PrestaShop 1.6 is finally out and ready to use in production environments! Let’s have a look at some new features and improvements!
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Prestashop 1.6 is finally ready for production! Let’s go through some of the improvements the prestashop team made compared to alpha and beta versions!
To update, or not to?
This inevitable question pops out at every new release of Prestashop. Despite 1.6 being a major one, with a handful set of improved features, the upgrade procedure might be painful if you are currently running a store with 1.5 or earlier. That said, my suggestion is to stick to 1.5 as long as you can, and wait for a more stable 1.6 release. On the other hand, if you are a new merchant, you should definitely start your online business the right away with Prestashop 1.6!
Prestashop 1.6 is mobile Friendly
As we already know, Prestashop 1.6’s main objective was to extend the software’s responsive features. And indeed, the team succeeded in doing so. Both the back and front office behave quite decently on desktop and mobile devices.
Let’s go through some of the recent improvements!
Back office changes
The back office outer frame is a lot better organized compared to Prestashop 1.5. Starting from the top left, we have the store name (and link to the back office home), new orders, new customers, new messages the merchant expertise game introduced in 1.5 and the quick launch menu. Nothing new here. On the right side, a useful link to the front office, so that we don’t have to use the previously mentioned quick lunch menu. Furthermore, if we access our front store by clicking this link, the theme configurator will be floating on screen (when available!). Lastly, and the employee profile. It’s now possible to link this account to the one you use at prestashop.com, if you do. It’s only necessary to use the same email address, and avatars will sync up.
Next comes the main menu bar. This has been completely changed compared to Prestashop 1.5, and now looks more like WordPress, with all mail sections one below the other, and submenus floating on the right of it once hovering.
The new Dashboard
Prestashop 1.6’s dashboard will make happy the ones of you who are big fans of statistics. We can choose the period where to gather information from directly from this page, at the top, and have an overview, say, of the store’s sales, without having to access the statistics page.
On the left side, it’s worth mentioning that, although we have a useful series of information about what’s “pending” on our store, there are no links to these entities, and we have to reach them on our own.
The Traffic tab is also worth some attention. It’s now possible to link a Google Analytics account to Prestashop to get more insights and better information. I didn’t test it yet, but we will definitely cover this in one of the next tutorials!
One last notice on the dashboard: Make sure you disable demo mode in the bottom right! Otherwise you will be shown fake data instead of real statistics!
Product Back office
This part of the admin interface has almost been left untouched. There are a couple of improvements worth noticing: first, the save and stay button now sits in several (convenient) places, instead of being stuck at the top of the page. A lot better than the floating toolbar. Then, in the SEO section, a character counter has been added, so that you can better fit all the space Search Engines give you on serps!
The Prestashop team finally listened to all the developers who got stuck when having to deal with the “hidden columns” issue on 1.5. With Prestashop 1.6, we can (finally!) choose which column to enable where! Yes, page specific. This way, we can choose to have the right column displayed in the product page, but the left one in the index or category. All types of pages are supported here, of course.
I have to admit I find the new boxes’ arrangement a tiny bit more confusing than the previous one. A positive note is that we have a useful minimap showing the customer’s position for both the invoice and shipping address.
The biggest improvement here is probably the device-specific activation. From the right hand dropdown menu, we can choose which device, be it smartphone, tablet or desktop, to activate the module for. Particularly handy if you are setting up a specific campaign for mobile users!
The responsive front office
We already covered the new and improved Prestashop template on a previous article (Prestashop 1.6 preview : New responsive Prestashop theme), so there is not much more on the grill here.
The top menu advertising
The new mega dropdown menu introduced a cool feature: images at the bottom of the box. But where to change them? The most obvious place would have been the top menu configuration page, but sadly there is nothing to do over there. Instead, we have to access a category configuration in Catalog > Categories, then scroll down to Thumbnails. We can then choose up to 3 images to be shown in the menu here!
The top banner
The banner image displaying at the very top of the front page can now be set specifically for each language of the store! To do it, it is enough to access the modules list, then locate Banner Block and change the image to your own ad (of course, you can also get rid of it!).
Dealing with contact information
You probably noticed the new template displays a “Call us now!” text in 2 spots, both in the header and footer. It is unfortunately necessary to change this number inside 2 modules, otherwise they will look different. For the top one, it’s Contact Block, while for the bottom one it’s Contact Information Block.
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