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sparkylabs

could some control be applied of the quality of mods ?

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I am looking through the addon's section trying to find a few features that really I'm surprised are not part of Oscommerce. I am having trouble though understanding some peoples cryptic instructions.

 

1 module has a description that apparently tells all, but if you download it you find more information on another page that needs modding.

 

Some mods have no installation instructions at all

 

One mod I found was just a mangled text file or that is what it looks like, before I can even make it out I need to apply my own "new lines" so that it becomes readable to me (the instructions that is !)

 

Please, I appreciate all the hard work some people put in but others are obviously not bothering so much. Would it be possible that some of the more basic features are included with the default installation ? I mean you have a currency conversion module but it never updates itself so in theory I have to log in every day and update it, only one of any item can be bought at a time I mean cmon these are basic surely ?

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Just to add, the idea of PHP I beleive was that we could "install" websites and not have to write code. many people who use oscommerce will not be versed in web languages, I have a basic understanding of HTML, but for that I'd be stumpped.

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well in what I installed about a month or two ago you can only buy multiples by editing your order after pressing the buy button, that will confuse customers.

 

How can I help on the addon's ? I can't write code, I can try and clear a few things up. Example, the cryptic plugin that needed "new lines" applying, I have cleaned it up, it is now readable. What should I do with it ? re upload it as my own ? surely this will just lead to an even longer list of addon's, as it is I'm having a lot of reading, the addon's need cleaning up at the original download pages.

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The "needing new lines added" is really just your computer being unable to read the newlines that are there. There are three different standards for newlines based on the operating system you use. Your text editor is apparently unable to read one of them. By changing that file you may make it easier to read for people with your crippled software to read and harder for others with different software to read. That's not really all that helpful.

 

If you want to help with the Addons section, go find all of those with partial fixes uploaded, merge the partials into the full package, then upload the updated full package. There's a pinned post in the Addons forum with instructions on how to package and upload. Most Addons will accept uploads from anyone.

 

Regards

Jim


See my profile for a list of my addons and ways to get support.

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I used windows notepad, it was not just newlines, there were spaces missing too (ie grammar at the most basic level) I had to separate code from file names and step numbers, or maybe those were supposed to be newline but really odd.

 

I'll take a look a the merge instructions and see if I can merge any of the ones I use but really with all due respect this is up to those who create the addon surely, can't old faulty addons be removed ? rather than the initial attempt and the update be available pages appart. Ad if are garbled addon is cleaned up and re-uploaded how does this stop people running into the older version that may not work ?

 

I don't want to be funny but editing php files is not something many will relish, it can cause problems hard to find again and some addons require quite a lot of modifications so yes back up but that is not a get out of jail clause for poor instructions, I have passed over many an addon because I'm not confident that the risk/time required to super document changes justifies the small added functionality.

 

I checked out the forum thread for one addon and guess what ? there was nothing on there but requests for a proper installation guide, and guess what ? none was ever provided.

Edited by sparkylabs

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What addon are you talking about particularly?

 

I will try posting links to all the ones i know to be out of date/faulty, first one above

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Ok, lets try to be specific

 

The addon you linked to ( #8213 ) seem to be ok:

 

- There are no issues with line breaks, both, installation instructions and the supplied file are correct

- The add-on is made for version 2.2, this is clear on the addons page. Installation instructions refer naturally to version 2.2 that had "column files". You probably try to install this on version 2.3. You need either try to find an add-on for version 2.3 or convert it your self. This is however not a fault of the addon

 

What is the one with the linebreaks issue?

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George, just about to post the same as you have. Decided not to double post the same information.


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The one with line break problems was another one.

 

Why can't addons be catalogued but version then ? why the endless list of "historical" addons and changes.

 

This http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7916 does not have any version information. Following the readme file to just replace the product page if I've not otherwise changed it results in a non working shop (except for the logo showing it becomes a blank page). The other file that is totally new, there is no explanation as to what to do with it.

 

http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8040 can anyone confirm that this is the complete version and that I don't need to "install" an older one first ?

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The one with line break problems was another one.

Which one?

 

Why can't addons be catalogued but version then ? why the endless list of "historical" addons and changes.

They are. You can search for add ons using the version drop down.

