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  • clips
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Posted 08 January 2009 - 04:28 AM #1

I have now been using CS for a little more than 2 years and have seen very little change or additions along the line of making it easier to change from the generic CS skins that are included with the cart. While I have seen a few post information in the forum, I could only find about a dozen, "out of the package" skins that anyone can buy.

I know OS, Zen, X, etc have been out there for a little longer, but there are tons of skins for some of these carts. The skins are great for rookies like myself who just can't seem to figure out how to change the skins. On one of my sites I used the "storefront.net" shopping cart and it was very easy to redesign because I could use Frontpage. But with CS I feel very strapped and limited because not only can I not use an editor like Frontpage, but there really isn't anyone out there pumping out some serious variety for CS.

I know that I can use the stylesheet to change some of the stuff, but learning this hasn't been to easy either.

Honestly, I really thought that by now there would be more skins, mods and other stuff written for CS. While I have seen a few (like shippingkit.com) which have been very useful, there really have not been many others.

Even here on the forum I really only notice a couple dozen people who really post or reply to anything. Not only does there appear to be little in the world of skins and mods being written, but is there really enough activity with CS to justify companies writing mods, skins, etc.?

I guess I could be living under a rock and not know all that is going on, but honestly I am starting to loose hope for CS. I know they are coming out with CS2, but honestly it really seems they need to master what they created at first. For example, I still can't get Quickbooks to import a simple file created with CS without deleting my cost in Quickbooks.

Another issue is the fact that I had to get a VPS to do half the business I was doing on a shared server with "storefront.net." So not only is it near to impossible to get many "add-ons", "mods" or "skins" for CS, but I have to spend more money because the basic cart is a database hog.

I just started working on a new website and decided to NOT use CS because of the lack of the things listed above. This is the first time in 2 years that I am not going to use CS and it is because of the issues listed above. While I believe CS is a very robust, nice cart, it not only has a ways to go on speed issues, but it really needs to build up enough of an audience fast to make it worth while for businesses to create mods (yes, I know there are some), and skins, etc.

I am also getting ready to "update" one of my clients shopping carts that is currently using CS. Because of the low skin and mod availability we are looking at moving them away from CS too.

I know that CS boast a lot of the "bells and whistles" but it really doesn't do any good to have all of these if it is going to kill the speed of the site. Likewise, if enough skins do not start getting offered more of us "rookies" will be forced to look other places.

I have struggled as to whether to post anything like this for a few weeks now. I really do not dislike CS, I just feel they need to "grow up" a little and speed up there site. Not to mention they or someone needs to figure out how to get more skins out there.

If you read this far I am impressed. Thanks for reading.
Jim (Clips)

 
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Posted 08 January 2009 - 06:43 AM #2

I agree with your post, it's very hard to get mods and skins unless you look at custom work. I initially posted up job requests on freelance websites trying to find coders.

With skins, I finally found cscartskins.com to do a custom skin for my site and I'm very happy with the results.

I'm still trying to find coder to do a shipping mod for me, but I think shippingkit.com will able to fulfill this as they have a CS-Cart shipping mod available soon.

The forums haven't too bad for mods too, I'm using the socializer mod and the 'availability' mod. Plan to get the tab mod from snorocket too.

All up my store has costed me $400USD to setup, including mods and skin, which isn't too bad considering other carts don't offer as many features out of the box. I was about to get the Interspire Cart but that thing cost $1000USD!! It has about the same amount of features but doesn't have many mods/skins either.

 
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Posted 08 January 2009 - 07:51 AM #3

Take a look at our references: Link

Cs-cart templates: Link

WebGraphiq offers a wide range of professionally developed, ready to use CS-Cart add-ons to provide additional functionality and boost your sales. The oldest active CS-Cart add-on development team. -- Since 2006 --


CS-CART ADD-ONS | FREE QUOTE | CS-CART DEVELOPMENT | @webgraphiq


 
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Posted 08 January 2009 - 06:21 PM #4

Take a look at our references: Link

Cs-cart templates: Link


Thanks for the post ThomH. Both of your links are good information. :D

As I mentioned in the original post, there are some skins out there. The link you provided has 8 skins. Most of them for clothes, beauty, mobile phones and jewellery. Only two "generic" options and both were an all black design. The options for a variety of skins and CS is pretty much non-existant.

