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Moxamint

Shop owners - what do you want in the core of future osC releases?

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I am just a shop owner who does not understand at all the technical talks between coders.  I often wanted to help by participating in discussions but I was also afraid my comments could be irrelevant.  I chatted a little bit with Gary about this and he encouraged me to start this dedicated thread:

 

Shop owners, please tell coders what you'd like to see in the core of future osC releases - with some explanation.  If you have posted something related to this topic elsewhere, please simply post the link here so everybody could easily find the conversations.

 

Let's get ourselves heard and make osC the best e-commerce platform again!

 

Cheers, Eddy 

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I very much want to have in the core the "state selection" feature that dynamically switches between drop down menus of available states for various countries in the registration form.  I sell my products internationally and my customers always found registration in my online shop very frustrating because the form was not very user friendly.

Edited by Moxamint

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If I may make some wishes!

 

- A better handling for images on product_info. It should be possible to configure width and/or height of images somewhere in the admin.

- An end to the nightmare with special chars in oscommerce. Apart from English, almost all other languages have any special chars. For each new installation e.g. in Germany you must fix problems with special characters in dozens of files. The German forum is full of threads on this topic!

- A better search function. The current search is a bad joke! If you have a typo or not exactly the right word, you will find nothing. Not every user knows the right spelling of the article, he is looking for. Go to Amazon, enter Galaxi - you will find (among others) "Samsung Galaxy". Go to Osc, enter Galaxi, you will find - nothing!

- If the devs of Osc find it necessary to add an attributes/options menu to the core (one could debate whether this is really necessary) then it should be also reasonable to use. I find it almost unusable in its current form. (Yes I know there's the Ajax Attribute Manager which I use when I need an attributes tool).

- I agree with Moxamint that the state selection is frustrating........

- What's about an Admin Paging with sorting functions in the Categories/Products menu? If you have 10 articles in a category, it's no problem. But if you have hundreds in each category, it would be nice to split the results in several pages with the option to sort by name, last added .................

 

Edited by De Dokta

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Thanks this topic!

As developer:

 

I very much want to have in the core the "state selection" feature that dynamically switches between drop down menus of available states for various countries in the registration form.  I sell my products internationally and my customers always found registration in my online shop very frustrating because the form was not very user friendly.

Do you mean that the state selection should be born from country select?


 

 

If I may make some wishes!
 
- A better handling for images on product_info. It should be possible to configure width and/or height of images somewhere in the admin.

If I know well Burt figured out this in a module.

 

 


- What's about an Admin Paging with sorting functions in the Categories/Products menu? If you have 10 articles in a category, it's no problem. But if you have hundreds in each category, it would be nice to split the results in several pages with the option to sort by name, last added .................
 

 

There is an addon which should be adapt? http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7736


The better search I am affraid of should be based some extra language feature. There is no non-exact search possibility in mySQL so shop owners should teach a search class for it. Amazon is a bad example because they developed from a websearch company :) with a lot of search experiencies.


attributes are backporting if I know well.

 

 

 

 


As shop owner:

look at my signature!


:blink:
osCommerce based shop owner with minimal design and focused on background works. When the less is more.
Email managment with tracking pixel, package managment for shipping, stock management, warehouse managment with bar code reader, parcel shops management on 3000 pickup points without local store.

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Since you are asking ... :)

Here are the major add-ons I am using in my stores, and whose additional functionality I would like to see in future releases of osC ...

(in no particular order)


1) SEO HEader Tags - Reloaded ...
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8864

I initialy installed this *primarily* because I wanted to have descriptions in the Categories (why doesn't the stock version of osC have this???). And, the SEO features are a big bonus too!


2) Active Countries ...
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/3607

I use this for two reasons: I wanted to have a drop-down selector for the States (and Countries) in all of the forms, and I wanted an easy way in the Admin to enable/disable which State/Country I would ship to. It did take some effort to get it to work everywhere, though.


3) Favicon
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8444

Trivial, but why isn't it already in the core?


4) Some form of Guest Checkout ...

In the past, I used Matt's Better Checkout.
http://bettercheckout.com/

But, until he revises it fully for 2.3.4, I'm using De Dokta's PWA
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9142

Seriously, osC needs a guest checkout!


5) Some form of Account editor, Order editor, and Invoice editor in Admin ...
I'm using a mixture of several at the moment:
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8334
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8885
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7844


6) SMTPauth
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/901

Most people won't need this for their live site, but when I develop my site(s) in-house on a Windows box, this makes it easy to configure the outgoing email for testing. Again, this is trivial, but there's no reason why this isn't in the core.


