5 August 2011
Unfortunately (not the best word to begin a post after a long break, but, hey, please keep reading!) things with LiveCart had stalled recently due to family obligations of the core developer. However the development was never halted completely, there was never a plan to abandon LiveCart and, better yet, the future plans that are starting to materialize are possibly better than any of the followers could have expected (especially after missing any updates for several months).
OK, so what's so good in there? Several things have been cooking during this break (although quite slowly):
- LiveCart has been released under the Open Source License and the development repository is freely available at Github, it's now free of charge to download and use and anyone can join the development!
- a new update manager
- a new stable release - 188.8.131.52
- updates for several modules and new module releases
- 1.4.1 version is in the works
And that's not quite all yet, but should be enough for now. Let's go over the mentioned points in more detail.
Open Source License
Switching from a commercial to open source license is a major change to the entire development, business and support model. It has been an idea from the day one and we even had a special open source version released briefly, but we didn't find the mixed approch successful and the open source version was cancelled. Now the situation is different as there's no longer a commercial license - we're going fully open source.
This allows anyone to download and install LiveCart without having to pay a cent and it also makes it possible for anyone to join the development, send code patches, etc.
This introduces a major change to our business model - instead of license sales we would be focusing on providing custom services and commercial support. Also some of our commercial modules still remain on commercial licenses, but for the vast majority of stores they're not essential for everyday operations (although they offer some nice features).
Oh, and we have separately open sourced some of the infrastructure code (our PHP web framework and a bunch of libraries), they are all released under LGPL and can be freely used in your own applications (free or commercial).
Overall, we're very excited about this change and hope that this will boost things a bit at all fronts.
New update manager
A very important addition that will be described in more detail in a separate post. However, to list some of the core features:
- Single-click update installation
- Multiple development channels - current, stable, alpha, beta, etc. - so you can decide whether to update on regular releases (current), bugfixes only (stable), bleeding edge development versions (alpha) or pre-release test versions (beta).
- Supports both LiveCart core application and modules
- Simple to switch between channels
- Update or downgrade to any version (found a nasty bug in a new version? no problem to move back then)
- Supports multiple package repositories - and you can host your own repository for your own modules
- Makes it easier for us to release new updates (and for you to install them), so more frequent incremental updates can be expected
To install the update manager, apply the update for the 184.108.40.206 version (the old fashioned way - for the last time).
New stable release
220.127.116.11 is finally out. It's a minor release, but includes important bug fixes and the update manager, which is mentioned above. You can find more detailed information about the release and update instructions here. Hopefully 18.104.22.168 will be released sooner than that.
Community support site relaunch
The old customer forums will be retired in favor of a new Questions & Answers site. The goal of this site is the same - to provide venue for LiveCart user interaction, however the forum format of linear discussion does not really help building an organized knowledge base and does not promote the best answers. The new Q&A site focuses on these problems and will hopefully provide a more organized and easier to use source for finding answers related to LiveCart usage. And hopefully it will see more developer participation as well.
Several of our modules have been updated with new features and bug fixes and there are some new modules available as well (and several new modules are pending release).
Module updates are now only delivered through the new update manager, so you would have to update LiveCart to 22.214.171.124 to make use of them.
If you're using paid modules, please login into your LiveCart customer account and update the registered domain names for the module licenses, so the module repository would be able to authorize the module access.
1.4.1 is coming up...
No final release date to mention yet, but the first beta release could be out in about 4-6 weeks. A major highlight for this release is the support for recurring payments, but surely, that won't be the only addition.