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Author Topic: MonsterCart  (Read 4946 times)

Ampa

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MonsterCart
« on: August 05, 2009, 05:02:35 AM »
A potential client has asked me to look at their e-commerce site, which is powered by MonsterCart, an asp cart script.

I've been searching for some time now, and am not coming up with any good info about this particular script... no homepage ( www.monstercart.com is just a holding page ), no forum posts are talking about it, no entry on Wikipedia, no faq!

Anyone heard of this software before?
Is it still supported?
If not, would they be advised to transition to some other cart system?
If so, which do you recommend?

Thanks, Ampa

mouser

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 05:07:18 AM »
DC member Veign has been posting on his blog recently about the e-commerce system "Magento":
http://www.veign.com...to-helpful-list.html

He usually has a very good sense for these things.

Veign

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 08:31:08 AM »
Is this it:
http://www.monsterca...l-specification.aspx

You said ASP, do you mean ASP.NET.  

Here's some info on the ASP version:
http://www.findmysof...erCart-download.html
(which appears to have been made by 1-shoppingcartsoftware.com - a company no longer in existence)

Based on what I have found I would switch them as fast as you can.  A shopping cart that apparently either was never officially released or no longer supported is an accident (read that as security breach) waiting to happen.

I would look into Magento as its a pretty robust system that is gaining steam.  mouser already posted my summary blog post on Magento to help get users started.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 09:44:26 AM by Veign »

Ampa

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 08:58:06 AM »
Yes - the links that you found are all that I could find when I searched earlier.

Ooops. Not sure that I realised that there is a difference between ASP and ASP.NET - have never used either!

I agree with your assessment that it is a disasterous platform on which to build a shop, so shall be looking into the alternatives (starting with Magneto).

Any thoughts on other systems - I have a friend who uses ZenCart for example?

Veign

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 09:13:37 AM »
I have been shying away from Zen Cart since they have not pushed an update in years (sometime in 2007).  The lack of updates worries me and I can't, with a clear mind, put clients on it.  This is why I like Magento so much: looks good, extensible, well supported and actively developed.

Due take note of the requirements for Magento - it will not work on every server.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 09:17:03 AM by Veign »

nudone

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 09:26:03 AM »
i've not tried magento but the templates certainly look more modern than zen carts - out of the box, at least.

there has been a recent zen cart security patch for the admin side of things - does that count as an update? (probably not much.)

customising zen cart so that it doesn't look like something from 1995 is quite a horrible activity. i think 50% of the backend needs chucking out; the template system was obviously created by a team of crazed masochists.

so, from that, i'd have to conclude that magento is easier to work with than zen cart - could be wrong though.

Ampa

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 06:16:57 AM »
Have uncovered a few more details about the mysterious MonsterCart…

The product is written by EvolutionInternet, a company based in Kent, UK. It is their proprietary e-commerce solution, and a quick Google for the phrase "powered by MonsterCart" finds (only) 3 other sites that they have built using this system.

I have managed to get my hands on the User Manual, which contains the basics of "push this button, enter that text" but is poorly written, incomplete, and has no explanation of what each field of information means or is used for, and certainly no advice on best practice.

A bit more research shows that all the competitors of my client have followed similar routes (with mixed results) - small web-design firms offering their own proprietary shopping cart solution, often with a very limited up take.

Which leaves me with questions…

  • Why would anyone choose a closed system, written by a small web-design company over an open source project, since this choice essentially ties you to a single developer for the life of the site!
  • Why would a small web-design company reinvent the wheel and build their own e-commerce engine rather than use (or extend) an existing open source project?
  • And while we are at it - why would anyone choose to use ASP.NET which ties you to Microsoft products from OS and web-server , through database and programming language - all of which means expense!

iphigenie

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 07:51:01 AM »
I have some Magento sites for clients etc.
It is not a light system, you need decent hosting muscle (virtual private server or use a specialist magento hosting plan) - and it is also not easy to get started in/your head (lots of fishing around to figure where what administration activity is) around if you want to modify the design etc. Training the customer also takes time, as some tasks are quite daunting (mostly around product addition - the order management on the other hand is very slick)

But it is hugely powerful and has just about any feature

There are easier options if you dont need the whole hog (getting the links from my diigo)

1. if you just need a few pages of products with a cart/checkout, there are cheap options that arent hard to skin for

- paypal (are adding some nice developer and integration options)
- romancart http://www.romancart.com/ (commercial depending on features, i have used it, very cheap, works smooth)
- quick cart (freeware) http://opensolution....dex,pl.html?sLang=en

2. for a more full featured shop

oscommerce http://www.oscommerce.com/ but it looks quite "square" - there are several "improved" products based on it around (tomato, osCMax,  i forget the other names)
prestashop - slick looking and light http://www.prestashop.com/

on windows servers: http://dashcommerce.org/default.aspx

for integration with cms
joomla http://www.virtuemart.net/
drupal http://www.ubercart.org/
django http://www.satchmoproject.com/

There are also about 5 or 6 commercial products in the $80 to 150 range which are very slick and easy to start with, things ike xt:commerce (in german, old version is GPLd too) x-cart etc.

3. super duper almost everything

magento - see above
oxyd http://www.oxid-esal...ts/community-edition
there's another one that one of my clients used but i cant think of it right now :(
« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 08:48:18 AM by iphigenie »

iphigenie

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 08:43:19 AM »
to go back to the original question, why use a closed system when you can use open?

Pretty much the only reason is if your needs are quite standard and you want an easy and fast start. None of the open source cart applications I have used have had the ease and usability of the commercial systems.

Example: there's still a very strong developer-led feel even to Magento, so certain things are cryptic or clunky (template design, large admin tasks such as modifying products) which on commercial products are a lot smoother. It's mostly that in open source projects you get a lot of developers contributing, a lot less are willing to contribute to interface polish or documentation (and the lack of a kind of managerial review aka "hang on, the user will have to do what to achieve his goals? what if he has 10000 products? surely we need to make this a bit cleverer" can be felt).

If you are OK with that, and can invest the time to learn the product, then there is no reason not to go with open source, but if you need to make it fast for your customer, and it's a one off, and since you are not already familiar with the system, then commercial might be cheaper (depending on your hourly rate)

The one advantage of open source will always be that you are not dependent on the "vendor" and your client is not dependent on you - that just cannot be beaten
« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 09:00:07 AM by iphigenie »

iphigenie

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2009, 03:06:07 AM »
if you want to try magento there are quite a few places that give you a free test/dev virtual server - see the magento community forums - and feel free to ask if you get confused, as I probably will have been confused by the same things in the last few months  :(

Ampa

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2009, 05:31:49 AM »
Thanks for the reply - doing accounts today, so will digest your input tomorrow!

Carol Haynes

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Re: MonsterCart
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2009, 10:18:37 AM »
How about VirtueMart in Joomla - easy to set up and you have all the Joomla functions available if you want them.