15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

February 21, 2013 · 103 comments

by Tom Walker

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Whether you are about to open your first online shop or you are considering changing the ecommerce platform you are currently using, you will find all the information you need below. We look at the 15 most popular eCommerce platforms, breaking each one down into its respective pros and cons. There is a wide choice available, so it is vital that you do your research before choosing which one is right for you. Most share a basic set of functions, but offer a couple of unique features on top.

As well as offering a diverse range of features, ecommerce platforms are offered for a diverse range of prices. Many are free, while others can cost tens of thousands per year. Very generally speaking, those which you have to pay for not only offer the best support, they require the least programming knowledge to install and run. Look at the 15 below and select the one that is right for you, your business and your customers. Another great way to build an online shop is using Opencart templates for the popular Opencart e-commerse system – for some reason it did not get included in the list below, but make no mistake themes for Opencart can do a wonderful job!


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1. Magento (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

With 30,000 merchants using Magento to deal with $25 billion of transactions, it’s the world’s fastest growing ecommerce platform. Built using an open source model, distinguished Magento shop owners include Samsung, Nespresso and The North Face.

Magento comes in two flavours: Enterprise Edition and Community Edition. The Enterprise Edition is packed full of powerful tools to boost sales, including store credits, gift cards (virtual and physical), members only sales, clubs, multi-store capability (retail & wholesale) and top-notch support. The Community Edition, free to download, is for expert developers and comes with no support, warranty or indemnification.

2. osCommerce (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Out-of-the-box, osCommerce is more than sufficient for setting up, running and managing an online store quickly, easily and cost-effectively. If you want to distinguish your osCommerce store from the 228,700 others out there, however, you’re going to need one or more of the 5,800 add-ons currently available, some of which you have to pay for.

osCommerce is an excellent piece of software, don’t get me wrong. It’s considered the benchmark to which all other free, open-source ecommerce platforms aspire. Modifying your stores design, however, is not quite as easy as it should be.

3. Zen Cart (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Free and straightforward, using Zen Cart falls within the capabilities of almost everyone. Besides the standard features you’d expect, Zen Cart offers a newsletter manager, discount coupons, quantity discounts, gift certificates and the ability to select exactly which cards you accept. There are tons of contributions to the software at your disposal with many from osCommerce preinstalled. This does make the admin interface a little cluttered for my liking though.

4. X-Cart ($115)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

X-cart is a commercial package with open-source code, but unlike Magento, it falls within the budget of start-ups as well as established companies. Users get the professional support they’d expect when buying a three-figure piece of software as well as community support in X-Cart’s forums.

X-Cart is fast, W3C-compliant and search engine friendly. It uses the Smarty template system, which many programmers enjoy working with. On the flipside, although it’s cheap, you’re probably going to have to fork out for a few add-ons, which cost anywhere from $35 to $109 a piece. Technical support isn’t free either.

5. CubeCart (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

CubeCart 3, the standard edition, is completely free to download and use. It comes complete with three different skins, customer order history, unlimited products, categories and images, multi-currency support, and product search. CubeCart 4, which costs over $100, comes with enhanced SEO, visitor skin selector, courier tracking URL, superior product search, and the ability to add and edit orders from the back-end.

Both integrate well with any site and are suitable for those already selling online or preparing to open a shop. If you’re not familiar with PHP and MySQL, however, you might find setting up CubeCart on your own quite a challenge.

6. VirtueMart (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

VirtueMart can’t operate alone: it’s an ecommerce solution designed to be used alongside the Joomla! CMS (content management system). In terms of a cart, it offers the complete package and it’s great from the shoppers’ point of view. Shoppers can register for an account, add addresses and view their order history with a minimum of fuss.

VirtueMart supports multiple languages and currencies and you can add an unlimited number of products and product categories. Your products are searchable and can be rated by users. Despite its obvious strengths, it does have some minor weaknesses, including a somewhat poorly structured forum and some messy code here and there.

7. Ubercart (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Like VirtueMart, Ubercart must be integrated with a CMS, in this case, Drupal. As well as physical products, Ubercart specializes in the sale of file downloads, event registrations, access to members only websites and even event tickets.

There are loads of modules and themes for you to download and customize your shop with and numerous payment gateways to choose from. If you’re a Drupal user, Ubercart is likely to be the best option for you, but if you’ve never used Drupal before, you might find it rather confusing to get your head round at first.

8. PrestaShop (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Around 100.000 stores are currently doing business thanks to PrestaShop, which was launched in August 2007. It uses the popular Smarty template engine, combined with an Ajax heavy back-end. PrestaShop offers, amongst other things, “free shipping” offers, product image zoom, package tracking, PDF customer invoices and cross-selling.

The best thing about PrestaShop, however, is that it’s very attractive. Users can create stores that are slick and polished and it’s got a very active community for online support. Its major weakness is its speed: the backend is very slow to manage and maintain.

9. LiteCommerce ($109)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

LiteCommerce is a commercial platform which anybody can manage, but you have to pay for this simplicity. It’s basically a slimmed down version of the popular X-Cart, with a Quick Start Wizard which guides you carefully through everything you need to do to get your shop up and running.

Installation is easy and set-up very logical. You can tweak your shop’s appearance through the admin interface or edit store templates in DreamWeaver etc. Expert users, however, might find some unique features of other platforms lacking here.

