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It's a huge step starting afresh. As one dev commented - "no shopowners, no coders, no history, no nothing".

While that is entirely true, what do we have with the old system? Yes, the name (in spite of everything) still has some cachet. However what about the rest?

Shopowners - there is a core group of about a dozen shopowners, the diehards, who are active in the forums. There are probably thousands, leftovers from the heydays, still running 2.2. There aren't many new adopters because of the way the official and community edition have been handled and continue to be handled.

Coders - most coders have gone. There's Burt, Jack, Kymation, Henry, a couple of others. No new fresh talent. Nobody wanting to learn the software or code for it anymore. And why would they? No reason. There is no money or satisfaction in it.

History - the software has an admirable history but the residual effect of that history has been waning. Something like this:

image.png.ccac7dfd83aa67c694d7625dccc3de67.png

If version 2.4 was released tomorrow, would anything change? I doubt it. Nobody can rely on the old system any longer because the project has been run into the ground by the owner. While he's in charge, and unreasonably holds it to ransom, things will always hang in the balance and its future will be uncertain.

(Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the owner and what he's achieved in the past and the work he's produced. The problem is that he's lost my confidence and I suspect yours too)

No nothing - I disagree. There is a something, and with the right attitude something could blossom from the ashes. For a start, I believe the shopowners and coders left will embrace a new incarnation and become enthusiastic about the possibilities.

If you are a developer, do you feel satisfaction from the work you are putting into the old system, work that is being utilised by fewer and fewer shopowners as time goes on? I don't. I haven't touched any of my apps (apart from stuff to use on my own store) for months. I feel deflated.

If you are a shopowner, do you feel that the old system can continue to meet the challenges of ecommerce into the future? I don't. I can't even change the look and feel of the store without a major overhaul.

2.3.4 is finished. Burt has done an amazing job bringing it to the point it is at now, but there's no point in continuing. To progress I believe we need to move to the 2.4.framework. However, to continue developing a community edition under the old system is impossible.

This is the problem now: users download official 2.3.4.1, the non-responsive and out-of-date version, install and configure it, download and install addons for it, then customise the design etc. It's only when they have a problem they come to the forum and are told everything they did was wrong and they need to start again with some software from GitHub.

Every step is designed to discourage users and waste their time.

Nobody is going to take the software seriously when they find out the official version is useless and they need to download an "unofficial" version, and I say "unofficial" because the Community Edition is not supported by the owner, it is merely tolerated and kept away from the main website as much as possible. The responsive, up-to-date, working version is hidden away.

Addons/apps are another mess.  

In my opinion an app marketplace is a must have, for 2 reasons:

1) Make it easy for shopowners to select and install/upgrade/uninstall apps; and

2) Allow developers to make money, plus provide an income to progress the core software.

I also believe there should be an easy upgrade and install routine so shopowners can easily upgrade from previous versions of osC or switch from other carts (magento, shopify etc).

Why would this fork be different to the ones already out there, like Zencart or CRELoaded?

Firstly, I personally will be providing seed money to get the project up and running. This will ensure coders can get some reward for their efforts. Not a lot, but they won't be doing it for nothing. I have set funds aside so that the project will continue.

Secondly, we will have a good base to start with in the 2.4 code, built on MVC. MVC stands for Model View Controller.

The model manages the data, logic and rules of the application.
The view is the output (the content on the webpage).
The controller accepts input and converts it to commands for the model or view.

This means that the software is far more modular and that it will be easy to add new apps, themes, and customisations.

Thirdly, shopowners will be in the driver's seat. They will be the ones consulted as to which direction the software will follow and how improvements can be made to make the software easier to use. Shopowners should be focusing on selling, not hacking code. They will direct developers on how to make the software easier to use "out of the box". I know attributes/product variants is at the top of that list!

