8 CommentsZen Cart vs osCommerce

by Caty at 7:09 pm Posted in Design, Reviews

I am currently working on Zen Cart projects and thought of leaving some views after working on several osCommerce designs before. This review is solely based on the view point of a designer regarding the template systems on both e-commerce softwares. So which is better, Zen cart or osCommerce?

Talking about the dreaded “Table” coding, Zen cart has moved away from this since version 1.3.5(well – nearly table-less layout). osCommerce is table-based and codes are pretty messy(to me) where I had to mix around with table and css based div.

Another feature that I like is the template overrides system in Zen cart: you can customize your cart by creating your own custom template folder instead of writing to the default templates and thus any future upgrades will not overwrite the customized theme design. See snapshot below.

Zen cart template overrides system

With osCommerce, there were several projects that I need to edit over 100 files manually just to integrate my design into the modified templates. That was indeed a tedious task editing all those pages manually even though I did use the “Find and Replace” feature from Dreamweaver.

At the point of writting, I would say that I prefer Zen cart over osCommerce in terms of ease of the template customization. Will post further findings after I have completed and uploaded the new Zen cart designs later.

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#8 Raine

wrote on Fri July 31st, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Magento is nice, but unfortunately it is:
1. Resource intensive
2. Doesnt get good support (unless you pay)
3. Coding can be very daunting at first, hard to find which part doing what.

In any case tho, it is a cart worth checking out.

#7 Melanie

wrote on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 8:35 am

Ok, old post… but i I am curious what you think now and what you are currently developing in the way of ecommerce platforms.. I have been experimenting with WordPress for smaller stores, but it lacks a great deal of functionality by comparison w/ Zen Cart.

#6 Caty

wrote on Wed October 1st, 2008 at 10:44 am

If you are transferring from OsCommerce database, there is a script that can help you out.

You can also check out the forum for some useful information on database transfer.

#5 Scott Robinson

wrote on Wed October 1st, 2008 at 5:50 am

Justa question… The company that I work for has hired someone to launch a zen cart online. We have all of our products with pricing in a sql table on a seperate database system. We are told that zen cart can not draw product names or pricing from another table/database. We now have to manually populate all of this data that has been populated over time in another system. Is our zen master not able or willing to pull data or is it actually not possible to pull from another database? I appreciate any insight that you can give.

#4 Caty

wrote on Sun September 7th, 2008 at 10:51 am

Hi, to my opinion, I still very much prefer Zen Cart than OSCommerce as I have explained in the post above. You can refer to the Zen cart links above to learn to customize the template, the documentation provided on its’ website is very details and easy to understand. Since you are thinking of purchasing a ready template, it is even easier that you just upload it to your server, go straight to the admin section and customize everything from there.

All the best to you.

#3 KCanada

wrote on Sun September 7th, 2008 at 9:50 am

Hi there,
I’m a complete newbie and want to start my own online store. I was thinking of purchasing a ready template that is either Zen Cart or OSCommerce. I have no experience working with this type of stuff, but cannot afford to hire a web designer. I would also have to do all the content management myself.

Can you give me any advice on which cart to use? Any input and advice would be most appreciated.


#2 Caty

wrote on Wed June 25th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Thanks for link. Will look into that. Usually it is up to the clients’ choice, majority of mine would prefer either osCommerce or Zen Cart. I would prefer to hand on to as many cart systems as possible, if I had the chance. 🙂

#1 derick

wrote on Wed June 25th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Just happen to pop by, you may want to try Magento as well. It is the latest craze. :p Easily 10 times better than the two you worked on.

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