Modular Merchant version 4 (MMv4) is in development!
  Last Edited - 06/8/2011 4:57pm PDT
  Category Path - Editorial > Bulletins

Believe it or not, it's been two years since the announcement of version 3 of Modular Merchant's shopping cart software. Over this time, not only has the shopping cart seen many improvements and new features, but web development in general has taken a leap forward with standardization of AJAX-driven applications, modal interfaces, and real-time webpage content updates. We're excited to incorporate these concepts into a new version of the shopping cart software. What does this mean to you? A better user experience.

The Modular Merchant team is excited to officially announce the development of Modular Merchant version 4 (MMv4), which raises the bar in terms of the shopping cart's capabilities.

The Skinny:
What: Modular Merchant version 4
When: Currently scheduled for release in 2010.
Why: To take advantage of contemporary web technologies and improve the user experience.

Version 3's focus was on improvements to the "storefront," or customer shopping area. In MMv4 every portion of the shopping cart software, from the administration area, to the storefront, to the code "under the hood," is undergoing a revision using technologies and techniques that have entered the mainstream over the past few years.

MMv4 focuses on increasing the software's flexibility while simplifying the user experience. Examples of this will be presented over the upcoming weeks. But first, let's look at the top new features and improvements to be introduced in MMv4...


Redesigned Administration Everything
The entire administration area has been redesigned from scratch to improve the user interface and reduce jumping between multiple pages. Colors, menus, and some editors can be customized too.

Event Engine
The separate tools for making coupons, promotions, etc., have been consolidated into a central "Event Engine" which increases the power of promotions a hundredfold. Need a coupon that gives free shipping? Want to provide a 10% coupon to customers after they place a $100 order? Wish you could disable a specific promotion for customers that are in a certain Customer Group? The new Event Engine provides a wizard to do all this, and much, much more.

WYSIWYG Editor for Templates, Emails & Storefront Messages
Not only is all of the content that is displayed in the storefront customizable, but it can be modified in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.

Wish List / Gift Registry / Loyalty Points / Customer Piggy Bank
These long-awaited new modules will be included in MMv4. Each enables new incentives for your customers!

Simplified QuickCode Tag System
We've made the templates' QuickCode Tag system more intelligent. This reduces the number of QuickCode Tags, while retaining their flexibility and power. For example, the {BASKET-PRODUCT-NAME} and {RECEIPT-PRODUCT-NAME} QuickCode Tags are replaced by a single intelligent {PRODUCT-NAME} tag, which knows if it is being used to display a product in the basket or in a receipt, and changes its content accordingly.

Product Groups & Bundles
Products can now be bundled and grouped more intuitively. For example, a "Gift Basket," containing several other products, can be created. When purchased, the system uses the individual products to manage the order's inventory, shipping, and fulfillment. Products can be grouped together for an endless variety of bundles and promotions.

Improved Multi-Address, Shipping, & Fulfillment Tools
The entire shipping process has been revised from scratch. Improvements have been made to the way customers create multiple shipping addresses in the storefront and the way orders are tracked, shipped, returned, and refunded.

More Bandwidth, at Reduced Prices
MMv4's network structure allows us to provide more bandwidth at better rates. This means the monthly bandwidth allowance for our clients running MMv4 will increase, and its price will decrease! The revised bandwidth rates for MMv4 will be published after they are finalized.


Technical Support for Modular Merchant version 3 will continue through July 1, 2010. Critical security fixes will be released on a case-by-case basis through this time. There are no new features planned for version 3 after update 3.6. For documentation on migrating from version 3 to 4, refer to the FAQ below.


How will I upgrade to MMv4?
It is our goal to make the upgrade from version 3 to 4 as simple as clicking a button. In fact, said button will appear within your store's administration area when MMv4 is officially released.

How backwards compatible will it be? Will I need to recreate all my store templates?
Although the code base for MMv4 is being completely redeveloped from scratch to take advantage of new technologies, we're also maintaining a focus on backwards-compatibility. No changes to your store's products, categories, promotions or templates should be required. Custom-made scripts running in the store may need to be updated to match the software's new variable and database structures. An expanded Developer's Guide, which documents these items in detail, is already in development.

Can I preview MMv4?
After its official release, new accounts that are started, including "free trial" accounts, will use MMv4. Current clients will be able to preview MMv4 by starting a separate "free trial" account. This will allow clients to explore and experiment with MMv4 in a non-production environment. A free trial account can be started from the Modular Merchant website at

Will my current store break if I upgrade to MMv4?
For most clients, upgrading your account from version 3 to 4 will not require any prep work. For clients that are running their own custom scripts in the store, updates may need to be made to those scripts prior to upgrading.

How much does it cost to upgrade to MMv4?
There are no fees associated with upgrading existing hosted clients from version 3 to 4.

Can I upgrade from a legacy version, such as version 2, up to version 4?
For any clients still running version 2, it will be necessary to upgrade first to version 3, then to version 4. Note: Since version 2 is legacy software that has not been officially supported for quite some time, it is highly recommended that all clients upgrade to version 3 as soon as possible. Information on upgrading from version 2 to 3 is available here.

Will my monthly fee be the same with MMv4?
For 95% of existing accounts, the monthly price will remain exactly the same (and may even go down a little). For clients hosting their store in an advanced, customized configuration, MMv4 will run under a revised pricing structure.

How long can I continue using version 3?
Stores running version 3 will be allowed to continue to do so for a grace period of at least 3 months after the official release of MMv4. After the grace period, a standard software update will be released that will automatically upgrade any store still running version 3 to MMv4.

Will Modular Merchant's Tech Support still support version 3?
Modular Merchant's technical support for version 3 will continue through at least July 1, 2010. Critical security fixes will be released on a case-by-case basis until that time. However, the solution to any non-critical security bugs that are discovered after that time may be to upgrade to MMv4.

When will MMv4 be officially released and available?
We are currently planning on beginning staggered release of MMv4 in Q2 of 2010. However, the official release date will be "when it's ready."


Follow Modular Merchant on Twitter to receive updates from the team during MMv4's development!

We're excited to unveil more of MMv4's new features to our clients. The new tools introduce a whole new range of possibilities. If you have questions about MMv4, please let us know!

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