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Handling Feature Requests

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Let us start by saying that we love receiving customer feedback and ideas for new features.  This has always been and always will be a driving factor for the success of Cloud Retailer. Occasionally, we are able to put some of these requests into production quickly, while others may never make it there.  While we strive to meet the needs and wants of our customers there are many factors that play into which features are adopted and when.

For each Feature or Change Request, we have to evaluate the full life-cycle of the change and consider multiple phases that we go through in order to develop the best possible product before it ever ends up in a user’s hands.

  1. Planning how / where the feature will fit into the overall system

  2. Prototyping user interface design and workflows

  3. Development of the actual feature or change

  4. Peer review the code to ensure the implementation meets our standards

  5. Running the new feature through automated integration testing (Cloud Retailer's "immune system").

  6. Regression testing the new code (to ensure it doesn’t break something else)

  7. Compile a release for the QA team to manually ensure the feature works as expected

    1. Repeat steps 3-6 as needed

  8. Create documentation on the changes

  9. Training the technical team on the new feature

  10. Prior to updating the client, the tech team clones their instance and tests all major features to ensure a smooth upgrade

  11. Actual upgrade is coordinated with the customer and rolled out.

  12. After time passes we have to ensure that documentation, training materials stay up to date and that our staff continues to remain knowledgeable on the feature. The new feature interacts with other features of the system creating developmental complexity and maintenance to a degree. This means continual investment. Each new feature bears "tax" in these ways.

So, while features that we add do add value to our product, you can also see there is always more going on behind the scenes. As Newton said, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

One of the best things you can do to help us decide which features are the most important for our users is to submit your requests!  The process is fairly quick and painless and can be done by clicking here.  Also, be sure to watch for new features as they are released by checking out the Release Notes section of our WIKI.

Having multiple customers request the same feature tells us that this is something people really want and can bring more immediate value for multiple users.  On the flip-side, if there is only a single request for a more involved change, it may not make the cut or it may take some time to make its way in. In the end, we must always consider what is best for all users.

Another opportunity for our customers, if you feel your request may not be realized (or realized in a time-frame you desire), we do also entertain feature requests as custom development work.  If that is of interest to you, please contact one of our sales reps today!