Version 2.1 of Easy Digital Downloads will be released today, so we’ve written up this Easy Digital Downloads 2.1 Review to give you an idea of what’s changed since version 2.0.4. The beta announcement details most of the major changes to the plugin, but here are some details and screenshots of the changes.
First thing that’s gone: load times for customer queries. A new database layer for queries on customer information has significantly improved performance on customer reporting for shops with large numbers of customers.
Performance issues with unique hosting environments and server / plugin caching have also been minimized. In previous versions of EDD, customers occasionally experienced issues with the plugin’s add-to-cart behavior due to the sessions API that was used to track cart information. The plugin now detects some information about the server environment to determine when to enable the session management API.
The cart widget is also gone – but only when it should be 🙂 . You can now hide the cart widget when the customer is on the checkout screen, as it’s no longer needed at that point and provides an unnecessary distraction for the customer.
Most of what’s changed is described above in terms of performance enhancements, but there are a few cool user-facing changes and additions to Easy Digital Downloads 2.1.
Variable products have gotten a little bit of love in this release. In previous versions of EDD, shop admins had to create variations in the order in which they should be displayed. If you needed to come back later and add a new variation, it would always be displayed last unless you deleted and re-added your variations (which has the potential to mess with your reporting).
In version 2.1, users can now drag and drop product variations into the display order they choose:
Reporting has also gotten some upgrades. While the customer reports will be faster and more efficient with the customer database changes, the Earnings report got some updates as well. You’ve been able to view Earnings reports for a custom date range for a while, but could only do this for entire months. Custom earnings reports will now allow you to set the day, month, and year for your reports so that they’re truly custom reporting ranges.
Emails have undergone some serious changes in Easy Digital Downloads 2.1, and feature a brand-new template system.
In previous versions of Easy Digital Downloads, emails couldn’t be customized easily without the email template packs, and plugins couldn’t hook into the EDD emails to make sure they were consistent. Version 2.1 adds an email class that makes email changes easier for both plugins to hook into and designers to change.
Users can add a logo for their emails, but can now access the email templates in
/templates/emails and override them within their themes. To override an email template, create a folder called
edd_templates in your child theme, then add an
emails folder inside of this. You can then copy any email template in and edit it to change it. This will let users tweak email templates to customize colors and add styling of their own.
EDD lead developer Pippin Williamson posted a bit more insight for developers on the email templates system, but this is a fairly significant change that will make EDD emails far easier to use and work with.
The significant performance enhancements in Easy Digital Downloads 2.1 are really welcome changes and help to lay the groundwork for some even bigger changes.
The improvements to queries regarding customers will eventually lead to some far improved customer reporting. Now that it’s easier and faster to pull details on customers out of Easy Digital Downloads, this change has opened up the ability to generate more detailed reports on customer lifetime value, most / least valuable customers, and customer base growth and value over time.
While these changes won’t be available in this version, the groundwork has been laid to get some cool information on customers. My guess is that some basic reporting will be added, and there’s a lot of room for plugins to do some detailed customer analytics on your EDD customer base.
The changes to email templates have made emails more flexible for both developers and users. Now that plugins can hook into the templates for these emails, any emails generated by EDD plugins could use this template system to remain consistent with the other emails from your store. The ability to override templates also makes it easier for business to keep their automated receipt emails consistent with other emails sent, such as newsletters sent via MailChimp.
Even though many of these changes are not user-facing, they’re still very significant and will impact both the core plugin and extension development in the future, helping Easy Digital Downloads to mature quickly as a platform.
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