About a year ago a friend asked me why I chose the Ubercart/Drupal combo as the engine for Cool Cavemen’s online shop. He specifically asked me why not choose Magento or osCommerce. I never really took the time to answer him. Let’s fix this.

First, I selected a couple of web eCommerce solution based on the same requirements upon which I choose WordPress some years ago. Namely:

  • Open-source free software
  • Active project
  • Healthy community

I excluded osCommerce right away. I quickly played with it in 2005 and in 2007 for projects that never came to fruition. And I keep a really bad memory of these experiences: both code and templates felt poorly designed and implemented. That’s why osCommerce is classified in my brain as a giant legacy code base, hard to maintain. Maybe the project has evolved a lot since then. I should have looked back at it, but was attracted by another project…

…which was Magento. So yes, I seriously considered to use Magento at some point. It looked great. And clean. But digging deeper I found that something was missing.

My shop was supposed to sell tee-shirts for the band. And a tee-shirt is a product that can have lots of variations:

  • different colors (white, black, yellow, …),
  • of different sizes (S, M, L, X, XL, …),
  • in different shapes (teeshirt, hoodie, sweatshirt, …),
  • for different peoples (guy, girl, baby, …).

I wanted to track stocks and prices for each combination. And this degree of complexity is not supported by Magento. To be fair, I remember to have heard of this feature, but was only available in a third party module (that I don’t remember the name). Alas, this module was proprietary. That is the main reason I discarded Magento.

And then I found Ubercart, which allowed me to do exactly what I wanted. Here is for example prices and stocks for a black Cool Cavemen tee-shirt:

I use Ubercart since 2008 and I’m really happy with it. The future is interesting, as Ubercart was forked as the Drupal Commerce project a year ago. I’m waiting for the 1.0 release of the latter to decide if it is worth switching to the fork or not. But having it based on Drupal 7 is good news, as Ubertcart still stick to the (old) Drupal 6.

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