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Fusion616

OSCommerce appears to be totally outdated

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Hi burt, I wouldn't want to use Magento - besides being much harder to work with it is very expensive in terms of server requirements, something that oscommerce should be proud of achieving.

 

My point (and unfortunately I'm not equipped to help fix this) is that hacks to the core software make updating often hard and dangerous. Thanks to the step by step upgrade docs it's do-able, but (again in a perfect world) hacks to core components would not be allowed.

 

As for the average shop owner, I can't imagine they have a very easy time staying up-to-date, and the biggest problem here is that this leads to the overall perceived security of the product. If you have a lot of out of date installations, you have a lot of hacked sites, you acquire a bad reputation.

 

Thanks,

jim

 

See it the other way around , if the 1 click install is based on an specific version , the change that the add-on will stop working grows.

If the person who made the add-on not updates the add-on to the current core releases , you are screwed.

 

 

Now tell me... what scenario you prefer?

 

 

But i totally can't agree with this statement:

 

If you have a lot of out of date installations, you have a lot of hacked sites, you acquire a bad reputation.

 

We talk about oscommerce and whatever other e-commerce script.

Inside your oscommerce panel is a notification whenever your version seems out dated.Also it is a fact that you can see oscommerce news in the admin panel.

So whenever there is a security breach , you will be notified of that.

 

That there are developers who take out oscommerce's reference , (because they do not want that the customer knows they using a oscommerce), and sooner or later be hacked , because never where aware that there are new versions or security updates.

That gives bad reputation... yes.

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As for the average shop owner, I can't imagine they have a very easy time staying up-to-date, and the biggest problem here is that this leads to the overall perceived security of the product. If you have a lot of out of date installations, you have a lot of hacked sites, you acquire a bad reputation.

 

I can't agree with this, at all.

 

If the shopowners installation is out of date, the shopowner has a hacked site, the shopowner gains a bad reputation. That shopowner has/had full access to source code, access to this forum for asking questions, access to amateur coders, access to support tickets, access to professional developers, access to other software, access to other blogs and sites and so on and on and on.

 

How can the shopowners lack of action (in keeping the code updated) be blamed on the software being used, that's a total kop-out.


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On the contrary, I must agree that being difficult to install add-ons against a fresh base --> failure to do updates --> more likely to be hacked --> osC gets a bad reputation. Remember, the vast majority of osC users are not Computer Scientists. They're not interested in running osC as a project in and of itself -- they want a tool to help them with their business. The more "one button" that tool is, the less they have to think about coding and PHP and such, the better the chance that they'll stay up to date. That's why Wordpress, Magento, etc. are so popular.

 

That said, there is an inherent tension between tremendous flexibility and simplicity in maintenance ("one button" stuff). You can't simply drop in a new chunk of code and expect it to function. You have to have an existing hook that it can attach to. If one is already provided, great -- the new code can automatically work by inserting itself into a chain of attachments. For example, for SEO, you could have all output of URLs pass through a single routine which by default does nothing to the URL, but can have a hook for an SEO module to attach that modifies the URL (sort of the .htaccess code in reverse). Great. But what if no one anticipated this being done, and no hook was provided? Then the new code has to be merged into the existing code by editing core modules, as osC does today. It's usually not a problem for single add-ons, but once you start piling multiple add-on changes to the same place, it can get very tricky. A work still in progress...

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1-click install plugins is a great concept, but they do also present issues.

 

Such systems tend to be complex, so most DIY tinkers would not be able to do anything themselves.

 

When there are conflicts between "plugins", fixing that usually gets very complex.

 

AS the number of plugins added increases, the systems total resource usage usually also steeply increases too. ie. will not run satisfactorily on shared hosting.

 

As Henry mentioned, they usually need to have active support/development or they will stop working/break the shop when you upgrade the core.

 

The added complexity of plugins and their support will as it has for most systems offering such functionality lead to that just a few will be free, there will also probably be some lite versions for free, but most will be commercial with running support/update subscriptions.

