I’ve been using OptionCart as my shopping cart frontend for awhile – I’ve used it for two clients plus my own retail site.Â It’s a frontend for Mal’s E-commerce, which I’ve used since 1998 and about which I have nothing but good comments.
These two work together much like ZenCart or X-Cart by itself, but OptionCart has an advantage for me as being totally based on PHP includes. I can drop a cart interface into any existing HTML or PHP-based site, there are no templates to create.
However, there are a lot of include files to edit. The first time I used it, for a site with about 500 photos for sale, it took me weeks and weeks to get the formatting done.Â It’s all in tables (a disadvantage) and I’m a CSS user so that took some getting used to again.
The results looked really good, but I ate a good number of hours getting it the way I wanted it to look.
The second project I used it on was my retail site. Since I’d written down every procedure I used for editing and reformatting each included file, this one was easier – it probably took half the time of the first one, and looked as good.
Over the weekend I tackled the formatting of a site that’s just about ready to launch. I’d already installed OptionCart a few weeks earlier but had done no formatting. I sat down on Saturday morning to start on it, took a break to see a movie that afternoon, and finished it all up on Sunday night.
It looks really nice, and it took me, again, far less time. I think I’ve done it enough that I know where to look for what needs changing (there’s a lot of PHP code to wade through).Â
I’m building my first X-Cart site now, so it will be interesting to see how the two compare. I know that X-Cart has many more features, but for most of clients, OptionCart is an inexpensive and very attractive package. Even more so that it’s becoming so easy for me to customize nicely.