7) Information Pages Unlimited
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/1026

This is quickly being replaced by the upgrades being made to modulerize osC, but in the mean time ...


8) Shipping Quote in Cart
http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9036

To offer a shipping quote without having a customer go through Checkout is critical these days. I'm using this add-on along with the changes Tsimi's posted to work better in Bootstrap.

(and yes, I changed this to use the Active Countries add-on (#2 above))

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other areas I have not yet addressed:

* Image Thumbnails

* Site Maps

*


Malcolm


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I broadly agree with Malcolm above. The modifications I believe are essential are:

 

 

Shipping in Cart - customers want to know the shipping cost up front - when I shop online I will just go elsewhere if I can't get the shipping cost easily.

 

Guest Checkout 

 

Active Countries and State Selector

 

Order Editor for Admin - I use this daily to add and change things on customers orders

 

SEO Header Tags 

 

 

Other functionality which falls into the "desirable" category:

 

Cross-Sell - several versions of this are around - an early version made you select the cross-sell product from a drop down list of very product in the store which quickly became impractical when the number of products got into the hundreds or thousands…. The one I use is Fast Easy Cross Sell which has a simple admin interface but works really well when you have thousands of products.

 

Category Descriptions - as Malcolm points out these are incorporated in SEO contributions above.

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This has been asked many times before and it does look as if finally someone IE Gary is starting to take notice.

 

There was another post recently where Gary asked for shop owners to give him a list of what features shop owners wanted in oscommerce. Only one person bothered. I will repeat my list here and so far its so different to others. By adding functions into the core code you are limiting the very people who will add the features. The coders that make money from oscommerce. So my outlook is a bit different. Add some basic functionality that developers can add to and improve.

 

Here's my list and its long

 

Margin report http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8147

Use this to calculate profit from either every order or product. It also has code to show retail and selling price in product pages which customers like. It increases sales as customers can see that they are not paying full price.

 

Stock taking cost http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/3161

Needed this as my accountant wanted to know total stock cost for end of year accounts. Now use it regularly to check stock when placing orders as some suppliers have minimum cost for orders. It also allows me to save and download as different file types. The current stock reports in oscommerce are next to useless in the information they give.

 

Google xml sitemap http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9178

Google webmaster tools require an xml sitemap, as do others such as Bing. This produced a sitemap which can be used in google and bing webmaster tools. As it was done by the same person that did the headertags and URL rewriter addons the urls produced are all good and match the stores urls. It also has cron job so it is constantly updated, and can be forgotten about.

 

Sitemap seo http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8280

This produces a site map for customers, rather than search engines. It’s just another way for customers to find what they want and is also used by some search engines to find pages. It is suprising how many customers comment on it, and appreciate it being there.

 

Headertags seo http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/5851

Most of the important bits of this are already in the core code if I am not mistaken.

 

Recover cart sales http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/1688

This is an excellent selling tool that allows the shop owner to contact customers who have placed items in the cart and never completed the checkout. This works as an excellent way of gaining more sales. It can also be used to find out why customers left the site.

 

Advanced Specials http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/5273

The standard oscommerce specials setup is not what it could be. This addon allows the store owner to batch add products that are on special and allow an easy way to see those items, when they start and when they finish. I did also amend some code so that it shows the cost price of each product so I knew what could be the lowest selling price whilst still making money.

 

Cross sell http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8330

Absolutely 100% benefical to my store. This allows the store owner to add other items on the shopping page that may be used with the current product shown. I sell lots of items such as plastic mouldings and I cross sell thing like the specialist glue to fix them together. I find it works really well and lets customers know that they can also by other items that are related. There are many other addons that do the same or similar. Think of it as entering a shop and being able to look around and see other products, rather than the one you are looking at. Hopefully that makes sense.

 

Shipping in cart http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8422

One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is that the customer cannot see the shipping costs until the checkout pages. That puts off many customers. Using recover carts has also proved this. This simple addon gives an estimate of the shipping costs. I have simplified the code slightly as I removed most of it to just give the price and shipping methods. I am sure that the current code on the shipping page could be used instead of anything complicated. If people want something more complicated there is the chance of a developer doing something.

 

 

Those are the major addons used. It’s not all of them. I have also added things like manufacturers name and part numbers to the categories page in admin. This allows me to see who I bought from and what the reorder number and reorder quantity is. When my daughter was helping me it also allowed her to order items if I was not available to do so. It also helps with the margin report as you can adjust the costs when updating all products received. I have also added the model number to several of the admin screens and I think I added the order number to the customers order page.