The other link you provided does show other sites that I'm assuming you customized...which is fine and they all look great. My point is there are not that many "out of the box" skins out there. These are items you did custom for folks. The options for "out of the package" or "out of the box" skins just doesn't seem to be out there...even though we have been with CS for a little over 2 years.

Personally, I am used to buying skins and then changing them to fit my needs. Since I am struggling with trying to edit a skin from CS, this has become more difficult for me to do. Basically, as stated before, if I can't do it in Frontpage (or whatever their name is now) then I just haven't figured out how to do it yet. So I am not a html programmer and there is no way I am even close to being a php programmer which has its own lingo. So "out of the box" helps me get started faster. The problem then is the generic skins that come with CS are just that...generic.

Since I am assuming you own the site you link to, do you not make any money on your skins? Could it be that your skins are made to a narrow audience? Are you planning on doing more "out of the box" skins?

 
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Posted 08 January 2009 - 07:58 PM #5

I agree with your post, it's very hard to get mods and skins unless you look at custom work. I initially posted up job requests on freelance websites trying to find coders.

With skins, I finally found cscartskins.com to do a custom skin for my site and I'm very happy with the results.

I'm still trying to find coder to do a shipping mod for me, but I think shippingkit.com will able to fulfill this as they have a CS-Cart shipping mod available soon.

The forums haven't too bad for mods too, I'm using the socializer mod and the 'availability' mod. Plan to get the tab mod from snorocket too.

All up my store has costed me $400USD to setup, including mods and skin, which isn't too bad considering other carts don't offer as many features out of the box. I was about to get the Interspire Cart but that thing cost $1000USD!! It has about the same amount of features but doesn't have many mods/skins either.


I have been following your post along with cscartskins.com. Your site does look good and they were able to take the "CS" look and feel away.

My concern with cscartskin was their "fundraising" setup. As a business, I can not imagine doing a "fundraiser" to try to open up shop. This ended up creating a little skepticism and doubt. I'm not trying to say bad, it was just a very strange way to do things.

In regards to shippingkit.com, they are one of the reasons we stuck a little longer with CS. Not only do we love their mod, but it meant that someone out there, who wrote mods for other software, also wrote a mod for CS. Our hope is there are many more CS mod writers to come along with good products at competitive prices.

We have used some of the mods found in the forum for CS. The social one is very nice along with many others. Most of these mods have been out for a year or more. What is hard to find is companies out there who work with programs like Quickbooks AND CS-Cart. Most of them don't even know what CS-Cart is!

The features of the "out of the box" CS-Cart are very robust and make it the primary reason I started using them in the first place. The problems started after that descision. First of all it was and still is VERY limited on trying to get a skin that is not one of the generic ones that is packaged with CS. Second of all, I ended up not being able to use many of the "features" because they KILL the speed of the site! It really did not do any good to have all of the features if I could not use them. I'm still not for sure if it is the database calls or what, the only thing I know is the newer version (1.3.5?) loads slower than the older version (1.3.4?).

I should also mention that the very basic of some of the "features" do not even work correctly. For example, CS is supposed to work with Quickbooks, but I can't even export orders from CS and import them in without CS deleting my "cost" of every item. This is an accounting nightmare that we have to fix everyday!

 
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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:09 PM #6

Our hope is there are many more CS mod writers to come along with good products at competitive prices.


I thought I would elaborate on this comment.

We have recently found another addon for CS called a "T-Hub". This type of addon is an example to us of someone asking WAY TOO MUCH for their product. I don't mind people making a buck and staying in business. But the pricing for the t-hub software just seems to be off-base to me.

Basically, if you want to make CS, Amazon and Ebay talk to your Quickbooks (backoffice) and UPS then t-hub wants to charge you more than CS and Quickbooks together...and then some! You would end up paying over $1,000 to make these things "talk."