Fourthly, we will have you, a passionate contributor to the new project. Someone who wants to see something not only functional but beautiful come out of their input. Someone who will contribute as much as they feel comfortable with whether it be coding, writing a manual, doing translations, testing, answering questions in the forum or even just giving advice. 

Fifthly, we will have a great team who will be working together to make this happen. If we can agree this is the way forward we have one experienced dev already on board. I know others will join. 

What I propose are the following steps:

  1. Guage reaction to this proposal;
  2. If positive, gather a team together;
  3. Hash out what we would need the final software to be and what functionality should be included;
  4. Enumerate what will be needed to be done;
  5. Create a development roadmap; and
  6. Allocate tasks to complete each step of the roadmap.

What now?

If you have any thoughts at all, both pro or con, or any questions, now is the time to speak. Write your thoughts below. After a week or so we'll decide if there is sufficient interest in it to continue. If not, we'll stick with the old system (but I don't think anyone would want to do that). 

Looking forward to your views.

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Ok guy, let me say it - OsCommerce is dead!

Don’t get me wrong - I’m actually sad, looking back, at what it was and what it could have been.

I’m not going to re-hash all the posts from the past year or two - detailing all the issues... there are too many. And it will not help us move forward.

Just like the Blackberry (grudgingly) - I must move on. 

OsC has been held together by basically one guy for 2/3 (maybe 4) years and without someone steering the ship it will not ever again rise from the ashes it’s become. 

Here’s to a new beginning!

🍻 

 

 

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I think we all think the same, but I think if this project go forward, we must to advice oscommerce that we make another "community edition" and their are invited to colaborated, or we can create another ecommerce project.

I do not know what you have planned to do with this project.

I collaborate in what I can.

Best regards

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Fortunately/Unfortunately depending on your perspective, I think it's time for a change, time for a new approach.   One thing I think we can all agree on is that the current project can't continue with the management structure that currently exists.  I'd like to think that will change but I'm pretty certain it won't.  It is rather sad really but time to face reality. 

I'm in.

Dan 

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Not my first choice for a way forward, but there's no longer good reason to think my first choice is available.

Have you any thoughts on how this fork might grow a customer base?

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Just for shits and giggles - I looked to see when the last time the leader at OsC was active on the forum. He hasn’t logged on since Feb 14th. That is two and a half months... a lifetime in the ecom world. 

And on the 2.4 github - it’s been a year (although I’m sure there are things  going on in his private branches).

Not to say he deserves to be brerated - he must have issues going on in his life keeping him away. But, life waits for know one. 

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38 minutes ago, Greasemonkey said:

Here is another way to look at the perdiciment we’re in - if we stay:

See Interest over time on Google Trends for shopify, volusion, OsCommerce, Zen Cart, BigCommerce - Worldwide, 2004 - present - https://g.co/trends/9PW2A

You forgot to compare with prestashop and woocommerce, are more popular than shopify (in spain at least)

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This very much follow my own thoughts.

As is osCommerce is unusable.

As an engineer I had great fun writing some of the modules, but I am at the point where I just want to run the shop with minimal efforts.

Last year I had to upgrade my osCommerce shop. And I was looking at platforms. EDGE edition was the best one for me, even if it meant lots of programming on my site. I did look at other platforms and want to avoid their problems:

Shopify -- great and easy to use, but it is proprietary and you do not own your own site -- you are at mercy of Shopify

Woocommerce -- it is heavy. Also,  it is a shop built on top of a blogging platform. But Wordpress has some nice features that can be borrowed.

Magento, Prestashop -- too expensive. Community editions are very basic, anything else you have to pay for.

Yes, it is time to do something.

I will be happy to participate in the project (and not for the money  -- btw, thank you @frankl for offering to put money in). But may I also suggest following: (coming from my experience as a developer and my experience with osCommerce)

-- Documentation first. Core must be designed VERY carefully to make sure it flexible enough and can easily be extended in the future. implementation to start only after team agrees on particular implementation and requirements are locked. Any functional changes to core are to be documented, approved and only then implemented. Design and APIs are to be clearly documented from Day 1.

Rudolf

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14 minutes ago, PiLLaO said:

You forgot to compare with prestashop and woocommerce, are more popular than shopify (in spain at least)

Yes the comparison only allowed 5.... And you are probably right....

Certainly they are much, much more popular than OsC.

As most of you know... I'm no coder - and know only enough to be dangerous. However, I am a (relatively) successful shop owner (I don't mean that to toot my own horn), who has opinions (some valid others not) as to why OsC (in fact almost ALL ecom platforms except Shopify - not just OsC) has failed.

Forget the Community Version for a minute (consider it as the same just for this post):

Ease of install - strike one - currently OsC has almost zero 1 button installs with hosts - and the ones OsC does have are to the "official" version... the community version has 0.

Ease of use - strike two - currently only available in English. Leaving 80% of the worlds population without a clue.... and ANY customization requires knowledge of AT MINIMUM ftp.... CODERS.... "US" shop owners (or at least the VAST majority) have NO clue as to what they are doing when it comes "this" when they start. Most NEW potential shop owners will (have) migrate to the easiest cart to install - with lowest upfront $$$ commitment

Ease of customization - strike three - I would call it "getting better".... but without; 1) platform that allows for much more granular customization without core changes 2) an app store for coders to make a profit from - so their is value in the time invested in a project such as this and 3) for shop owners to easily build their stores from "basic" to FULL function multi million dollar enterprises.....

Without these three critical flaws fixed (shopify and others have them fixed.... but with a "catch" - transaction fee's beyond regular credit card and PayPal fees) , I'm afraid whatever is done here will be for not.

I have listed 3 (strikes)... there are more.... I only stop here - well because in baseball you only get 3 strikes.

 

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5 minutes ago, Greasemonkey said:

Ease of install - strike one - currently OsC has almost zero 1 button installs with hosts - and the ones OsC does have are to the "official" version... the community version has 0

This is chicken and egg - or perhaps Catch 22. You won't get cpanel installs without a lot of traction or a lot of traction without them. It'll need some tame hosting companies...

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Hi all,

I'm in. I'm just a shopowner with reduced php knowledge but I enjoy programming and even more learning. I've also dealt with osc enough to identify some flaws in the point of view of a shopowner and I can help with one of those main flaws: international language support, I mean not only easy installation of languages but also do other functions like localized automatic emails, languages in configuration etc.

A project like this one needs a leader who plans and directs a team; If @frankl you're convinced about being that person I'm happy to help.

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BTW just a comment: I installed some other shops to see what they offer time ago - and I found a lot of flaws in them, too. For example, when I installed prestashop I found that it was sloooooow - every page load made my hard disk sound like a Boeing engine! and same with the others.

I'm sure a modern version of oscommerce would beat them all in terms of useability.

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Yeah, I stopped developing on OSCBS about 2 yrs ago, I have one shop, my original shop, that is still running on it. I don't get involve in the current OSC/OSC-CE as it is just not very inviting. I say it is an open source without the open mind.

I would do all that I can to help, and I believe we all share the same frustration with the current management mind set and the SW's direction. So, let's make this an open source with the open mind.

Yes, MVC is a must, and I would also say look into borrowing/utilizing framework like Lavarel/Code Igniter and etc. So we can just focus on building the eCommerce SW. Yes, it's gonna be a lot of work, but a modern framework would help it gain traction, too. @frankl, you have my full respect for leading this first step! Thanks!!!

Tim

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I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, osCommerce is mostly dead. Despite Burt's efforts, most people have left for greener pastures. I don't see any prospects of a change for the better.

On the other hand, starting a new fork is daunting. I actually considered doing this last year, but decided that I lacked the time and effort to put into it. I commend @frankl for offering to take on this formidable task.

