OSCommerce

olegoleg subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
edited December 2008 in Building A Website That Works
I`ve recently helped a friend "skin" an e-commerce site built on OSCommerce, and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to work with.  I`m usually very apprehensive about dealing with open-source software, but OSCommerce is very well coded and goes a long way towards alleviating my fears of the open-source world.
I am almost ready to start reccomending OSCommerce to anyone looking for a basic & cheap shopping cart solution, but want to learn what others think of it first.  If you have any experience with it as a developer, e-commerce site owner, or even just as an online shopper, let`s hear it please!
 
 
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Comments

  • JIOTJIOT subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Oleg,
    As an e-commerce site owner - We used OSCommerce on our old site and were pleased with it.  The only reason we do not use it now is because when we decided to have the site redesigned, the designers and programmers that we chose work with ZenCart, which is very similar. 
    Back to OSCommerce - it was very user friendly and worked well for what we needed - credit card transactions, the use of coupon codes, etc.  My business partner is the one that had the most "use" with it being that her job is to maintain the site but with even my limited experience and knowledge of it, I would recommend it to others looking for an e-commerce solution.
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    I`ve used osCommerce and Zen Cart with and without templates.
    Templates are great for a quick start and to get away from the default layout.
    I prefer Zen Cart for some ecommerce applications... only because it has some features built-in that you have to add to osCommerce.
    If you have any questions about either, do not hesitate to ask.
    ~Roland
  • olegoleg subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
    Roland, what are some of the features that ZenCart has built in and osCommerce does not?
    As a web developer, I am often asked for advice/recommendations on shopping cart software but really don`t know much about all the available options.  The only other product I had experience with was Miva Merchant, and that in my opinion is utter crap...
     
     
     
     
     
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40

    Roland, what are some of the features that ZenCart has built in and osCommerce does not?
    As a web developer, I am often asked for advice/recommendations on shopping cart software but really don`t know much about all the available options.  The only other product I had experience with was Miva Merchant, and that in my opinion is utter crap...
    The one feature that Zen Cart has included is a media manager...set up to sell various media - mp3, video formats, ..via download.  To do that with osCommerce you need to install an add-in.
    Another cool Zen Cart feature is the ability to set up specials - special pricing for a specific date range.  You can set the start and end date of any special.
    ~Rolandvwebworld2007-5-8 23:37:31
  • JIOTJIOT subscriber Posts: 0

    Another xcool Zen Cart feature is the ability to set up specials - special pricing for a specific date range.  You can set the start and end date of any special.
    ~Roland

    I was "just" wondering if that feature was available because I have an idea for it.  Would this be set up under Catalog/Specials or in the GC/Coupon section?  I would like to be able to direct my biz. partner to it when I suggest using it.
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    The setup is in the catalog (Zen Cart). You can set up special pricing for each product.
    You can also set a date range for any coupon you set up.
    ~Rolandvwebworld2007-5-11 18:49:4
  • crazyfingrcrazyfingr subscriber Posts: 1
    If you are gonna go with OSCommerce look into CRE Loaded. It`s a beefed up version with a lot of the more popular plug-ins already added. I`ve used OSCommerce and it works well... I`ve read in the past about some version of OSCommerce being hacked easily so read up on it before you install.Anyone use CubeCart?
    crazyfingr2007-5-9 0:17:20
  • TwilightPicsTwilightPics subscriber Posts: 2
    The biggest difference between the current version of oscommerce and zencart, is that oscommerce still uses tables.  Zencart is almost 100% tables-less, and much easier to control the designs - Oleg, if you thought oscommerce was easy to add your design to, wait till you give zencart a try, you`ll love it.Oscomerce does have a stronger support community and a much larger selection of modules and add ons.  It`s been a couple years since oscommerce has developed a new version, but they`re working on a table-less layout that is supposed to be pretty sweet.
    TwilightPics2007-5-9 12:6:5
  • JIOTJIOT subscriber Posts: 0
    Zen-Cart actually just came out with a cool new book - it might help you with some of the features you`re not tapping into, JIOT.
    Fabulous, thank you!  Maybe I will gift it to my business partner. 
    And thanks to all for your direction with the specials feature.  Glad to hear all of the positive comments on Zen-Cart in general as well.  It`s nice to know we`re working with a good product. 
  • blondieblueblondieblue subscriber Posts: 9
    I personally am being encouraged to try AppleCart.I have been told that it is more search engine friendly and by the way the pages are indexed, helps you place higher in the rankings....anyone had these results with applecart or any other shopping cart without also submitting sites manually??
    Why would anyone want to use AppleCart when everyone here has trashed it, said it was outdated, a basically a "piece of junk"??
    All the gurus here are touting OSCommerce or ZenCart. Why would you not go that route?
    Simply put, what does AppleCart have that ZenCart or OSCommerce don`t have, that you would want to buck the trend with all the gurus here?
    Does AppleCart have a proven track record of success, in search engine rankings, in ease of use, in portability, and a list of current web sites that are selling stuff and have high search engines rankings?
    Does AppleCart offer a total solution vs a "bits and piece" approach from other solutions?
    Does AppleCart offer "support" from the designers vs an "open source" solution where you have "hit and miss" do-it-yourselfers?
    If you can answer those questions, then you have your solution. (But only if you dare to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and have the courage to withstand the "slings & arrows" that will come your way from some here at SuN.)
    Remember, its not about what the folks here at SuN like - its about having a successful web site and ecommerce store.
  • enfolditenfoldit subscriber Posts: 1
    The big problem with OSCommerce is that the main project was effectively dead. There haden`t had a release since August of last year, and there was a huge wait for that release. It still lacks skinning support directly (supposed to be in MS3, but I`m not going to hold my breath).
    If you go with it understand that you`re taking it as is, and anything you get will have to be self-maintained, or maintaind by someone else. The big thing is that should they miraculously release a new version, it won`t upgrade your stuff correctly. MS3 is realsing its beta versions, so plan to upgrade soon.
    For me, this is business. I use things with support. Things that support my changes, and have guidlines for doing it... all the mods for OSCommerce that I`ve played with hack the source. I`m not touching that. Maybe 3 will be better...
  • blondieblueblondieblue subscriber Posts: 9

