[nycphp-talk] Shopping cart -- revisited...again...

Cliff Hirsch cliff at
Mon Feb 19 16:38:25 EST 2007

Like many on here, the whole shopping cart thing is a mess to me.

So...I just installed litecommerce, which was fairly painless. And changing
the templates, which use Flexy, was fairly easy. But deciphering the PHP code
is a nightmare. Who ever said OOP is easy? It just seems to obfuscate the
meaning of things. Something as simple as tracking down the origin of
order.details.error, which is in a template, becomes maddening.

I’m on the verge of trying another cart, mainly because the ioncube-encoded
files conflict with Zend Remote debugging. And without this, trying to trace
the code using live interactions seems impossible. I’m sure this happens to
everyone, but what seems like a simple feature list grows and grows... But the
primary special requirements I have are the following:

Single sign-on — means all authentication goes through the primary site. So
far, I have hacked this by duplicating user info in the main site and the
shopping cart user profiles. Not optimal, but functional. 
Custom payment processor — just a call to a function on the main site. Again,
nothing mind-shattering 
Modified checkout to simply include shipping address fields — again, no biggie 
egoods pin #s support (the reason I choose litecommerce — they offer a module
that does this well) 
Meaningful error messages — meaning modern validation used on my main site.

None of these are overly complex. The challenging part is understanding
someone else’s code and mindset. The devil is in the details... I have also
discovered that integrating a shopping cart with anything other than simple
static functions from a primary site can lead to all sorts of config
conflicts, from phpini on upwards. Dated PHP4 code...can you say e-warning...

So...a general call for help and recommendations.

I am thinking of getting X-Cart because at least it is fully open source. But
it’s developed by the same people, so the code may be equally confusing.
OSCommerce and its derivatives are out — too many bad stories. Any other
ideas? Is it too much to ask for a great, easy to modify cart? The cost of the
cart is trivial compared to the cost of the custom code, time, maintenance,
aggravation, etc.

Happy holiday,

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