osCmax the better osCommerce

Get a better e-commerce experience with osCmax

Of all the major e-commerce software applications osCommerce rates as one of the most popular. When downloaded and installed, this software can produce near immediate results in getting a webstore/webshop online. Very quickly, however, the site owner will want to make changes and add features.

As an Open Source software application, there are numerous add-ons (contributions) to enhance the basic software, though they vary wildly in their scope and quality of implementation. Most contributions are developed in isolation from others and a geared towards achieving something in particular for its author. This is only natural and the better ones do take into account other contributions. Over a period of time, an osCommerce site can grow substantially with additional contributions and here problems can arise. There may be hidden interactions that are not catered for and the inclusion of outdated system calls. There is also scope to open up security issues.

Of course, osCommerce wouldn't be so popular if there were as many issues created as were resolved. Thankfully, many of the individual contributions do work well together but it is not always the case. Some contributions (contribs.) just don't "play nice" together though, either due to code conflicts or duplicated/similar functionality. It is through well populated forums that most dialogue is done, though it does take time, effort and perseverance to find some of the information.

Over the years, there have been a number of off-shoots from basic osCommerce, that have a combination of contribs. pre-installed. Some have stagnated whilst others have flourished, to become viable alternatives to osCommerce. What makes each of these derivatives different is the included contributions, quality of coding/integration and readily available support. Traditionally, comprehensive documentation has been a failing of most of these packages, including the original osCommerce. This is not surprising given the diversity of contribs. in terms of features and originating authors. osCmax is one osCommerce derivative that has numerous (useful) contribs. pre-installed.

Conceived by Michael Sasek, osCmax now has a Development Team, to assist. Initially, it was a typical slow developing application (not surprisingly) but is now a dynamic osCommerce derivative, that has seen rapid development.

Currently, two versions are available for download. osCmax 2.0.25 (the 2.0.x series) is the most stable version and most closely resembles osCommerce 2.2, where many additional contribs. can also be applied to osCmax. The introduction of osCmax 2.5 has seen many changes internally and is now suitable for production use but still with ongoing bug fixes and the feature set is not settled. The 2.5 series of osCmax introduces a number of core changes, away from osCommerce 2.2 which requires a little more work to get additional contributions installed. To put this into some context the latest version 3 release of osCommerce is also fundamentally different to the version 2.x core.

Support and information is readily accessible via a dedicated forum and a wiki provides documentation that is continually growing in depth and scope. Being fluid in nature the wiki makes it easier to keep up with changes to the software, though it will always lag behind documenting the "latest and greatest" features.