 

The only other thing I am tempted to alter in my next version of the shop is the customers address details. I feel that today an extra line in the address would be beneficial. Make it another line like the current optional one. Some customers using smart phones are having trouble when entering address. Why I have no idea. It may also be good to add automatic capitalisation of addresses. There is an addon for this already but I have never used it. It’s only now that phones are being used more that I am noticing that capitals are not being added to the addresses.

 

I do also use super download store that simplifies and automates the download process. Customers do not want to wait for downloads, as they have to if they use the standard oscommerce system. It’s a small change to get the basic downloads automatic and again developers could add the extra functionality that is available within the addon. I do not use things like group downloads so that bit is not required. I do use options and images as it looks better having an image instead of text to explain what the options are. I do also use an addon called download file helper. It lists all the files in the download file root and allows you to select one of those files. This prevents incorrect file names which is a cause for many download errors.

 

It would be nice if the stock control was changed to allow it to cover attributes. Currently you have to install a rather complicated addon that may or may not work, and does apparently need updating. I would use attributes more for many products, but I want a working stock control system before I do.

 

I do also use fancier invoice and packing slip mainly to get a professional looking invoice that is sent to every customer in their orders. The standard oscommerce one does look a bit dated and does not necessarily even have the correct legal info on it. The fancier invoice does include a way of sending a pdf invoice to the customers but I never use this bit as I think it’s over kill as I send a copy anyway. I have also moved the customers address so that it fits in the window of a DL envelope, which most people use, in case I need to post one to someone. Again a developer could add extras to this if someone wants it.

 

I do also use an addon that can download as a file the list of all newsletter subscribers which I can import into mailchimp. Mailchimp is a better and easier to use newsletter system. The current oscommerce newsletter system is not really fit for purpose. It currently sends emails to all newsletter subscribers, but many hosting accounts have email limits. Oscommerce then sends the maximum number of emails per hour and never sends the rest if you have more customers than the hosts limit. Bin the newsletter system and have a basic export function of names and email addresses that can then be used with any external email sending system. Developers can add more as needed or required.

 

And finally. Many customers today expect a guest checkout. I have not added on to my current site, but I will on the next version. Customers today do not want to have to create accounts. I know they loose the ability to track orders and the like, but that is what they want. Giving them the option of creating an account or not would benefit everyone, and really needs to be a core part of the package.

 

Jack in all of his addons has a version checker. If there is a newer version available it shows on the top right hand side of the relevant addon page in the admin area. If something like this could be added to all addons it would allow the store owner to see that a new version is available and if its just a simple case of uploading the new package and clicking a simple install button it will be done. This will keep more stores up to date and current.

 

Once you get the basic package fit for purpose new developers and even some of the old ones here will be more interested. By keeping the core functionality basic, developers can always improve it by using modules or what ever without touching the core code.

 

Hope this is what you wanted.


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Wouldn't it be best that all shop owners post a list in here of add-ons and functions that they have or will have in their shop.

Very good example of that is Steve's and Malcolm's list. Then the Dev's can take a look at all the lists here.

Even though I doubt that any of it will make it inside the core code....but who knows....and maybe the lists can be a good guide to some other shop owners as to what add-ons are even out there.

Well here is my list for my coming osC BS shop.

 

Add-ons installed so far:

 

 - Featured Products 2.3 (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7832)
 - Header Tags SEO Reloaded (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8864)
 - AAS 3.0 (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9135)
 - Attributes by weight (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/1622)
 - Wishlist (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8665)
 - GET 1 FREE (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/4990)
 - Master password (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8023)
 - International Shipping Module (Modded Swiss Post Addon for Int. Shipping)
 - Zones Shipping by State v1.5 (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/4703)
 - Payment Modules
    - Paypal Payment Standard v 3.2 (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/5655)
    - Bank transfer (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/285)
    - COD (stock osC)
 - COD Fee (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7484)
 - DHTML State Selector (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8028)
 - SEO URLs by Chemo (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/2823)

Custom made and Commercial Stuff:

 - Specials in Home page (custom made)
 - Stock Indication System (custom made)
 - Back to top button (by DeDokta)
 - Shipping quotes in Cart (by DeDokta)
 - Attribute Sets (Commercial Addon by burt)
 - MATC (Commercial Addon by burt)

 - Added Favicons (http://realfavicongenerator.net/)
 - Checkout only with default currency (by AngusD) (http://forums.oscommerce.com/topic/397018-multiple-currencies-on-checkout-product-info-invoice/?p=1698697)

 

Currently working on:

 

- HTML emails (from Gergely, github commit)

 

Things that will be installed in the near future:

 

 - Cross sell (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8330)
 - PWA Purchase without account (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9142)

 - Google XML SEO (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9178)
 - Margin report (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8147)
 - Stock taking cost (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/3161)
 - Sitemap seo (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8280)
 - Recover cart sales (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/1688)
 - Advanced Specials (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/5273)
 - Order Editor (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/7844)
 - Enable Disable Categories (http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/326)
 - Quick description (custom made)(Insert pre-defined products description with one button click.)

