Forum OpenACS Development: Major ecommerce upgrade to be released

I've just completed a major upgrade of the ecommerce package sponsored by Berklee College of Music. Before I upload the new version I'd like to ask the community a few questions. But first a some background information on the new version (4.5b).

The upgraded ecommerce package will:

  • Be more stable, having fixed many bugs and logged tons of testing.
  • Include up-to date documentation.
  • Accept various credit card gateways instead of the obsolete CyberCash.
  • Accept various shipping rules in addition to the ecommerce shipping rules.
  • Handle goods that don't require shipping more gracefully.
  • Collect both the shipping address and the billing address.

There have been some minor changes to the data model. Nothing major, but automatic update scripts are not possible. For example, the cybercash_log table has been removed. An update script would not know to delete all records or leave the table untouched. Or another example, the transaction_id of the ec_financial_transactions table changed from integer to varchar. In PostgreSQL one could change the type of the column by way of dumping the data, reloading it to a new table but that would destroy all references from other tables to ec_financial_transactions.

Time for the questions:

  1. How many production sites deploy the 4.1a or the 4.2 ecommerce package?
  2. If you deploy an older 4.x ecommerce package on a production site:
    1. Is there a need or desire to upgrade to a new (this?) version of the ecommerce package?
    2. Do you think that upgrade scripts are required for your site to upgrade to a new version? Or could you upgrade just fine without them if the ecommerce documentation listed all data model changes?
  3. If the new version is to be released without upgrade scripts:
    1. Should the new ecommerce version be released as the next version of the current ecommerce package regardless of the missing scripts?
    2. Or should the new ecommerce version break with the past and be released as a new package? Even though the design is still strongly rooted in the 3.x version and the version is not 100% OpenACS 4.x by design?

I appreciate all input and look forward to what the community thinks is best.

Posted by Zachari Partridge on
Bart I'm excited to see that your new release is completed.  I
haven't used the ecommerec package on a production site yet so  I'm
afraid I have no feedback regarding your questions.  I would
however, like to try out your package as soon as possible.  How can
I get it?

Thanks! Zack.

Posted by Bart Teeuwisse on
Zack, Berklee is currently testing the ecommerce package and I would like to incorporate fixes any bugs they might find. Expect the ecommerce package to be available from the OpenACS CVS by the end of next week.
Posted by Roberto Mello on
Hi Bart,

I've only used the 3.x e-commerce package (and I made a port of it to PHP - not really because I wanted to), but not the 4.x port.

I'm also excited to see your work on this package. I think we should ask on the regular OACS bboard how many are using the current e-commerce package and then go from there.

Posted by Jacob Williams on
I use the 4.x eCommerce engine on several production environments and the features you've mentioned are pretty interesting. I already had to rewrite the CC gateway to work with my commerce server for processing, but its pretty proprietary. If you have any questions about doing that I may have answers.

My biggest problems with the older/current version is its inconsistent templating implementation and its use of db api that can break down if you try to integrate any of the stores api on other pages in the site.


Posted by Matthew Soldo on

This sounds like a good step forward for the ecommerce module. I developed using the ecommerce module and ACS classic. I certainly wouldn't expect upgrade scripts. Although such things would be wonderful, I've customized it so much that I can't imagine any canned scripts would work.

What payment gateways will your package support? When do you think you'll be releasing it?

Posted by Jacob Williams on
I would also like to add that I agree with the notion that upgrade scripts would most likely be useless. The current version required so many changes to work for us that anyone who uses it seriously would need to upgrade manualy anyways.

I'd also say that it should be an upgrade to the current package, not a new package. Nothing in your description indicates that the old one would ever need to be used instead of the new one. Only that existing installations may not be able to move over right away.

I don't think I would upgrade my existing sites, since I've already hacked in fixes for all the bugs they had and customized them for the client. Plus, that would require a budget from them :) But if you release this version, I would definitely build on it for any new production sites I use it in.