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Supporting osC


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#1   Dan Cole

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 20:02

A recent post from burt about testing v2.3.3 to identify and report bugs to help with the release of v2.4, got me thinking about what I could do to support the community...to give back for what osC has given me. I've been running on osC for a couple years now and have a heavily modified version of 2.2 so providing any meaningful feedback on 2.3.3 is out of the question but I did wonder why I hadn't become a community sponsor. That's easy to do...you can sign up using the Sponsorships tab above, so I did that. If you've been using osC for awhile like I have, you might want to do that too.

I also started thinking about the problems I'm going to have upgrading to versions of 2.3 and beyond because of my heavily modified store, mostly modified by the many community contributions I installed over the last couple of years. Not only did that bring to mind the long list of contributions I installed but it also brought to mind the time it took to install all of them and the problems I had when a contribution would conflict with others. That got me wondering if there was a better way to handle contributions so new users might have an easier time of it and those upgrading might get a bit of a leg up on the update process.

I've read posts in the past where various methods to achieve this had been suggested but nothing seems to have come of it. I also wondered why I hadn't seen add-on packages where the most popular or difficult to install contributions where packaged up as an add-on. Add-on packages that contained say the 5 most difficult and popular contributions that where packaged up as a fairly simple replace these files type add-on. You could do the same for the top 10, 15 or whatever number of contributions you wanted to put together. New users or those upgrading could then pick the package that would get them closest to where they want to be and then go from there.

It would take a bit of work to set this up and maintain it but perhaps it would be helpful to new users and those upgrading. Anyone know if this has been tried in the past? Is it a worthwhile idea? Please let me know what you think?

Dan

#2   FWR Media

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 20:13

Hi Dan

Once a boatload of changes are made to osCommerce core files it essentially becomes a fork as opposed to an "addon".

osCommerce is often forked .. there are loads of "loaded" versions out there on the web .. some people choose to use them .. some choose to load their own addons individually and stick to the solid core base code.

#3   Dan Cole

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 01:22

Once a boatload of changes are made to osCommerce core files it essentially becomes a fork as opposed to an "addon".

osCommerce is often forked .. there are loads of "loaded" versions out there on the web .. some people choose to use them .. some choose to load their own addons individually and stick to the solid core base code.

Hi Rob...I wasn't really thinking of changing the core base code so much as packaging up some of the existing add-ons. Think of it as a larger, combined add-on. If that is a fork I guess I created a big one. It just struck me that creating combined add-ons or packaged add-ons might be a bit more efficient and maybe more trouble free then everyone installing each and every contribution they wanted on their own and creating many of the problems that seem to be addressed over and over again.

To me one of the greatest advantages of osC is its huge number of contributions but the process of handling them strikes me as also being one of its greatest liabilities. It is easy to feel like a programmer or hack rather than a shop owner. The flexibility is great but there has got to be a better way of handling the contributions. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm whining. That is not my intention...I like osC. /thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />

Dan

#4   Jack_mcs

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 02:57

I don't think it would be considered a fork as long as all of the addons were similar in nature. For example, if I placed all of the SEO addons I support into one master SEO contribution, that would probably be OK (a moderator should be asked first). But when you put many different disjointed contributions in a package it may be a problem. This has been tried before, quite a few times actually. I know at least one was removed as a fork but I don't think they all were.

But that really isn't the main concern that I can see. Assuming you were allowed to do it, who would manage it? If you left it open for anyone to edit, it would quickly become a mess like so many of the contributions are. If you managed it yourself, it would become a full time job to keep it updated, assuming the contributions you used are popular ones.

#5   knifeman

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 13:35

I recently uploaded a store with the following addons already installed:

simple admin session length
admin toolbar
consolidate login
enhanced contact us
easy populate
file safe
Header tags
Info pages unlimited
master password
quantity price breaks
remove images
security pro
SEO URL
KISS Thumbnailer
whos online
accordion categories
order num booster.
Web backup


Due to the size it had to be approved. It has been awhile since I uploaded it and it has not been approved. So I guess the implementation is not as easy as you and I might think.

Tim

#6 ONLINE   burt

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 13:38

Obviously a fork, and that is unwelcome.

Although you might think a "loaded" version is helpful, tell us who is going to support it's users?
And where that support is likely to happen? This forum? no thanks!

Barely anyone supports the core osCommerce; 12 sponsors and as many again answering questions regularly.



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#7 ONLINE   burt

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 14:03

@Dan Cole - well done and thank you for supporting osC by becoming a sponsor.

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#8   knifeman

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 14:04

Obviously a fork, and that is unwelcome.


.

Sorry. I was just trying to give back to the community in some way.

Tim

#9   14steve14

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 14:27

I just think osc would be so much better if it came with most of the common addons already included. The core team could then update it all, with the help of this community. All the coding would work together, and there would be very little need for other adddons, which as jack has mentioned get messed up by others thinking they know what they are doing. I am sure that it would not take long to make these extra modules active via admin, If the forks of oscommerce can do it, why not oscommerce. From a novice shop owner, it would be so much better. The people it would affect are those that make money by adding these addons to the base store setup. They would of course still be able to build their own modules
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#10   FWR Media

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 14:39

@14steve14

Harald was talking of more modularity in version 2.4.

osCommerce was intended to be a solid working base that others could extend via add ons .. unfortunately the original design ( which was years ago remember ) was not modular and was tightly coupled which makes most addons a complex business, and those complex addons make upgrading a complex business.

