Selling digital products using WordPress? Easy Digital Downloads has probably crossed your radar. We reviewed Easy Digital Downloads 1.9, which was released late yesterday, to take a look at some of the significant updates to the core plugin. If you’re interested in a full review, you can view our Easy Digital Downloads review for more information about the plugin itself.

What’s New? #

Some under-the-hood work has been done to improve site performance, especially for stores with large product quantities. Some developer-friendly tools have also been added to EDD 1.9, such as an EDD_graph class that will allow add-ons to generate their own custom graphs and reports. However, there are a lot of changes that have improved the UI as well in order to provide a better experience while editing products and orders.

The first addition is the ability to display product-specific earnings graphs and reports. While viewing earnings graphs or sales reports, you can select “Downloads”, then display a detailed report for a particular download:

Sell with WP | EDD 1.9 Download Reporting

Reports / Earnings for Download Products

These reports can also be accessed from the product editor instead, which is where some users may expect to find them, as “Download Stats” are included in the product page. Detailed reports are now included as part of a product’s “Download Stats”:

Sell with WP | Easy Digital Downloads 1.9 Download Stats Reports

Product Detailed Reports

EDD 1.9 also adds a new product details widget for your store. You can use this to optionally display some or all of your product’s details, and can use the product currently being viewed or a specific product. Being able to display a specific product’s details could make this widget an interesting way to display a Featured Product or Product of the Month to users while they’re already shopping.

Sell with WP | EDD 1.9 Product Details Widget

New Product Details Widget

What Has Changed? #

Editing and creating products has become much easier thanks to grouped and redesigned product data menus. In the version 1.8.6 of the plugin, all product data is configured in one massive menu:

Sell with WP | EDD old product editor

EDD 1.8.5 Product Editor

This menu was a bit messy and difficult to navigate, as everything seems to blur together. In Easy Digital Downloads 1.9, product addition and editing is much easier due to grouped menus for product details, and users can rearrange menus to customize and streamline their workflow.

Sell with WP | EDD 1.9 Product Editor

EDD 1.9 Product Editing

Some of these options have also been bumped to a “Downloads Settings” menu, which displays settings that are easily adjusted. The reorganization of product data makes the process of creating and editing products faster and easier to understand:

Sell with WP | EDD 1.9 Product Settings

EDD 1.9 Product Settings

Discounts have also been upgraded in Easy Digital Downloads 1.9, as you can now set excluded products for each discount code that’s created. Users could previously require specific downloads for a discount to be applied, but this wasn’t a great solution for people that wanted to only omit a couple of products from a discount code. Now users can both set products needed for a discount and set products that should be excluded from discount codes.

Sell with WP | EDD 1.9 Discounts

Discounts Improved

Finally, editing and viewing order details have been combined into one screen, which makes this process much easier to understand, as all order information is present and editable in one location. Previously, users could view order details, but would have to go to a different screen to edit them in a menu that looked completely different from the “View Order” page:

Sell with WP | EDD order editing

Old Order Edit Screen

Now viewing and editing orders is simultaneous and far easier to understand:

Sell with WP | EDD 1.9 Order view / edit screen

Viewing and editing orders in EDD 1.9

What’s Gone? #

The old tax API has been thrown out and redone in order to improve stability and performance, and some new options have been added as part of this rewrite. Products can now be exempted from tax individually (see the Product Settings image above), which will be quite handy for people using the Simple Shipping Extension, as tax can be applied to physical products (like shirts or other swag) but disabled for digital products.

In Review #

Overall, this is a large release and as such users should update on a staging site and backup all data before going live to ensure that site performance will be unaffected (this is just good practice regardless). On a personal note, I found product creation far easier in EDD 1.9, as the giant product details menu was difficult to read and to find what I wanted to edit. With the new menus, I can simply collapse anything I don’t need and move it to the bottom of the page to focus on the information I need to change.

I also found the updated order admin far easier to use, as the old Order Edit screen was a bit clumsy. In addition, the welcome screen now features some help with getting started for new users, such as some hints on how to set up product pages and links to documentation and support, which greatly improves the on-boarding process. The new updates give the core plugin some more polish and improve site performance overall, and will be welcome for users.

Read More #

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Posted by Beka Rice

Beka Rice manages the direction of Sell with WP content and writes or edits most of our articles to share her interests in eCommerce. Or she just writes as an excuse to spend more time jamming out to anything from The Clash to Lady Gaga. Who knows.