Actinic Business 11 review

£1079
Price when reviewed

It’s hard to think of any product that covers the process of running an online shop so completely as Actinic does. It’s been going for years, and offers a huge range of features, from the building of your online shop from scratch to processing orders and tracking stock levels.

Expanding on an already broad feature set must be tough, but Actinic has made useful improvements in version 11. First up is shopper accounts, a feature that allows visitors to store personal and card details so they don’t have to enter them every time they visit.

This is a valuable asset, but because of the way Actinic works it isn’t the perfect system: accounts are not active until orders are downloaded and then the web site updated.

Actinic Business 11 - one page products

The process can be automated using the software’s scheduling synchroniser, but there still could be some confusion if a customer returns to the site before an update is made. You also need to leave a PC running to make those automatic updates.

Another new feature aimed at improving the customer experience is the ability to enter a code so that orders can be tracked simply and efficiently. The discount coupon system has been fixed so single-use coupons can now be issued. Previous versions of Actinic allowed the issue of discount coupons, but these could be used many times.

A reCAPTCHA facility has been added to the contact pages, which help protect against the scourge of automated spam messages, and a couple of payment methods have been removed because of the new PCI DSS banking regulations. The Actinic Java application and Shared SSL service are no longer offered, but this shouldn’t cause any real problem to future users.

Actinic Business 11 - coupons

Meanwhile, on the design side, the ability for each product to have an individual page has been added. This makes shops built with Actinic look more modern as well as more search-engine friendly.

A new dropdown menu system has been added, as well as some new themes. It is now relatively easy to create a good-looking modern web shop with Actinic, especially as a lot of the uglier designs included in previous releases are no longer included.

Overall, Actinic 11 builds on the strengths of the previous versions and remains a full featured and competent product. But its ageing architecture, which is highlighted by the problem with the delay in creating customer accounts, feels a bit like trying to push the old girl a step too far.

Details

Software subcategory Web development

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes

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