Please understand, I am not discounting that what they have created is not good. I am saying that their pricing model is off base.

This is nothing more than my worthless opinion. If you are going to create a "mod" for a product, then you should be competitve with that product. To me this is just logical.

 
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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:07 PM #7

For example, CS is supposed to work with Quickbooks, but I can't even export orders from CS and import them in without CS deleting my "cost" of every item.


All i keep reading about is this cost price that's missing. Almost all your posts are about the same problem. Is this field you have added yourself to product details page or what? Have you added the variable to the export_to_iif.tpl?

!INVITEM{$_d}NAME{$_d}INVITEMTYPE{$_d}DESC{$_d}PURCHASEDESC{$_d}ACCNT{$_d}ASSETACCNT{$_d}COGSACCNT{$_d}PRICE{$_d}[COLOR="Red"]COST[/COLOR]{$_d}TAXABLE
{foreach from=$order_products item="product"}
INVITEM{$_d}{if $product.product_code}{$product.product_code}{else}{$product.product_id}{/if}{$_d}INVENTORY{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_product}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_asset}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_cogs}{$_d}{$product.price}{$_d}[COLOR="red"]0[/COLOR]{$_d}N

I'm sorry about being abrupt but it's almost like i'm reading the same post over and over. If your not happy with the cart then i suggest finding an alternative, there are plenty out there.
Charlie

 
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Posted 10 January 2009 - 02:59 AM #8

All i keep reading about is this cost price that's missing. Almost all your posts are about the same problem. Is this field you have added yourself to product details page or what? Have you added the variable to the export_to_iif.tpl?

!INVITEM{$_d}NAME{$_d}INVITEMTYPE{$_d}DESC{$_d}PURCHASEDESC{$_d}ACCNT{$_d}ASSETACCNT{$_d}COGSACCNT{$_d}PRICE{$_d}[COLOR="Red"]COST[/COLOR]{$_d}TAXABLE
{foreach from=$order_products item="product"}
INVITEM{$_d}{if $product.product_code}{$product.product_code}{else}{$product.product_id}{/if}{$_d}INVENTORY{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_product}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_asset}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_cogs}{$_d}{$product.price}{$_d}[COLOR="red"]0[/COLOR]{$_d}N

I'm sorry about being abrupt but it's almost like i'm reading the same post over and over. If your not happy with the cart then i suggest finding an alternative, there are plenty out there.


Thanks for the post Charlie.

I am sorry I have frustrated you so much. I was only trying to make a point that 15 million mods don't do any good if they do not work correctly. Yes, I have posted comments about QB in other areas but tried to stick to topic. On this post the comment was made about the many mods that CS offers. Many mods that I like alot! The problem is mods do no good if they don't work or slow down the site too much. Many of you in the forum are the ones that suggest to "turn of mods" to speed up the site.

In regards to your comment that if I'm not happy with CS then I should just leave, this is what I have already started to do! Is this what you want everyone to do who finds a bug and gets frustrated? Or if someone wants an "out of the box" skin they should run from CS? I'm confused on your logic here. There are bugs here that CS cannot figure out so I have tried to bring it to the community.

The part that is difficult is I believe CS has a lot of potential but it is just slow going for rookies like myself who do not understand php, tpl, etc. I've stated before that I really like CS, but there are a few problems that need attention. Shoot, even many on the forum have acknowledged some of the same issues...although it appears that no one imports orders from CS in to Quickbooks.

The problem is for those of us "idiots" who do not know how to code php we do not know how to change the "look" of the website or fix bugs. To change a "skin" is pretty much a nightmare because I can't even figure out how to start! To find and fix a bug is like trying to find a toothpick in a hay stack.

As for your suggested code, I will throw it past CS. They have been working on this "bug" since November 7, 2008 and cannot find an answer. CS says there is a lack of documentation from Quickbooks so they cannot figure out how to correct the issue. So we have been importing orders in to QB for 6 months from this site only to find out that all of the work that we do over and over again just gets deleted by the import from CS. So just as you appear to get frustrated over our attempts to see if anyone in the forum has a suggestion or has ran into this, we have become VERY frustrated with our backoffice accounting program getting messed up because of a simple import from CS! The CS import also deletes the preferred vendor...which isn't as bad, but still messes with something that it should not touch.

