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Easiest eCommerce CMS to use with FoxyCart?

in General edited April 2009
Hey Everyone,

I'm integrating eCommerce into an existing website I've built.

I discovered FoxyCart and I absolutely love it! It's very easy to implement into my existing site, seems easy to customize and looks really slick.

So, now I need a content management system that will integrate with FoxyCart and allow users to easily manage the online store. Key features are being able to easily add/edit items. It's gotta be able to organize them into categories that are searchable by brand, price, color, etc... There will probably be around 200 products on this site. I also need an simple way to implement customer reviews. Something that is specifically built for eCommerce and managing orders, payments, shipping, etc...

FoxyCart recommends MODx, which also looks great. However, I'm not quite sure if it's the right solution for me. Love the web standards support and open source is nice. Alos, seems like there's a strong community around it, but I have no clue where to start.

Honestly, it seems a little daunting for a front-end designer/developer with no PHP knowledge like me. Plus, I need this site up and running by May 1st.

What do you guys recommend? Does anyone have any other ideas that may help me decide what to do?

Thanks in Advance!

Justin
Comments
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    The "easiest" probably isn't MODx. I think I saw this post on the MODx forums as well, yes?

    Let's start with a different question: What's your current CMS of choice? If you don't have one yet... to be honest, _anything_ you choose may be difficult to get launched by a May 1st deadline if you don't have a starting point. MODx isn't necessarily "easy" to figure out, but it is very powerful. The issue is that you'd have to learn some programming concepts (concepts, not programming itself) to take advantage of the snippets you'd need (particularly the commenting, searching/filtering, and ranking). Make no mistake, we really love MODx, but your deadline scares me ;)

    If you want "easy" you might want to look at Wordpress, though I'm not sure how much searching/filtering you'll be able to do. (WP is nice but I haven't used it in a while, and I've never played with more advanced stuff in it.)

    There's also Joomla, which just recently got this:
    http://www.joomextend.com/
    But I don't think (unless v1.5 has changed things) that Joomla can handle hierarchies beyond 2 levels, which might present a problem (but I could be wrong on that with 1.5).

    You might also want to look at ExpressionEngine and FoxEE:
    http://www.hccdevelopment.com/Web-Based-Software/Product/foxee/

    So all that said, I'd probably recommend trying either MODx or EE+FoxEE. They're both good systems, though if you're going to learn a CMS in this timeframe you'll probably need to get ready for some frustrating nights ;)
  • Hey Brett,

    Thanks. I appreciate the comments. The May 1st deadline is set by me and is just a goal. I would love to have it ready by then but I am flexible.

    Right now I don't have CMS. I manage our static site on a page by page basis. I'm really looking for something that's really geared towards eCommerce content management.

    Basically I want to use FoxyCart but i want the functionality of a hosted eCommerce platform like Shopify or something along those lines.

    EE & FoxyCart looks nice too, although the commercial license is more than I want to spend right now.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Basically I want to use FoxyCart but i want the functionality of a hosted eCommerce platform like Shopify or something along those lines.
    Yeah, I hear you on that. FoxEE probably comes the closest out-of-the-box, but you could definitely get super advanced with MODx as well. I'd give MODx a go. If you need help the forums are really good, and I've never known somebody to give it a serious shot and be disappointed (except perhaps by the documentation, which is getting better).

    The pieces you'll want to master are the concept of TVs, Ditto, Wayfinder, the concept of chunks, and PHx. Those pieces will basically handle everything you need.
  • Thanks Brett. MODx is really intriguing but it seems a little too difficult to figure out.

    I'm comparing Joomla & Wordpress as CMS options. The wealth of information and support on these platforms is kind of swaying me in that direction.

    The CSS Tricks screencast on Wordpress + FoxyCart looks like it might be a decent solution for me. The WordPress UI is awesome. I really like it. I'm under the impression that it's better suited for blogs than eCommerce applications. But it seems like it could handle the job through the use of custom fields for product descriptions, price, photos etc... And Attributes and parents for categorization. Not sure about the sorting options i want though... I think I might post over at wordpress.org and see what people have to say.

    Joomla looks pretty interesting too. Seems like it may be a little better for eCommerce with all the extensions available. Do you know of any extensions for Joomla besides JoomExtend that allow for easy product creation, organization, etc that also can integrate with FoxyCart?

    I don't know, the more i research the options out there the harder it's becoming to decide.

    I know one thing though I'm using FoxyCart! It's too sweet not too.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    I know there are a lot of WP users using FoxyCart, and I know there are quite a few Joomla users as well. I think it's more about what you're comfortable with. A lot of WP users can extend WP far beyond just blogging, and the UI is really amazing, so there's definitely that. For a first CMS to tackle it'd probably be a good choice.
  • I changed my tune. WP is great but i don't think it's right for this site. Plus I love a challenge so I decided to install MODx on my server last night.

    Wow... Not only was it easy to install but I'm very impressed by the UI. Very nice, slick and intuitive. Unlike a lot of the ecommerce/shopping cart systems I've been looking at. Seems very easy to template too.