Given all that, I think this fork is the only way that osCommerce can continue to move forward in any meaningful way. I'm with you for whatever I can do to help.

Regards

Jim

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I am agree with everything. In fact, I few days ago I was considering again to migrate to any other platform. Recursively I realize that I spend 90% of my time messing around with the software, and 10% doing things to increase my sales. 

I think that, beyond technical aspects about what I know very few, OsCommerce has a number of problems, many of them have been quoted before. For developers, there is not a business model, or better said, a very simple and poor one. It is mainly based on installing and/or modifying something, in correcting mistakes, etc. For shopowners, it is a nightmare every time you want to change or add something. Addons that mix each others (categories.php is by far the worst, in my opinion) , that leads to arrange something and at the same time  to broke something else and that you realize days or weeks after. And this happens because in its out-the-box is excessively simple and poor int the nowadays ecommerce world. Yes, I know in this particular aspect it is similar to other platforms: a very basic initial platform, and then you install what you need. The difference, again as a shopowner, is that in other platforms you simply have to click and that's all, it is installed and working. It seems that we, the masochist osc users, find a special pleasure messing with tons of lines of code.

So, my opinion is that it would be good to define what the "product" should be. Are we going to follow the same strategy than the rest? My opinion is it would be better to do the opposite, at least to differentiate. I mean, to offer directly a software fully implemented and working. The more functionalities included, the better. And then, the user simply decide to use or not any particular functionality. I.e, a year after he/she decides to include a subscription's box, or start a dangling carrot policy in their shops. If at least in the whole european market a VAT number is required, let's put it on, despite some people in Malasia don't need it. They simply can decide not to use it (or who knows, use it for other purposes). At this time of the game, you have to differentiate yourself from the rest of competitors, not to offer the same than the rest. With this in mind, I don't have a particular opinion with what have to be under the hood, since I don't know very much about it. I don't mind if it has a turbo or an injection, if the motor is a electrical one made by Tesla or the same than a Shelby Mustang. As a shopowner, I simply want to drive fast, secure and satisfied, focused on the trip and the road in front of me instead of worried about every light and sound that constantly appears in my car.

Once the product is defined, which for sure will need to do some guessing, then the time to produce it has arrived, and then the time to offer and "sell" it. Also, without a wide audience using it no business nor money for anybody. Regarding this, not only addons and what was mentioned above can be sources of incomes. With a standard, you can sell templates, customizations, copywritings for email sequences, tutorials and how-to's, etc. And as a group, organization or whatever, there is a lot of options too: freemium model, membership site, etc. 

Organizationally, I think that we could divide us into working groups, focused on different areas. 

Overall, thanks to Frank for including me, and thanks to all of you for your support and work that have been given during years.

 

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I allready sent Frank a private message.

I think Franks outline kind of sums it up and I'm in favour of this move .. It is a pity if we can not move on within osc but if so .. let's fork!

Nothing much to add to arguements made above ..  the roadmap is essential as far as I can see .. so that roadmap needs be Perfect as much as possible! As a shopowner I have my limitations on time and resources .. But what I can do - I will do to support this initiative!

Arjan

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Thank you for all your input, from what you've written we should go ahead with the plan. 

You guys have also come forward with some great ideas. You can further develop them here

Then see my proposal for a team here

I'm hoping you can join!

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On 4/27/2018 at 10:09 PM, jOHn said:

Not my first choice for a way forward, but there's no longer good reason to think my first choice is available.

Have you any thoughts on how this fork might grow a customer base?

Yes, through a dedicated Marketing Lead who will push the software to market.

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Guess I'm a little late posting, but I think this may be the best decission based on where we've been and where we are.  I've been with OSC for a long time and I've looked at many other carts.  About 10 years ago, I was going to change but every other cart has problems and I hate the idea of Shopify or Volusion.  With that said, I'm probably only good for a bit of help, but you never know.  I've faced some tough years in sales since 2015 because of shipping killing me.  I work within some confines I can't control because of partners.  But, shipping with dimensional weight is sweeping the US.  However, the Google Gods love me again, hopefully for a long time (think Full Metal Jacket). 