You also ask...

Is this field you have added yourself to product details page or what?

No, this is NOT something I added to the product details page. I did NOT add it to the export. I don't even see anywhere to put the cost with in CS or I would put it there in hopes that it would not delete it in Quickbooks. I can't find anything in the CS export that would cause my "cost" to be deleted everytime I import an order either.

To summarize:
1) I do not "hate" CS-Cart. Instead I very much like it but believe that some pretty drastic changes that need to be made. For example, I am guessing that some type of change that was made in 1.3.5 must have put more drag some place to cause the site to slow down. I have a site still using 1.3.4 sp2 (with 8,000 items on it) that runs fine and MUCH faster than the ones using 1.3.5. Another example is the Quickbooks error that you hate hearing about. By the way, I honestly hate hearing about it to and wish the bug was fixed!

2) I really do like CS and wish there were more people out there that would design more skins for us rookies who don't know how to. This is the primary reason I started this post. I believe if there were more skins and mods, then more people would find the basics of the cart very nice and outside "addons" that would help them set themselves apart from the standard skins that come with CS.

3) I am also VERY glad that I have mentioned the Quickbooks bug on various post and that some of you have read and responded with other advise. Someone out there had suggested www.writeitonce.com . I downloaded their demo and started working with their software today. Not only is it able to import the files from CS in to Quickbooks without the error, but it is able to send the same information over to UPS and Endicia for us to ship the orders faster! So far their software has worked the best and at a price that doesn't kill the small business. I should also mention that their software is able to import our Ebay and Amazon orders in to Quickbooks saving us a load of time there too.

So I am very sorry that I have bothered anyone in the CS forum so much...but I am very glad that I did start to post my frustration about the Quickbooks bug because now it looks like I may have found a work around.

Now I am hoping that I can either find or someone will start producing more "out of the box" skins for us rookies who come along and need a little help.

 
  • baballuci
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Posted 10 January 2009 - 11:28 PM #9

I've had a quick look at the export to IIF file and it seems there is a COST field (which is set to zero by default) associated to the product inventory section. Whether or not this has anything to do with the product cost problem you have i don't know as i don't use Quickbooks at all. I've written you a guide which will add a 'cost' field to the admin products pages, and assign this value to the COST field in the Exported IIF file. I'd try this on a test site and not on your live site first.

Adding product cost to Quickbooks IIF file, MAYBE.

1. Add a product cost field to the products table in database.

In admin -> DB Backup/Restore -->> Upgrade Center, in Update Database paste the following
ALTER TABLE `cscart_products` ADD `cost` DECIMAL (12,2) DEFAULT 0.00 NOT NULL ;
click Submit.

2) Add a new language variable 'prod_cost' with a value 'Product Cost'

In admin -> languages -->> add new items.

In left hand box (variable) add prod_cost, in right hand box (value) Product cost

3) Now add the input field to the admin manage product pages

Edit skins/[your admin skin]/admin/products_pages/products_update.tpl at around line 78 find:
<tr>
	<td class="field-name" width="110" nowrap="nowrap">{$lang.images}:</td>
	<td> </td>
	<td width="100%">
		{include file="common_templates/attach_images.tpl" image_name="product_main" image_object_type="product" image_pair=$product_data.main_pair icon_text=$lang.text_product_thumbnail detailed_text=$lang.text_product_detailed_image}</td>
</tr>
and add this after it
<tr>
	<td class="field-name" nowrap="nowrap">{$lang.prod_cost} ({$currencies.$primary_currency.symbol}) :</td>
	<td> </td>
	<td>
		<input type="text" name="product_data[cost]" size="10" value="{$product_data.cost|default:'0.00'}" class="input-text" /></td>
</tr>
If you goto manage products and click on a product you should now have an extra field called Product cost, just above the Price field with you can use to store your product cost.

