What's the easiest shopping cart app to set-up/configure/use?
October 30, 2006 2:23 PM   Subscribe

What's the best/easiest open-source e-commerce program?

I'm helping a buddy set up a web store, and I need a great open-source shopping cart app. And it needs to be reeeeeaaally easy to configure - gotta set this up quick, with a minimal amount of tweaking.

Several years ago, I set up one for another friend using OSCommerce. That felt like pulling teeth - poor documentation, lots of trial and error. I looked at Zen Cart at the time, and it looked a lot better, but I don't know how well those products have evolved. PHP is preferred, because of my familiarity with it.

Are there better choices out there? Looking for a cart app that's as easy to set up and run as Wordpress is for blogging. The guy's got between 50 and 100 items, pretty simple stuff - any thoughts? (He's already got credit card acceptance abilities, but again, easy will trump sophisticated in this instance.)
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I looked into CubeCart a year or so ago. I never actually used it, but as I was playing with it, it seemed good.
posted by o2b at 2:27 PM on October 30, 2006

Seconding CubeCart, I just completed a freelance gig using that app. Internally, it is easily the nicest written, cleanest PHP I've ever seen.

I haven't messed around too much with the templating, instead I hacked the hell out of it for my purposes. That was easy. Modding or making a proper skin may be much harder.

Adding items to the store is dead simple, and it knows a lot of gateways out of the box.
posted by Invoke at 2:39 PM on October 30, 2006

Thirding Cube Cart. Very nice templating, great documentation, and an excellent user base (CubeCart.org). The two issues I had (one PayPal, one client) received same day responses from the head developer, and the forums help a lot. This was also the project that finally got me started learning PHP.

Also, looking around on Google suggests that it will be very easy to integrate with WP.
posted by niles at 3:22 PM on October 30, 2006

This question gets asked a lot - it's worth checking the archives for other threads.

I've got a bunch of windows open on a CubeCart project right now. I examined OS Commerce/ZenCart, and decided there was just too much potential grief there (and I'm a full-time PHP developer). CubeCart is lightweight, simpler. cleaner and laid out more logically. It's not as easy as WordPress, but it's closer than most. Any issues I have with it are stylistic rather than systemic.

Some random problems I've hit with CubeCart:

The templating system is minimal. If a {variable} wasn't already available to that particular template, you're going to have to modify code outside the templates to pull it in. I'm guessing this is a feature, not a bug.

If there's documentation out there, I can't find it. Didn't need it, though.

A bug in recent (4.xx and 5.xx) PHP builds causes it to attempt to send malformed email headers under Windows. This is a problem with PHP, not CubeCart, but I wasted an hour on it, so I mention it here.

If you don't have the mysql extension loaded (I had mysqli only) it fails silently on install.

There are a couple of mods to be made if using MySQL 5 - they're in the forums. It appears to handle PHP 5 fine.

Upgrading, once you've modified code, is a pain. The developers modify version numbers in every file before releasing a new version, so every file appears changed even if it's just one line. Keep your own SVN tree, WinMerge is your friend, and don't set your text editor to automatically strip superfluous whitespace - you'll get false positives everywhere if you strip it. Small thing, but irritating.
posted by Leon at 4:24 PM on October 30, 2006

"CubeCart is not open source software and may not be redistributed."
posted by Manjusri at 4:57 PM on October 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Manjusri: That'll teach us not to read the question :)

OP: If you're using "Open Source" as a synonym for "Free", CubeCart works. Buying a licence gives you the right to remove the copyright and "Powered by CubeCart" notices from the HTML, but the non-licensed version is the same code, and just as modifiable.
posted by Leon at 1:30 AM on October 31, 2006

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