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The use of Magento for a live website and alternatives
 
Lone
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First of all I must state that this eCommerce system is amazing and we have fallen in love with it here at work. We spent a few hours today getting it running on our development server and have just had endless ‘wows’, dropped jaws and smiles whilst going through the whole administration side.

This eCommerce solution is nothing short of being brilliant and has caused us to decide to stop production of our own eCommerce system (which is very very limited compared to Magento) as we now want to start developing modules towards and modifying Magento. I see great potential for this system as we were just sick of osCommerce which caused us to try and develop our own solution for our clients.

However we face a big dilema at the moment as a result as we have a client who we need to get into an eCommerce system and I see no point in putting any more time into our own cart as when Magento hits it final release its going to be 500 times better then whatever we end up producing.

I must admit it is very tempting to place them into the current release as their requirements are very simple (4 categories deep worth of products with single images, one language, one store, no user groups and they work out the freight and payment after the order is sent) but I see many recommendations on here not to do this based on stability. One maybe concern is of course the template being made useless if there are major upgrades and also if there are any major db changes that make products redundant.

So I am looking at suggestions from everyone on here on what they think we should do in the meantime - for any future clients we will wait till the final release before any more eCommerce work is done but my concern is this current customer.

Do we attempt to be one of the first live stores (remembering that it is only using simple features and no payment gateways or shipping calculation) or do we go for some paid solution for in the meantime and if so can anyone suggest any that would be worth looking into that are PHP based?

Thanks and I also hope to be able to speak a bit closer with any of the developers towards us being able to contribute modules etc. down the track.

 
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Tweakmag
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Hi there.. it is simple - you deliver to your client what you promised you would before magento was around. I assumed you quoted / offered your client a solution you could provide. Magento is not ready to go live - and you should certainly not be passing it onto your client. Of course, if you feel comfortable with keeping up to date with the ongoing releases - then your call.

Just my 2c.
A.

 
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Maff
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What, then, if I, as a web designer, want to set up my own store. Is it still strongly advised against? I am not offering a client anything so I have no commitments to them. Any changes to the DB I would have to sort myself etc. What would be reasons against this?

 
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Lone
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Ajazza - 04 October 2007 09:46 PM

Hi there.. it is simple - you deliver to your client what you promised you would before magento was around. I assumed you quoted / offered your client a solution you could provide. Magento is not ready to go live - and you should certainly not be passing it onto your client. Of course, if you feel comfortable with keeping up to date with the ongoing releases - then your call.

Thanks Ajazza for your reply, I guess the true dilema I am facing is the fact that I don’t want us going and spending more hours developing our cart when I know that in a few months (or so) time there will be this perfect solution (Magento) available that we would not even try and compete with and would prefer to use it and give back to the community with support and advice on it.

We can still go and finish where we are at with ours and give the client what we have quoted or use another solution which will be just as good (hence the paid question). But from an economic point of view of the business if we were to spend more time in developing our cart only for this one client (the goal was for many more but since seeing Magento I want to use it) it just would be better for us to use paid solution and modify it to suit - we are actually looking at cubecart for the meantime now.

One way I kind of wish I never stumbled across Magento (in a good way) because now I want much more from it then it can provide for now. My decision is made to not use it for this client but I truly cannot wait until it is final. I spent a few more hours today trying to find another (paid) solution and not one got even close! Magento is truly going to be revolutionary!

Also in case people stumble over this thread looking for other solutions for in the meantime I might give a heads up on two I came across that I wont go ahead for different reasons.

1. http://www.kryptronic.com/
Looked all good until I looked at source code for their own website and found their ‘hidden’ content to trick search engines - very poor for a business to do especially when the hidden content contains features they dont have eg. SEF URLs

2. http://www.ashopcommerce.com/
Looked great until I went to admin demo and had the error “Internet Explorer 5.5 or later versions required.” rasberry
Well that and the fact that it was ASP based which I didnt realise at first!

But as said CubeCart is looking promising for us in the interim, easily modified, php based, knows what xhtml and web standards are. Ill keep an update on here on how it goes.