 

Ie. you buy a plugin you get 6 months support/updates included in the price, but after that you are on your own.

 

Then the core software is updated after 8 months and your purchased plugin does not work with the new version, what happens then?

 

Depending on the provider.

 

1. You will have to buy it all over again.

 

or

 

2. You will have to pay an upgrade fee.

 

or

 

3. You have to sign-up for a running subscriptions to get access to updates (and support)

 

 

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That said, there is an inherent tension between tremendous flexibility and simplicity in maintenance ("one button" stuff). You can't simply drop in a new chunk of code and expect it to function. You have to have an existing hook that it can attach to. If one is already provided, great -- the new code can automatically work by inserting itself into a chain of attachments. For example, for SEO, you could have all output of URLs pass through a single routine which by default does nothing to the URL, but can have a hook for an SEO module to attach that modifies the URL (sort of the .htaccess code in reverse). Great. But what if no one anticipated this being done, and no hook was provided? Then the new code has to be merged into the existing code by editing core modules, as osC does today. It's usually not a problem for single add-ons, but once you start piling multiple add-on changes to the same place, it can get very tricky. A work still in progress...

 

Excellent post as usual Phil...somewhere in the back of my head I seem to recall that you have some involvement in the Simple Machine Forums so wonder if you know how SMF handles their add-ons? I haven't looked at it closely but it is almost as if they do some sort of managed search and replace on the core code to install the required modules and updates. I installed that software a few years back and I must say it's pretty simple to maintain and update...simple one click stuff...there are probably some rigid standards that modules are written to and some sort of validation process before an add-on is approved but after that it seems to be a click to install type process.

 

I'm surprised that there isn't more discussion on whether it's possible to come up a viable way to simplify the whole process of dealing with add-ons and updates. As you quite rightly point out...

 

..the vast majority of osC users are not Computer Scientists. They're not interested in running osC as a project in and of itself -- they want a tool to help them with their business. The more "one button" that tool is, the less they have to think about coding and PHP and such, the better the chance that they'll stay up to date. That's why Wordpress, Magento, etc. are so popular.

 

I know this is a bit of dogs a breakfast but if we could figure out a viable way to do this osC could be so much more. Perhaps it has been kicked around so much over the years that folks are just tired of it and would rather explain why it can't be done rather than working out how to get it done. If so it's too bad, I would love to see osC be all that it can be and I'm afraid if we can't sort this out it never will be. For me that would be a real shame.

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What I remember of SMF (I'm no longer involved with them) is that their "mod" is the same as an osC "add-on" -- find a specific place in the file and delete/add lines. They have the same problems as osC with add-on problems, incompatibilities, trash left behind on an uninstall, etc. I think with their most recent releases they've started doing something with hooks, but I don't know how it works. Point-to-point upgrades are made available as mods (add-ons), so usually mod installations can be preserved. All in all, I think it's architecturally very similar to osC. It's community-developed mods, but there does seem to be a fairly rigorous vetting process.

 

Does anyone want to start up a new thread or section on how other products (free or paid) handle add-ons and upgrades? As plug-ins, core code edits, or whatever; that we could learn from and apply to a future version of osC. There seem to be a number of ways to do this, so I would assume that each has its advantages and disadvantages. Adopting almost anything would mean restructuring osC and forcing a rewrite of existing add-ons, so it's not something to be taken lightly!

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If all else fails, every shopowner has the ability to find a good coder to do any upgrades for them. I can't see why there is a resistance to business owners spending money to support their own business - that is how businesses work. That needs to be addressed in the mindset of osCommerce users.

 

As for a pointy clicky install, not going to happen in the 2.x series of osCommerce (though certain parts are clicky pointy).

3.x will address this more fully.

