Archive for the ‘packages’ Category

osCommerce versions

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Creation of osCommerce

The brainchild of Harald Ponce de Leon, osCommerce has been around for a long time. It started life as The Exchange Project in the early days of the millennium, a name which is still alive in the naming convention of its functions (starting with tep_).

Old osCommerce Shops

There are still many stores live on the web running a very old codebase. You often can’t tell by looking at them as many have a “skin” that makes the web page design modern, even if underneath the shop processes are supported by old code.

Older shops that I have come across may still be based on osC 2.2 – often pinned to their original release ; MS2 (milestone 2, 2003) through to RC2 (2008).

Why not update?

The reason for this is the wide range of addons that have been available for this time, but were applied by changing the code. This meant that while new shops were based on the current version of osC, many existing shops were never upgraded as the customisation had to be repeated.

With version 2.3 in 2010 a modicum of modularity was introduced, extended a little through the releases up until 2.3.4 in 2014.

Since this release, a community project known as Responsive osCommerce (or 2.3.4BS) has grown, derived from the 2.3.4 codebase. As well as using the Boostrap framework to deliver a responsive front end, it also greatly extends the modularity of the application allowing much more customisation and extension without the need to modify the core code.

Where are we now?

While not an official osCommerce release or version, it has been officially adopted to the extent that many of its features are to be included in the official release stream and its users have been promised a migration path back into that stream.

osC version 2.4 (in beta at the time of writing) has the same looking shop as the Responsive version, has a rewritten (and also responsive) administration area and opens up the concept of Apps to addon developers to modify and extend it in a way that is analogous the plugins of WordPress.

Worldpay Payments Extended Payment Module

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Released some time ago now, this extension to the standard payment module adds a couple of features:
– if the payment is cancelled in Worldpay, the shopper is returned to the shop checkout to choose another payment method
– for successful payments, the fraud checking information is carried through to oscommerce and recorded in the order history

Available to download from the addons area and also from a branch off the master in a fork of 2.3.4BS – see the wiki in my fork:
https://github.com/BrockleyJohn/Responsive-osCommerce/wiki/Worldpay-Hosted-Payments-extended

Setting up shipping modules in online shops

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

Shipping Introduction

Shipping costs are complicated, generally speaking. For each business there are many possible options for the carriage of their orders. The costs to the business of shipping each order can vary depending on the choice of carrier, the destination country, the destination postcode (zipcode), the size of each package, the weight of each package, the number of packages in the order consignment – and the rates for all of this may vary according to the volume of orders sent out. If your freight is not collected by the carrier, you also need to factor in the cost and/or inconvenience of taking it to the drop-off (e.g. post office, parcel shop, courier depot).

If you’re lucky, the stuff you’re selling is all more-or-less the same size, shape and weight. This makes it an easy decision to choose how to send it and doesn’t need anything hard to set up in your store.

Typically, however, a business picks a combination of shipping methods based on their cost, reliability and convenience: e.g. mail, express parcels, slow parcels and freight. The customer is usually offered a simplified choice between a faster and a cheaper alternative for their order.

While it is possible to implement shipping charges that reflect the cost to the business of shipping each order, this can require a lot of investment in setting up the product data to support it, and it can be off-putting to online customers if delivery prices are unclear or appear high. It is common to implement a charging model in which small profits on delivery of many items off-set the losses on some orders, or where the profit margin of larger value orders is used to cover their shipping.

So the first step is to get an idea of the costs – either by looking at the orders you sent if you’re already trading, or by looking up the rates of the methods you’re planning to use if not. Check also for variation by location (more for outlying areas, other countries and so on), and for restrictions that may apply to individual products – e.g. glass or liquids excluded, size/weight limits, dangerous/illegal goods.
Keep a list of these variations and exceptions – you’ll need it when trying out the different shipping models for a good fit.

Now go through the various shipping models to see which seem to make sense for your store, and try out some numbers for the ones that look promising.

Simplest: Flat Rate Shipping

osCommerce / Quickbooks interface

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Recently released: interface between osC 2.2 and Quickbooks using QBWC

This is a complex & rich implementation, which linked an existing online catalogue & customers with existing inventory and customers in Quickbooks, which is used to record high-street shop customers and transactions. Ongoing functionality keeps stock levels in sync and feeds online transactions and customers to QB.

