Burts AIS, osCommerce & More Blog
New URL: www.osworld.biz

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Serious about osCommerce? Don't use a template system!

Yesterday I had someone contact me to add a contribution to a couple of Stores. No great shakes, probably around 2 hours all told. The person had bought a couple of templates (not from me!!!) and had installed them on her shops. The templates had caused a few errors that needed sorting, as well as this one extra contribution to be installed. I took a look at the code and it's disgraceful. How anyone can sell code like that is beyond me - it's based on the BTS, but they've hacked it about so much that it is half-BTS and half-not. I could see that there was going to be problems so I declined the job, pointing her back to the original vendor. So, if you are serious about using osCommerce for your Store, then please do not buy a template that changes the core osCommerce files. Questions to ask a template provider: 1/ Do you provide support? If the answer is "yes", then that's good 2/ Do you use a template system, eg ST or BTS? If the answer is "yes", avoid like the plague 3/ Do you have a portfolio? If the answer is "no", then take a look at their profile in the offical osCommerce forum to see how much they help others, or if they need help themselves The problem with the majority of these Template sellers is that they will take your money, and then leave you high and dry when you need supporting. What you need to be looking for is an osCommerce Template provider that does not use a template system - in other words, they have integrated the style with the core files of osCommerce without adding an extra layer of complexity.

New URL: www.osworld.biz - thanks!


At 9/07/2005 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And your templates? Do they modify "core" files?

At 9/07/2005 10:16:00 AM, Blogger Gary B. said...

If you didn't modify the core files the design would never change ;)

But I don't add extra un-necessary code like STS or BTS if that is what you are asking.

At 9/07/2005 03:40:00 PM, Anonymous dreamscape said...

>> But I don't add extra un-necessary code like STS or BTS if that is what you are asking.

Is that because you really don't like, or because you don't feel like learning how to work with either one? ;)

I don't like them either, but for reasons entirely other than yours.

At 9/07/2005 05:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning, Gary. Always good to get "heads up" on these types of things.

At 9/07/2005 06:51:00 PM, Blogger Gary B. said...

On my previous "official" osCommerce Blog, there was a very long thread with around 50 or 60 replies. In there I made my feelings known; of course now that particular blog is no more so it cannot be read :(

But, to reiterate: templating systems such as BTS and STS add an extra layer of complexity to osCommerce (which is already a complex piece of code). BTS and STS users struggle to get support, as those who use them are generally "new" to osCommerce or wish to take a short cut.

Having said that, these tools do have a place I suppose. I think I am the only person who has built the same site using BTS, using STS and using normal osCommerce.

Anyway: normal osCommerce is best. Hack it up and you'll learn a lot more in less time than trying to shortcut using STS (or BTS).

At 9/07/2005 08:55:00 PM, Blogger richandzhaoyan said...


From experience, I agree entirely on Garys view of templates.

STS does have a place - I used it when I first set up my store and by installing it with just a little copy and pasting it gives a total beginner a very easy method of setting up a pretty decent looking setup.

However, soon as you start adding more contributions you run into problems and, the final straw for me, once you have a few too many categories in your store it slows osC to a near standstill. (I believe the sts creator is now looking into this problem and may even have cured it)

I had to take the plunge and strip out sts and was surprised just how easy it was to not only remove it but also to modify my osC site so it looked exactly as it did with the sts in place.

Following this I changed the look again and used a few things that I couldnt have done with the sts system in place. The site is faster and cleaner.

As you said Gary:-

normal osCommerce is best. Hack it up and you'll learn a lot more in less time than trying to shortcut using STS


ps Cant comment on BTS, havent used it.

At 9/09/2005 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Cannuck1964 said...

I still think a template system is the way to go. While BTS could be done differently, the idea of organizing the structure of the code so a layout is a simple install procedure, is a good idea.

MS2 maybe harder to work with after a template has been installed, I really have no issues with it in the least in terms of adding changes to the site after BTS installation.

I do not think I would even bother installing a layout without BTS, as this is more about ease of development then additional parsing time, I find it much easier to install a layout into BTS, it creates a more structured logic design and will be more closely related to the MS3 logic release, for people who want to upgrade...

cheers, and sorry to disagree with you :)

Peter M.

At 9/09/2005 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Gary B. said...

I like disagreements - it leads to better understanding.

BTS is possibly the worst of the three to use as there are only a very small minority who use it. At least with STS, there are many hundreds who use it. ;)

I'm interested to see the templating system used in MS3 - just tried to download it, only to find it's "closed source"...


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