June 12, 2010 (comments: 2)
With the release of 0.1.0 stable, it's an exciting time for the Isotope project. There are more and more Isotope shops out in the wild, and many more planned in the near future, plus we have a growing number of dedicated testers out there who are providing some great feedback. And while we continue to release a number of maintenance and feature updates, it's also important to put some thought into the state of eCommerce in general, and how we see Isotope fitting in during that time.
Traditionally, small to medium size online retailers use one app for each specific purpose: one for eCommerce, one for content management, one for blogging, yet another for social media, analytics, email campaigns, and so on. They don't have the resources that large-scale retailers do when it comes to developing custom apps that fill all those roles. However, as these retailers become more web and marketing savvy, they are going to realize the advantages of a consolidated platform to run their shops.
With more of these separate apps offering robust APIs and SaaS (software as a service) there is no reason that these separate functions cannot be centralized within a common platform. We see Contao, with its easily extendable and adaptable framework, as an ideal platform for such consolidation, and we see Isotope as an important step in building the eCommerce layer into the platform. From here we imagine Isotope and Contao providing the mechanisms upon which to share resources, where they become more valuable as the sum of their parts.
Love it or hate it, social networking is here to stay, and look for it to start creeping into every facet of your online experience. There are a lot of people betting that one of these areas will be your eCommerce shopping (including us). Facebook, especially, is working to provide much more robust APIs in these areas, and retailers who are able to tap into these new features will stand to gain from being first to market with these tools. It will be important to develop on a framework that allows for easy implementation of these modules, and we see Isotope as being an ideal fit. We're also excited about the commitment that the Contao team has given to social networking tools, and we look forward to seeing the integrations in the coming months.
As the mobile and desktop worlds become more blurred, look for mobile eCommerce to take off in the coming years. Again, it will be important to build on a platform that can easily accommodate the additional web services that will be needed to facilitate mobile transactions, whether from iPhone/Android apps to location-based services that can deliver instant coupons. Mobile eCommerce still has a lot to work out before it becomes viable, but the possibilities are definitely intriguing, and it will infinitely expand the term "point-of-sale."
Security and Compliance
There's a lot of increased scrutiny over the security of some eCommerce-based web applications. States are putting into place strict information-security acts and credit card companies are cracking down on non-compliant web shops, and for good reason. There are simply a lot of shops out there on the web who are exposing customers' sensitive data... Probably a lot more than you realize. We are keeping tabs on these compliance standards and one thing will help us keep compliant, which is NOT storing full credit card data in any way shape or form. Isotope has been tested to be PCI compliant, and we look forward to adding certification across a variety of security standards as we move forward. It helps that Contao itself is inherently a very secure platform.
There's a lot more to discuss, and we'd love to hear your comments!