Practical Ecommerce

OpenCart prepares to enter the big leagues, releases new version

The already popular open source eCommerce program OpenCart is positioning itself to compete against bigger and older rivals PrestaShop, osCommerce, VirtueMart, ZenCart and Magento.

Founder Daniel Kerr has acquired posh new offices high above Hong Kong harbor where the group is headquartered, and has disclosed plans to hire additional developers and support staff. The group will even begin providing free technical support to OpenCart users in addition to their friendly and useful support forum.

OpenCart was enthusiastically received by small to medium-sized merchants when Version 1.0 was first released in only 2009. The easy to use and modern “Web 2.0 style” eCommerce program grew by leaps and bounds, and is already the eighth most popular eCommerce program in the world according to the February, 2012 Alexa Top 1 Million.

Features of the new version

Last week Kerr released a new version of OpenCart, Version 1.5.3. This new version contains many small improvements sure to put a smile on the faces of online merchants around the world. European merchants now have Company ID and Tax ID fields, as well as VAT (Value Added Tax) tax number verification. Some long Administrative pages have been gently reorganized so they are much easier to use. Gift vouchers now have a minimum and maximum limit to help control fraud or abuse. And some scripts that are used within the program have been updated to new versions. This includes the CKEditor which makes editing website pages as easy as writing an email, and jQuery which enhance the ability to add impressive drop-down menus, slideshows, and other effects. The latest version of jQuery is also much faster than previous versions.

OpenCart has always been responsive to her target market, the small to medium-sized online merchant, and these changes only continue to underscore that dedication. The secret to their success is simplicity for online merchants plus elegant coding that professional developers love to work with as well.

Who should upgrade?

European merchants or anyone required to collect VAT will want to upgrade to this new version. Online merchants currently using OpenCart and who have had issues with slow page loading times due to jQuery also should upgrade. Merchants using other, older eCommerce programs for their retail sites should consider switching to OpenCart. Finally, merchants who have never before run an online store could not start with a finer program.


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