The past week was a very stressful, entertaining and educative for me. I started the week with a practically unusable laptop and mobile phone. One way or the other, they had both fallen down and gotten their screens ruined. I had to set aside some cash to repair my laptop during the week, and my phone is still crazy.
During the week, I had ideas for several ecommerce websites. I decided to experiment with 5 of the biggest ecommerce platforms in the world.
- Wordpress with Woocommerce
- Magento (Community Edition)
- Drupal with Drupal Commerce
Now, there's something about me you need to know. I hate ready-made solutions. Whatever I'm working with, I need absolute control and flexibility. I need to be able to dig into hundreds of lines of codes and fit it to my standards. That's why you didn't see names like Shopify in the above list. Now, let's treat each of the 5 platforms above.
- Wordpress with Woocommerce: I started working with WordPress 4 months ago (check out my WordPress blog at http://exciteens.com). However, it's a CMS specially crafted for beginners. I'd love WordPress for simple blogging. After checking out WordPress with WooCommerce, I made up my mind against it for the simple reason that lot's of advanced features that come with eCommerce-specific platforms like OpenCart are additional paid plugins you would have to install with WordPress. Also, WordPress is a CMS, and in additional with WooCommerce, should be used for eCommerce stores with little or no advanced requirements. I have nothing against it except for the fact that it lacks advanced features.
- Magento (Community Edition): Yeah, Magento. The most popular and most advanced ecommerce platform in the world with big names such as Samsung and Ford as users (Enterprise editions of course). Magento has 3 editions: Community, Go and Enterprise editions. Community is free, while Enterprise goes for #15,000 per year - I meant $15,000 of course ;). After playing with magento and checking out what people have to say about it, I arrived at a decision. The issue of Magento requiring large computing resources to perform well is a commonly-shared opinion among Magento users, and I don't really have financial resources for dedicated servers/SSD hosting/Cloud hosting. Also, Magento plugins, templates and technical assistance do not come cheaply. Therefore, you get a free platform, but end up spending a hell lot on servers, plugins, templates and technical assistance. Scrapped out!
- OpenCart: OpenCart was the most user-friendly among all ecommerce platforms I played with. It's free, and you get a beautiful default template. My major problem with OpenCart was the not-so-SEO-friendly urls you are left with. However, I would still recommend OpenCart for anyone willing to start an eCommerce website. It's pretty cool.
- Prestashop: Prestashop is similar to OpenCart. It even has search-friendly URLs. However, it shares a fault with Magento: most PrestaShop plugins and templates are just too expensive. However, I'll also recommend it to anyone willing to kickstart an ecommerce website.
- Drupal with Drupal Commerce: After playing out with lots of ecommerce platforms, Drupal with Drupal Commerce emerged as my favorite. I'll start a new project with Drupal Commerce tomorrow and hopefully, I'll finish in a month. Here are the reasons why Drupal with Drupal Commerce emerged as my favorite:
- I love Drupal. It's the most advanced and poweful CMS platform out there.
- I have a very high degree of control I don't normally have with OpenCart of PrestaShop.
- Drupal with Drupal Ecommerce helps me learn new stuffs. OpenCart and PrestaShop are really cool out-of-the-box. However, while working on projects, I love to learn as I work, and out-of-the-box solutions just don't help you learn as much as you would if you're building from scratch (e.g. I built this blog with a very lightweight CMS called CouchCMS, and it took me a week to set up, whereas I could have done the same with WordPress in 10 minutes or less). I don't enjoy spending much time on projects, but I do so for learning's sake.
I could give more reasons, but the third reason sums it up. OpenCart and PrestaShop are really awesome for beginners, but I'll offer myself a challenge by trying out Drupal with Drupal Commerce and see what I can do with it. Stay trippy!