But we will still be waiting for Magento to mature smile

 
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sticky
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2 more for consideration… smile

http://tradingeye.com/
Tradingeye is a web standards compliant shopping cart & CMS built from the ground up with web accessibility and SEO in mind.

http://jshop.co.uk/
Shop Server is a PHP and mySQL driven e-commerce system that can provide everything from customer accounts to gift certificates, from stock control to advanced pricing options, from reports and statistics to order management and dispatch tracking. The system is fully template driven and includes a web-based administration system that looks and behaves more like an application.

 
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iblastoff
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whats with the abrasive lavishing of magento and downplaying of your own product in your tone..yes magento is seemingly great thus far but it makes you and your web firm sound rather limited and dubious yes?

magento offers a LOT out of the box. so much in fact that i personally think its rather sluggish in performance (this is acceptable in pre-beta periods of course since its not meant to run live yet). i’m sure you could hack out some features you don’t need, but i would definitely not want a client to be using magento in its current state.

also have you tried logging into magento with ie 5.5? it definitely has issues there as well. not that im complaining..anyone still using ie 5.5 is clearly not looking to shop or provide shop on the web.

tradingeye.com looks rather promising! too bad its not open-source or i’d give it a shot asap. i like how its output is clean and assumes nothing. this way, it forces web dev’s to actually design it. from where magento stands now, i think its safe to assume that a lot of people are just going to be using the default theme or a slightly altered version of it (which usually means its going to look awful. as you may have seen from the ‘showoff’ forum area thus far). one issue i have with magento (especially from its initial release where it threw in a ton of unnecessary product demo images/etc/etc) was that it tried to wow you with way too much *stuff* thrown into it. that being said, i’m definitely looking forward to seeing it in action once its production-ready (unless a similar tradingeye.com-like system is released open-source!).

 
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Lone
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Sticky: Thanks heaps for those suggestions, Ill have a look into them later today.

iblastoff: I wouldn’t say that we are limited/dubious, it’s just that eCommerce shopping carts is something that we don’t want to aim the business towards, we’re more into custom solutions, still things like ecommerce payments involved in them (only as a part) at times but not to the extent of full on shopping cart.

The market is far too over saturated in my opinion but theres one thing for certain it needs good wakeup call / stir up and I think Magento will achieve this without a doubt.

I wouldn’t downplay our own work, Im very proud of what we do and have achieved but I am one for believing in not re-inventing the wheel, I prefer to focus the business towards other ‘newer’ fields and not try and be a part of one that already has many firms involved in and now another that I just know will be a success.

It is very interesting to see you speak about the speeds of Magento as well because we found it to be a bit sluggish for our likings at times as well, especially for running on our dev server. But still is in beta so understand many more tweaks to come.

I think the IE5.5 issue is not to worry about, infact I really think that we are starting to come to a point whereby full on administration system like Magento’s are safe to set minimum browser requirements (say IE6, Firefox 2.0) - theres not many reasons these days why people can’t upgrade their browser as they obviously have internet access to do so. As developers we’re better off spending more time developing nice features for current browsers then trying to ‘fix’ things for the 1% minority. Obviously front-end designs need to try and cater for all but I think back-ends shouldn’t need to worry so much.

 
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lotusseedsD
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Lone - 04 October 2007 08:34 PM

However we face a big dilema at the moment as a result as we have a client who we need to get into an eCommerce system and I see no point in putting any more time into our own cart as when Magento hits it final release its going to be 500 times better then whatever we end up producing.

Do we attempt to be one of the first live stores (remembering that it is only using simple features and no payment gateways or shipping calculation) or do we go for some paid solution for in the meantime and if so can anyone suggest any that would be worth looking into that are PHP based?

I feel your pain, my client also wanted a store up and running before December. It will be nice too if I can get him writes a full payment cheque for me before December, but I decided, for my own’s good and for his as well, it’s better he postpones his desired site launching date, as I can see the great longterm value Magento offers.

