The release of WebME was pretty quiet. No-one really noticed it until I pushed it into their faces.
The biggest “woah!” piece of the CMS was the new shopping cart demo. I ran some fellow ILUGers through it, and their reactions made my day:
|davew||oh this is pretty|
|davew||is this using the same kind of tech gmail uses in its ui?|
|kae||davew, you should see the backend. I built that shopping cart in less than two minutes|
|davew||kae: seriously? holy shit. i need to get my web skills back|
|kae||davew, check it out – /admin/ – username and password are “admin”|
|davew||kae: mind if i meddle around creating a cart?|
|kae||davew, knock yourself out|
|kae||as soon as you’ve saved it, it should be visible on the front side|
|davew||this fucking kicks arse|
|longword||Well done that man.|
|davew||that’s fucking astonishing|
|* davew puts the price up mid-shop to see whath appens|
|davew||squee. it updated the price of the already-added items.|
|davew||ahh this is a fucking beauty|
The major difference between this demo shopping carts and most others is that this one uses XMLHTTPRequest to manage the basket and items.
In every shopping cart I’ve seen before, doing a simple thing like “add this to my basket” usually requires a full reload of the page, with all associated images, scripts and other excess data. With this demo, though, all that is sent to the server is the request to add another copy of that item to the basket, and the server returns the new basket list.
This technology is also used to grab item data, category contents; in fact, everything you see in that demo is managed through XMLHTTPRequest.
A major plus of this method is that the chore of shopping online is very much streamlined for any user of it. DSL and faster users will probably only notice that the experience is much smoother (in fact, that’s one of the reactions I was given yesterday). ISDN, 56k and lower, though, should notice a dramatic increase in usability.
Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, etc support this mechanism. Recent versions of Opera should also work. Thanks to the work of Dean Edwards, IE5+ should also work. There may be minor tweaks to be worked out, but I’ll take care of them.