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The e-commerce.

forums & contribs ... overwhelming


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I have been using osc for over a year - pretty much just the way it came without much modification. I of course added the contrib for my payment processor, but not much else.


I spent the last couple hours looking at contribs, and related form posts, and to be honest, I am overwhelmed. Most contribs dont have a demo, and there are usually more than one contrib for any given mod.


Is there a forum, or really just ONE place, where someone has listed or ranked the BEST contribs after installing and testing? Is there a 'optimal' install drawn up, that has the best contribs to add on with a standard install? So many of these contribs seem GREAT, but then you look at the forum and wonder what the heck you might be getting yourself into if you install. One example is the credit class contrib - sounds exactly like something I want, but just look at the forum on it! A bit intimidating.


Where would be the best place to ask a question like this:

If all I want to do is have a coupon code that gives a specific % or $ discount on an item, is this the 'ccgv' the best contrib for me?


Some other things I am interested in:


- barcode on invoices (for the order, and for the customer) - I see at least 3 contribs for this


- editing an order once it has been placed (fixing a price, changing some basic info)


- I have other php applications that I use, and I have been using osc to create my user accounts. Is there an easy way to integrate the same authentication for all of my apps? Has anyone modified osc to use ldap or vice versa?




Thanks for taking the time - I hope an OSC savvy user will respond with some basic suggestions and guidelines for me. I dont mind spending the time to read, but there's gotta be a smart approach to maximize my time.

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I feel your pain, and share the frustration even after a longer involvement in osCommerce, but the magic pill you seek does not exist.


The community is huge (just look at the board statistics), and consequently diverse in technical capability (non programmers to gurus), expressive ability (poor to excellent), diligence (from not searching first to carefully investigating all resources), and motivation (some just wanting to get a site running and others promoting their own missions). Keeping order and coherence in such a setting is like herding cats. We are fortunate it has reached the level of effectiveness that currently exists. It could be a lot worse.


You state good points about the contribution area, and I wholeheartedly agree it needs some improvements and know they are being considered by the team. The task is daunting, however, and the principal mission of the developers is with the core code, which has left the contribution issues understandably lagging. I believe the contribution section would benefit from a rating system and notification scheme (just like the store has for products), and demos as you mention is also something to consider but harder to implement.


To address your question about what are the 'best' contributions, this has been the subject of vigorous discussion and debate proving only that it is in the eye of the beholder. Several active user/developers have assembled what they call "fully loaded" or "suites" with their favorite set of contributions, but pointing you to them might qualify as a commercial endorsement (a prohibited act).


Sorry that this is the bottom line: you have to take the time and effort to browse the Contribution Announcement and Contribution Support channels, post your most focused questions, and try things out (did I mention, backup, backup, backup?). Welcome to the wonderful world of open source development -- to quote a famous friend of mine, "I Never Thought Freedom Was Cheap."

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I did not anticipate a thoughtful and considerate response - thank you. I have to say, I am really getting into this open-source 'fraternity' and I really dig the time and assistance that I see people offer eachother.


So after I posted this, I started googling oscommerce (I used to just search from within oscommerce for info) and I found exactly what you mentioned - MAX versions, suites, etc. but for many reasons, they will not help.


I am eager to see the improvements to the contribs area, or even a 'test store' that implemented various highly-rated contribs for demonstration.


Thanks again for the reply.

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