Thank you for an extremely successful 2008. As we go full steam into 2009 we wanted to let all of our customers know what we’ve been working on and what you can expect from us for the New Year. Over the past couple of months the entire Pinnacle Cart team has been busy working on the planning and development of our next release, Pinnacle Cart 4.0. While we don’t have an official release date set at this time, my hope is to provide you with information regarding the release over the next couple of months in preparation for a BETA release sometime in the first quarter. As with any release suggestions from our customer base is very important. Almost every feature added to the application comes from you and we encourage all customers to use our discussion board or submit a “feature request” through our support area.

One of the primary goals of the 4.0 project is to expand our feature set and to migrate the application into a new development framework. Frameworks aim to alleviate the overhead associated with common activities used in application and plug-in development. To assist us with selecting a framework the development team created a list of requirements necessary for any framework we use.

I’ve outlined a couple below:

1) Size- While every framework will reduce development and QA time, some were quite heavy and required the application to come with many additional components we simply won’t use.

2) Speed – Some frameworks hadn’t yet been fully realized and suffered from latency issues. Actually some had been fully realized, but still had unacceptable latency issues. Also we wanted to make sure the selected framework used Web Caching to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and perceived “lag”. A web cache stores copies of documents passing through it and subsequent requests may be satisfied from the cache if certain conditions are met.

3) Follows MVC (Model View Controller) model – The MVC architectural pattern is used to separate the data model with business rules from user interface.

4) Security – Must have an authentication and authorization frameworks that enable the web server to identify the users of the application, and restrict access to functions based on some defined criteria.

After an exhaustive research all of the existing frameworks in the market, we found none of them completely meet the needs of our application therefore we decided to create our own framework appropriately named “PinnacleGears”. Gears was designed specifically for the needs of eCommerce applications and is fully-documented, light-weight, secure and quite snappy I might add.

One of the other changes you’ll notice in PC 4.0 is we’re migrating into a 100% XHTML compliant template system. On top of making design changes very quick and easy, XHTML compliant systems have the added benefit of becoming excellent fodder for search engines and can assist in SEO. This system will allow third-party designers the ability to create front-end designs with much greater efficiently.

Over the next couple of months leading up to the release I’ll be doing my best to update you on some of the changes and new features you can expect in 4.0.

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