DHL Shipping & Magento - Post Office Deliveries and More | PART 8
Post Office Deliveries and More
The DHL Versenden extension for Magento 1 came with an accompanying module called DHL Location Finder. It enabled customers to select a post office, parcel shop or parcel box for deliveries as opposed to their residential address. The Magento 1 one page checkout was not designed for displaying anything else but regular street address fields though. As a result, the delivery location map was often overlooked, the UX was bad.
With the new DHL Shipping version for Magento 2 we were seeking to improve the integration of the location finder map into the checkout’s shipping information section, making it more obvious that this feature exists and how to use it. The location finder modal can now be accessed using a button in a dedicated value-added services section.
Upon confirmation, the selected postal facility gets displayed right next to the button as well as in the sidebar along with any other service values.
Under the hood, we moved on from Google Maps to Open Street Maps together with MapBox as tile provider. All it requires to get up and running is a MapBox API token.
Sometimes value-added services in checkout come at an additional cost. While the previous DHL extensions supported this requirement to some degree, tax calculation and transparent display of service fees in checkout, customer account and admin panel was never fully working. With DHL Shipping version 1.0.0 we went down all the way of adding custom totals to the quote, order, invoice, shipment, and credit memo entities. Initially, the quote is populated with the service fee if applicable, which then transitions through the other entities as they are created. This way the service fee is rendered wherever totals are displayed in the Magento application and configured taxes are applied just like with the other standard totals.
We have come a long way from DHL Intraship, initially developed for Magento Community Edition version 1.4 more than ten years ago, to the multi-module DHL Shipping extension for Magento 2 as it serves the merchants today.
This would not have been possible without the dedication of all the former and present contributors as well as the DHL partner management, placing their trust in our expertise and being open to advice and discussion all the years.
Now is this it? Not in the least! In April 2021, one year after its initial release, DHL Shipping version 2.0.0 was published. This major version’s focus was not new features but further cleanup and generalization of the shipping framework that our carrier modules are built upon. This in turn allows us to implement necessary updates even faster. But what kind of updates are to be expected in the future? Basically, there are three triggers for changes during ongoing module development:
- Features: DHL updates or expands web service capabilities and deems those as beneficial for Magento merchants.
- Maintenance: Magento publishes new platform versions and we make sure the shipping module is still compatible with the new version and its vendor-contributed (core bundled) extensions.
- User feedback: Merchants report issues that lead to fixes or improvements.
The public GitHub repositories are a mirror of our internal GitLab projects. The maintenance process is therefore based on GitLab CI. Whenever Adobe publishes a new Magento version, we update our build matrix and run the automated module tests. At the time of writing, maintenance for the new Magento 2.3.7 and 2.4.2-p1 versions was successfully completed and no compatibility issues were detected. If a regression on the platform or an incompatibility with core modules surfaces, then our task is to implement a workaround and publish a new version that enables the merchants to continue fulfilling their orders. Other changes to the Magento core code, like the deprecation of the split database performance solution mentioned in a previous post, will eventually lead to necessary changes in our modules.
For user feedback, we set up two support channels. Issues can be reported and contributions can be made through our public GitHub repositories. This channel is mostly used by the merchants’ IT staff for technical guidance and issue reports. The benefit here is that all discussion is immediately public. If one user reports an issue, others know about it, about the solution, and sometimes even help out each other.
The other official channel, mostly used by merchants asking for installation and usage help, can be contacted via email or online form. To achieve a similar level of transparency like with GitHub issues, recurring questions are added to the DHL Shipping FAQ in both, English and German language.
Being committed to Magento extension development for more than a decade, we are happy to contribute one building block to the merchants’ success. And we are looking forward to keeping it up together with DHL.