 

I suggest you all read the post here, and digest it fully...then reply here to tell us if you really want to have a system like that, where you can do nothing (unless you are a php developer) and instead have to pay (relatively big) money to do even the most simple non-pointy-clicky thing, and have to pay (over the top) charges for hosting... the answer is "yes" or "no". No answers sitting on the fence, and no answers saying "yes, but I also want to be able to do my own thing".

 

The choice is clear if you are Joe Average Shopowner;

 

1. You want a pointy clicky experience, and pay large money for pointy clicky modules

or

2. You dont want a pointy clicky experience, and bumble along with free addons

 

Which is it? 1 or 2 ? Please do reply as this will help with future plans for oscommerce.


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@@burt

 

i think it is better to first discuss essentials.

Things that should already be in the core.

It will eventual lead into a better 1-click.

I said it once, identification of the elements is the most important, whenever can identify a price, an image a product name , a button's address .... you are able to control and manipulate each individual component.

 

yes problems can be there when have 2 different plugins that try to handle for example the price of a product.

But before any decision is made , it is best to investigate the competitors method's.

 

A dutch saying : beter goed gejat dan slecht bedacht.

What mean: Better good stolen, then bad made.

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I'll await answers to the question I posed;

 

If the answer to that is "no", then we do one thing.

If the answer to that is "yes" then we do something else.

 

Either way, it's important to know what the end user wants (and realises how much that will cost in terms of time and money) so that we know where to go in the code ... without that data, your post is just more words...


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That question is obsolete, you already now the answer to that.

You can not ask that "in here" and base any decision from the results in this topic.

Some decisions must be made without customers vote.

 

To me it look more as: ah well you wanted it, now you get it... do not blame me if it fails.

 

If you really want to have a serious result based on what the user wants, make it front page news so it catch the eye.

But again, look around you, read the posts ( i am sure you aware of all the discussions about it),look at the competitors and make the decision yourself.

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I'm very happy to make decisions myself ... but would rather have a point of view from shopowners unafraid to say "this" or "that".

 

It's good data from shopowners that create good paths forward. It's not a vote, it is a collection of data.

 

Restate the question;

 

The choice is clear if you are Joe Average Shopowner;

 

1. You want a pointy clicky experience, and pay large money for pointy clicky modules

or

2. You dont want a pointy clicky experience, and bumble along with free addons

 

Which is it? 1 or 2 ? Please do reply as this will help with future plans for oscommerce.

 

And to be clear, this is not a vote, I am collecting data.


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That data is already discussed many many many times here in the forum... it is the best data available.

The shop owner wants the simplest, so yes a 1-click.

And how it is done , they do not care, as long as it can do the 1-click.

 

But that decision is not up to the customer.

The responsible for that is the one who delivers the product to that customer.

And if he likes it afterwards , then that is a good thing.

But if you fail... yeah well.. you can figure that out.

 

Either way... current situation is a falling stone, no one can deny that.

 

Make a choice, do not saddle the users here with it, it is unprofessional. (i refer to the first line of this message again... the data is right in-front of you to make such decision)

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It would ofcourse be great to get feedback from actual shop owners as opposed to just from developers, since the agenda of those 2 groups are quite different.

 

While both groups are equally important for a software since developers are often the one who actually advise a shop owner of what software to use.

 

I think its also important that the shop-owners do try to understand todays realities when it comes to commercial add-ons/plugins, because it seems like many are under the misguided belief that they can have their cake and eat it too.

 

Ie. They think they can get a leading edge cart with 1 click install of plugins where the plugins are free and they can get free forum support too.

 

The point being, yes the cart itself they can get for free but they should be prepared that they have to shelf out cash on plugins and support.

 

Its actually quite easy to get a feel of this by visiting some of the other cart plugin marketplaces and check out the prices both to buy and get support.

 

Lets say a shopowner wants 10 plugins, that could easily cost him/her a few thousand USD to purchase and then there is the support packages to keep the plugins updated/supported which could easily run close to the same amount payable every year and usually per domain. So if you have multiple domains/shops these cost will be multiplied.

