First, I want to make it clear that 2.0 will not be a re-invention of Sunshine – it is simply the next big release after 1.9. The goals for 2.0 are a redeveloped user interface for your clients when they are interacted with galleries. Let’s just say lightboxes will play a prominent role and be the default UI for everyone.
I also want to make clear that it is still in progress. However, for Sunshine to continue to grow we need to grow the business end along with the product. Our focus the last couple months has been 2.0 but also in growing our efforts to spread Sunshine across the web and gain some more users. As part of that…
We’ve secured an awesome partnership with a great company that focuses solely on working with photographers, their websites and their marketing strategies. I can’t wait to announce the partnership soon and what it all means.
Update: 2.0 has gone on down a different track. 2.0 itself will actually not contain a single new feature and not be a complete rewrite of Sunshine as many have been asking about. Instead, it will be a fundamental shift in how Sunshine is marketed and structured as a plugin – that is the most I can say right now. Instead, we have been releasing all the new features of Sunshine as incremental 1.9.x releases.
We are in active development on version 2.0! We are in the process of completely overhauling how your clients interact within Sunshine. Viewing galleries, images, adding to cart is getting a complete makeover. We hope these changes will make it much easier for your clients to hand over their money to you. If you would like to help us test 2.0 and provide some direct feedback on the direction of Sunshine please let us know! Submit the form below and we will let you know when the beta is at a point where it is ready to be tested.
We have just released 1.9.2 as a mostly maintenance release with some bug fixes and minor enhancements. See below for the full list of changes:
= 1.9.2 =
* New! – Installation data tracking so we can make Sunshine work better with popular plugins/themes (opt-out available)
* Add – Allow low res images to be included in file downloads
* Add – Missing digital download file recheck
* Add – Better error checking/error display for image processor
* Add – Alternate download method re-instated, cron job to delete zip files generated from alternate download method every day
* Fix – PHP errors on registration errors occured in certain situations
* Fix – Fix update routine to properly update attachment meta data
* Fix – Watermark not always applied
* Fix – Some items/discounts in cart not passed along after login/register
One of the features of 1.9.2 is a new tracking system. If you opt-in and allow Sunshine to track data, it will send information back to us about what version of Sunshine you are running, your theme, plugins and various server settings. With this information we can get a better picture for the typical environment and most common themes and plugins in use alongside Sunshine. We can then do better testing before releasing versions of Sunshine.
This idea was inspired copied (being honest here) from the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast – the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress currently available (and we can’t recommend it highly enough).
You can simply opt-out of this tracking if you want – not a problem if you don’t feel comfortable participating.
With the release of Sunshine Photo Cart 1.9, uploading files via FTP is now completely optional. We also threw in a few other great new things.
One of the most commonly sighted reasons for potential users not choosing Sunshine was the reliance on FTP (if you wanted to sell digital negatives). We are extremely happy to have included a built in file upload tool for the low resolution and high resolution image files. FTP is still available for those who like it though.
Improved File Downloads
For some of our users, their customer would have issues downloading purchased high resolution digital negatives. This was the result of server limitations outside the control of Sunshine when the zip file the user downloads is generated. However, we want to make Sunshine work without issue for everyone. So we have completely redone how zip files are generated in a way that will work on all servers regardless of their server settings.
Minimum Order Amount
Many of our users require their clients to purchase a minimum dollar amount in products. We have introduced a new per-gallery setting which allows you to define the minimum amount a user must have in their cart before they are allowed to checkout.
Gallery Password Shortcode
We previously had a WordPress widget which allowed you to include a client gallery password form anywhere on your site. Now, we have added a shortcode (“[sunshine-gallery-password]”) which allows you to place this password form within the content of any page/post of your site.
Check EXIF Data
When images are imported into a gallery, previously the name of the image was simply the file name of the image. Now, you can include EXIF data with your images and the import processor will read through it looking for a “Title” option. If “Title” exists, then it will assign the image name in WordPress to this value. No more “johnson-wedding-386” and instead have better looking image titles like “Johnson Wedding, Image #386”
Option to disable the Sunshine stylesheet
For those who are really customizing the look of Sunshine, you can now start from absolute scratch and disable the loading of the Sunshine stylesheet when using your own theme. Goodbye “important!”
URL structure redone
Previous versions of Sunshine had a “flat” URL structure for galleries. Every gallery URL looked like “http://www.domain.com/client-galleries/gallery/gallery-name”. However, for those using the sub-gallery feature, especially for weddings, when sub galleries would use the same name like “Formals” for each wedding, Sunshine ran into a conflict. You can only have one gallery with a URL like “http://www.domain.com/client-galleries/gallery/formals”! However, Sunshine now includes the parent gallery name in the URL like “http://www.domain.com/client-galleries/gallery/johnson-wedding/formals”. No more URL conflicts.
