The OpenUI Developer Consortium is a growing collection of developers and users working to create an open-access code interface for the e-commerce program Miva Merchant®.
Miva Merchant is an e-commerce application which lends itself easily to the creation of add-on features and utilities. A Merchant “module” can be created that operates as a plug-in to the application. Some Merchant modules increase the administrative capabilities of Merchant, others make transactions more flexible or pleasant for shoppers.
Along with the ability to customize Merchant functions comes a challenge of blending new modules into the existing “stock” application. This often means extensive customization of the Miva Merchant User Interface (MMUI); the module which contains creates most of the screens the shopper sees.
On one hand, editing and adding program code to the MMUI permits an almost unlimited access to customizing Merchant to suit a site operator’s need. Alignment, colors, columns, button rollovers, and user prompts are all controlled in the MMUI so it often becomes the central focus of a developer’s attention.
But sometimes addition of even the smallest module or added effect can mean customizing the MMUI to the point where it no longer retains the same level of compatibility with future versions of Merchant.
One solution is called the OpenUI Look & Feel Interface (OpenUI). The OpenUI will provide central ‘hooks’ through which developers may add features and performance enhancing solutions without having to reinvent the wheel with each Merchant release.
Adding the Hooks
The OpenUI will provide a common ground for developing ‘hooks’ into the Merchant user interface. Through one common interface many other modules may hook themselves into the UI without the need for extensive re-editing.
The Benefits for Merchant Operators
Merchant site owners and operators can take advantage of the OpenUI through the increased utility it offers. Changes to what a shopper experiences on your site may be added and removed without editing the OpenUI file. It will permit changes to be made to the “look and feel” of your Merchant site; and not loose those changes when the next version of Merchant is released.
The OpenUI offers a developer the opportunity to focus on sub-sets of the user interface, applying ‘plug and play’ enhancements to the shopping experience. Or to provide utilities which will supplement site adminstration. Large Merchant sub-systems may be built without fear of massive recoding and cumbersome reinstalls as the result of a new Merchant version. In most cases your module or specialized function may be upgraded through a simple copy-over replacement.
Strength in Numbers The larger the installed base of OpenUI compatible modules, functions and enhancements, the larger the impact of and for the developer community. Ease of add-on installation and updates means more potential market to reach.
Help Build a Future for Merchant
The OpenUI is committed to enhancing the development of Miva Merchant and its affiliate applications. Through the acceptance and support of the Miva community as a whole, the OpenUI hopes to stimulate the potential for developer enhancement via a convenient, openly shared central OpenUI Look & Feel.
Please visit our site frequently to track the progress. Along with notices of new releases and announcements of project development, we hope to showcase the results of the finest Miva developers around.