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OpenCart vs the rest?



11:54 pm on Oct 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hello everyone,

I know it's a typical question, hopefully someone will share some experience.

Background: I've doing content-web for years, built my own PHP CM system from scratch (not very advanced though), used WordPress and PHPBb extensively, so I have some experience with open source web products.

Content-sites never made the big bucks for me, after many years, I am still very far from quiting my day job. Not that's its my goal, but just to put in perspective.

So now I will try ecommerce.

I and a partner have been working on it for 2 week-ends now. Installed OSCommerce, Zen-Cart and OpenCart.

I built sample catalogs in Zen-Cart and OpenCart, didn't try OSCommerce yet.

Result: I am disgusted with Zen-Cart and I love OpenCart. Why: because it's much easier to use.

So here is my question: is this a mistake? is Zen (and OSC) better than OpenCart? Is this only because I am total n00b in e-commerce, I don't yet realize that I need something more than OpenCart?

Any thoughts are welcome


6:59 pm on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No opinions on OpenCart vs Zen-Cart?


9:32 pm on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I also tried many of the solutions you mentioned. I found that after all the extra mods and coding needed to make them work how I wanted, that it was worth paying for a commercial cart solution that had everything I was looking for.


9:30 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is the first time I am trying ecommerce, and I am not convinced that the product we want to sell will actually sell online. So I am not ready to spend the money for a commercial cart. I know you have to spend money to make some, but I am not sure that paying for a cart will be a wise investment at this point.


11:49 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One thing I would do before you choose a cart is to pick out your payment processor and gateway. That way you can be sure it will work with whatever cart product you choose.


4:23 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hugene, should you probably go for a hosted cart before you are sure that your product sells?


4:32 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Our company customizes cart to integrate our application with the cart. We found that it is much simpler, faster and cheaper for our customers and our developers to work with a commercially supported cart that may cost about $350.00 and has the code available. The time and cost savings more then makes up for the initial cost.


8:29 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have been using joomlas virtuemart for a while and quite like it.

I note that esources.co.uk which has had mixed reviews is offering a shopping site including hosting etc for 99 per year which I have been thinking about although they never replied to my question about it which didnt inspire much confidence!


11:19 pm on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One thing I would do before you choose a cart is to pick out your payment processor and gateway.

Our idea is to stick with PayPal/Google Checkout for the beginning, so that we don't have to worry about the money handling part. Am I understand things right here, or am I in the dark?

Hugene, should you probably go for a hosted cart before you are sure that your product sells?

A part from the trouble of customizing OpenCart a bit and slapping a new template on it, I am not sure I see the disadvantages of OpenCart vs a hosted cart?


4:27 am on Nov 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If you are just looking at a trial store, I would just go with something like the Yahoo Store, the low end versions are pretty cheap, and relatively easy to use.

If the product flies, you can move up from there. In the far distant past we tried some of the X-cart and OSC type programs, and decided that it was more of a hassle than we wanted to deal with. We are currently having a custom site done in ASP.NET, but that can be pretty expensive for a startup or test venture.


11:27 am on Nov 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

i had the same question some days ago. after i lost some day with ecommerce and i dought a license of well known commercial card, with lots of add'ons

Marsh1 =100% wright

you buy what you pay for. the most expensive the better. just make a research first


5:41 pm on Nov 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The main answer you need is to "Will it sell?" Get that answer rolling asap, you can fiddle with carts during the test period.

If the answer is "Yes", you have a lot more intel to collect before you'll have a good spec for the cart you need to support your business. Don't make the mistake of getting the cart you like; get the cart you need.


9:24 pm on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi this is Daniel the creator of OpenCart.

OpenCart is probably the easiest to work with because I have structured it so well.

Zen Cart has messy coding. Same with Magento. Magento is probably the worst having over 21,000 files and very buggy.

Even by paying for commercial shopping does not mean they are going to be better.

Interpsires shopping cart is also a mess and does everything from the $_GLOBAL variable which is very bad coding practise.

[edited by: lorax at 12:03 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2009]


8:01 am on Nov 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I recently spent a few weeks looking at different OS shopping carts. I looked at OpenCart but was disappointed that they didn't have wish lists and a couple of other basic features I needed. Some of the other ones I looked at were all more or less missing one thing or another. ALL of them were horribly difficult to template without having PHP/smarty knowledge (which in my opinion is ridiculous - code should be separate from design and we should not need to learn a new language to customize the script). Magenta was the biggest nightmare for me. I got a headache just from installation and reading the "getting started" tutorial. Oscommerce, Agora and Zen cart striked out on first glance.

Finally, I settled on Presta Shop, which from the outside was the best 'looking' cart out there and had every single feature I wanted. Unfortunately, It took forever to make even the most basic customizations and the community was not helpful AT ALL. Since I'm a web design first and foremost, branding the store into my own was really the most important thing. After realizing I would be launching my site next year (at the rate I was going), I had to drop that cart too.