This release includes about 25+ minor fixes and enhancements throughout Sunshine. Little things our awesome users have pointed out of the past few months that could use a little tweak to make Sunshine that much easier to use.
1.8.0 is another new feature release that includes a new messaging feature, tiered pricing, enhanced options for packages, image commenting, and an alternate method for your server to deliver digital downloads
Our new messaging feature allows you to create template emails which you can re-use to send to your clients. The main reason for this is to make inviting users to view their gallery once it is ready much easier. You define an email subject and message template, select the user (or enter any email address) and off you go. No more custom writing the same “Hey, your gallery is ready” email every single time! Oh, you can also use it to send a basic email (just another way of sending an email instead of using your email program) or inviting a user to register for your site.
Many of our users want to give their clients a discount when they order a lot of the same product. Now you can with tiered pricing. For example, give your users a $5 discount on 8x10s when they order 10 or more. Give them $10 discount when they order 20 or more. You can set unlimited quantity levels and any discount you want.
A La Carte Discounts with Package
We have added a new option for discounts, a la carte discount. This new feature lets you set a percent discount on all other items in the user’s cart when they add a package to cart. For example, if your user adds your “Simply Sweet” package, you can offer then 10% (or any percentage you want) off any other products they add to their cart as an incentive to buy beyond just the package.
Gallery Downloads Available in Packages
You can now make the download of all digital negatives for a gallery as part of a package. Simple.
Alternative Download Method
Some of our users were running into issues where their client could not download a really large file. This was the result of some limitations on their server. So we came up with a slightly different way to let you have those files delivered. It’s not guaranteed to work on your server, but it’s another possibility to make it work.
Some of our users work in a commercial setting and are using Sunshine to get feedback from their clients on images. We previously had removed commenting on images so we simply made it an option now. On a per-gallery basis, you can allow your users to make comments on the images.
Here is the full changelog for this release:
= 1.8.0 =
* Add – Messaging addon. Ability to send template emails to already registered or new users to invite them to a gallery or to register
* Add – Tiered pricing / automatic discounts – Give amount per item discount when user purchases x amount of the same product
* Add – Option for a la carte % discount when package is added to cart
* Add – Entire gallery downloads can now be included in packages
* Add – Option for alternative digital download method as some servers had issues with default method
* Add – Option to enable commenting on images in a gallery
* Fix – Downloading all images from order not working for older galleries (pre 1.6.9)
* Fix – Order email would always have same image/product for last two line items
* Fix – Favorites notify email now uses display_name since some users have not yet set their first/last name yet
* Fix – Images uploaded to Media Gallery are not having various sizes created
* Fix – Adding same item to cart did not update total line item price
* Change – Default theme is now your WordPress theme during plugin activation
* Change – Ability to dismiss the user registration enabled nag notice in admin
We finally caved, you can now setup an automatic watermark feature for your photo cart galleries in Sunshine
For a long while we resisted adding a watermarking feature to Sunshine. We believe clients should be shown the highest quality images when making the decision to buy. When you let a web server add a watermark, the web server is saving the image and results in colors being severely distorted. It’s one of the main reasons we created Sunshine as we wanted a proofing and photo cart system that didn’t mess up our images.
However, it’s a feature that enough people have requested or decided not to buy Sunshine because it was missing. While we felt creating a Photoshop action to add watermarks and getting proper colors was more important, it appears not everyone agrees. So now you can make that choice for yourself. Learn more on how to add watermark images to galleries in Sunshine Photo Cart.
Also included in this release is a nifty little feature which allows clients to notify you when they have selected their favorite images. A single click by your client and you get an email with a link to view the client’s favorites in your WordPress administration area.
As usual, lots of other things were updated in this release and here is the full changelog:
= 1.7.0 =
* Add – Automatic watermark images
* Add – Users can now submit their favorites, site admin receives email notifying of submission with link to see all favorites
* Add – Ability to order galleries by custom order, date (old to new, new to old) or alphabetical
* Add – Add cart quantity whenever the cart page name when shown (in WordPress menus, etc). ie, “Cart (4)” instead of just “Cart”
* Add – New filters added for login/registration URLs
* Add – Finnish translation
* Change – Redirect URLs no longer use primary domain as this caused security issues on some servers
* Change – Make sunshine-product custom post type not public
* Change – When the same file name is uploaded twice it results in new file name that doesn’t match high res file name and digital download doesn’t work. Now storing download file name in post meta.