    The big problem with OSCommerce is that the main project was effectively dead. There haden`t had a release since August of last year, and there was a huge wait for that release.
    If you go with it understand that you`re taking it as is, and anything you get will have to be self-maintained, or maintaind by someone else.
    For me, this is BUSINESS. I use things with SUPPORT. Things that support my changes, and have guidlines for doing it... all the mods for OSCommerce that I`ve played with hack the source. I`m not touching that.
    Wow, finally hearing from someone that has brought up a few of the questions I asked earlier.
    I finally realized why so many tout OSCommerce or ZenCart !!
    Here`s the key words ... "maintaind by someone else".
    If the gurus write the changes - you are locked into using them. They have the `source code" for their customized changes.
    If a shopping cart solution like AppleCart provides updates or changes (and like most other software packages - updates are at No Charge) then if you decide to change web designers - you still have a shopping cart ecommerce solution that is fully operational and able to be used anywhere.
    Great Post !!
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    If the gurus write the changes - you are locked into using them. They have the `source code" for their customized changes.
    If a shopping cart solution like AppleCart provides updates or changes (and like most other software packages - updates are at No Charge) then if you decide to change web designers - you still have a shopping cart ecommerce solution that is fully operational and able to be used anywhere.
    Actually, that is not entirely correct.  Both osCommerce and Zen Cart are open source programs... the code is NOT owned or controlled by someone else, it is free to see and or modify. Nor are you locked into any web designer or web host. You can move to another designer or host at any time.
    You may use a web designer to set-up the ecommerce store -its` design/look, etc... but once that is done, you can manage your online store without any knowledge of html or php.
    You do not need to upgrade (also at no charge)... or install the newer version of osCommerce or Zen Cart when they become available.  The older versions still work. Although a new version may have some advantages.
    If you do choose to install a modification to the code (a "contribution" or add-on) you do need to understand what that affects... to make sure the add-ons are compatable with the newer version. But compatability with what version is usually clearly stated for each add-on.
    ~Rolandvwebworld2007-5-12 22:41:1
  • blondieblueblondieblue subscriber Posts: 9

    You may use a web designer to set-up the ecommerce store -its` design/look, etc... but once that is done, you can manage your online store without any knowledge of html or php.
    You do not need to upgrade (also at no charge)... or install the newer version of osCommerce or Zen Cart when they become available.  The older versions still work. Although a new version may have some advantages.
    If you do choose to install a modification to the code (a "contribution" or add-on) YOU do need to understand what that affects... to make sure the add-ons are compatable with the newer version. But compatability with what version is usually clearly stated for each add-on.
    ~Roland

    Thank you for the clarrification. But again, you have proven my point. Most folks do not understand "code". Most folks are "retailers" - not programmers.
    Most online retailers just simply want the shopping cart to work - and work smoothly.
    Why would I want to go with an "add-on" that may not work properly with all the other "add-ons" I`ve chosen - or with a custom script a "web designer (guru) has written - when with programs like AppleCart - the upgrades have been fully beta tested, prior to release?
    Free "open source" programs may not always be the best solution - unless you have no money.
    As my Granddaddy taught me - paying too much for something and paying too little are both poor business decisions.
    If I pay too much for something, I`ve lost the money.
    If I pay too little for something, I`ve lost the money plus the opportunities that I lost with having to replace what I bought with what I truly need.
    If I had spent the extra dollars to get what I truly needed in the first place - I would be ahead the game.
    But for those that don`t have the foresight to be properly capitalized when starting a business - then they may very well learn that lesson the hard way.blondieblue2007-5-13 0:35:36
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    You certainly can use Applecart or Xcart or any of the other ecommerce solutions available.
    I`m not saying you must use any specific program.. I was attempting to clarify that using osCommerce or Zen Cart does not limit a person`s ability to manage an online store. I don`t use the open source programs because they are free, I use them because they work.
    AppleCart may be the best thing since applesauce. I just think your implication that the open source programs are problematic is not entirely accurate. Sure, there are add-ons that may be "buggy"... those are typically created by someone to fullfill a specific need for the creator, then shared with the open source users.  Those add-ons are easily avoided because the open source community notes any problems. I would hope you would not choose an add-on that doesn`t work properly.
    The default or CRE loaded osCommerce or Zen Cart programs are, for most ecommerce needs, quite adequate and fully functional. As are other programs even Yahoo stores.
    When evaluating what ecommerce solution to choose (aside from any web designer`s involvement) you need to consider your current and future online and business needs and determine if the program can provide for those needs. Each program has strengths and weaknesses compared to others.
    ~Roland
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