The Horror of a CMS Redesign

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Fighting the urge to just ditch the entire thing and pay someone else to build one from scratch, i've been fighting my way through the x-cart template system for the last few days. It's not that there's much wrong with the php, but the html is enough to make your hair curl!

FONT tags? Bloody FONT tag? Arrrrrrrghghgh!

Not just that, reams and reams of badly made nested tables (yep, bad even for a table layout..) and shit loads of incomprehensible template logic that you can only really "play with" to see what it does.

In an effort to make a shopping cart that doesn't suck though. I will persevere :)

I don't think the x-cart dev's have altered their dreadful html in years, and even back in 2002 it would have been prehistoric - only Webmasterworld would beat it for historically ugly coding heh...

I would give a lot for someone to develop a cart, or cms that was geared for coders - for people that don't mind getting their hands dirty and those that want to remove 'tracks' with ease - guess there's a bigger market in the "out of the box" model though eh?


Sounds better that usual :)

Nick, Nick, Nick - you don't even have a bad system to work onthen :) What about a system that can only (as default) output using frames? What about systems that forces you to use session ID on the entire site? Oh man, there are so many other ways to effectively block you from any proper SEO work on those wonderful CMS (also called: "Content Missmanagement Systems)

We're developing said system

My biz partner and I are deep into our project called Operation Website. It was born from the frustration of carts and CMSs not spitting out standards compliant HTML. Our cart will be launched on a few of our target clients by the end of this month and it doesn't hurl one bit of inline style, tables, or other annoying dirty HTML. Our goal with Operation Website was to make designing a site for a new client a mere matter of 1 style sheet and populating content through an admin. Even our admin is XTHML 1.0 strict.

I have to say, our CMS is going to cause quite a stir. Shri, told me I should say hi to you and I promised him a sneek peak of the system. I would love to tell you what the foundation for the system is, but we don't want to leak that info too early. The premise for the CMS is that site architecture is pulled from the content and that content should be browsable in multiple ways. We should have a working version ready for previewing to a select few at the end of next month. If you are interested, drop me an email to the address in my profile, and I'll include you in the preview crowd.

All I can say about our Operation Website, is that we were tired of dealing with templates when we know about the power of CSS. We're tired of crappy shopping carts and cumbersome CMSs, so we built our own. Oh, and since the cart and CMS are standards compliant, they are primed for SEO.


Yeah, i've seen the bastards! heh..

Is it too much to hope that someone oneday will develop a truly dev friendly cms?


> Is it too much to hope that someone oneday will develop a truly dev friendly cms?

What!? Are you trying to take away my work? hehehe


back in the day i spent a lot of time cursing miva while trying to change look and feel. this was in the 90s, though, so i don't know how far they've come in 'fixing it'...


Last time I worked with it (about 2 yrs ago) it still sucked.

Oh X-Cart

We started work 6 months ago on X-Cart systenm that the client wanted and insisted on, in this time we have had more headaches and migraines with it than you can waive a stick at.
We now settled on bringing a php programmer ina nd letting him do it, because quite frankly I coudnt take the stress anymore.
It will be up and finished ina couple of week's.


Xcart is a bitch to work with. We use it on a storefront where we have multiple vendors doing drop shipping.

I *hate* seeing emails from the wife about a problem or an issue with that beast.

Their owner almost committed hara-kiri a few months ago because of problems that he admitted they could not fix or address. Strange move .. perhaps it is a russian thing.

Within a limited framework -- it is ok. Keeps that store going.. but definately not a platform to work on for a long term investment.

Nick, I'm emailing a couple of WmW supporters who are both developing their software. They'll be dropping you a line ... Knowing these guys, your concerns are shared and probably addressed in their code.

Using X-cart, too

I don't particularly like all the tables in X-Cart either, the other cart we've been using (Clickcartpro) has pushed their next release back by 3-6 months for the 3rd or 4th time... It promises to ditch the tables, go css, hang the moon and such, but it's been pushed back so many times, I'm not holding my breath. Besides, that doesn't help me or my clients now. What's a girl to do?

So far with X-Cart, I've just lived with the fact that there would be extraneous junk in there. Those nested tables are nasty.

Shri, I'd be interested too... We've been using WebGUI (CMS) + X-Cart, but it would be fantastic to have something all together without all the nested tables and font tags.


Hang the moon?

(Arrgh, forgot threadwatch doesn't have a preview function. Much too late at night for me to post anything.)


Is supposed to be good (haven't tried it, but heard great things about it).


Not sure what they are like, but is supposed to be based on good HTML. Not sure about the programming, and not sure how good a cart it actually is :D

And there's from one of the WaSP guys, he's pretty big on accessibility, so the output from that should be pretty hot. Again, no idea how good it is otherwise, or even how hackable it is. Not an easy way to test by the looks of it either, site has a few features and stuff, then says to call them.....


Im not so worried about doing the html, i knew that would be an issue, it always is :) but thanks for the suggestions, i'll be building more, so it's handy to have some referecnces!

How does x-cart handle at the back end?

Mambo Rocks

>> Mambo Is supposed to be good (haven't tried it, but heard great things about it).

It's true ;) definitely worth a look for your next project!

Mambo eCommerce Edition


So how's the html, is it easy to redo, how's the admin backend, order mgmt etc?

Keep going, Nick...

It's possible to get a CSS-P layout out of there.

If it's any help, I just worked my way through the header, then the menu modules, and finally the content container with the template inspector open in one window and DW in the other to make any necessary changes.

At the beginning I also took a source code printout and marked off where the templates began and finished, so I could keep track of where I was...

But I agree entirely with your plea for decent html from programmers - interactivetools is another culprit that I've been dealing with lately.


Yeah, it's not so tough for me stever, just time consuming - im a bit worried on all the negative x-cart talk though...

how is it on the backend? If that's ok, then the html is just a matter of time and nothing more for me, im pretty familiar with smarty so it's not hard to work out...

Maybe you could talk with shri to see what problems he's been having, but it integrated fine with the payment processor and so far there have been no problems on a small installation.

I don't see too many problems on the forums either. The one tricky issue I'm having at the moment has to do with shipping and taxation, but that is more to do with the customer and non-standard wishes, than with the cart itself. And it's not insurmountable.

mat's also got a couple (probably bigger) up and running.


Thanks for the info, is it easy to redo your templates? I dont like to leave tracks, and prefer to design the layout myself...

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