Perhaps the web developers can help out here. When it comes to Open Source E commerce solutions, which one would you recommend as being the most scalable in terms of customizing and applicability on an SA context.

My ideas center around OScommerce, Virtuemart, Zencart and Magento. But thats as far as it goes. Technically I would appreciate more insight and recommendations.

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Hallo Tatenda, happy new year to you :)

I can help you with your question, and the short answer is Magento.

I have done open heart surgery on osCommerce, and really enjoyed using osCommerce.
Below is my hobby site www.3am.co.za, has done in excess of 2500 orders, with over 4500 registered users, it's build on osCommerce, if you want to see it in action, download some Free Stuff, here, http://www.3am.co.za/catalog/free-stuff/index.php/cPath/380


But the fact of the matter for me is that osCommerce has had it's time, Magento is the future certainly, it's documentation is outstanding, with regular release updates and significant features, things like data export functions, a solid administration interface, and countless more makes me glad that Magento came along.

You can have a look at http://www.ktmcapetown.co.za - which is build on Magento and Wordpress integrated to handle the community side of things, the possibilities are endless and although Magento has a steep learning curve, even the clients Rock at it in no time at all,


I could talk your ears of your head, and go on all day, but if you need more info, just let me know,

All the best
Hie Riaan

happy new year to you too.

Thanks for the detailed insight and an intriguing hobby site it is. both sites show how these e commerce platforms are very scalable. Magento does seem a great prospect. I have also been told Instinct for Wordpress is a great platform as well. I guess it all goes down to what features one is looking for plus what platform the developer has expertise in.

I will look into Magento. Am sure I can drop you a post if any help is needed?

Many thanks!

Riaan Nolan said:
Hallo Tatenda, happy new year to you :)

I can help you with your question, and the short answer is Magento.

I have done open heart surgery on osCommerce, and really enjoyed using osCommerce.
Below is my hobby site www.3am.co.za, has done in excess of 2500 orders, with over 4500 registered users, it's build on osCommerce, if you want to see it in action, download some Free Stuff, here, http://www.3am.co.za/catalog/free-stuff/index.php/cPath/380


But the fact of the matter for me is that osCommerce has had it's time, Magento is the future certainly, it's documentation is outstanding, with regular release updates and significant features, things like data export functions, a solid administration interface, and countless more makes me glad that Magento came along.

You can have a look at http://www.ktmcapetown.co.za - which is build on Magento and Wordpress integrated to handle the community side of things, the possibilities are endless and although Magento has a steep learning curve, even the clients Rock at it in no time at all,


I could talk your ears of your head, and go on all day, but if you need more info, just let me know,

All the best
Hi Tatenda,

My recommendation would also be Magento. There hasn't been a new stable release of osCommerce in ages. Have used the Virtuemart + Joomla combo and it's not pretty. Haven't had experience with Zencart but it doesn't look bad. Wordpress Instinct also looks promising, I'd probably use that if I was going to be selling a smaller range of products and needed to have Wordpress integrated from the start.

PROS FOR MAGENTO
-More features and greater possibilities than any other cart on the market, period.
-Huge community of active developers creating free and paid extensions.
-Great SEO functionality out of the box (+ good extensions available).
-Great community to help you when things go pear-shaped.

CONS FOR MAGENTO
-Steepest learning curve of any other cart on the market, period ;).
-Relatively slower performance than other carts (but you can optimise a lot of areas).
-Complicated structure (EAV, Zend Framework, 10 trillion folders and PHP files).
-The official documentation looks like it was written by the CIA using a cipher.

Don't let the cons put you off though, all it means is that your project will take a little longer to get running. I'd really recommend taking the time to learn the ins and outs yourself, even if you get someone else to implement your site.

Here's some great Magento resources to get you started:
http://activecodeline.com/
http://alanstorm.com/category/magento
http://www.aschroder.com/
http://www.auctionmaid.com/blog/
http://www.exploremagento.com/
http://inchoo.net/

When you're looking for an overseas host, look no further than these guys:
http://www.nexcess.net/

They offer pre-optimised hosting for Magento that's fast, secure and scalable. Customer service is fast and helpful. They were also the first Magento Enterprise partner. Our Magento-based store is hosted with them (www.wootware.co.za), after scouring high-and-low for the best overseas Magento host.

If you decide to go for local hosting, make sure it's dedicated. Get nothing less, else you'll have hassles (Magento chows resources).

Magento will take a lot more work than other carts, but at the end of the day, you'll be able to get the best results out of it. PM me if you need any help or advice :) .

And good luck!

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