In the end, I went back to the cart I have used on clients sites for the last 4 years. A little Perl/CGI cart that looks like crap as-is, doesn't have many of the advanced features (like ajax, reward system, account system etc...) but can be customized into absolutely anything I want it to look like.

So I will be using "the little cart that could" for my store launch and use it until I have enough sales/profit to invest in a commercial cart.

My point I guess, is use the cart that best suits you for now (whether you're a store owner, programmer or web designer) and when the business starts doing well, invest in a commercial cart! :)


9:44 am on Dec 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Here are the cons for open cart from my experience.

1. The cart cannot operate with shared secure certificates
2. Will not work with jscripts off.
3. Will not work with cookies off.
4. Stabilize the license. Sometimes I am not sure if it's GPL or MIT or LGPL or what, the code is released with. Developers may avoid a cart if they suspect their work may end up as closed source to service their adversaries.

Also most of the database tables/structure came from osCommerce although there is no credit to them. I am sure Daniel put tremendous effort to bring up the open cart to where it stands today and I give him credit for that.

But Daniel should pay attention to these issues because they do increase the chances his framework will be used and deployed.

The user interface is very good though but obviously as the cart is relatively new not many modules are available. In any case, a cart should have the bare minimum of features and anything else can be added and customized to fit the store's requirements afterwards. You do not want to bloat the stock framework with various features. What is useful for one merchant might be confusing or inadequate for another.

As of zen-cart, it is a derivative of osCommerce MS2.2, bloated with features so I'll just reference osCommerce.

IMO osCommerce is still more suitable from all the carts I have seen as a web-engine. It has its problems, with the code being so old and has some security issues because of the global vars used. The processing is mixed with the template and some believe due to it, is hard to develop and customize the cart. The reality is, the osC cart can be customized with some effort and maximize the ROI for merchants, especially startup businesses. The plethora of modules available for osC makes the cart suitable for the majority of e-businesses.

In the end is up to the merchant or developer to go with a specific framework. If there is lack of programming knowledge you should check the community, documentation, addons and the learning curve/requirements before getting involved.


8:20 am on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Drupal / ubercart has been very reliable, plus it's a drupal module... I like it a lot!

tried magento, was very very slow, but supposedly that's better in the latest release.

tried opencart. great code, a very good start at a stand alone cart.

The drupal integration of ubercart sold me though. the full power of drupal, with a powerful shopping module. a little rough here and there, but with the number of stable, quality modules available for ubercart and drupal it just rocks.


8:21 am on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

forgot to subscribe....


7:07 am on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

no one else? I kill threads I guess.


7:47 am on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Although I've not setup an ecommerce store myself, I am aware of the number of options, and similar to a CMS it can be a daunting prospect trying to pick one. I know you said you don't really want to spend money, but have you considered using Shopify. I myself am considering setting something up with these ( though still trying to identify my niche ) and it looks like they offer great flexibility when it comes to styling. They seem to be PCI compliant etc. and they handle the SSL side of things. They also offer a month free which is definitly something I would look at. After everything I've looked at, I'm really thinking of giving these guys a go. Does anybody else here have any experience with them?

I actually think sometimes paying a little bit for support in the beginning is better then fumbling around with a free solution. At lot of the advice on here is about getting something up and working for you, then you optimize and take it in the direction you want to go.


6:02 pm on Jan 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's a bit late, but I'd concur with what the others here are saying. If you want to test the waters, just use Yahoo or something else that won't require any work from you. You also might look at FoxyCart (not a store, but will let you move product; if it sells, then take the next step).

From there, look at the features you need, and figure out what has the chops to do that.

I personally like Magento, but it is a special kind of hell to learn initially!

Once you do figure out Magento, you can blitz right through changes. And, you get a stock store that is tremendously feature-rich. Code is separated from design, and the plug-in system will let you make pretty intense feature changes without killing your upgrade path. You can swap out design templates, site-wide or on a per-section or per-page level. SEO optimization is as good as any other store out there (Joost is an adviser to the core dev team).

There's a ton of community support, and plenty of cheap/free feature plugins and design templates.

I'll say it again, though. It SUCKS to learn the first time. The other criticisms are mostly valid too. It can bog down (though optimization is possible)


4:31 pm on Feb 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'd just like to say that I have recently installed OpenCart with the view to using on a site, and am extremely impressed by what it can do. I have lost a lot of hours installing and testing a variety of ecommerce software and a lot of them have been extremely clunky. - I hated OSCommerce and couldn't see my client being able to use the admin section of that, but on that side OpenCart is fantastically clear and easy to use, and it does so much out of the box that I couldn't really ask for much more to added in terms of function.

The only bone I have to pick so far is the method of installing modules which seems clunky, and risky - given that one module may overwrite code needed for another unless you're careful to keep track of it all - and the fact that I will have to split my template up into all the various includes required! I prefer the Joomla method of using a template packaged with CSS etc, it seems so much neater, and makes it easier for designers/developers with little PHP experience to create personalised templates.

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