Sharing where we are and where we’re going with CartThrob: updates, upgrades, advancements and more
As 2020 comes to a close, we wanted to share an update on all things CartThrob related. We’re excited about the future of CartThrob and the plans we have to continue software development and contribute to the ExpressionEngine commerce ecosystem. Some of these plans are already in progress, some are on deck, and some are farther down the pipeline. Our hope with this post is to share greater transparency about where we are and where we’re going with CartThrob. Get ready!
It’s not a fling. Our love for CartThrob is lasting.
Before we get into the updates, we thought we’d share a little background on how we got here for those who are interested in the backstory. It was two years ago that we acquired CartThrob and Expresso Store with the full intention of keeping, improving, and sustaining both, because we believed the ExpressionEngine market would benefit from the continued operation of multiple major commerce products. We jumped right into the code to make updates to both products, starting with payment gateway upgrades that included shipping core code improvements to CartThrob and moving Expresso Store to the latest version of OmniPay. Meanwhile, we were also taking great strides to deliver better support for both products.
After about a year of trying to maintain our efforts to advance CartThrob and Expresso Store, it became clear to us that the investment required to advance and support both products in a way that the community desired, and deserved, was not one that we could sustain for both products simultaneously. It didn’t feel beneficial to customers, or the broader ExpressionEngine market, for us to divide our attention to push the two products forward. After consulting with a number of individuals within the EE community, we determined that the best path forward at that time was to discontinue Expresso Store, so we could focus our energy and efforts on improving CartThrob. To all of us, strengthening and pushing CartThrob forward was the best thing we could do to encourage and cultivate a thriving ExpressionEngine commerce ecosystem.
It’s been almost a year since we made the announcement that we would be shutting down Expresso Store, and since then, we have continued to invest time and resources into improving CartThrob. While there have been a bit more twists and turns than we anticipated, we are fixed on our goal of turning CartThrob into an exceptional commerce product that supports the EE community and, hopefully, that developers love to use.
Getting there is going to require a bit more work and changes to CartThrob’s architecture and product strategy. It’ll take some time, but we can see the path forward, and we believe the current and upcoming changes are all good things that will ultimately yield significantly better product offerings, superior customer support, and a stronger ExpressionEngine commerce environment as a whole.
We’re excited about what’s ahead, and we hope you are too. Let’s jump into it.
Can you hear CartThrob’s heartbeat? It’s getting stronger.
There are a lot of pieces that contribute to our overall strategy for CartThrob. When it comes to our immediate path forward, we’re generally working towards product stability first and foremost, followed by upgrading all CartThrob add-ons for EE5 and EE6 version compatibility, followed by new feature development. In addition to product development, we’re also working on a new and improved CartThrob website and docs. Keep reading for all the juicy details.
CartThrob Pro 5.4
We’re continuing a steady stream of CartThrob Pro bug fixes with minor 5.4.x version releases. Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on these releases.
CartThrob Pro 5.5
We also have plans to release CartThrob 5.5 with support for upgrading CartThrob’s add-ons to be 5.5 compatible.
Our goals with 5.4 and 5.5 are two-fold; product stability and CT add-on support.
CartThrob Add-on Upgrades
Along with CartThrob 5.5, we are in the process of upgrading the following add-ons, with some already in testing.
New CartThrob Website and Docs
Over the past year, a new CartThrob website and updated docs have been in the works. Design has already wrapped up and everything is currently in development. Having a fresh, modern web presence for the product along with intuitive, easy-to-use docs will be a huge bonus for CartThrob and the EE community. We can’t wait to launch the new site and for you to see it! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak.
CartThrob Pro 6
To keep pace and compatibility with ExpressionEngine 6, we also have future plans to release CartThrob 6. We’re also considering more closely mirroring EE’s new LTS policy in the future; however, we’re not planning for that to be the case with CT6. More on this as we near the CT6 release.
We’re very excited to announce our plans to introduce CartThrob Lite. With the absence of Expresso Store, we realize that the ExpressionEngine commerce ecosystem lacks a product with less overhead that’s easy to install and get up and running for straightforward commerce websites. To that end, we will be bringing Expresso Store back to market as CartThrob Lite, which will be offered at a lower price point than CartThrob Pro.
Because the goal of CartThrob Lite is a lower cost product that is ultimately easier to use and support, we do anticipate that some of the features and flexibility of the current product (what was Expresso Store) will likely be removed. We envision CartThrob Lite being a great product for stores that do not require complex functionality or customization.
As we think about the future of CartThrob Lite, CartThrob Pro and the broader ExpressionEngine commerce ecosystem, we do think it’s important for the transition from Lite to Pro to be as smooth as possible. To that end, we will be looking to build a path that makes the process of transitioning from CartThrob Lite to CartThrob Pro easy, intuitive and seamless. This endeavor will take some time and is further down our roadmap, but we still wanted to mention that it’s on the roadmap.
And there you have it! We don’t have a timeline for any of the aforementioned updates, but know that we’re working as quickly as we can, doing our best to give CartThrob the thought and effort it needs to be extremely stable, compatible and progressive. We’re continuing to chug along, making our way towards our goal of maintaining and advancing a sustainable product for customers that are empowered by and excited to use it. Thanks for joining us on the journey.
Full Change Log
We’re excited to announce the release of CartThrob 5!
CT 5 Release Notes
CartThrob 5 marks a major milestone in the development of CartThrob as we replace the legacy payment system with a new payment system built on Omnipay V3. This upgrade allows us to more dependably support security requirements such as SCA while also allowing us to more rapidly enhance the product going forward.