As of Friday 18th there is a new version of M2E Pro available!
However before you dive off and upgrade your site, there are a couple of points to consider and also we’ll be looking at the M2E Pro change log to see what’s included in this update.
The M2E Pro team let us know in advance what the majority of the changes were going to be which we covered in an earlier virtual coffee morning here on April 1st.
Plus when updating any Magento extension it’s also a good idea to make a backup, we have two tutorials for that and I’ll cover that with you at the end of this article along with practical advice for updating M2E Pro too.
Before We Look at M2EPro Release Notes
However before we dive into what’s been included in the M2EPro updates from version 6.1.0 to 6.1.4 I feel it’s important to spend a few moments to put the changes into perspective.
Those of have been following myself (Matt) for a while now will know that I’ve worked for two multi-channel software companies and that I’m also quite an apt PHP/MySQL developer too.
This does mean that I’ve seen a very large number of updates across multiple platforms and I look at fixes, bugs and feature requests quite differently than most people.
Firstly we should recognise that when dealing with the marketplaces such as eBay & Amazon, plus Magento we are dealing with ever changing interfaces and always playing piggy-in-the-middle to them.
Over time there will always be updates to accommodate changes to the different API’s (Application Programing Interface, the nerdy bit that allows developers to talk to the sites using code) most of the time these changes will be documented by the marketplaces, also we should consider minor & major updates to Magento and also differences between hosting environments as well.
My point here is that we should always expect changes.
They’re a natural part of multi-channel software and we should be expecting them every couple of weeks (sometimes longer, sometimes sooner), but always changes because the software is always playing the piggy-in-the-middle.
So with that in mind, in the M2E Pro updates there 3 types of changes these are:
The reality with any software there is going to be something broken or not working quite as expected.
The beauty of code is that the code is always right but the output from the code may not be quite as desired (you may know this as “a bug”, “a boo-boo”, “a foobar” or “an undocumented feature”) and fixes will need to be put in over time.
The thing with fixes is that fixes are commonplace. Some companies sweep them under the carpet and never tell anyone other than the affected user(s) or mask them as one of the other two options below, others like M2E Pro actually tell you what they are, for that alone is worth a massive hat tip.
In an ideal world we would only be seeing additions.
However this is not an ideal world and realistically we’re most likely going to be seeing a small number of additions and probably quite a few fixes and improvements, that’s just the “nature of the beast” when dealing with ever changing goal posts from the marketplaces (and the reason why I added the introduction part above, to help you understand what really goes on with multi-channel software).
As mentioned in an ideal world we would only ever be seeing additions, but no code is ever perfect and we’re bound to see improvements as sections are reworked over time.
The M2EPro Release Notes
To help I’ve grouped together the changes from 6.1.0 to 6.1.4 into fixes, additions and improvements, plus organised them by sales channel and added a note or two beneath each section.
- [eBay] support of Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) for US marketplace
- [eBay] ability to use Strike-Through Pricing for Australia marketplace
- [eBay] donation feature is available now for all marketplaces
- [eBay] ability to add watermark for images in custom description (description policy)
It’s the last addition is the one that you’ll most likely use day to day, as this will allow you to watermark the images in your description area using the media gallery keyword, so those images are protected too (a feature request I hasten to add that came from one of the UnderstandingE members).
Improvements – General
- significant improvements of cron subsystem
- significant improvements of synchronization subsystem
- significant improvements of extension licensing subsystem
- supporting of option “Manage stock” during getting product quantity
- supporting of option “Backorders” during getting product quantity
The cron update is the important one for most, any improvements here will mean the the faster collection of orders, updates to inventory & listing to the marketplaces.
Improvements – eBay
- [eBay] significant improvements of orders downloading subsystem
- [eBay] amount of variations attribute options was increased from 30 to 60
- [eBay] showing watermark info in preview of “Custom Description”
- [eBay] added support of Middle East / Southeast Asia regions in excluded shipping locations (shipping policy)
The second option is the big win here, this means that you can list up to 60 options per variation in a variation listing on eBay (again another feature request from one of the UnderstandingE members).
Fixes – General
- major fixes of migration to the extension of 6.1.1 version
- wrong calculation of qty for list/relist/stop conditions in synchronization policy/template
- manage qty settings when manage stock is disabled or backorders is enabled
- ability to setup settings for “Manage Stock” and “Backorders” features
- creating magento order duplicates in some cases
- applying magento shipment changes to channel, even if channel is disabled
- wrong original price in magento order for variation products
- weight did not save in orders and shipments created by M2ePro
- incorrect view of description that contains html code in all logs grids
- “Edit” button on magento order page does not work, if associated products was created by M2ePro
- QTY for the same simple products in one Bundle product
- fatal error “column not found” in listing search items page in some MySql versions.
- issue with autocomplete results in “Multi-Channels” listings grid
For me personally it was the QTY update for bundle products so you can now create kits in Magento that take notice when you have the same product twice in a bundle. Also the fatal error highlights the challenge of working with Magento, each installation is a separate install and there is bound to be differences between hosting environments, that fix was to do with a difference between versions of MySQL (the database).
Fixes – eBay
- [eBay] watermark image was not updated during list/relist/revise actions if it was changed from policy settings
- [eBay] wrong attribute labels for configurable products and images in some cases
- [eBay] Fatal error: Call to a member function getChildObject() on a non-object in Settings View Grid
- [eBay] Fatal error occurred: “SQLSTATE[42S22]: Column not found: 1054 Unknown column ‘state’ in ‘order clause'”.
