Introducing a new Ecommerce platform, Cart45

After what seems like an age of hardwork, this week sees the launch of the ‘top secret’ web app. It’s an easy to use ecommerce system called Cart45.

Disclaimer

Whilst, Cart45 is still available for purchase, I am no longer involved in its development in any way. Thus, I cannot answer questions about it nor offer any kind of support.

What makes Cart45 different?

An installation process that takes a few minutes, good quality SEO and ease of use for both customers and website owners. We’re hoping Cart45 will do for ecommerce what WordPress did for blogging.

We believe that this marketplace is saturated with difficult to use shopping carts (yes, I am looking at you Actinic) and we’re hoping Cart45 will change all of that.

Cart45’s development

The six months of Cart45 development have been enormously fruitful for me in terms of my professional development. My object-oriented PHP has improved tremendously and my programming thought process has progressed too. I’ve been very lucky to have been working on this project and I’m really hoping it will be a success.

Architecture

Built using MVC (well close to), Cart45 should be easy for novices to setup and super-easy for professionals to customise for clients. Who knows, this time next year there may be a whole cottage industry based on Cart45 installs and theme developments – just as there is with WordPress.

Read about Cart45’s Folder and file structure

System requirements

Cart45 needs PHP5, MySQL5 and Apache. I know a lot of PHP frameworks and shopping carts cater for PHP4/MySQL4 as well as 5 but we want Cart45 to help push things forward. If there is sufficient demand for PHP4/MySQL4 then we may explore supporting them.

Competition time

To celebrate the launch of Cart45, I’m giving away 3 copies to readers of this blog. To enter simply leave a comment or a question about Cart45 on this post (see form below) between now and 31st July 2008 and I’ll pick 3 winners at random.

Any questions?

Want to know something about Cart45 – ask me a question. I’ll do my best to answer it.

13 responses to “Introducing a new Ecommerce platform, Cart45”

  1. @Dan: I love to be busy.

    One thing I forgot to mention – Cart45 ships with Google Checkout and Protx integration – so for website owners to take payments they’ll need an account with one of these providers and to get an account with one of these they’ll need a normal bank account for Google Checkout or a ‘merchant account’ for Protx.

  2. I was wondering what merchant accounts Cart45 supported. Do you plan to support other merchant account providers in the future? Is it difficult to support other merchant account providers?

  3. @Derek Cart45 currently supports Protx and Google Checkout. We will be integrating more merchant account providers as time goes on, but what we are really hoping is to create a community around the product who can build and sell their own modules, including different merchant support. We are hoping to have the Module Store ready for official release in mid – August.

    So if you wanted to develop a PayPal module for Cart45, you could do that and we would sell it as a “bolt-on” service/module on your behalf. You will obviously get to keep the lionshare of the profits from every customer who purchases your module as long as you choose to keep it available for sale.

    It’s not only merchant provider bolt-ons that can be developed by the way, shipping modules, themes, custom cart options, packs for different industries and whatever else you can think of are all open for development.

    There are many great benefits to this approach. First and foremost it prevents the system from becoming bloated like many other cart systems are. Customers can simply purchase the base system for a low price, then add only the extras they want, at the time they want them. The other big benefit is that developers can create themselves another revenue stream by becoming official module developers and selling their “apps” onto other developers and shop owners.

    If you are interested – actually if anyone is interested – in developing modules for Cart45, send an email to hello@soapyco.com and we’ll give you a sneak preview of what we have in mind for this module store.

  4. @phil Great! Thanks for your response.

    @Andy Sounds wonderful! I love that Cart45 will support “bolt-on” services/modules. This sounds like a really promising shopping cart and I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on it.

    I don’t have enough experience with the various merchant account providers and payment gateways to create a module, but I hope as Cart45 matures that other developers with the necessary experience will develop these types of modules.

    It sounds like you guys have done a great job!

  5. Love the look and feel of it.

    Just one pretty big security risk that I noticed – in the installation screencast the .htaccess file is CHMOD to 777.

    This makes your website and server extremely vulnerable to attack and I would strongly advise against installing the script as a result. Especially for site owners that use shared servers or have little understanding of server security.

    I would instead use CHMOD 755 – but if you must use 777, then you should CHMOD it back to 644. WordPress requires you to CHMOD .htaccess too and has the same issues because some people just use 777.

    I also noticed that your config file wasn’t very non-programmer friendly – i.e. you have to modify a switch statement to declare LIVE and TEST variables of the site. There is nothing wrong with doing that if it works, but in my experience, it’s better to make config files very easy to understand and therefore hard to break – or even better, CHMOD the config file and make it part of the installation process.

    If a novice edits the file and misses out a closing brace, semi-colon or something like that, it will cause the entire app to error. You will find that most people that buy your product are novices that can’t code their own systems and have little if any PHP experience.

    These are just two things I spotted watching the installation screencast – there could be many more (as there always is in web-software of this scale) – so if you would like me to perform a full diagnosis on the code, get in touch!

    Hope this advice helps

    Cheers

    James

  6. @James: Your point about the .htaccess file is valid – unfortunately as this is a product that people will install on servers which we can’t control – chmod’ing files doesn’t work (as expected) on every server in my experience.

    The config files are very well commented and yes, you are right that they are not overly friendly to a non-programmer but, I don’t believe they are completely baffling. I think we have to expect there to be a small learning curve with using any price of software.

    A user may accidentally delete a semi-colon from a switch statement but another user may misspell their domain when entering details into a config-file-creation-wizard and end up with the same problem.

  7. I think it’s reasonable to ask users to sort their chmod problems for themselves. :)

    And here’s +1 for PHP5/MySQL5. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to require these days and I have seen some performance benefits (particularly as part of a larger install, mix of software).

    This looks really great — something we’ve been (ahem) shopping around for. Not only could it become the WP of ecommerce, it could become the ecommerce of WP installs.

  8. PHP5/MySQL5 has allowed us to do some to improve the Cart45 codebase a little and use views with MySQL – although that is a double-edged sword at times!

  9. Hi,

    From reading this blog post – I get the impression that Cart45 is only available to purchase. How can you expect to build a community around a product when it’s not free (or presumably open)?

    WordPress and friends succeed because there are no barriers to people downloading/using/hacking them.

    Finally, from the above, it sounds like you didn’t build it to support alternative databases (e.g. PostgreSQL, Oracle, MSSQL or SQLite). This should be easy if you’ve used e.g. PDO, and would at least be a useful selling point.

    David.

  10. @David: To answer your questions. No the system isn’t free. We have mortgages to pay and wives to impress and whilst free software may work in some models it doesn’t in others.

    There will be no barriers to people downloading/using/hacking Cart45 – unless you consider actually purchasing something a barrier.

    In regards to supporting other databases, we may do this in the future if there is significant call for it – I suspect there will not.

  11. I haven’t forgotten about the competition winners – it seems a shame to only pick 3 winners when there were only 5 unique (non-Cart45 employees) who made comments – I’ll be contacting everyone shortly with details about where they can download their prize.