Learn all about setting up a nopCommerce project in Part 1!
I’ve been using nopCommerce for my e-commerce clients since their 1.4 release. To say that it’s progressed significantly since then (version 2.5 as of this writing) is an understatement of epic proportions. The improvements in functionality and usability have been amazing, and it just keeps getting better. One of the most significant additions to nopCommerce has been the introduction of plugins and widgets. With these additions, your ability to customize your nopCommerce application is expanded immensely. With free and premium plugins/widgets available, as well as the ability to select custom themes, you’ll find that customizing nopCommerce is amazingly painless.
Let’s start with the best way to find plugins, widgets and themes for nopCommerce; the nopCommerce.com website. Under the Extensions section of the site, you’ll see that all extensions (themes, plugins and widgets) are organized by type and version of nopCommerce supported. For this instance, we’ll choose 2.5, the version we’re currently working with.
One of the most fabulous assets of nopCommerce is the multi-national team who works on it; as a result, there’s an amazing array of free language plugins available, as well as region-specific shipping and payment plugins. While nopCommerce supports a huge number of payment types natively, there are some variants that require a more focused approach; thus, the plugins that are provided by members of the community.
While there are a number of free plugins/themes generously donated by the community, there are also commercially-available options. Some of the commercially available themes and plugins are huge time-savers. Here are some of my favorites.
http://www.nopcommercetemplate.com/nopCommerce-theme-creator/nopCommerce-theme-generator.aspx – can I just tell you how wonderful this is? If you’re wanting to save time by simply introducing custom colors to the standard nopCommerce layout, this is a fabulous tool. The UI is easy to use, and if you’ve got a color scheme chosen (check out www.design-seeds.com for some inspiration), you can have a ready-to-use custom theme in minutes.
http://www.nop-templates.com/c/2/nopcommerce-extensions – this is one of the most extensive collections of plugins/widgets I’ve seen for nopCommerce. Great additions to expand the usability of your nopCommerce installation.
Themes are simply dropped into the Themes folder, and plugins/widgets are dropped into the Plugins folder. Themes can be chosen from the Configuration/Settings/General and Miscellaneous Settings menu in the Administration section of the site. As of this time, you can only use one theme per website.
Plugins may vary slightly in how they are installed and configured; check your plugin for instructions specific to its deployment.
Next time, we’ll go over how to get your nopCommerce project ready for deployment.