4) Now lets add this new field to the Export and Import section

Edit include/admin/exim/exim.products.php at around line 111 add:
	'Product Cost' => array (
		'#db_field' => 'cost'
	),
after
	'List price' => array (
		'#db_field' => 'list_price'
	),
You should now have the new field available in both Import and Export lists for the Products.

5) Now lets amend the quickbooks IIF file to include this value

Edit /skins/basic/admin/addons/quickbooks/export_to_iif.tpl, edit the following line (line 14) adding/changing the RED part (you'll need to scroll to the left, it's near the end of the line)
INVITEM{$_d}{if $product.product_code}{$product.product_code}{else}{$product.product_id}{/if}{$_d}INVENTORY{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_product}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_asset}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_cogs}{$_d}{$product.price}{$_d}[COLOR="red"]{$product.cost}[/COLOR]{$_d}N

The original value is 0, change to {$product.cost}.

6) Lastly we need the cart to pick this value while exporting the Inventory infomation

Edit /core/fn_cart.php around line 541, again amending/changing the RED parts, you could copy and paste the complete line if you like
$order['items'] = db_get_hash_array("SELECT $db_tables[order_details].*, $db_tables[product_descriptions].product[COLOR="Red"], $db_tables[products].cost[/COLOR] FROM [COLOR="red"]([/COLOR]$db_tables[order_details] LEFT JOIN $db_tables[product_descriptions] ON $db_tables[order_details].product_id=$db_tables[product_descriptions].product_id AND $db_tables[product_descriptions].lang_code='$lang_code'[COLOR="red"]) LEFT JOIN $db_tables[products] ON $db_tables[product_descriptions].product_id=$db_tables[products].product_id[/COLOR] WHERE $db_tables[order_details].order_id='$order_id'",'item_id');

Now if you export your orders to quickbooks the COST field in the IIF file should have your product cost value and not 0. As i said at the start i have no clue if this is going to work, but it's worth a try.

FYI i too have been looking for an alternative to CS-Cart and i totally agree with your summary.
Charlie

 
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Posted 11 January 2009 - 08:06 PM #10

I know that this topic has changed a little, but you are right...the lack of cs-cart skins is what drove us to opening up our store. We have a few templates listed right now but plan to keep adding them on a regular basis.

 
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Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:03 AM #11

I know that this topic has changed a little, but you are right...the lack of cs-cart skins is what drove us to opening up our store. We have a few templates listed right now but plan to keep adding them on a regular basis.


GREAT JOB ON THE SKINS!

You have a nice variety and I love the way you did away with the 3 column. Something that looks like it will be easier to do with CS2.

The part that will be interesting is if you keep on designing and build a larger inventory of "out of the box" skins. There are a couple of sites I've found having a few skins, but this still keeps the options for CS extremly limited. My fear is that you will create these initial skins and then very few will roll out after that.

What you and ThomH have done is a great "start" to adding some variety to the skin world for CS. There was someone called topcoderpro but I think they may have shut down as their site has not worked for some time now. Hopefully they have not become a casualty. Bottom line, if outside people can make a buck selling skins, add-ons, etc. this is good for the shopping cart as a whole. I really don't expect CS to have a choice of 200 skins, but in my mind there should be some place out there that provides the options to choose from hundreds of different skins.

 
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Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:53 AM #12

I've had a quick look at the export to IIF file and it seems there is a COST field (which is set to zero by default) associated to the product inventory section. Whether or not this has anything to do with the product cost problem you have i don't know as i don't use Quickbooks at all. I've written you a guide which will add a 'cost' field to the admin products pages, and assign this value to the COST field in the Exported IIF file. I'd try this on a test site and not on your live site first.

Adding product cost to Quickbooks IIF file, MAYBE.

1. Add a product cost field to the products table in database.

In admin -> DB Backup/Restore -->> Upgrade Center, in Update Database paste the following

ALTER TABLE `cscart_products` ADD `cost` DECIMAL (12,2) DEFAULT 0.00 NOT NULL ;
click Submit.

2) Add a new language variable 'prod_cost' with a value 'Product Cost'

In admin -> languages -->> add new items.