* Change – Make Before/After HTML settings when using WordPress theme WYSIWYG instead of textarea
* Change – When package is completed, it can no longer be selected from dropdown (visible, but made disabled) to prevent confusion display options to users
* Fix – Wrong thumbnail size being used in themes
* Fix – Before/After content in ProPhoto themes was showing on all pages, not just Sunshine pages
* Fix – Bug with hiding admin bar for non-admins
* Fix – If shipping method enabled, but no price entered – defaults to $0
* Fix – When adding item to cart and it already exists in cart, increase quantity instead of adding new line item
* Fix – Registration error when nothing in cart and errors turned on high
* Fix – Update cart when using WordPress theme wasn’t working
* Update – All languages updated
Sunshine Photo Cart 1.6.5 is now available for automatic update. This release does not contain any major new features, but instead a plethora of enhancements our users have been requesting.
So here are the highlights:
See pricing without being logged in
This was by far the most requested feature. Previously Sunshine required a user to be logged in (thus requiring a user to register first if they didn’t already have an account) before they could see the Add to Cart functionality with products and prices. Now, users do not need to have an account to see the products/pricing and can add them to cart. Once they get to the Checkout page, they are asked to create an account before continuing to checkout (so no guest checkout yet).
We were surprised by how many people were using Sunshine solely as a proofing system and did not want any cart functionality. While very much possible in the past, there is now a new option to enable Proofing Only which will adjust everything about Sunshine to hide all aspects of the cart features of Sunshine. Basically all that is left is viewing galleries and (logged in users) adding images to favorites.
When Proofing Only is enabled, we also adjust the layout of the individual image page to not have an empty space where the Add to Cart functionality usually is. Instead, the layout expands the current image to use up that space.
There is now a new field to allow you to upload a Print Release document. This file will automatically be appended to any digital download that occurs. Users download an entire gallery, they get all the images and your print release document all zipped up. Download a single image, users get a zip file of the single image and the print release document.
Media Gallery Management
This is a two prong change for Sunshine. First, there is a new option which you can enable to have Sunshine delete all the attachments/images associated with a Sunshine gallery when it is permanently deleted (images remain when gallery is just moved to trash).
Secondly, some users had thousands of images uploaded to their Sunshine galleries. As a result, the Media Library was loaded with all those images and making it quite overwhelming in these cases. Sunshine now filters out all the images from the Media Library (in both the main Media Library area as well as the popup when editing a page/post). Of course, when viewing the Media popup for a Sunshine gallery, you can still see all the images uploaded to it.
Here is the full changelog:
* Add – Allow users to see products/pricing and add items to cart without registering or being logged in
* Fix – Bulk add products weren’t visible until you resaved each manually
* Change – Redo how content is replaced to display current gallery/image to work with WP 3.8 and ProPhoto themes
* Fix – Remove some more PHP warning messages in specific instances
* Fix – If products disabled, don’t show packages options or any purchase icons
* Add – Proofing only option, disables any cart functionality throughout Sunshine
* Add – sunshine_classes function for theme usage to make unique cases easier to style
* Add – If products disabled or cart disabled in any way, handle layout of image detail page better so no empty space
* Add – Remove main site’s theme JS files from queue when using a Sunshine theme
* Fix – Custom CSS styling in 2013 theme
* Fix – Use WordPress date_format where needed
* Add – German translation
* Fix – Make pages/content on install/upgrade translatable
* Fix – Image download links not working in 3.8.1
* Fix – PHP error when adding order comment from admin
* Fix – Gallery download link visible when gallery is expired
* Add – Hide “Add New” link for orders in admin – can’t manually add orders
* Add – Hide permalink for discounts in admin, can’t view a discount page anyway
* Fix – Showing no shipping options when only digital products are in cart
* Add – Print release document can be added to all digital downloads
* Fix – When multiple of same package in cart, updating/deleting doesn’t update/delete all of the packages
* Add – “Remove” link added for each item in cart
* Change – Redo how images are imported from FTP folder. Large size and thumbnails are put into normal wp-uploads folder, originals stay in FTP created folder.
* Add – Option to delete all images attached to a gallery when gallery is permanently deleted
* Add – Hide attachments for Sunshine galleries throughout WordPress admin except when editing a Sunshine gallery
Sunshine Photo Cart 1.6.4 has just been released. It is a maintenance release with various fixes and adjustments. It is fully compatible with WordPress 3.8, so update that as well while you’re at it!