 

Moreover, the osCommerce version each addon is made for is mentioned just under the addon name

 

Concrete:

 

Addon 7916: This is also one for version 2.2, you can't use it on version 2.3. On the addon page it says: "Ajax Attribute Price change

for osCommerce Online Merchant v2.2"

 

Addon 8040 : This is for version 2.3 as stated and it is a complete package

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yep in part but still, it is clear that one has to be comfortable if not versed in coding to make anything useful of oscommerce, it would help if the whole project was more user friendly on the back end - think wordpress, I don't know if it is possible. In my searches for a wordpress plug in I found mostly rubbish and even one that crashed my site so decided to use oscommerce as it is standaline and really the only well featured shop application.

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In my searches for a wordpress plug in I found mostly rubbish and even one that crashed my site so decided to use oscommerce as it is standaline and really the only well featured shop application.

 

There are other fully loaded shops available with more features added as standard, so that comment is not strictly true.

 

The advantage with oscommerce is that it is free, has free support via these forums and has hundreds of add ons available, although as you have found out some of them are not too good and some are even totally rubbish. The downside is that you need to be able to read, copy and paste, have basic computer operation abilities and have a basic understanding of css, html, and php.

 

If you cant build your website as you want it there are plenty of people offering paid services to get what you want. Ecommerce is not cheap, and a budget should be allowed to create your store online, even if it is only your time.

 

As a footnote, what am i doing praising oscommerce, when I have to partially agree with the OP that oscommerce does need more features as standard just to keep pace with its competitors.


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my comments all relate to the arena of free stuff (on a par with oscommerce) so yes oscommerce is a pretty good competitor but as you say there should be more features built in as standard. Granted some knowledge is needed but we are having to do a lot of work using what can be unverified sources to get some of the more basic functions.

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@@burt

 

Just sent you a PM hope you do not mind.

 

If you could get attribute stock quantites added as well that would help so many people with stock and item control.


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Maybe price breaks are not popular because the existing plugin's are complicated to install and people just go to another package if they want price breaks. I don't want to be funny but it looks like oscommerce is not free/open source or whatever it is called. it works on a similar scheme to many dating websites: free to sign up, pay to use. I don't want to sound rube and appreciate everyone's efforts but it looks like for a novice you get a basic shop that is just workable and to do anything with it you have to pay for professional help. Again no offence intended, this is after all free software so I'm grateful for anything I get but I do not take to being mislead, I have already spent many hours trying to configure things and I'm not after a very complicated setup so soon between my time and what I may have to spend on someone else doing it for me I could have bought another software and done the job with no headache. Perhaps this is why oscommerce is not being taken seriously, I mean for the only decent free standalone shop software around I don't exactly see it used much.

 

I'd happily look at the option of putting a bit of money into a pot to pay someone to further develop the software to where it seems many of us what it. I am sure that putting in price breaks is not that difficult but it is even harder to edit all the files that need editing to add it later as a so called plugin. with every file modded the risk of it going wrong increases.

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@@sparkylabs

 

Be carefull what you say about oscommerce coming with addons already included. Some people get upset apparently.


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@@burt ok understood, yes it's free in that sense, so basically oscommerce is an incomplete project that is not really making progress because everyone is doing things their way and all that is made available is a basic shop. I first encountered oscommerce about 4 years ago, I can't really see that anything has changed since then.

 

@@14steve14 where does the line come between "with addons included" and "a decently functional system that does not need the other half of reasonable functionality added manually" making every "variant" unique and posing one hell of a problem in sorting problems out.

 

I use another open source program: KiCAD, it has a strong development and when people have threatened to go their own way and make a variant this has been objected to and a middle ground has been found for what is wanted to keep all happy. As a result there is one package only, with a strong support and development network and they stick to specific standards so they are all on the same page, the program has come on leaps and bounds, when problems arise the cause of fault is easily pinpointed as everyone is talking about the same peice of code.