In left hand box (variable) add prod_cost, in right hand box (value) Product cost

3) Now add the input field to the admin manage product pages

Edit skins/[your admin skin]/admin/products_pages/products_update.tpl at around line 78 find:
<tr>
	<td class="field-name" width="110" nowrap="nowrap">{$lang.images}:</td>
	<td> </td>
	<td width="100%">
		{include file="common_templates/attach_images.tpl" image_name="product_main" image_object_type="product" image_pair=$product_data.main_pair icon_text=$lang.text_product_thumbnail detailed_text=$lang.text_product_detailed_image}</td>
</tr>
and add this after it
<tr>
	<td class="field-name" nowrap="nowrap">{$lang.prod_cost} ({$currencies.$primary_currency.symbol}) :</td>
	<td> </td>
	<td>
		<input type="text" name="product_data[cost]" size="10" value="{$product_data.cost|default:'0.00'}" class="input-text" /></td>
</tr>
If you goto manage products and click on a product you should now have an extra field called Product cost, just above the Price field with you can use to store your product cost.

4) Now lets add this new field to the Export and Import section

Edit include/admin/exim/exim.products.php at around line 111 add:
	'Product Cost' => array (
		'#db_field' => 'cost'
	),
after
	'List price' => array (
		'#db_field' => 'list_price'
	),
You should now have the new field available in both Import and Export lists for the Products.

5) Now lets amend the quickbooks IIF file to include this value

Edit /skins/basic/admin/addons/quickbooks/export_to_iif.tpl, edit the following line (line 14) adding/changing the RED part (you'll need to scroll to the left, it's near the end of the line)
INVITEM{$_d}{if $product.product_code}{$product.product_code}{else}{$product.product_id}{/if}{$_d}INVENTORY{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$product.product}{$product.selected_options}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_product}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_asset}{$_d}{$settings.Addons.quickbooks_opts.accnt_cogs}{$_d}{$product.price}{$_d}[COLOR="red"]{$product.cost}[/COLOR]{$_d}N

The original value is 0, change to {$product.cost}.

6) Lastly we need the cart to pick this value while exporting the Inventory infomation

Edit /core/fn_cart.php around line 541, again amending/changing the RED parts, you could copy and paste the complete line if you like
$order['items'] = db_get_hash_array("SELECT $db_tables[order_details].*, $db_tables[product_descriptions].product[COLOR="Red"], $db_tables[products].cost[/COLOR] FROM [COLOR="red"]([/COLOR]$db_tables[order_details] LEFT JOIN $db_tables[product_descriptions] ON $db_tables[order_details].product_id=$db_tables[product_descriptions].product_id AND $db_tables[product_descriptions].lang_code='$lang_code'[COLOR="red"]) LEFT JOIN $db_tables[products] ON $db_tables[product_descriptions].product_id=$db_tables[products].product_id[/COLOR] WHERE $db_tables[order_details].order_id='$order_id'",'item_id');

Now if you export your orders to quickbooks the COST field in the IIF file should have your product cost value and not 0. As i said at the start i have no clue if this is going to work, but it's worth a try.

FYI i too have been looking for an alternative to CS-Cart and i totally agree with your summary.


Very cool code! I have not tried it yet, but it sounds like an option. Right now I am going to wait until I upgrade from 1.3.5 sp3 to sp4. Then I want to wait to see how well the writeitonce.com software does. We did the full demo the end of last week. We are now waiting to hear from them with the corrected code so we can get it rollling full time. I am hoping at that time I won't need to change anything like this, PLUS I am hoping that I will make shipping easier by being able to export everything to UPS and Endicia AND I will be able to import from a couple of our other sites!

So the frustration with this CS bug is really starting to look like a good thing for the flow of how we process orders. It looks like we will be faster, more effecient, and more accurate ... which should all allow more time for sipping coffee and taking longer naps.

 
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Posted 14 January 2009 - 06:47 AM #13

Take a look at our references: Link

Cs-cart templates: Link


Some of the links do not work, some look incomplete, most has 99% same layout. None has non cs-cart feel.

I totally agree that there is absolutely none "normal" templates on the market to buy.

