First and foremost, I would like to apologize for not completing this post any sooner as the team and I are occupied with development and support of EasyBlog 5.2. Now that the milestone of EasyBlog 5.2 has completed, I have a little more time to continue with this post.
When we acquired PayPlans, it wasn't our intention of just selling it and leaving the product as it is. We believe that there are a lot of room for improvements in PayPlans and it will solve problems for many Joomla site owners who wants to setup a paid membership system.
Brand New Code Base
This is the most important update for PayPlans 4.0. Most would not pay much attention in this area and it's not because they couldn't care less how it has been written but their priority is geared towards the user interface.
Many of you who are with us for some time, would know that we are obsessed with proper code architecture and this is primarily because maintaining the software would be a whole lot easier.
New Checkout Flow
When we acquired PayPlans, we sampled several websites that runs on PayPlans and we realized that most of these sites has a checkout flow that can be improvised. With PayPlans 4.0, we have completely revamped the entire checkout flow from the ground up to offer better conversion rates for your site. The registration and login step is now unified into a single step allowing user to not go through several different steps to purchase a subscription.
One of the most challenging task for us is to refactor and ensure that all 56 different payment gateways continue to work with the new checkout flow and with the new UI changes.
Redesigned Installer with Single Click Updates
The entire installation process and single click updates are inherited from the latest change that we have performed in EasyBlog 5.2. The brand new installer is much leaner and it will also include a much easier way to upgrade with the single click update process.
Revamped Administration Workflow
This is also one of the major changes which will also make its way alongside PayPlans 4.0. Prior to PayPlans 4.0, almost every feature and workflow within PayPlans is dependent on apps within PayPlans. While it is pretty modular, the team thinks that this is a major user experience flaw because the software itself requires the store maintainer to have an in-depth understanding of how PayPlans would work.
With PayPlans 4.0, our goal is to ensure that managing your store is not only straight forward but also to improve the workflow of your day to day operations. Therefore with PayPlans 4.0, some of these important apps are now part of the core and you no longer need to install them separately.
Here are some of the changes across the administration area in PayPlans 4.0:
In PayPlans 4.0, payment gateways are now moved into the core and will be called Payment Methods. Creating a new payment method for your site has never been easier!
Plan Upgrades & Renewals
In PayPlans 4.0, plan upgrades and renewals are also added into the core. You will no longer need to install apps to activate such features.
Previously, a site administrator would need to install the discounts app to activate the discounts functionality. Not only it is a hassle but many customers did not even realize that this feature is built along with PayPlans. With PayPlans 4.0, it is now included as a core functionality.
In PayPlans 4.0, you can download pdf format invoices and it has been moved into the core and will be called PDF Invoice. Exporting invoices on your site has never been simpler as this.
In the user's management form, the site administrator would now have a birds-eye view of the user's registration details and business details. Apart from that, it would now be easier for a store maintainer to manage orders associated with users.
We have also introduced a new automation area in the administration panel. The automation area allows a site administrator to create macros or automation scripts when transaction events are triggered in PayPlans. The existing apps, namely MySQL query, HTTP Query and Plan Assignments are now moved into this area.
Automation is extremely useful when it comes to integrating with 3rd party extensions or an external site altogether.
Complete Redesign of Administration Interfaces
Overview of the overall sales figure
Apart from the workflow changes in the administration area, the team have also redesigned the entire interface at the back end which makes administration of purchases and plans a whole lot easier.
Previously, languages are treated as an app in PayPlans and in maintaining the app store is a nightmare, because not only it is difficult to locate for languages, installing languages are also confusing. With the all new PayPlans 4.0, languages are merged into the core just like the rest of our extensions and discovering or installing languages are now a breeze.
Simplified App Store
Apps in PayPlans is very extensible and useful when it comes to altering the behavior of certain triggers on the site. However, managing, locating and configuring apps in PayPlans has always been a tedious task, even for me as a seasoned web developer. In PayPlans 4.0, our battle is to simplify the operation of the apps store in PayPlans.
Joomla 4.0 Support
This is one of the most challenging and time consuming task for us. As PayPlans prior to PayPlans 4.0, it utilizes 2 different internal frameworks that extends the libraries from Joomla 3.x. To ensure compatibility with Joomla 4.0, we had to scrape both of these frameworks altogether, otherwise it would be impossible for their existing frameworks to work hand in hand across Joomla 3.x and Joomla 4.x.
Scraping frameworks over an extension that was built for the past 4 years was not an easy task to begin with, as we need to identify possible areas that would break and apply a proper conversion to the codes.
Redesigned Email Notifications
Email notification for new subscription
Email notification for new user
Isn't this very familiar? Thanks to our awesome designers, we have redesigned the email notification to appear the same and it unifies with the rest of our extensions. Email notification ranges from notifying users about their subscribed membership, to notifying site admin about new registration on the site and many more.
Redesigned Pop-up Screens
Canceled payment page pop-up
Apart from having proper coding and updated invoices in placed within PayPlans 4.0, we have also redesigned the pop-up pages as well, not only it has a fresh new look but almost a fun vibe to it.
It is not an easy task for webmasters to override or modify existing layouts in PayPlans prior to PayPlans 4.0. It had a very sophisticated and complicated themes architecture which uses different Bootstrap frameworks (namely Bootstrap 2 and Bootstrap 3). We had to rewrite every single theme files in PayPlans 4.0 and unify them as single theme instead of just making overrides easier.
Performance is always the most important aspect in all of our products. Our goal with PayPlans 4.0 is not only to reduce the complexity but also improve on performance. Prior to PayPlans 4.0, PayPlans is always generating a file tree (in a cached file) and using them as a file location library. We have scraped this altogether as PHP 7.0 already has it's own internal caching in place and it no longer makes any sense in caching file locations.
With PayPlans 4.0, we have also optimized close to 30% of it's existing codes till date (We are still fine tuning a lot of these SQL queries as we progress)
When will PayPlans 4.0 be ready?
I believe this is probably the one question that you have back on your mind right now. We never disclose our release dates and this is mainly to manage expectations but we are hoping to be able to push out an alpha release of PayPlans 4.0 in the coming weeks.
Work is still underway as I am composing this post but we are always striving to provide the best ever possible user experience and software for our customers.
On this note, i would like to end this post with a 3-day offering of 20% discounts on any new purchases of PayPlans with the coupon code HELLOPP4, so stay tuned for the next one!
Thank you for your understanding and continuous support!