- [eBay] broken sort action for state and price columns on Magento View Mode
- [eBay] do not sending tracking numbers for order items separately
- [eBay] synchronization fails in some cases, if php version < 5.3
- [eBay] skipping confirmation window for saving policy created from duplication
- [eBay] disabled option “Listing Duration” from “Listing Type – Attribute” for “Simple Mode” in “Selling Policy”
- [eBay] some issues in policies forms, for “Simple” and Advanced “Mode”.
- [eBay] “Variation Price” availability in “Listing Type”: “Magento Attribute” if “Buy It Now” price: “None”
- [eBay] Currency ‘CAD,USD’ not found
- [eBay] adding of Magento blocks did not work in custom description when was run from a cron
- [eBay] Motors problem with old compatibility ePIDs that were deleted from eBay
- [eBay] variations generation for bundle or grouped product
- [eBay] interface problem during adding to listing products from categories
- [eBay] Donation problem when Selling Format Template used as Policy
I wonder how many of these would have been polished up and claimed as being improvements by someone else?
Fixes – Amazon
- [Amazon] amazon search ASIN(s) tool is stuck in some cases
- [Amazon] invalid billing address in magento order in some cases
- [Amazon] major inventory synchronization issue, wrong statuses changing (ignore next inventory synchronization)
- [Amazon] doesn’t active “Assign To This Template” button because wrong Attribute Sets calculation
In one of the Amazon tools I created a year ago, I had the same problem with a disparity of billing addresses provided from Amazon. It’s quite rare, glad M2E Pro have spotted this.
Fixes – Play & Rakuten
- [Rakuten.com] sort by buyer name in orders grid did not work
- [Play.com] update shipping status for orders did not work
Coffee Morning Recording
Below is the recording of the coffee morning held on April 1st, which covered the M2EPro release notes & updates live.
When Should I Update M2E Pro?
Right now we’re in the middle of the easter break, that means that it’s possible for a large number of businesses not to be working over the weekend and Monday as well.
This means that on Tuesday the chances of lots of updates being made is very high.
We want to avoid that peak in updates for a couple of reasons, the biggest one is because we want to let any minor problems be ironed out, for the M2E Pro support team to be up to speed and also more available for us if a problem was to arise.
So with this in mind, I would personally suggest you update on the morning of Thursday 24th April ( or late Weds evening ).
This allows the main rush of updates to be done and for any backlog to be cleared, but also leave two days before the weekend if anything was to go wrong. It shouldn’t and most likely won’t, but just incase a whole two working days should be plenty of time.
What Should I do Before Updating M2E Pro?
The one thing you should not skimp over is taking the few minutes to make a backup of your Magento system.
While myself & Dave were recording the latest Magento course, one of the tutorials was on How to Backup Magento the Easy Way and as soon as it was edited, we released it publicly onto the blog.
Backing up Magento is dead easy to do if you have cPanel and used the installatron tool to install Magento. So easy it takes 3.5 clicks.
If you didn’t use installatron to install Magento, but you still have cPanel then we have a dedicated guide for you that will show you how to make a complete backup of your hosting environment, it’s called “Updating M2EPro the Right way“.
99.99% of the time you should never need the backup, but take it from me, I’m a grown man and have been almost brought to tears in the past by not having a backup in place when something went wrong and I lost hours and hours of code. Always make a backup.
What Didn’t We See in this Update?
We’re not expecting to see a major update to Amazon in M2EPro until the summer, so if I could only name one thing that was missing from these updates it would be this feature request:
In short M2EPro doesn’t add in the additional images for variation listings, this feature request asks for this to be added.
If you’ve not voted for this update yet please do so.
Together we learned that generally there are 3 types of updates to software:
- Fixes – Something didn’t work as expected first time around
- Improvements – Tweaks to make things better
- Additions – In an ideal world we’d only see these
So… lots of fixes this time around a handful of improvements and a few additions as well. Not quite the way we’d all like them to be ordered, but that’s just the nature-of-the-beast when dealing with the marketplaces.
The big one I’m personally waiting for around the showing of the additional images on eBay when listing variations.
I know the reason why this was done this way with the eBay integration, it’s because the longest part for any product API call (the nerdy part that developers use) is the part that updates products where images are transferred to eBay’s photo hosting, it’s very slow and on a single listing that has oodles of images, this will take a long time to complete.
Times that by the squillions of listings that M2EPro manages and it’s a major challenge so we have to be a little forgiving for not seeing it this time around.
If you haven’t voted for this yet or maybe did ages ago, vote again here. Your votes really do matter.
There were some welcome changes such as the watermarking of images inside the eBay listings so you can protect your images there too and also the expansion to 60 variation options for variation and multi variation listings on eBay.
And we also noted that it’s always prudent to make a backup of your Magento system, especially when it’s so easy to do. 99.99% of the time you’ll never need it, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry (or a shivering wreck like I was when I didn’t make a backup and realised I had lost sooo much code).
If you’ve found this article via Google and are using Magento and/or M2E Pro and aren’t a member of UnderstandingE yet, you can join today it’s free and talk with business owners just like you over in the forums (we also have over 100 Magento & M2E Pro video tutorials as well).
And finally one question for you, Did this article help you?
Let myself Matt & also Dave know in the comments box below.
Matt & Dave