It is possible to make addons that are far less intrusive on the core code ( like my KISS addons ) but it takes a bit of thought and planning.

Edited by FWR Media, 23 August 2012 - 14:40.


#11 ONLINE   burt

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 14:50

Have any of you ever worked with oscmax (which is pretty much osCommerce with a load of addons).
It is the absolute worst cart to work on, packed to gills with addons that are ill thought out and ill implemented.

You really want that?

I am not saying that a GOOD loaded version of osCommerce would be unwelcome, just that it would not be welcome in this forum.

If any of you want to go ahead and do it, all you need to do is fork github, add in all the crappy contributions you want, start up your own forum and so on. If you did that, just think how easy it would be to transfer shopowners from any of the osCommerce derivatives (or even osCommerce) to your own new cart system. Who's going to volunteer to do that? <looks around for anyone raising their hand>

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#12   knifeman

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 15:22

Have any of you ever worked with oscmax (which is pretty much osCommerce with a load of addons).
It is the absolute worst cart to work on, packed to gills with addons that are ill thought out and ill implemented.

You really want that?




Nope!

just that it would not be welcome in this forum.


Got it. I won't upload one again. Actually, I already got that hint when it was not approved. I posted here to let the OP know the idea would not fly.

transfer shopowners from any of the osCommerce derivatives (or even osCommerce) to your own new cart system


Don't want that either. I was just trying to give back.

#13   14steve14

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 17:05

Have any of you ever worked with oscmax (which is pretty much osCommerce with a load of addons).
It is the absolute worst cart to work on, packed to gills with addons that are ill thought out and ill implemented.

You really want that?.


Oscmax may be rubbish, but a good version of oscommerce would be welcome by many, especially those store owners who do not know php, mysql, html, css, and many more things that are required to upgrade osc, and are trying to start a store with little or no funds for getting a site working. The developers of osc could ensure that all the coding was correct and everything worked. Many people within this forum who offer coding services have a loaded version of oscommerce for sale, so the idea must be a good one.
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#14 ONLINE   burt

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 17:25

"a good version of oscommerce would be welcome by many"

I agree.

"trying to start a store with little or no funds for getting a site working"

These people need to realise they are running a business, and business is commercial. Reality check, the time of "free" is over, and has been for many years.

Here's a question; why should the "developers of osc" have to deal with a bunch of addons written by people who are not coders?

99% of the addons are crappy coded and that includes some that are supposedly written by and supported by "professionals".

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#15   bruyndoncx

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 17:50

Many people within this forum who offer coding services have a loaded version of oscommerce for sale, so the idea must be a good one.

The key phrase here is "for sale" - the more complex, the more likely to have bugs, to properly support a loaded version takes time and relentless effort, not something a group of volunteers and enthousiasts can do in between gigs.
Don't just sit there - contribute to the responsive bootstrap community effort !
http://forums.oscomm...iew__getnewpost


Hava a nice day !
Carine Bruyndoncx


Seen anything good relevant on the net about responsive design for ecommerce ?
You might as well post it in my responsive liive shop review thread .

#16   Dan Cole

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 18:24

Wow...I seem to have hit a sour note here. When it comes to whether it would be a fork or a combined add-on I really don't understand the distinction nor do I understand why we should care. Maybe someone could clarify.

All I was thinking is that it might be helpful if we had some of the contributions packaged up for new users and those packages might also be helpful in upgrading etc, as a good starting point. I was also thinking that support for the combined contribution might be simplier then what happens now since it would involve replacing files and perhaps running an mySQL query at most. Generaly the support issues that I see seem to involve problems that people are having adding the code itself to the various files, forgetting to make some of the changes and conflicts between contributions etc.

As for who would do this, we would need a few volunteers and maybe some help from those who created the contributions. I would certainly be willing to help where I can. I don't really see this as being a big issue. Based on the comments so far though, the bigger issue might be whether the approach would be welcomed here.

Dan

#17   Dan Cole

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 18:27

@Dan Cole - well done and thank you for supporting osC by becoming a sponsor.


It is all your fault. /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />

Dan

#18 ONLINE   burt

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 18:32

It is all your fault. /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />

Dan


I get blamed for a lot of things /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

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#19 ONLINE   burt

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 18:39

As for who would do this, we would need a few volunteers


There are not enough volunteers helping with "normal" oscommerce, I think trying to find people to work on a fork (or a comobined addon) would be difficult.

Let's say you roll up 15 contributions. Who is then responsible for providing support? What happens when the author of one of the addons updates. Who updates the mega addon? What happens if the author does not want his addon rolled up into a "mega addon". One coder may possibly not want his/her work to be paired with another coders work. How do you get around that without offending one or both of the coders? Do you just say it's GPL so tough on you Mr Coder. You could, but you would then possibly be alienating the people you need for support.

The point is, and I'll quote;

to properly support a loaded version takes time and relentless effort, not something a group of volunteers and enthousiasts can do in between gigs.


This is also true for any addon, let alone a "mega addon".

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#20 ONLINE   joli1811

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 20:04

Hi,

what about just a new few hundred categories/sub categories with links to the addons

John

Edited by joli1811, 23 August 2012 - 20:05.