As a Joomla user, I hope you're familiar with the Content Creation Kit extension K2 from JoomlaWorks. It's a great piece of free software from our Greek friends.
In the beginning of September this year, Joomlaworks released their new component K2Mart. K2mart integrates Virtuemart and K2, allowing you to build your product catalog using K2's advanced content, taxonomy and templating options with Virtuemart's powerful cart and checkout functionality.
This week, version 1.3 of K2 Mart is out, with several exciting new features. Among them, better image handling and a new
The goal of K2Mart
The aim of Joomlaworks when they released K2mart about 1.5 months ago, was to help you get a great looking Virtuemart based e-shop by importing and syncing your Virtuemart products into K2 with the help of K2mart.
Styling K2 is much easier than with Virtuemart. The reason for that being K2 using the Joomla MVC templating system. The template and subtemplate system of K2 is easy to set up and manage. Bringing K2 and Virtuemart together is as natural as it is relieving. Being a webshop owner with Virtuemart myself, I can testify to the pains connected with styling and managing the system. I look forward to setting up a testing version of my webshop.
With version 1.3 Joomlaworks takes K2Mart one step further and actually turns the extenstion into your primary dashboard with the new "quick look" stats available, directly derived from the Virtuemart database. Something impossible in Virtuemart up to now. Virtuemart can provide sales statistics, but they are "accountant" style boring statistics...
Improved Control panel
Your Joomla! control panel (the first page you see when you login as an administrator) is also dead boring. So Joomlaworks thought "why not ease your e-commerce management experience and save some clicks"? And so they brought the K2mart Virtuemart sales stats on the Joomla! control panel as well.
One of the new features is the new K2Mart charts admin module. The module lives in your Joomla admin control panel and presents an overview of total sales and top selling products in a nicely done chart:
Features of K2Mart
- Adds Ajax based "add to cart" functionality to every K2 item/product.
- Built-in migrator will migrate all your Virtumart products and categories to K2 with a single click. The K2mart migrator will also import Virtuemart product/categories images and will create K2 tags for Virtuemart categories, further improving your e-shop's SEO.
- Brings all Virtuemart product properties like manufacturers, discounts, product status, product attributes and so on into K2.
- Create and edit products directly through the K2 item form. "Quick edit" links next to some properties like VAT, Manufacturers etc. will open up a lightbox popup to Virtuemart so you can add/edit them without leaving the K2 item form.
- Redirect all Virtuemart product details and shop browse pages to the corresponding K2 views. Virtuemart will only be used for the cart & checkout procedure.
- The Virtuemart elements output by K2mart are a breeze to theme! Using MVC overrides, you can completely control the output of the Virtuemart elements inside your K2 items. Furthermore, you can control which cart elements to display on the a K2 item page, on K2 listings or on K2 items output through K2 modules. So for example, you can hide the tax rate on product listings, but show it on the product page. These elements are configured from the K2mart component settings without the need to edit code.
Improved image handling
The Virtuemart image importing options in K2mart has been improved. IN previous versions, there was one option only: import VM images on the first product import/sync to K2.
However, webshops with hundreds or even thousands of products (and associated images) would have a hard time importing those images into K2. This comes down basically to server resources and how much control you got over your server. For that reason, Joomlaworks re-devised the way VM product images are imported as K2 item images and we have added these new options in the new K2mart component parameters:
- You can select to directly link to your Virtuemart stored images (and fit into K2 with HTML resizing) or
- You can import your Virtuemart stored images as K2 item images.
Dynamic fetching of Virtuemart images
The real difference compared to the importing method in the Virtuemart Migrator page is that this occurs on "runtime". So instead of doing the import as a one-time job (with the Virtuemart Migrator page in K2mart), you let your e-shop visitors help you out: Whenever they visit a K2 product page, K2mart will dynamically pull and resize the Virtuemart image. For more info on these new image import handling features, take a look at the K2mart documentation page.
New stuff in K2Mart version 1.3In addition to the image handling functions and the control panel, the following new features can be found in K2Mart 1.3:
- advanced product attribute editing inside the K2 item form
- there is a new optional 6th tab (called 'advanced'), which you can enable inside the K2 item form that allows a user to:
- Assign/unassign an existing Virtuemart product to a K2 item
- Edit a product directly in Virtuemart
- Delete the product from the Virtuemart database
- added an option for showing the Virtuemart category tree in the K2 item form so a user can choose which Virtuemart category the product will be saved into.
- fixed issue causing K2mart to loose some Virtuemart product data, when saving the product in K2, as well as other several minor issues as reported by users in the forum.
What does K2Mart not do?
K2mart is NOT meant to replace K2 or Virtuemart. It just creates a bridge between the two components for the shop owner's benefit.
Virtuemart's multiple categories are NOT supported. If a product is mapped to more than one Virtuemart categories, K2mart will intelligently map the product to the deepest level category in the K2 category tree and additionally, it will write all categories assigned per product as K2 tags.
The K2Mart developers suggest that product multi-mapping is better executed using tags.
Will be testing it soon
I will be testing K2Mart on a copy of one of my Virtuemart webshops, www.kaffekapsler.no. If it's as good as it looks, I might switch the whole thing over to K2Mart. I really need a pain-relief from working with Virtuemart. Especially
K2mart is a commercial extension for Joomla! 1.5 developed by JoomlaWorks. If you purchase your copy now for the introductory price of 15 Euros, you get receive lifetime upgrades for free!
You can see a demo of v1.3 in the K2 demo website at: demo.getk2.org/k2mart