For last month’s release, we were mostly focused on optimizing the Reaction platform’s architectural compatibility with Meteor 1.3 and 1.4. Now that we’re structurally up-to-date and ahead of the curve, we’re shifting gears and getting back to work on the good stuff: features! And, thanks to a few new additions to our dev team, we’ve been dividing, conquering, and making heady progress.
"This was the first release with all of our new staff,” says Brent Hoover, who was the team lead for this release. “The main thing was trying to discover a process where everybody could spend the most time programming and the least time doing anything else. There was a bit of an adjustment period.”
Overall, collaborating with the new team went well, and the results of this release sure shows it. “I'm really proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” says Brent. “I feel like it bodes well for what we can do in the future.”
Let’s take a look at some of the major updates for this release:
Let’s make taxes less taxing. We’ve officially partnered up with Avalara, a premium tax automation and management service for retailers with an international audience. Now, shop owners with customers from all around the world can look up not just sales tax, but regionally-specific consumption and import taxes, like VAT and GST, across 140 countries! Our initial implementation offers seamless, real-time tax rate calculation whenever an address is added to your store’s shopping cart, but for future releases, we’ll be rolling out a full suite of tax management, returns, and filing services.
For this release, we’ve also rolled out TaxCloud, a free and simple sales tax solution for smaller shops based in the US. Now, users have the ability to calculate sales tax for every single address in the country! The solution also offers free tax registration, filing, and remittance across 24 states and counting. Pretty nifty.
Make way for better payment methods! We did a little refactoring among our payment systems, unifying Braintree, PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe, so that moving forward, it’ll be easier to integrate other payment systems onto the platform. We also fixed a few bugs related to our discount and refund functionality, so these features are back up again and ready to go.
Email just got way more efficient. Outgoing emails used to get sent in-line, which meant that if, for some reason, your email didn’t successfully send, you were pretty much screwed. Now, all outgoing emails get sent to a job queue, which picks up queued emails, sends them separately, and attempts to resend when they fail. This change is especially important because it lays the foundation and support for custom transactional emails, which you can expect to see later this year.
We also upgraded to Meteor 220.127.116.11. Whoop!
For a full list of feature changes, check out our release notes on GitHub, as well as our forums.
As always, we’d like to give a special thanks to all of our contributors:
We’re at over 2,600 stars and over 560 forks on GitHub. Whoa. Appreciate all the support and interest. Thanks, everyone!
A Glimpse Ahead
Lots of good things on the horizon. For our next release, slated for September, we’ll be adding search functionality, as well as the ability to send custom transactional emails. We’ll also be tweaking overall workflow for a cleaner publishing experience.
Stay tuned. Stay cool.