Design/Programming Freedom (includes geek speak, sorry)

I was assigned a project at work involving a shopping cart program.

I think the first shopping cart I made was in 1999, for HMR Group, I also did one for Kenstar Travel, for Linux Consultants Asia, for Expocraft, for Asian Property Listing and others. Newer ones under my company like PowerHomes and Funtastic were mainly Mike’s work using my designs. My first ones I made were in Miva/dBaseIII,(without using Miva Merchant, it was really from scratch Miva shopping carts.) the later ones were all PHP/MySQL. I’ve been using payment gateways since… hmmm 2001 I think.

I started out when there were no popular ready-made shopping carts like Zen Cart, OS Commerce, Agora Cart, Interchange Cart. So I basically made everything from scratch.

During those days I was a hardcore HTML tables guy, so imagine shopping carts where the product catalog, has programming loops, they needed to count the products on every line and make some <TR> tags when needed. That really sucked, especially when the client says to change the layout or something.

Now in the CSS age, being a CSS advocate ever since I embraced the styles, I never wanted to do tables again. And my shopping cart programs in tables would be sooooo much easier with floating <div>s. Each product will just wrap down the next line. I was excited to work on this project.

And now the company wants me to use x-cart. Which is nothing but a shopping cart program they bought some time ago. There is not much design freedom and code is sooooooooo long. I guess that is how it is in any program when you try to make it 100% customizable to anything. The code is full of a lot of things not needed by the client anyway. Now I am forced to understand the programming of some other guy who made x-cart. And what I need is just a simple bare bone shopping cart with only the requirements needed by the client. Making code short and simple and easy to maintain.

I wanted to make a common easy to maintain shopping cart easily customizable for everyone to use here at work, but for some reason the company wants me to use x-cart, maybe because they are selling the product as well and showing the value of x-cart on the x-cart website.

But custom programs are even more expensive, and I wanted to make one customized for the company and I was not charging a cent. I was just happy and excited working on a new cart that will maximize the use of CSS. Well all of that happiness is going down the drain.

I will have to deal with x-cart. I hate reading someone else’s programming code. It is too time consuming. It is sometimes faster to make one yourself than trying to figure out other people’s work. But I am charging it to experience, I guess for me to feel better I will just consider everything a lesson in x-cart. So if ever I have a client that needs a shopping cart and I feel lazy to make one and I do not care about the appearance, I will give x-cart and since I have used it already, using it again should be easier this time. But on second thought, maybe not, x-cart is not free to use. Agora Cart, Zen Cart, OS Commerce, Interchange Cart are free, if ever they are paid, they are bundled with any hosting with the latest cPanel. If you need a good, reliable webhost that has cPanel, go to YDS Web Solution.

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One thought on “Design/Programming Freedom (includes geek speak, sorry)

  1. Why is your choice of shopping carts narrowed to only 4 shopping carts? There’s much more of them available on the market. And more often people switch between them.

    If ever you or your clients need to switch fm shopping cart to shopping cart – you may try cart2cart web service. It will automate migration for you (http://www.shopping-cart-migration.com)

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