Why You Should Choose Shopp for Your Next Ecommerce Project

10.02.15 Educational

By Warren Bickley
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The Good

Shopp is a feature-packed, powerful ecommerce framework that dons a range of capabilities to boost ecommerce efficiency, from a development and business perspective. It's familiar interface for WordPress users and flexibility for developers allow for a whole host of opportunities. We have been utilising Shopp where possible for around 18 months now and we couldn't be more pleased with it, hence us now writing our own Shopp review, it provides us with a well-structured and documented code base full of useful hooks/filters giving us great manoeuvrability on features. Shopp builds on the WordPress experience by keeping with familiar user interface styles and expanding on them wherever necessary, such as for product variations where you can easily drag options into a correct order or even link options so that any changes made replicate onto multiple options. A well sized group of contributors keep Shopp moving at a great pace, meaning issues are highlighted and fixed collaboratively within a realistic time frame. As the product is completely open source, anyone can delve into the code and make changes (pull requests); the use of GitHub for Shopp and within the team is brilliant. Shopps vast range of hooks and filters allows developers to easily modify functionality to suit project requirements and also to easily add features, couple this with the really straightforward theme API and the possibilities are endless. As an example the following code shows how you would go about processing a 'sample' request: We have been able to efficiently add a vast range of features to Shopp to suit our needs, such as:
  • Handling shipping from the cart page, as opposed to checkout.
  • Extended the address API to automatically format addresses in our specific format
  • Select product addons from the cart
  • The ability to have both registered and guest users on the site through an 'express checkout'
  • Import products from a CSV using the developer API

The Bad

The only issue that I personally have with Shopp, that is out of my control, is the closed community forum. I believe the idea of closing the forums to paying users is to provide an incentive for purchasing Shopp support, however I think that this casts a shadow of doubt for potential customers and also makes the forums a lot less useful (the more people that are active in an online community the more productive it can become and the quicker it can grow). I believe that if Shopp can find other ways to draw income, and open the forums up to anyone (maybe adding a 'paid' area?), then it will enstill faith in new users and allow the project to grow further.

The Bits to Look Forward To

Shopp has some interesting features in the pipeline which I feel will have significant impact on developers. One of the features I particularly look forward to is the bringing of the product editing interface inline with WordPress' 'edit.php', now that WordPress itself has grown as a platform (the user experience has improved greatly) we can expect Shopp to tie in with this more deeply and allow for further control of the look and feel of the admin interface.
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