Great news, everyone! Magento 1.7 is finally here after a long wait. Here are some of the popular new features for the Community Edition:
Generate Coupon Codes Automatically
This is a long requested feature of Magento. If you ever wanted to generate coupons with a random letter/number then you had to either write your own extension or buy a 3rd party one. Now you don’t have to worry about that. You can now create a list of coupons dynamically by defining how many you want and how you want them formatted. You can also specify a prefix and suffix so you can completely customize the way the coupon looks.
Custom Layered Navigation Pricing Steps
Magento has a lot of great features that allow you to sort products in any given category by selecting pre-defined attributes. One of those is Price. Before you had to rely on an algorithm created by Magento to determine the price steps. The problem with this is that the algorithm never worked properly. If you had 10 items between $0 and $100 and one item that was $450, you would see big gaps between the price sorting such as $0-$100, $100 – $500. Now you can customize this so you can set the prices like so: $0-$25, $0-$50, etc. That makes it a lot easier for your customers to narrow down their search for items within their budget range. Make sure you’ve added the query strings used in the price navigation to your robots.txt to help with your Magento SEO.
Customer Group Pricing
Now you can have specific prices for each item depending on the group that customer is in. Before you had to do this through Shopping Cart Price rules. This feature is a huge addition for those with multiple customer groups.
The current Magento API is awful. The original SOAP API is miserably slow, and the V2 API is better but lacks documentation. The new API follows REST and uses the OAuth protocol. Now you can extend your Magento installation with ease using common sense API calls. It looks like this release is limited but they plan on adding more functions in the future.
Backup and Rollback Your Store
This has to be the best new feature available in Magento 1.7. If you’ve ever had to upgrade Magento, then you know how much it sucks (unless you’ve followed our helpful tips on upgrading). This new feature doesn’t really help with the upgrade process, but it will help if you happen to mess up your store while upgrading. You have the option of backing up just the database, just the media (product images, etc.), or just the files – or ALL OF THE ABOVE. I haven’t had a chance to test this feature so make sure you test it out before relying on it.
Overall, the new Magento is packed with some killer features. You can read all of the release notes here.