So in my proposal I recommended three carts: 1) x-cart; 2) foxycart and 3) magento. I explained the cons and pros and the risk it may have with Magento, despite that it’s my favoirate.  However Foxycart actually is my choice for this client as far as storefront and shopping cart concerned; foxy is not an eCommerce CMS, it needs to integrate to a CMS (because client wanted to add/edit products himself), and I have a wonderful choice, Modx CMS. But I can clearly see Magento is a better suit for my client, because, he or his staff will be maintaining and updating products and catalog, therefor a solid, intuitive, decent UI in admin is very important. And I think Magento does a decent job with its admin.

Compare with Magento, there isn’t so much learning curve to make a store in Modx + foxy, but to create a nice template in the admin that many features can easily be called by a few clicks, and is as good as Magento offers is quite a challenge to me.

p/s. I really love Foxycart (US$15/m) checkout feature.  If it’s not patented, I think it will be nice to adapt that idea to Magento smile

 
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Lone
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I have looked into the FoxyCart avenue as well, it isn’t suitable for this client (their whole site is based around the store) but I know of some future ones that it will be perfect for where the shop is an ‘extra’ for the website.

The guys at FoxyCart are great to deal with as well, I got a demo account and then got a personal email from one of the guys there telling me to let him know how it goes and if we are able to assist with their localisation to Australia.

I think that they have a great concept and will go well and won’t be affected by Magento as it is a different audience/niche that they are targeting, as for the other shopping carts - watchout!

 
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nineveh
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Having spent thousands of dollars (worth of time) checking out every shopping cart demo I could get my hands on, I can only recommend as an alternative Viart Shop. It is has integrated CMS and Shopping Cart solution. Customization is CSS & HTML with very little code to wade through. Has many powerful features that few shopping carts out there has.

 
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typemismatch
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Lone: I’m in “exactly” the same place as you - I have a huge system with a dozen sites on it but it isn’t as slick as Magento and I’m tired of trying to keep up with the industry. I have a client who is going live in a month and I’m using Magento, I’m just going for it - that’s the quickest way to figure out what doesn’t work. Its all open, hopefully I can fix something that doesn’t work. I also don’t want to invest more time in my existing system knowing I’m moving away from that platform.

-c

 
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macmukka
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typemismatch, you really going to go for it?

I have the same problem that everyone is talking about. I have a site that needs to go live soon-ish but I am holding off trying to decide my direction.

I have thought about MODx + Foxy - and yes they are great guys at Foxy, very very helpful.

tradingeye is also on the radar and I have had excellent help from them pre-sale… still not sure though. I have been told v6 of tradingeye is due out next year, will have ajax features and that they will be offering an upgrade path…

I am guessing if you asked for advice here as to whether to put out a live site with currnet Magento you’d probably get told to hang on - but is this because the structure/core of Magento is going to change or because of security concerns - perhaps some of both? Do people have both concerns?

If you do decide to go ahead - let us know your experiences & a url…

best -

 
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typemismatch
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macmukka: Hey - yes I am going ahead and I will have the url to show the site off hopefully in another week. I think its looking great and I’ve really been able to bend the design to my needs and show that anything is possible, even have a nice side vertical menu smile

My backup plan is to keep the site on my old system which still works great so if it really got ugly I’d have a way out! I will post a new thread with all the details as soon as its ready.

Craig

 
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macmukka
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Let us know Craig - best of luck

Incidentally in the short-term I have decided to opt for tradingeye, so if anyone wants some feedback/thoughts I’d be happy to let you know. As I progress I should be able to compare Magento & TE.

 
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bobh
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macmukka - 10 October 2007 06:57 AM

Let us know Craig - best of luck

Incidentally in the short-term I have decided to opt for tradingeye, so if anyone wants some feedback/thoughts I’d be happy to let you know. As I progress I should be able to compare Magento & TE.

I am needing something temp till magento is ready for live. Please let me know how it is going please.

 
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macmukka
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sure bobh, I am going to start this afternoon, so please bug me if you dont hear back from me. Send me a PM if I forget! Thanks

 
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