We are pleased to announce the release of Kilimanjaro, the latest update to SuiteCommerce Advanced. You can read the full release notes here.
This releases contains a number of new features, enhancements, fixes to the SCA code, as well as some improvements to the tools that help you build delightful sites.
We discussed some of these changes when we looked at the 2017.2 release and the two enhancements listed there are included in Kilimanjaro. To reiterate, we have included improvements to your ability to audit and gain visibility of the promotions applied to orders and why, if applicable, they were not able to be applied to the current order.
However, there are additional changes we've made that we're quite pleased about.
The first is that you can now enable promotions to be automatically applied when they are applicable. Before this release, every promotion required an associated code to be entered on the cart in addition to the trigger critera; now, you can set them up so that as soon as an order is eligible, it applies automatically.
Auto-apply promotions are great for a number of reasons. First, they can be great for promotions which aren't particularly exclusive and you just want to drum up some good will with your shoppers. Imagine this: you have a banner at the top of your site that reads, "Free Shipping on All Orders Over $100" — with auto-apply, this benefit will tack onto your shopper's order without them having to do anything, whereas, in the past, they'd have to type in a code. Now you can save them that headache and look good doing so too.
The second neat little feature is what we call best offer. At the moment, you get to decide which of your promotions are stackble and which are exclusive. But what happens when two exclusive promotions apply? The system is now set up to calculate this and automatically select for the shopper the one that will give them the best deal.
NOTE: if you are running Elbrus, the auto-apply promotions functionality can be patched to this release (if you aren't planning on migrating to Kilimanjaro). See Auto-Apply Promotions For Elbrus.
Custom Content Types for Site Management Tools
When we introduced the site management tools in the Denali 2 release, it provided a powerful tool that site administrators could use to add fully-featured functionality to their site without the aid of a developer.
We've made some improvements to it over various releases, and Kilimanjaro introduces some quite exciting.
Called custom content types, they allow you to break away from the pre-defined content types we include, such as banners and merchandising zones, by writing your own ones.
There's two parts to the CCT: the setup in the backend and the coding. One of the cool things about CCTs is that they are built out of the same sort of code that you would build an SCA module out of: it has the same kinds of folders, an entrypoint file and even an ns.package.json file.
As a developer, this opens up a lot of opportunities to you. It means that if you find yourself doing a lot of repetitive work to maintain a site, you can now build a flexible CCT and enable site administrators to do the work.
There's an example module you can check out for yourself in documentation but some ideas might be:
- Embedded Instagram, Twitter and YouTube posts
- Pre-made banner templates
- Signup forms
With the latter, I'm assuming more simplistic forms than those that update records, but you get the idea.
Up until now, the way we wrote Sass had been largely unchanged. As our release notes summarize, three enhancements include:
- Redefined color palette, typography, and spacing definitions
- Human-readable, standardized variable definitions
- More elegant element definition through Sass code nesting
Thus, when migrating to this release (or starting a new build with it) you will find some unfamiliar variables and styles in the Sass. It also means that you will have to spend some time mapping old classes and variables to the new ones.
However, the point of this change wasn't to give you guys a headache, it should now make more sense and give you greater control over your code. You can see this with how, for example, we made changes to the base colors. They have been greatly simplified and the names are numerical, to give you a greater sense of how strong they are.
Another change is to do with typography, where we've moved away from defining sizes in pixels (px) to using relative em (rem). Rem sizes calculate the size of fonts by the size of their root element. So, for example, if you have a splash screen which calls for big, shouty fonts, then you can change the base size of that element and then use standard class names in that element. By doing this, all font sizes will be scaled up without you having to create new classes for them.
So in our base typography, the base font size is 15px — this means we set medium size font class to 1rem. Thus, any class that extends this one will have a font size of 15px (1rem * 15px). Now, if your class calls for bigger overall fonts then you just change the base size for that module and the medium sized font will scale up, along with all the other font sizes in the module.
You remember a while ago where I wrote a tutorial on how to build a style guide. Well, good news everyone! We've included one in Kilimanjaro!
Much like the one I wrote the guide for, this one is there to aid you when you are designing and styling your site. It's there to ensure that you follow your site's design and that you follow best practices, and is especially useful when you are working in a team and/or new members join.
One of the cool things about it is that we're using Knyle style sheet (KSS) notation to document and define elements within the Sass. Going forward, we recommend that you adopt this approach too.
Change Email Address
A small but useful change this one: previously, shoppers were not allowed to change their registered email address which meant that if they wanted to use a different email account, they had to create a new account. Now, as part of the account section on a site, this feature is available.
If you don't plan to migrate to Kilimanjaro, it can be backported.
There are a number of other small changes in the release as well, so I'd recommend taking a look at the release notes.
If you're interested in moving to the new release, you should certainly read up on migrating to new releases. You might also want to read some of the stories of real NetSuite customers who have migrated to new releases:
Remember what we said about the Sass changes: anything you've built using the old Sass classes and variables may well have broken, so you'll need to go through each and every custom module you have and update them.