – such a vacation and delayed shipping, pandemic messaging or we only ship fedex or only mainland U.S.
There’s also the start of a help system included but one customer asked me what was wrong when a question mark appeared in the cart. And we thought it was a well-known symbol for help! The documentation has a long way to go to be incredibly helpful but it’s a start. The docs are located online here: https://docs.zen-cart.com/user/
Of course, there is improved code, security and speed with every new version – a major plus that sometimes can be a wow factor!
Is There a Downside?
As with every version, some mods die a natural death – COWOA, checkout without account, died in 1.5.6 so this isn’t new unless you are on a pre-1.5.6 version. There is a mod that includes that kind of thing but I don’t use it unless asked (begged!). I have never liked mods that have so many changes for so little good. I was relieved to remove COWOA from my template completely!
There can be mod issues – warning files alerting you to the need to do some code updating for the higher levels of php but that can be very minor and fixed on the fly if the mod does not have a updated version out yet.
Then There is the Template Problem
Most folks will have to either get their template updated or switch to a new one. And there are major warnings to that – which of course, I’ve already written about here: https://wiztech4zc.com/blog/the-state-of-zen-cart-templates/
I have updated my own template, improved several things including the mobile menus, and added new features. Here’s some more info about my template: https://wiztech4zc.com/zen-cart-template-design.php. You can read more about the process here: https://www.wiztech4zc.com/template-policy.php.
Upgrading to a New Version
My upgrade prices are flat and guaranteed. If I cause a problem, I fix it for no extra money. But the only way I can promise this is to do a site evaluation first which allows me to see the state of your website. That frequently will result in a recommendation to upgrade or change your template so the pricing becomes site evalutation + upgrade + new custom template. Though that mounts up, I’m still not charging as much as most other experienced Zen Cart coders. Still not a bargain but a guaranteed good job! And … I continue to support my clients. I don’t just walk away for good.