 

 

So the question would then be, would they still want to use oscommerce if that was the case?

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@@wHiTeHaT if you dont understand the point of the question, just say so. It seems like you don't understand it.

 

@@toyicebear obviously does understand the point of the question.

 

 

So the question would then be, would they still want to use oscommerce if that was the case?

 

is exactly correct, my attempt at gathering data was to lead to this...


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So the question would then be, would they still want to use oscommerce if that was the case?

 

That is the risk that must or already had been taken a long time ago.

But at the moment, there is nothing competitive.

you only have to look at the statistics to come to the conclusion that the customer is forced to use other carts then oscommerce, because of lacking competition.

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i understand the question very well, but in all these years that data was right in front of you and the rest of the team, and it is neglected.

Do not deny that.

Once again, to do it this way is just food for the sharks.

What you have at the end when collect that data is just a box with excuses.

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@@burt

 

Aren't we just talking about a system of managing and installing add-ons....can't the modules themselves be either commercial or contributed? I have no problems paying for well developed contributions and indeed I do that. I have also added many modules from the contributions area. I don't think they need to be mutually exclusive do they? Until we know what the options are we don't really know that. Why not just ask do you want a one click system to add modules or not? Make it a simple yes/no poll and see what you get.

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@@Dan Cole - for sure, if osCommerce, (the software) goes down the route of pointy-clicky, the average shopowner will find a lot lot less addons freely available, as you will find none (or very very few) shopowners making addons...

 

@@wHiTeHaT - join me in the chat


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oscommerce have its share of shop owners using old versions, but so does many of the newer carts even though easy core version update is available.

 

Why are they not updating?

 

In most cases because they have plugins which is not compatible with newer versions.

 

Typical reasons for that again are that one or more plugins they use are not developed anymore or simply that they don't want to pay again to get a new or an updated plugin version.

 

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Actually the oscommerce team could make a neat profit by making the software use 1-click install plugins, and having a an official marketplace where free and commercial plugins are available.

 

The commercial plugins could then be under a split profit model.

 

So for them to actually welcome feedback and being open to at least have a branch of oscommerce which is very diy'able, is commendable.

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Here I go then. First shop owner to put his head on the chopping blocck.

 

I dont really want either of the two options. I want oscommerce to contain most things in the core code, and then I want to be able to add any extras easily. So core code includes things (in no particular order) which make running my online store easy. So things like seo, url rewritters, show price inclusive ior exclusing of VAT, show VAT number on invoice, cross sell items, better looking invoice which shows all legal requirements, products cost and margins, stock control on products and attributes, recently viewed products, order editor, order creator for things like phone orders, xml sitemap so my site can be found, monthly sales, agree terms and conditions, and there may be more. What goes in the core code and should really be used by everyone is open for debade, and will need to be sorted out.

 

Once I have my store working and I need to alter or change something this needs to be easy. So a sensible template system to alter the look of the store and an easy way to add country specific shipping and payment modules. These are currently available as addons, and I dont mind adding those manually, but automatically would be good. There is also a need for the core code to be responsive so my site works on all platforms without the need for me to alter too many files. I understand this is where oscommerce is heading and well done for those that have made this happen.

 

The main admin dashboard page then can be used, as it currenty is, to advise me of any new updates to modules and addons added. I would then keep my store up to date by a simple click and install method, but security of the core code could be a problem with this method, as core code updates are not that easy.

 

In my view oscommerce needs to figure out what its customer base is. Its either store owner ready, or coder ready, and at the moment its neither. Its nearer coder ready, than store owner ready as there is too much to be added to the core code just to get the shop working to need legal reuirement as required. As there are many different country specific legal requirements on things like taxation and cookies this may be hard to achieve, but it should be possible.

