The UKanDo viewer, maintained by Connor Monaron updated to version 22.214.171.124230 on May 11th.
As the version number suggests, this brings the viewer to parity with the Lab’s 3.7.28 code base, and specifically with the Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) functionality.
For those who may not recognise VMM, and keeping things relatively brief, the aim of the project is to enable merchants to manage the creation and management of Marketplace product listing through the viewer, bypassing the need to use the Merchant Outbox (and have copies of items stored on the Marketplace inventory servers) or using Magic Boxes.
It does this by adding a new Marketplace Listing panel to to viewer, which will eventually replace the Merchant Outbox entirely, and by adding additional back-end and web functionality which allows merchants to carry out a number of tasks associated with their Marketplace listings from within the viewer, and by enabling products to be delivered to customers directly from the Lab’s asset servers, rather than having to store them as separate inventory on the Marketplace servers.
Rather than go into a detailed explanation of all the functionality here, if you haven’t come across VMM before, please read my notes from the initial testing in 2014.
The Merchant Listing panel for VMM, as see in the UKanDo beta, with some of my migrated items
The key point here is that, at the time of writing, VMM is still very much undergoing beta testing, and the viewer-side code has yet to reach a release candidate status in the official viewer, so the 3.7.28 release of UKanDo is slightly ahead of the curve – the Lab prefer that TPVs don’t release code which the Lab themselves have not issues in release candidate form.
To this end, Connor has clearly indicated this 3.7.28 release is a beta version of UKanDo, and the earlier 3.7.27 update remains available as the full release.
It’s also worth pointing out that initially, the current VMM beta was by invitation, so if you want to try the functionality either using the UKanDo beta or the Lab’s own project viewer, you’ll have to apply to join the beta via the link towards the bottom of your Merchant Home Page on the Marketplace.
All that said, I’ve been driving the VMM version of UKanDo over the last couple of days, using it to gradually convert my own modest store on the Marketplace from Direct Delivery to VMM (as shown in the image above right, taken as I got started), and have found absolutely no issues with it – not that I was actually expecting any. Everything works smoothly, and updates made via UKanDo are accurately reflected when checked in the official VMM project viewer.
For Merchants who prefer using UKanDo over the official viewer, and who would like to try-out VMM as the Lab moves it gradually towards full deployment (which could occur in June 2015), the 3.7.28 presents an opportunity to do so.
Note that as a VMM beta release, the 3.7.28 update does not contain any other functional or other updates compared to the UKanDo 3.7.27 release.
VMM allows merchants to carry out some Marketplace listing related tasks from within the viewer (subject to how they have web browsing set-up) – here I’m editing a listing associated with an item in my Merchant Listing panel – click for full size, if required