 

Posted 14 January 2009 - 08:35 PM #14

I wish I had more of the the entrepreneurial spirit... Maybe one of you born-to-be-business-guys/girls could summon a team of designers/developers and open a shop offering alternatives to the existing ones.

I was about to start a similar template shop for a different cart that is very popular but is seriously lacking quality templates. Unfortunately, I was not able to lead this to a good end... Or not until today :)

Just my two cents...

 

Posted 14 January 2009 - 10:50 PM #15

I'd be interested in designing templates for CS-Cart. If I do what types or styles of templates are people most interested in using?

 
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Posted 15 January 2009 - 02:19 AM #16

I'd be interested in designing templates for CS-Cart. If I do what types or styles of templates are people most interested in using?


A good start would be to see what type of sites are being built for other types of shopping carts.

Here is an oscommerce link...
http://www.calebweb....tml?category=84

Here is a zen cart link...
http://www.calebweb....ml?category=101

I know that a couple of my sites have a more specific type of product, but what I usually do is get an "out of the box" template and then adapt it.

I know that many of the templates on the site listed above are more specific, but most of them take on a generic flavor. There does seem to be a lot of t-shirt skins and lingerie skins so I guess this is something that is popular? Anything that makes the site NOT look so much like CS (no offense to CS).

 
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Posted 15 January 2009 - 01:39 PM #17

Not sure its its based on "type of skin"...I thinks its all different on what people are looking for.

I just read a really good article this morning on web trends for 2009: http://www.smashingm...rends-for-2009/

Its good to not only follow those trends but create some of your own and stand out from the rest.

 
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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:30 AM #18

Not sure its its based on "type of skin"...I thinks its all different on what people are looking for.

I just read a really good article this morning on web trends for 2009: http://www.smashingm...rends-for-2009/

Its good to not only follow those trends but create some of your own and stand out from the rest.


Cool site. Good ideas.

I would caution people to NOT click on the orange box in the upper right hand column that says "subscribers." When I clicked on it my browser locked up. In order to move on in my Internet Explorer I had to reboot my computer.

 
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Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:38 PM #19

I can understand the lack of skins available as most people who do purchase CS-CART are not developers OR designers. They are businesses that need an online shopping cart.

Because of the robust nature of CS-CART and the ability to literally do exactly what you want with the design and functionality...it is a time consuming process to design skins. Which I think is the contributing factor for the lack of skins.

Based on this and the information below I understand why there aren't many "skins" sites available for CS-CART, plus the demand just doesn't seem to be there. It's a definitive risk for someone to start creating skins in the hopes that someone would buy them. An awful lot of work for something that may or may not be successful.

The time it takes to completely re-skin a CS-CART site does not make for good business because the amount a designer would have to charge is generally out of bounds for the common small business who wants to use CS-CART.

I'm in the process of completing my first CS-CART design, and it's taken me probably around 40 hours to re-skin. Granted this time will be cut-down quite a bit on my next CS-CART design, but still I would think 20 hours is a good estimation.

Given that 20 hours of design work at a minimum of $25hr = $500
Maybe, I'm wrong but I don't know many small businesses that would spend the extra $500 to make their online store "different" from the common CS-CART skins.

Granted I could make this available as a skin for maybe $150ea, but generally good design makes for 'uniqueness' and when you start making templates available they just start looking the same. Plus, my customers want something that match their business identity, which again would warrant a completely unique look.

For instance, here's a couple of images of the site I'm currently working on below.
If I was going to charge out for this I would probably charge somewhere between $500 and $750 (maybe more), depending on whether a customer would want the admin section.

Posted Image
Posted Image

Admin Section:
Posted Image

So how many small businesses are willing to shell out the money for this?

The reason you get CS-CART is it's reasonably cheap, easy to install, setup and maintain...not because it comes with 500 skins that all start looking the same after awhile.

Just my 2¢

WebGuy

 
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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:15 PM #20

i know compared to other programs cs cart dosnt have alot of skins. but id rather have them work on an awsome cart then neglect the software for skins. Web guy---very nice!! and your right about small business not spending the money. economy is tight.
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