Isotope News

Outlook 2015

There are some changes on the agenda for 2015, which we will try to incorporate into the upcoming versions of Isotope eCommerce.

Here's a little summary of the changes that you can expect in the first half of 2015: 

New EU VAT rules for digital products

Since 01.01.2015, a new sales tax regulation for the sale of digital products has gone into effect in the EU. The application of taxes per country has been possible in Isotope eCommerce for a while now, and since version 2.2 there is also a front end module that allows you to select the country before continuing to the order process. The only problem has been the display of gross prices which was only possible by changing the templates.

In the upcoming version 2.3 of Isotope eCommerce you will be able to change the price display settings per shop configuration as follows:

  • Gross: Shows gross prices to all customers. Applicable taxes will be added to the product price display.
  • Net: Shows net prices to all customers. Taxes included in the product price (via the tax class configuration) will be deducted.
  • Fixed: The product price will always be shown according to the product setting. Taxes are always calculated as "included". This means the shop owner's profit varies depending on the applicable taxes.
  • Price display as in Isotope < 2.3 is still supported. Prices are shown as gross prices if a tax is included and applicable. Additional taxes are only shown as surcharges.

The system is also extendable for developers, so that (for example) you could only show net prices to certain member groups even though you chose the gross price display setting in your shop config.

It is important to remember that Isotope cannot provide the correct configuration for you by default. The shop administrator is responsible for checking legal parameters within your vicinity!

Tax calculation based on VAT number

To further comply with the EU adjustments, we are also working on a feature to configure taxes based on the verification of a VAT number. This is needed for B2B shops in the EU, and has only been possible via third party extensions so far.

Version 2.3 will be shipped with a live check for the EU using the VIES interface.

The system is designed to be flexible in order to not simply be limited to EU requirements. Any developer can add additional checks such as the manual approval of individual addresses.

Performance optimizations

In recent months, we have spent a lot of time analyzing the performance of Isotope and found several bottlenecks not only within Isotope eCommerce, but also in Contao itself, and we were able to provide fixes for them. Some improvements have already been incorporated in Contao 3.4. In addition, we were able to optimize the internal price calculation which should be especially noticeable for users that have many product variants with different prices.

Without real world examples, however, the analysis of bottlenecks is especially difficult. If you find your shop is (using the latest versions) still too slow, please contact us! The chances that we can achieve good results with one or two days of effort are very good. For example, it might have an impact if the administrator could optionally disable a set of features. However, in order to identify and diagnose those, we need your real world examples.

Note on Long-Term-Support (LTS) and the next release

Contao 3.5 will be published at the upcoming Contao Conference 2015 in Lüneburg, Germany. According to the official release plan, this will be the next LTS version of Contao 3. With the end of support for Contao 3.2 we will also drop our support for Isotope eCommerce 2.1! Moreover, we also will take this occasion to publish version 2.3 of Isotope eCommerce by the date of the conference as well. This means that the first beta version can be expected in March and the first RC version in April.

Users of the current LTS versions should therefore gear themselves up, and be prepared to update their systems to Contao 3.5 and Isotope eCommerce 2.3 in summer 2015.


Besides being able to task us for finding performance problems or to fund new features, there is still the Isotope eCommerce Circle. With your membership in the Circle, you provide us with the opportunity to spend part of our working time on the Isotope eCommerce project as a whole and therefore allow us to spend time writing blog posts like the one you are reading now (as an example).

About Yanick Witschi

Yanick is a communicator, diplomat and coder in one. When he is not working on the latest version of Contao, he provides terminal42 customers with customized Contao packages. He is also responsible for making your coffee break a lot shorter since the switch to Composer 2 in the Contao Manager.

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