 

Oscommerce currently advertises the fact that there are currently over 7000 addons. Its a shame that not all of these addons work on the newest version, and some dont even work on the version that they were designed to work on. I would not mind paying for an addon if it worked. If the addon was released by a coder, then I would want updates of the addon should core codes change in security or updated versions. What I dont want to do is to pay for an addon, and it does nor work, or in clashes with other code or addons. This is where |I belieeve that if more was added to the core code, oscommerce coders could keep an eye on the code and ensure it does not happen.

 

Oscommerce has many competitors, some good and some not. Oscommerce want to once again become the market leader as it once was. So many other carts are based on oscommerce its unbelievable.

 

Whilst you will not be able to please all the people, all the time, it may just be possiblre to please moth of the people amost of the time, and this should be born in mind in anything that is done.


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Here I go then. First shop owner to put his head on the chopping blocck.

 

I dont really want either of the two options. I want oscommerce to contain most things in the core code, and then I want to be able to add any extras easily. So core code includes things (in no particular order) which make running my online store easy. So things like seo, url rewritters, show price inclusive ior exclusing of VAT, show VAT number on invoice, cross sell items, better looking invoice which shows all legal requirements, products cost and margins, stock control on products and attributes, recently viewed products, order editor, order creator for things like phone orders, xml sitemap so my site can be found, monthly sales, agree terms and conditions, and there may be more. What goes in the core code and should really be used by everyone is open for debade, and will need to be sorted out.

 

Once I have my store working and I need to alter or change something this needs to be easy. So a sensible template system to alter the look of the store and an easy way to add country specific shipping and payment modules. These are currently available as addons, and I dont mind adding those manually, but automatically would be good. There is also a need for the core code to be responsive so my site works on all platforms without the need for me to alter too many files. I understand this is where oscommerce is heading and well done for those that have made this happen.

 

The main admin dashboard page then can be used, as it currenty is, to advise me of any new updates to modules and addons added. I would then keep my store up to date by a simple click and install method, but security of the core code could be a problem with this method, as core code updates are not that easy.

 

In my view oscommerce needs to figure out what its customer base is. Its either store owner ready, or coder ready, and at the moment its neither. Its nearer coder ready, than store owner ready as there is too much to be added to the core code just to get the shop working to need legal reuirement as required. As there are many different country specific legal requirements on things like taxation and cookies this may be hard to achieve, but it should be possible.

 

Oscommerce currently advertises the fact that there are currently over 7000 addons. Its a shame that not all of these addons work on the newest version, and some dont even work on the version that they were designed to work on. I would not mind paying for an addon if it worked. If the addon was released by a coder, then I would want updates of the addon should core codes change in security or updated versions. What I dont want to do is to pay for an addon, and it does nor work, or in clashes with other code or addons. This is where |I belieeve that if more was added to the core code, oscommerce coders could keep an eye on the code and ensure it does not happen.

 

Oscommerce has many competitors, some good and some not. Oscommerce want to once again become the market leader as it once was. So many other carts are based on oscommerce its unbelievable.

 

Whilst you will not be able to please all the people, all the time, it may just be possiblre to please moth of the people amost of the time, and this should be born in mind in anything that is done.

 

 

you see, and this data is all over this forum since YEARS , and it was neglected.

And that is why i think to collect data is a waste of time, it is obvious that there is nothing done with that data.

Face the facts....

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Here I go then. First shop owner to put his head on the chopping blocck.

 

You (and any shopwoners else who posts) is not going to be "chopped".

What I want is shopowners views exactly as you have posted, so thank you very much for this. I really appreciate you taking the time to make this detailed post!


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you see, and this data is all over this forum since YEARS , and it was neglected.

And that is why i think to collect data is a waste of time, it is obvious that there is nothing done with that data.

Face the facts....

 

Lets all be a bit more positive and get oscommerce to the for front of ecommerce again, like it used to be. Recently @@burt has put in a lot of his own time and effort to help oscommerce get better, so lets give him a chance as he seems to be the only person trying to do this. (Sorry if there are more no insult intended)


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