 - Mailchimp module (Commercial Addon by burt)

 - Need to add invoice number and other custom stuff inside the invoice.php

Edited by Tsimi

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There is little or no point in just adding a big list of addons. Oscommerce will never be a fully loaded eCommerce package, that has been made perfectly clear many times, so dont expect it. There are apparently over 7000 addons available so don't expect them all to be added.

 

You really need to add reasons why you think a particular addon should be included in the core code. Sell it to the developers and explain the benefits to both the store owner and the coder. No coder will add into the core files anything that will potentially reduce their income or not allow them to improve it. (sorry to all the developers on here if this is incorrect).

 

For something to be added it will need to benefit the majority of store owners and not  just a few. The easiest way to get something changed is to start small, and list things that will bring osc code up to date and will make it fit for today's purpose, not that 15 years ago. There will be more chance of getting something that is simple to code and keep up to date rather than a big code challenge that will affect lots of files in the core code.


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I adhere to all addons detail above, i added:
Administrator access level: for when you have employees and want to manage X options in the administrator can not see or control what is not authorized.

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I personally am very interested in seeing what add-ons other shop owners have added to their store especially when their site happens to be user-friendly and appealing to me.  If many shop owners want the same thing, it must mean something.

 

I understand osC will never be a fully loaded package, but I started this thread just so that general users like me can freely express our needs.  I do not know what to consider in order to list things that could bring osC code up to date.  I do not have appropriate technical background that allows me to do that.  I simply thought we may be able to spark some cool ideas for both shop owners and coders by participating in this discussion.  I would not try to set "rules" here in this thread and stop shop owners from stating what they want using a way they are most comfortable with.

 

Cheers, Eddy 

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@@14steve14

 


Even though I doubt that any of it will make it inside the core code....but who knows....and maybe the lists can be a good guide to some other shop owners as to what add-ons are even out there.

 

As mentioned I don't think anything will make it into core or anywhere beyond the addons area and I agree with Eddy. If from 20 shop owners 18 use the same addon that must mean something and if not for the Devs then for other shop owners. Would be interesting to see what others have installed...don't you think?

I mean look at this result here thanks to you I could add at least 4 new addons to my to do list which will help me in the future which I didn't know existed. Call it Information exchange if you like it. ;)

Nobody said this here has to become another "this should be in the core code" kinda topic since it will be just a waste of server and forum space.

Edited by Tsimi

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I have given up posting full lists of the addons I have added as it would just take too long. I have a file with the addons that have been added to my site and it contains 60 files. Several of these have since been updated or removed, and many are not full blown addons but small code changes. There is also a file that contains files I have created that contain minor code changes. There are over 100 of those. Many tweeks I have not bothered to keep a record of. Many of them are only concerned with the back end admin area, which a customer would never see, but help me to run the store. Others may do the same, but they have to add what they feel their store needs. Thats the love of open source carts. My store has been online for over 4 years now and it gets tweeked nearly every week, even if its just changing the text. Something gets added because my needs change but it may be something that is of no interest to other users. Some addons get removed as they are no longer required, or as usually happens they just get left and forgotten about.

 

My site is soon to get an overhaul and will be made responsive, so not all of the changes and addons will be added again.

 

Store owners should not really be influenced by what others are doing, they should add what they feel their store needs.


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I am curious I am using dynamic sitemap which does both I believe. Xml and customer sitemap. Why hasn't this been mentioned? Is the others better?

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The only reason I use the ones that I do is because they are all created by the same person who also does a header tags module that I also use. They all work together seamlessly. Its down to personal choice really.


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Store owners should not really be influenced by what others are doing, they should add what they feel their store needs.

 

Influenced by what others are doing?  I'd like to call that "inspiration"   :)

Edited by Moxamint

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I'm going to refrain from all kinds of additions/changes I have made over the last 10 years to our oscommerce site that now can be accomodated by content modules and therefore easily added and not requiring any core catalog changes.