Frank has a good business mind and a lot to back that up.  I feel cormfortable with him leading a project.  Honestly, we gave Harald way too long and history just repeats.  Now, we have an option to go to.

If this is the forum to use, then get a certificate on it and we can get more on board.

 

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(I can't believe I'm saying this, but ...)

For this to succeed, I believe that you're going to have to run this like a business. As an investor (either of my time or money), I want to see a business plan. For example:

    Executive Summary
        Opportunity
            Problem Summary
            Solution Summary
            Market Summary
            Competition
            Overview
            Why Us?

    Opportunity
        Problem & Solution
            Problem Worth Solving
            Our Solution
        Target Market
        Competition
            Current Alternatives
            Our Advantages

    Execution
        Milestones & Metrics
            Milestones Table
            Key Metrics

    Company
        Overview
        Team
            Management Team
            Advisors

    Appendix
        Additional Documentation

(I have intentionally left out any Financial Plan)


Thoughts?

Malcolm

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First to all, thanks Frank for the invitation / information.

I like that the old version continues with improvements. Yes, I love the oldCom we know their limitations but we are here because we can do 'something' fresh.

I'm mainly shopowner but, as the rest of the shopowners that use the OldCom, we HAD TO learn php, css, js, etc. So I will try to help in the areas that I think that must ve vital:

 - NewCom must allow to oldCom users to use/update it in a easy / sexi way:

1. Database update in a script for dumies. People can try and see that NewCom uses their old data without problems (as easy that a windows user can test an ubuntu CD-rom without install it)
2. Languages definitions (at least English, Spanish, French, German). Good for italians, japaneses, chinois... Including ADMIN configuration
3. Allow old contributions - at least from 2.3 edge - to be updated without problems at least in a legacy code in the first versions. I know, VLC, hexagonal or functional programing is the future. The problem is not the way you program, the problem comes when you only think in you and forget the purpose of the software you are dessining: a car software that allow to sell things with a code esasy to use.

4. (May be must be in "Point 0")

On 4/27/2018 at 3:25 PM, rudolfl said:

Documentation first. Core must be designed VERY carefully to make sure it flexible enough and can easily be extended in the future. implementation to start only after team agrees on particular implementation and requirements are locked. Any functional changes to core are to be documented, approved and only then implemented. Design and APIs are to be clearly documented from Day 1.

5. Template system for easy customize the web and secude designers to do templates.

More thoughts / dreams :

- App areas for free / payd apps where people can score them and see their popularity / valoration and core version supported

- A web where people can use the free or payd version (may be shopify or opencart model)

.. of course not in a wordpress installation but with NewCom!! :classic_laugh:

Well, I would like to help.

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16 hours ago, ArtcoInc said:

For this to succeed, I believe that you're going to have to run this like a business. As an investor (either of my time or money), I want to see a business plan.

I agree. 

See also Dan's post on a team and the subsequent conversation here

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Frank - I applaud your thought on this project. I think, in general, it is a good idea. But the thing that will make it work is what will prevent It from working, in my opinion. Do you recall the attempt by Chemo and Vger to create a new shop? The idea was solid and the talent was certainly there. But the two couldn't come to an agreement on the way things should be and it fell apart. Look at the thread about the structure you mentioned and you can see the same thing in the making. The thing that kept oscommerce going was that Harald had total control over the project.  Without that, this project will probably not succeed.

Don't get me wrong, I would love for it to work. And while I don't have the time to devote much to it, I will help if I can. But I think you, or someone, is going to have to take complete control of it if it has any chance of succeeding.  And when that is done, someone will be offended by having his "brilliant suggestion" refused and will leave the project. It will take a number of talented individuals to make this work but the strong ego's involved will be an issue. 

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