WooCommerce – an EXCELLENT WordPress ecommerce solution

We’ve had a lot of experience with commerce solutions over the past 20 years.  We were early adopters of osCommerce, done many, many ZenCart installations, and have worked with may other platforms, both custom and SaaS based from Shopify, to Commerce Cloud.  Recently, we have come to find WooCommerce, a solution for use with WordPress, to be a truly outstanding offer.

As anyone who follows our blog knows, we’ve moved away from Joomla! and Drupal and embraced WordPress as our preferred CMS platform.  Both  Joomla! and Drupal have fine ecommerce solutions, but it wold be difficult to find something that is as complete and well developed as WooCommerce.  The free offering has provided us with everything we want in an online store and the professional offerings from WooCommerce of extensions and improvements are well worth considering, and very fairly priced.  WooCommerce understands open source, making their offering free, improving it with the user base feedback and developer input, but offering additional services and extensions at a reasonable rate.  This is in our opinion the best path to proceed with open source software.

Let’s take a look at all that one gets from WooCommerce’s free, open source offering:

  • A very clean and highly thought out UI for the store and cart experience.
  • Variable product offerings; virtual, physical, one of a kind or inventory controlled, and protected downloads with options for controlling access.
  • A very easy to understand and operate store administration area.
  • Product reviews that may be enabled or disabled, set to have verified owners, etc.
  • Upsell and cross-sell capabilities.
  • A large number of payment extensions — most of which can be added for free.
  • Template controlled and WordPress CMS managed pages.
  • Coupons, including the ability to provide customers with single use coupons as a follow up “thank you” for their purchase or review.
  • Category and subcategory capabilities in addition to tagging.
  • Multiple shipping rate options and integrations with major logistics providers.
  • Tax calculations and variations that should support just about anyone — or the ability to tie into a professional tax engine if needed.

This is all in the free offering!  It is installed in the usual WordPress simply click-and-activate fashion, too.  We’re quite happy with everything we have found with WooCommerce and give it our highest recommendation!

You can see it in action on our new internal project Inquiry-Teaching.com


Inquiry-Teaching.comOur work is changing, as is really the entire nature of what many of us call work.  Thanks to the World Wide Web, our ability to create and share resources has never been greater.  The Design Mission is going to be getting back to its roots and has started a new project for inquiry based curriculum; Inquiry-Teaching.com

Look for new and returning lesson plans with an inquiry and active learning focus to be live in August of 2017.  We’ll continue to update the site with new lesson plans and resources.  In two years, we hope to be doing nothing but curriculum writing as our work focus.




osCommerce vs ZenCart

osCommerce logo

As someone who has worked with osCommerce for over 12 years, doing installations, custom modifications and so forth, I believe it is safe to say I’m an expert with the project and its code base.  It was one of the first open source storefronts and by far more advanced than even some of the ones that came after it for many years.  There are hundreds of modules that can be used to extend or change it, too.

Still, I really don’t like it that much.

Zen Cart :: The Art of E-Commerce

Forking an open source project is usually deemed to be a really bad thing.  Reason being, if you want to make the project better, doing so within the existing code base and working with the original project is the way of making things better for everyone.  One big community.  In the case of Zen Cart, though, I think it was the right decision.  Zen Cart is a fork of osCommerce and where osCommerce fails, it succeeds.

While I think osCommece was ground breaking and clearly an excellent example of an open source success, the UI never got very far; it always looked like a developer designed it.  The speed with which updates rolled out was terminally slow — after more than a decade, we’re still only on version 2.2?  Zen Cart on the other hand took seriously the design and presentation aspects of the program.  They also made the directions better and with greater usabilty for both developers and novice users alike.  The standard installation for Zen Cart includes most of the features I spend a great deal of time adding to any osCommerce standard installation.  As such, an installation of Zen Cart gets me further and is easier to manage and maintain.

For me, Zen Cart is a better project and a better solution for most people when it comes to an open source ecommerce platform.