As well as semi-automated take-on, there’s flexible matching support that makes it straightforward to link the two inventories – no automated product/item creation.

The Quickbooks Web Connector (QBWC, available free from Intuit) runs on a pc alongside the desktop versions of Quickbooks, and communicates with a SOAP server based on ConsoliByte’s PHP integration framework. This was developed to implement the necessary calls, plus a transaction manager within osC to group together the several interface calls needed to support a shop transaction.  The main constraint is that QBWC requires SSL (but then, so does a fully integrated implementation of Googlecheckout/Google Wallet).

I expect to begin a simpler QB interface implementation for another site, based on osCommerce 2.3.1

osCommerce 2.2 Errors on copying a store to a new server

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Recently I’ve been setting up a test server within the LAN (to be able to use Quickbooks Web Connector without an SSL licence) and have had to resolve several errors relating to setting up a copy of an osCommerce 2.2 store.

Some issues relating to .htaccess files:
– these are used particularly in shared hosting to set specific system options that you might better set as server options on your own server
– a new LAMP installation typically defaults to not processing .htaccess files, so they are ignored
– when copying a store with URL rewriting enabled, the page links within the store are set to the rewritten URLs, but the server rewriting rules for the store are contained in the .htaccess file in the catalog directory and being ignored by default
– enabling the .htaccess files causes both the catalog and admin sides of the store to fail with Internal Error 500s
– the catalog side fails because other default server settings do not allow the .htaccess files to override server settings so you have to set AllowOverride to On for the URL rewriting
– the admin side fails because the password protection settings for the directory refer to paths and files on the old server

New client site released

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Actually, this is rather old news – it was released back in October 2010!

The site is an e-commerce site based on osCommerce, with a lot of add-ons and a certain amount of bespoke development, including postcode-based shipping calculations. The catalogue was initially seeded by taking on data from an ms-access database.

It’s currently hosted at www.cheapcablesonline.co.uk but may be relocated to a sub-directory of the main company site (www.clubtek.co.uk) at a later date.

osC Addon: SPPC (Separate Prices Per Customer)

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Now, just to be clear, I can’t claim much credit for this. It’s a huge add-on developed by lots of people including Jan Zonjee.

All I’ve done is to apply all the specified changes to a 2.3.1 store instead of 2.2, do some testing and bug fixing, and upload the results. I’m also keeping a store online with it implemented (at least for now) and following the thread so I can support any 2.3.1-specific problems.

You can download it from osCommerce Add-ons and get help in the support forum.

osC Add-on: Quick UK Localisation

Monday, April 18th, 2011

There might be thousands of existing add-ons for osCommerce 2.2, and it’s even true that many of them work on 2.3.1, but sometimes there isn’t what you need and you have to get on and do it yourself… so I did.

Initially aimed at converting an already-installed store (eg. from cpanel / Fantastico etc), this add-on has been extended so that you can overwrite the downloaded osc install and then run it in one step.

It basically converts the installed store and sample data from being US-based to UK-based, including date format, currency, address format. It sets up a European tax zone, changes ‘state’ to ‘county’ and leaves this free-text.

If you might need it, you can get it at osCommerce addons and see what it looks like in my development store. If you’ve got questions about it, please use the support forum, unless you want to ask me for paid help in implementing it, in which case get in touch directly.

osCommerce 2.3.1 Development store set up

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I now have an osCommerce 2.3.1 store set up, so if you want to see what it looks like, go to http://neo-lasers.co.uk/shop-23/ which hasn’t had any changes to the delivered template (at least, not so far) but has a couple of add-ons loaded that configure the appearance.

Development osCommerce stores set up

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Just set up a couple of osCommerce installations, initially to investigate the different behaviours of the two add-ons PWA (Purchase without account) and Checkout Redux, which streamlines things but seems to have a bug or two. Checkout Redux is on shop one while the other store started with PWA and is now getting other stuff on top, towards a suggested initial package for most stores. The front page should carry a current list of add-ons here.