= 1.6.4 =
* Fix – Issues when image not set to use lightbox but add to cart link is
* Fix – Remove error message on Sunshine dashboard when no recently logged in users
* Fix – When package added to cart, can only add image to package if it matches the price level of the package
* Fix – Price for entire gallery downloads not available in some cases
* Add – Use the before/after HTML in custom theme again
* Fix – Setting up newsletter integration was a bit confusing in regards to selecting which list
* Fix – Packages was not querying for all available packages
* Fix – Hide the action menu for galleries that require a password to prevent sharing, free downloads, packages link, etc
* Fix – Rename individual file names that have special characters
* Add – Add new capability “sunshine_manage_options” which can be assigned to custom user roles and allow Sunshine to be shown/hidden
* Fix – PHP error when using credit system
* Fix – Calculate taxes after discounts/credits are applied
We are very excited about this release as it provides significant improvements for users integrating Sunshine into their own theme. It also provides frequently requested features around digital downloads most notably the ability to sell an entire session’s digital files for a single fee.
In previous versions of Sunshine, we would take your header and footer template files and put Sunshine in between – like a sandwich. But this caused all kinds of issues because not every theme is built the exact same way and some themes included essential coding and styling in other template files.
Now, Sunshine let’s your theme do all the heavy lifting by generating the entire page layout and simply adding itself to the content area. This will make Sunshine’s theme integration work for just about everyone without any extra effort.
Fixing Folder Names
Our #1 support issue is users having images duplicated or not imported when creating the gallery. The cause of this is using special characters in folder or file names you have uploaded. Now, Sunshine detects if the folder has any special characters and renames it for you before processing the images thus eliminating this problem all together.
I think we are most excited about this feature as it should eliminate about 1/3 of our support requests.
Free Digital Negatives
Sunshine now allows you to offer the digital negatives for a session for free. Many of our users have told us they include the digital negatives as part of their session fee and needed an easier way to let clients have access to those files.
Along with the free download of a gallery’s digital negatives, you can also make it available as a separate product for users to buy. This product is by far the most frequently purchased item from our own clients and now they can make the purchase themselves straight from Sunshine.
These updates took a lot of core code changes. This is by far the biggest update we have released for Sunshine yet. But we don’t think it will be the biggest ever as we still have many more huge plans for Sunshine some in the relatively near future.
Here is the full changelog from this release to see all the updates:
* Fix – Complete redo of theme integration, now replacing via the_content filters
* Add – Ability to tax shipping costs
* Add – Option for when Sunshine Main Menu widget is visible – On Sunshine pages or all pages
* Add – Detect folder names with special characters and rename before image processing
* Change – Moved “Shipping same as billing” under Shipping Info header
* Add – Users can download all digital download items from order in a single click (zip file is created, then deleted)
* Add – Free downloads, entire gallery or individual images. Settings on a per-gallery basis.
* Fix – Dashboard last login users had wrong dates, duplicate users
* Add – Digital download products are hidden when currently viewed image does not have high resolution file
* Fix – URL to registration page when WP is installed in sub-folder
* Add – Gallery expiration notice appears for galleries with expiration dates
* Add – Ability to sell the digital negatives of an entire gallery
* Fix – Packages with digital download items not showing download link
* Fix – Allow more than one coupon code to be used on an order
* Fix – Order comments from clients being sent to client instead of site admin
* Fix – Order detail in admin not showing item price, only item total
* Add – Themes using wp_title will get better <title> tag content
* Fix – Remaining items in package on cart page was wrong
* Add – Image name next to image in cart, order and receipt emails
1.5.5 was made available for release a couple days ago. It was late when I finished it and made it available so I went to bed right after. Then a busy day yesterday and today. So finally I am getting around to announcing this release almost 2 days later.
Per Product Shipping Costs
A new feature added in this release is the ability to add extra shipping costs for products. This is useful when you have heavy or really large items where you might be losing money with Flat Rate shipping.
This feature increases the user’s shipping cost if they have a product in their cart with an extra shipping fees. It is completely seamless to the user – they don’t see any “extra” shipping charges added, they simply see the revised Flat Rate shipping fee.
Example: You have a Flat Rate shipping fee of $10. You made your 30×40 canvas have an extra $5 shipping fee. The user will simply see Flat Rate shipping at a cost of $15.
Note that this only affects the Flat Rate shipping module. No need to increase the cost for Local Delivery or Pickup.
* Fix – Profit totals not accurate when users had a discount code or used credits
* Fix – When updating line item qty on cart page, line item total not updating
* Add – Discounts has new option – apply before/after tax
* Fix – Only include Stripe JS on checkout page
* Fix – Only include Favorites JS on Sunshine pages
* Fix – Favorites page wasn’t using Lightbox when enabled
* Fix – Fail login, click register, successful register didn’t redirect back
* Fix – Admin bar is shown for admin users only
* Add – Extra shipping costs per product (for heavy items), applied only to Flat Rate shipping method