Zen Cart Makes Store Designing Difficult

Sure there are many good things about Zen Cart! If you are looking to get a quick and simple e-commerce solution, this cart is worth considering. But if you so much to look for a 100% custom look, this cart may not bring you an easy solution not to mention issues with many other popular must have features. Then why do some developers often root for Zen Cart? Mainly because it is free so they could play on it without investing any money in buying a more efficient cart to play with. Also because it may not need a great deal of development skills if you are simply wanting a little bit of cutomized template look.

Zen Cart comes with a few skins. There are more available for free and commercially. However, when we have very specific design requirements, and we need to get deep into the skinning. This is where Zen cart can be very disappointing. If you want to make superficial changes such as changing the color, the font, the logo, the module headings, etc, Zen Cart may not be bad at all. But if you want to get deeper into the skinning, we will have a significant battle to fight and some good PHP skills will be required. Hours may be spent in skinning the cart, and obviously, cost will be passed on to you. Skinning is such a fundamental concept I don’t think it should be this hard and time consuming. For example, if you want some modules to have unique appearances, we will run into prblems as Zen Cart requires all modules in a column to look identical. While we manage to work around this, it is very time consuming.

Changing text that appears in the user interface is relatively easy in most cases, although sometimes some careful examination is required, this cart certainly isn’t centralized. The admin interface even comes with its own search tool to help find files, tells us how common this problem is. The folder structure seems confusing and we find it hard to locate the right file. We are sure there are reasons for the structural complexity, but never experienced this problem with our DTW Commerce. Besides, if you will be ending up paying about the same amount of money as a more efficient solution because of Zen Cart’s complex skinning system, why not simply go for the better solution for about the same price? At the same token, if you can live with a template solution and not looking for a whole lotta modern features, Zen Cart could be the best solution for you.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply