John Sheehy

Introducing the Next Gen of Cider: Cider Plus

This April, it’s just one click away… Meet Cider Plus.  

It’s been a minute since we’ve updated you on our Cider eCommerce solution. Well, the wait is over! 

We are thrilled to announce the next generation of Cider—Cider Plus. Cider Plus is not just an incremental update. After studying everything that made Cider’s original release successful and scouring the eCommerce landscape for modern tools and techniques, we’ve added many new features we know you and your website customers will love. 

Let’s look at all the “+’s” that make this Cider Plus!

+Flexibility

With Cider Plus, you are now able to hyper-customize a fully integrated eCommerce website faster and easier than ever before. We originally designed Cider in 2015 with customization and extensibility as a guiding principle…and this has remained our highest priority. From our many years of implementation experience, Cider Plus is a culmination of what we have learned. Cider Plus helps you to easily shape your Cider site to fit your needs, while keeping all the essentials—those core integration pieces with Advantage and a clean solution architecture. And we are excited to announce that this new level of flexibility also extends to all those features that influence your customer’s shopping experience…the shopping cart, product content, order checkout, promotional landing pages, and self-service features. 

+New Themes 

Cider Plus was an opportunity for us to rejuvenate our standard theming, from which our clients’ themes are inherited. Our primary objective of this theme work was to ensure a mobile-first approach and we couldn’t be happier with the results! Our vibrant new Cider Plus theme ensures that your products stand out and entice your customers to buy!

+New Tech

They say that you can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. This is also true for an eCommerce framework. As a refresher, Cider was originally built on top of the Orchard Content Management System (CMS). We have now built Cider Plus on top of Orchard’s newly optimized, scalable, and open source Orchard Core CMS, which brings you all the best new technologies with substantial performance improvements and heightened security. 

As part of Cider Plus development, we took the opportunity to make a few notable technical switches. The first is moving from LESS (Leaner CSS) to SASS (Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets). Though this may sound like a small change, we find that our clients prefer SASS, so we switched (Yes, we’re listening to you!). Another tech switch is that Cider Plus is running Bootstrap 5 now. We wanted to make this change a few years after Cider was first released, but it would have disrupted our clients running Cider, so we waited. Lastly, we are thrilled to announce that Cider Plus’s newly updated server-side stack now supports Linux, which means our clients can realize those cost savings.

We’re also pleased to announce that with Cider Plus, we’ve significantly improved the developer experience. First, we’ve moved from the .NET Framework to .NET (formerly .NET Core), which makes it much easier for developers to work with and maintain the platform. Also, Cider Plus ships as a set of NuGet packages. Simply put, this enhancement makes it easier for our clients to update to newer versions of Cider and also more convenient for developers to write custom code and themes. Finally, with Cider Plus we’ve become more Azure App Service friendly, helping ease the deployment to App Service and to manage production vs. non-production environments in a cloud environment.

+New Plug-Ins

Cider Plus is proof of our commitment to implementing industry-leading innovation. As just one example, we’ve added pre-built plug-ins that you will appreciate, namely Google Analytics 4 and Google Tag Manager. Cider Plus also supports a comprehensive tracking policy framework, as we know that first-party data and privacy concerns continue to be important topics globally. 

+AdvantageCS Internal DevOps 

We’re ready to deliver Cider Plus changes faster with even higher quality. This is because we’ve revamped our internal development teams responsible for our web products. We’ve also overhauled our internal quality assurance tools and processes. All these internal changes ensure that we’re always committed to delivering the technical resources you need… when you need them. 

+Simplify with a One-Click Installation 

Cider Plus has afforded us the realized vision of simplifying our installations. We are thrilled that we can now instantiate Cider Plus instances without developers and with only a single click (ok, it might be a few clicks, but you get the idea). We know that implementations and installations of eCommerce sites can be, well, challenging. By simplifying the installation, this helps facilitate smoother internal testing and demonstrations, trials of Cider, and the spinning up of additional sites to support a multi-brand, multi-tenant approach. 

We can’t wait to show you Cider Plus. Want to learn more? Ask your account manager today! 


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