 

I do want to point out a few things that I feel should be included as I (with my limited view on the core code changes) see no way of adding without changing core code

- enable/disable categories

- categories description

- featured flag for categories

 

- enable/disable manufacturers

- manufacturers description

- featured flag for manufacturers (to eg show logo's on home page, to be able to retire product ranges in the background while not having them listed)

 

- eanfield (seems about 90% of our products now have ean numbers and it does make for easy matching for pricelists)

- longer products_model field (mine is 25 chars)

 

- support for translated country names - still not everyone speaks english , and it looks rather silly on local shipping labels

 

some of the more complex contributions I have:

master/slave, bundles, gift registry, get1free, freebies, matti better checkout, products specifications

 

also using but I don't think that has any core impact

- article manager

- easy populate (yes, lots of people hate it, but for me it works just fine)

 

custom code:

- collections optionally linked to brands, to have a grouping level for brands, but also to xsell on product page (based on product families contribution)

- ignoring product status for product listings, only showing products where stock qty > 0 by default, allowing to switch to not in stock

- product info showing summary details for out of stock products

- shipping info on product info page

- shipping page dynamically showing shipping costs for all countries/shipping methods

 

hope this can inspire some :)


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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Pls try to figure out what you need in the future and get a real and exact conclusion for developers. "We need all" is not allowed. :)

If you take it we could do a TODO list and works together. The best way would be if you give the most wanted 10 thing. Every advice is important.

Vote for features if need.


Thanks!


:blink:
osCommerce based shop owner with minimal design and focused on background works. When the less is more.
Email managment with tracking pixel, package managment for shipping, stock management, warehouse managment with bar code reader, parcel shops management on 3000 pickup points without local store.

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Pls try to figure out what you need in the future and get a real and exact conclusion for developers. "We need all" is not allowed. :)

If you take it we could do a TODO list and works together. The best way would be if you give the most wanted 10 thing. Every advice is important.

 

Vote for features if need.

Thanks!

We only "need" what requires core code changes, everything else is optional :D


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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This may not be relevant but I think also the add on page really needs updating. Some of the modules very old and outdated. The new modules and developers I believe leaning towards a hook system without touching the core. In order for Oscommerce to catch up this area needs to be fixed in my opinion.

 

I think core package should at least have some sort of order editor, purchase without account, coupon/gift vouchers system, seo, pull down country/state to say a few. Maybe another version payed perhaps for a multi-vendor cart or suppliers addon this should not be core but at least maybe a paid option.

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There is little or no point in just adding a big list of addons. Oscommerce will never be a fully loaded eCommerce package, that has been made perfectly clear many times, so dont expect it. There are apparently over 7000 addons available so don't expect them all to be added.

 

You really need to add reasons why you think a particular addon should be included in the core code. Sell it to the developers and explain the benefits to both the store owner and the coder. No coder will add into the core files anything that will potentially reduce their income or not allow them to improve it. (sorry to all the developers on here if this is incorrect).

 

For something to be added it will need to benefit the majority of store owners and not  just a few. The easiest way to get something changed is to start small, and list things that will bring osc code up to date and will make it fit for today's purpose, not that 15 years ago. There will be more chance of getting something that is simple to code and keep up to date rather than a big code challenge that will affect lots of files in the core code.

 

The biggest thing to have is to have a proper way of installing plugins and modules.

 

Have you seen how its done in Wordpress?

You can either download a plugin from within your logged in admin or manually put into your plugins folder.

 

Then you just install it with one click and activate it.

 

Thats how a proper installation system should be for modules and plugins.

Shouldn't have to copy and paste files into multiple different folders and locations.

 

Should be as simple as possible. Thats why a lot of the modern websites are easy to use, user friendly.

 

The current oscommerce admin is still stuck in the early 2000s. Needs to be updated for modern usage.

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a guest checkout is absolutely mandatory for any ecommerce site.

Not having it as core code is ridiculous.

 

People take privacy very seriously and don't like having to create multiple usernames and passwords.

 

They want to order quick and finish.

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@@vampirehunter If I am correct Oscommerce is going that way implementing a hook system that will be one click with upgrades and installs. I agree with that absolutely need a guest checkout. Developers need to create modules instead of changing the core that way when there is a update it wont affect your store. Sometimes though you may need to adjust the modules as well, but it's so much easier to find and do in my opinion. The only problem though with this is that all addons will need to be changed and just that some will never be coded. With that reason I can see not everyone will go with this way or be happy.

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For me before to continue to implement / chage some function, it is important to modernize the code.

The old 2.4 has introduce this aspect

 

Change categorie class : back port ms3 in admin

Change language_id by $_SESSION['language_id'] and others

New class customer introduce in 2.4

New class Date backport ms3

New PDO system introduce in 2.4

 

For administration

new catgories / product systemhas now some limitation can backport ms3 I think

new products attributes backport MS3



Regards
-----------------------------------------
Loïc

Contact me by skype for business
Contact me @gyakutsuki for an answer on the forum

 

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