OpenCart is a powerful, open source shopping cart system that is designed feature rich and user friendly.
OpenCart is open source.
I can’t give you the precise definition of ‘open source’ but my take on it is that it refers to software developed by someone (or more usually some people) that is then distributed freely for anyone to use, adapt or modify. The obvious advantage of this is the software is exposed to many more adaptations, thoughts, and improvements than the core developers could manage alone.
In the shopping cart arena there are any number of open source projects ranging from small light-weight carts right up to massive content management systems (CMS’s) with shopping cart extensions. For mine, OpenCart sits somewhere in the middle of this range.
OpenCart is a shopping cart system.
There are a huge number of shopping cart systems out there – I know because I’ve looked into a lot of them – but a large number of them have limited functionality while at the other end sit the full-blown CMS’s with shopping carts ‘bolted on’. OpenCart is pure shopping cart through and through. It contains modules that allow you to include various sections of text and images throughout your site but at its core OpenCart is designed with one thing in mind… Display products online and allow people to buy them.
OpenCart is feature rich.
For free software, OpenCart is amazingly full of features. I can’t list them all right now but here’s just a few of the ones that were important to me when I was deciding on a shopping cart:
OpenCart is user friendly.
If you want a shopping cart that you can simply upload some products to, enter your PayPal details, and open shop then OpenCart is as easy as it gets. It comes with a well presented default template suitable for a variety of ecommers stores and the admin ‘back-end’ of the site is logically laid out and very intuitive.
The OpenCart community of developers have produced a large assortment of modules (both free and commercial) that you can add into your site to extend its functionality with only a few clicks of your mouse and if you want to quickly and easily change the appearance of your OpenCart site there is a growing list of third-party templates that allow you to change your site’s layout – again with only a few clicks of your mouse.
For those of you who would like to get under the hood, you can delve into changing the css and other files to make your own adjustments to how your site looks and functions. It is open source remember so none of these files are off limits. If you’re interested in making your own modifications then spend some time reading the OpenCart forums – if your question has not already been answered then someone will be able to help. (Just remember to use the search function first so you don’t annoy everyone by asking questions that have already been answered).
So to wrap this up…
I have for many years run a physical goods ecommerce site using another open source shopping cart system. Recently I set out to find a more suitable system for my needs, something simple to use yet still containing a full set of features. I have settled on OpenCart.
I am yet to go live with my OpenCart site – I’m still tweaking this and fiddling with that, adding changes to design and layout. Nearly all of this is possible because of the existing answers to be found on the OpenCart forums. I’m not a programmer or website designer. I am able to learn what I need to know just by reading and asking questions of those who do know what they are doing. This is truly the sweet joy of working with an open source application.
Anyway, I hope as I progress and this site expands that I’m able to help others to get started with OpenCart. I suspect that along the way you guys will probably teach me a lot too, so I’m looking forward to that. So, please feel free to leave a comment, ask a question, or point out where I’ve gone wrong!