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I'm not familar with KiCAD but it is unlikely to have the number of addons that oscommerce does. The problem comes in with deciding which are the ones to use and who will support them. For example, there are probably at least ten addons for controlling meta tags. Which one should be included in the core package? Eveyone has their preference but if one is included that someone doesn't care for, they will still have to install the one they want but then there might be a conflict in the code. Harold has his hands full with just getting the new core code released. If he has to install addons and manage them, we would probably never see a new version of oscommerce. Forks are against the rules for oscommerce too but if you have someone deciding what can be used, it severely diminishes the package.

 

I think a step in the right direction would be to change how addons are added. That section is a mess - always has been. But with 2.4, should it ever be released, not being compatible with existing addons, it would probably be a waste of time to try to fix that. But even if it isn't, only Harold can do that and he has never done it before so doing so now is very unlikely.

 

Also keep in mind that you are dealing with 10 year old code. Wanting it to behave like newer packages isn't possible without a lot of rewriting of the core code.

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My belief is that OScommerce would be a better product for store owners if it included certain other functions as standard.

 

Some form of easily changing the look and feel of the store, whether through templating or a list of store areas in admin and a way of altering the colour and size etc.,

A simple way to edit and add new pages to a website. Most stores would add information pages. Its not that hard to do as the current system is, but a simpler way would be better.

Image thumbnails the addon is simple and would help page load times and things like that, although not as important due to faster speeds. It is certainly quicker that adding both a large and small image. Most people recommend adding images to just one folder, so there is no real need to add images to different folders although some people would like this.

Headertags - although not as important as they were some search engines do still use them.

A wysiwyg editor in all the important input places. Store owners do not know HTML coding so this wiould help.

Better images management - the included multiple images was a move forward, but still could be better.

Cross sell module - all businesses want to sell more and this is a great way of achieving this.

Attribute quantities- stock control of items is important to any business especially those that sell the same products but in different sizes and colours.

Price breaks - not really important but can lead to higher sales.

Better newsletter capability - something that will throttle emails as most hosts limit the number of emails that can be sent. Store owners could then regularly send newsletters to all customers.

A quick way to update stock when orders come in - at the moment yu have to add an addon or open every page. It takes time when sore owners would prefer doing somethng else.If there was a simple way to control stock in both a website and bricks and morter store, then that would be even better.

Admin product reporting such as margin report, back orders and things like that which would make the store easier to run and the store owner can also be aware of their basic finances.

 

These extras are all currently available as addons, but some are badly coded or the addon selection is a mess where anybody has uploaded a supposedly new version, but only included the one page not a complete package. These extras do not add lots of code, and they would be benificial to most store owners. The developement team could also then ensure that these extras are coded correctly so usage and stores are not a mess after a store owner has finished installing them. Whilst the list is not the be all and and all, each of the items would be benifical to website placement, website use and backend use, which at the end of the day most store owners want.

 

With oscommerce moving towards having modules that can be added via admin, as with the boxes, they could all be turned on or off easily in the same way as say the shipping and payment modules.

 

Compared to its competitors oscommerce does have some good points like the ease in adding categories, one page to add all product information, specials and things like that so its not all bad. I am sure the newest version will be even better.

 

Rant over and I do agree with what Jack has said. It must be difficult for Harold seeing his code being used as the basis for other stores. OSC was once the product to have, its just a shame now that the competitors are getting away.


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It's very easy to over complicate what are simple things in life

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new core ? are you saying every .1 of a version is a new core (and that's why addon's are incompatible between versions ?), see there is your problem for a start, why do you need to keep rewriting the core ? I assume that this means that upgrading from one version to another is not possible, a grand heritage indeed and a lot of pain.

 

Why should there be any arguments over addon's ? if each group take an addon each (that should become part of the main project by default) they can discuss it, come to an agreement and make the most efficient solution, I mean cmon are you telling me that there are so many ways of having a price break for the end user that we need a choice ????? and what about the daily self update of currencies, that has no user interaction at all, don't tell me that can be a controversy over a function no one will ever interact with.

 

My point remains, there are so many so called ad on's that are so basic that they should be part of the main code, no arguing about what they look like, it's loke arguing over if a chair should have 4 legs or not.

 

Maybe it is time for a rewrite if oscommerce if it is indeed meant for the masses, but then that could be a bit rich coming from me as I can't even code other than a few html tags (that are mandatory to have any for of fomatting over product listings.....) so I have no idea of what I'm suggesting.

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