    So far it's been pretty easy, we'll see how it goes as I get into the nuts & bolts of this thing.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Awesome to hear ;) Definitely keep us posted.
  • I was grateful to come across this discussion for the same reasons that justinlancaster was posting..

    I'm also excited about the combination of MODx and Foxycart. So I have to ask...

    How did it go justinlancaster? Did you get the site up and running?

    I've got a few projects that I'm quoting, and am looking at serious options for commerce. I have used the following:
    OScommerce
    CRELoaded
    ZenCart
    VeraCart
    xCart

    all of these have great functionality but are a BPITA to customize with a unique design, or to integrate into something that doesn't look canned. Plus the hundreds of files that have to be altered to do it, makes me want to pull my hair out!

    And have played around with:
    Volusion
    Interspire Shopping Cart

    and I prefer Interspire for it's elegant backend. And can certainly work for some projects.

    But in terms of custom design eCommerce integration, nothing comes close to what FoxyCart is offering. I just need to find a decent way for non technical clients to manage the store using this system. So I'm also considering WP and MODx.

    Are these still the best choices to research?

    all help is appreciated.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    What's your comfort level with PHP? If you're handy with PHP I'd say MODx all the way. Not that it's the only option, but it's very flexible. Once you understand how to use TVs, and adding ManagerManager to "idiot-proof" the manager, you can make things really easy for your clients. I've probably said that before though, so I'll let others chime in.
  • Hi Guys,

    I am dealing with the same issue, I self manage my static html site with foxycart currently. I am working on a new project and would like to make the inventory management much easier with the new site. So I am thinking about going CMS? Not sure if this is the right call or not, I do know that I want to use foxycart on all of my websites going forward. So I want to find the best solution.

    My good friend has several Magento sites and is really pushing me to go that direction. But as far as I can tell Foxycart does not have an integration w Magento or Magento is a standalone ecommerce solution? Brett what are your thoughts on Magento, and is it even possible w foxycart?

    Also reading your replys about modx, I am seriously considering them, if you think that is the best option. I am open to learn anything if need be.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  • fc_adamfc_adam FoxyCart Team
    @jclemen14,

    To be honest, you probably wouldn't use FoxyCart and Magento together - depending on your needs and requirements you'd use one or the other.

    In terms of the CMS you use - it really does come down to what you're wanting to use and what systems work best for your requirements. If you're looking for one that would be easy to get working with FoxyCart, then it'd probably be worth looking over our integrations page to see the systems that either have existing modules or documentation to help kickstart your development: http://www.foxycart.com/features/integrations - they range from full modules that get you easily integrated with most of FoxyCart's functionality, to modules that just allow you to add products and track inventory, to just basic documentation.

    I hope that helps!
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    @jclemen14, I'd say this about Magento and CMSs:
    First, I'd strongly recommend moving towards a CMS. The more you build sites, the more you'll be limited by not having some CMS like system (even if it's something you roll on your own over the years). Once you're handy with a CMS of choice, you'll be able to do more, faster, and better.

    I'd recommend WordPress, Drupal, or MODX. @fc_adam uses Silverstripe. I'd _probably_ recommend a self-hosted CMS, even though some hosted systems like Hifi (what we use) or Squarespace are pretty flexible. Or something like http://getkirby.com/ might be a good way to go from static HTML to a CMS of sorts, but in a way that'll be pretty easy to get going and install, but still a lot more powerful than what you're currently doing.

    Magento _is_ a CMS, but it's a CMS pretty exclusively for ecommerce. Magento can be great, but most of our users who've used it don't have great things to say about it. It's powerful, and it's popular, but it's … big and beastly, and generally isn't the fastest or most time/cost-effective way to get a not-huge-client-with-ginormous-budget client going with ecommerce.

    My opinion might change in the future, but I'd probably suggest WordPress with FoxyShop or FoxyPress to get FoxyCart going. Or try Kirby, which might be a really enjoyable next step.

    Does that help?
  • @fc_adam and @brett

    I desperately would love to see a Joomla solution for Foxycart. And http://www.joomextend.com/ seems to be dead.
  • fc_adamfc_adam FoxyCart Team
    @BrandonBK,

    Yes - unfortunately the existing Joomla extension disappeared. That said, I believe there were murmurings of some other people working on a Joomla extension - I'll see if I can find out if that came to anything or not.

    Ultimately though - we don't actually build out integrations ourselves, but rely on awesome developers to create integrations with the different CMS's out there. That said though, we are looking to create some basic integration notes (how to add the sample code etc) for different systems to help get people started. I'll add Joomla to that list.
  • @fc_adam

    Thanks. I appreciate your fast replies and enthusiasm.

    As far as the basics go with integrating with Joomla, I can enter the standard code and what not. But I have a lot of customers and clients and it would be awesome to have a component for joomla that would automate the easy stuff as well as the hard stuff like SSO. Of which, I don't even know where to begin to do (from our previous conversations). That sad thing is is that WP has a plugin. But I like Joomla better as an overall CMS.

    If you find out anything about future developments, yes, please share!
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