5..4..1.. Liftoff!

5..4..1.. Liftoff!

Hot on the heels of v5.4.0 we now have v5.4.1. This release was mainly brought about by an RSS error, as well as Amazon adding new categories. And with any major new upgrade, there are bound to be a few small niggles that never turn up during testing. With all that now addressed by this ‘upgrade to the upgrade’, this should be a rock-solid stable release.  We’re going to briefly discuss some of the changes that we didn’t cover last time with the introduction to 5.4, and also explain just why v5.4.1 came to be.

First however, a small caveat; It always needs to be pointed out that when an upgrade introduces a radical change in the layout of either the control panel or the storefront, some older posts on this site will be rendered obsolete. Many of the images used will be of v5.3, v4.5, or even older. The basic functions remain the same, even if the look does not. So keep that in mind when reading the archival material.

A neat little feature that was brought in with v5.4.0 is the Image Size For Box option, under the Images tab of your AOM control panel. There are the little thumbnail pictures that appear in the BestSellers, New Releases, Most Gifted & Most Wanted column side boxes. You can now toggle between three different sizes. This can make the images stand out better, especially if you’re using wider than average widths for the boxes, and just to break out of the typical AOM look:

Three sizes for box images

Another nice addition is being able to set the titles of custom pages globally from the Titles section. Before you had to do each one individually from the Custom Pages area. Now besides this being done automatically for all custom pages at once, it puts the title format into line with the rest of the store. Many times people would overlook this little detail, so you’ve have The place for red widgets on the home page, and About us for a custom page. Now it can be About us. Maybe not a significant detail, but sometimes it’s the tiny points that separate the professional looking sites from the amateur ones.

Under the Subcategories tab, the drop-down menu for the Parent Category will now include any previously created custom subcategories (see image below). This can be a handy time saver if you want to create custom sub-subcategories. Seeing a hierarchical list can also be helpful for some who may have difficulty keeping track in their heads.

v5.4.0 Subcategory Parent List

Plus, one more text font, Georgia, has been added to the mix.

As for v5.4.1, as mentioned at the top, there were a few issues that required a speedy resolution. The first of these was an error in the RSS display for many users. The feed would either not open (a blank white screen), or users would be asked if they wanted to open or save the rss.tpl.php file; clearly the  wrong behavior. This caused a considerable amount of hair-pulling, as the fault at first was not reproducible, making it difficult to track down. Eventually however, a user on the AOM forum (“zuuzlo“) revealed that they had tracked the problem down to a syntax error in a single line of the file. Once this line was correctly reformulated, the error was eradicated.

The second issue that prompted the release of v5.4.1 was the introduction of several new categories by Amazon to the API of various locales world-wide. Normally, Amazon will announce this information to developers who use the provided data feed (like AOM). However, it was discovered that some categories were just added in ‘under the radar’ so to speak. It was felt that it wouldn’t be right to make AOM users wait several months for an upgrade that would provide access to these categories, especially since they were available now. The categories in question are: (United States)

  • Collectible
  • Gift Cards
  • Lawn & Garden (United Kingdom)

  • Musical Instruments (Canada)

  • Baby
  • Kindle Store
  • Lawn & Garden
  • Pet Supplies (Spain)

  • Automotive
  • Baby
  • MP3 Downloads
  • Shoes (France)

  • Home Improvement (Japan)

  • Appliances

So between the RSS error and this list of newly-available categories, the decision to release another upgrade so soon after v5.4.0 was obvious. At the time of writing has not been updated yet with these new category nodes, but should be shortly.

And there you have it. Like buses, you wait and wait for an upgrade, then suddenly two come along at once. However, as mentioned last month, the changes wrought by v5.4.0 were an amazing overhaul of the admin area, with fantastic new features. The addition of v5.4.1 to address any errors or omissions is simply  the icing on the cake, or the final polish of the diamond. Fingers crossed, we can all now just sit back and enjoy it.

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