Meet the new OpenCart 2.3! Still free, still open-source, still one of the fastest ways to get an E-Commerce store in no time.
The latest version of the platform rolled out on August 1, 2016 and store owners can now start upgrading their stores. In this post, we will show you what’s new and why you might consider updating your OpenCart installation.
Helpful Reminder: Please mind that this is a brand new version, so most of the OpenCart modules will not be compatible with it yet. When downloading an extension for your store, pay close attention to the compatibility details.
The differences in the OpenCart dashboard are subtle, but they do exist. When you start clicking through the menus, the first obvious difference is the reorganized Extensions section.
But we will get to that later, let’s stick to the Dashboard and see what you can do with it.
Rearranging the Dashboard Elements
You can now edit, arrange and disable each of the sections in your Dashboard. For example, you can remove the World Map if you don’t need it there.
You can modify the width of each module in the Dashboard. Maybe you want your Sales Analytics section to be bigger than the World Map? It’s now possible.
Pretty cool, right?
You’re probably wondering where to access this field. Okay, without further ado, let’s introduce the new OpenCart Extensions section, which includes the Dashboard management menu and much more.
The new Extensions section is much shorter than the one in the last OpenCart version (2.2). However, all of the fields that seem like they are missing are actually still here. They are just placed somewhere else.
This is where things get interesting.
Do you remember that we mentioned the fields aren’t actually missing from the Extensions field? Because they are all located right here.
Every menu that used to be found under Dashboard > Extensions are now in the dropdown menu in the Extension List.
Selecting one of the extension types will open it in the field below the dropdown menu, where Google Analytics are displayed in the screenshot above.
The Action button allows you to Install or Uninstall the module.
Let’s see what you have in the dropdown menu.
Does this remind you of something? Yes, all the menus from the older Extensions layout.
Let’s click on one of the extension types – Modules for instance.
Here is the module list with all of the extensions you have installed in your OpenCart store. Their management has not changed as well, just the way they are accessed via Extensions.
Let’s explore some of the other extension types. For instance, let’s see how to manage the Dashboard modules. Click the dropdown and choose Dashboard.
Here you see each of the modules that are currently enabled and visible in your store’s dashboard. From here, you can change their status (Enabled/Disabled), change their position in the dashboard (Sort Order), and modify their size (Width).
However, there is something new in the Extension section – Themes. Select them from the dropdown menu and let’s see how they work.
The Themes field shows the available themes you have in your store, as well as their status. Click the Edit button to see the configuration options.
The settings allow you to enable or disable the theme, as well as modify the specifications for products and images. These configurations can be useful for advanced users who can use them to customize the layout and appearance of their OpenCart store.
This is another new feature in the new OpenCart version. Events are used by extensions to override the default functionality of your store. If you have issues you can disable or enable the events here.
These event triggers are registered by extensions.
Another thing that has changed is the Layout editing field. When you access the Layouts from Design > Layouts and select the layout you want to edit, you see a completely different arrangement of the fields.
You can now assign a module for each position (Column Left & Right, Content Top & Bottom) in a much more intuitive way. This way, you can picture how each module will be arranged in the page, which improves the layout management process.
A new menu is introduced in the Reports section – Customer Searches. It allows store owners to track the keywords that customers have used to find the products on the website. The report also features the Found Products, Category, Customer, IP and Date Added.
Developers, Heads Up!
All OpenCart extensions are now moved to a separate “extension” directory. This goes for the whole MVC-L architecture. For example, a controller placed in /controller/module/controller.php is now placed in /controller/extension/module/controller.php. The same logic goes for the models, views and languages.
The good news is that OpenCart 22.214.171.124 has backward-compatibility with the familiar directory structure (/controller/module/controller.php). However, in some cases this may not work well with the new extension URL routes which are now “extension/module/controller”.
As a developer, you will have to thoroughly test your extension and apply all necessary changes to make your extension work with the new paths.
The new OpenCart 2.3 has made serious progress with the usability of the admin panel. The new way that the Extensions and Layouts work is a step closer to easier store management for the owners of an OpenCart website. By Mihail Savov