10. Spree (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Spree, an ecommerce platform based on Ruby on Rails, is constantly growing and improving thanks to its active development team. There are loads of great extensions on offer which you can use to tailor your site to your specific needs.

Spree lets you modify shipping, tax, discounts and coupons to suit your customers, who will themselves be more than satisfied with the single page checkout. It’s search engine friendly and has Google Analytics built in. It’s ideal for small and medium enterprises, but not the best choice for sites receiving the very highest levels of traffic.

11. Avactis (free basic version, otherwise $19.95 per month or $199)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Avactis, available as a free version or for a fee, integrates seamlessly with your existing website. Its web based help manual, video tutorials and setup wizard are sufficient for most people to install and manage without the help of expert developers. Advanced features include newsletter management, marketing and sales reports which you can export to Excel, multiple storefronts, numerous payment methods including Maestro, the ability to export accounting data to QuickBooks and support for tax systems around the world.

To make the most of every feature out-of-the-box, you’re going to have to pay $19.95 per month or a one-off payment of $199, which seems reasonable. There are additional charges, however, for hosting your cart, support, updates and installation (if you can’t do that yourself). The shopper experience is smooth, but a little drawn out, as customers must navigate through various pages before paying for their goods.

12. AgoraCart (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

AgoraCart is not as popular as some of the other platforms reviewed here and we’re not quite sure why. It’s flexible and fully customisable, great for setting up simple stores or complex design concepts. Insofar as design goes, you can choose from one of the templates on offer or design your own using CSS. Layouts and product categories can be tweaked to your heart’s content. In some ways, AgoraCart seems to have been left behind by some of the newer PHP based platforms, so is perhaps best suited to hobbyist coders.

13. WordPress e-Commerce Plugin (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Many people forget that WordPress can be used as a CMS to run an ecommerce shop, provided you have the right plugins that is. WordPress e-Commerce Plugin is by far the most popular plugin of this type available, having been downloaded over half a million times (at time of writing). Also it works well with many WordPress ecommerce website templates and they make it easy to create an impressive shop online fast.

It does pretty much everything you’d expect from any other ecommerce platform, letting you customise your shop to suit your brand image. It’s integrated with PayPal and Google Checkout, which the vast majority of your customers will be familiar with. The downside: it lacks the functionality of some other ecommerce platforms and, of course, is only available to WordPress users.

14. OXID eShop (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Like Magento and CubeCart, there is more than one type of OXID eShop available. The Enterprise Edition and Professional Edition cost money, but the open source Community Edition is completely free.

This Community Edition comes with no support (other than from the community) or warranty, but otherwise offers exactly the same features as the Professional Edition. It has an integrated CMS, powerful SEO, clean code and is relatively easy to install for developers.

15. Digistore (free)

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Digistore’s based on osCommerce, so will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s ever used that ubiquitous ecommerce platform. It’s a full CMS, very quick and easy to install and can be operated by people with little or no coding knowledge. There are a number of free templates available to use, but if you like, you can buy a sleeker template or even have your own personal one created for a small fee. You can manager and alter colours, site width, layout and template from within the admin area and even run multiple adverts to promote your products.

Need more information like this?

E-commerce is a hot and interesting topic. Here at tripwire magazine we have decided to dedicate some of our time on covering trends, best practice etc. related to all aspects of doing business and selling products online. If you find this article useful and would like get more I highly recommend that you sign op for our new Next Generation E-commerce List. We are planning on providing valuable content to the list directly and exclusively so make sure you fill in your name and email below before browsing on.

Also consider taking a look at these articles.

Author : Tom Walker

Tom works at CartridgeSave.co.uk, a supplier of printer cartridges based in the UK. Click here to read more of his work.

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee December 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Anyone have any suggestions for an ecommerce solution that does not require a database for inventory? I’m presently running a cart that feeds the item details to the shopping cart from any web page (no templates needed) and I need to upgrade to something that has a newer back end that supports more gateways and security.

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sandy October 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation. (sorry for the double post but I missed checking off the email follow up on the first one. You can remove the first one. Thank you, Sandy

Hi all: Thanks very much for the article. Very informative. I am looking producing an ecommerce website myself to market a meal replacement shake for a direct marketing company I have recently become involved with. I am an charted accountant and have experience customizing excel spreadsheets that I use daily at work, but I have no previous web building experience. I would only be listing aprox 15 different products and just need to capture basic client shipping and billing information that all the sites would do. Ideally it would be important to be able to have videos posted on the ecommerce site for customer information. You will have to excuse my ignorance as I am not sure if all sites can do that or not. I will be building the site and content myself initially to get the store up an running so I would like to use a free or very inexpensive site initially, but I would not be opposed to having the option to upgrading in the future to a paid site with more options such as coupons etc, once we start getting some revenues. I started building the site using vstore.ca yesterday and ran into some uploading issues and then I did a search for reviews and could find very little except one scathing review from a customer that had been using them for 2 years and said his site was often offline and there support was not helpful.

Any input as to the top recommended site in the above list that would meet my basic needs would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance, Sandy

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Lars October 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Sandy you should consider checking out WordPress. For simple online shops it is excellent. There are many themes as well making it easy to get started. http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2011/03/30-best-wordpress-e-commerce-themes.html

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IronCribs October 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hey there, I want to ask how do you feel about OpenCart? I heard that it has a better security than osCommerce. ..

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Jonathan August 26, 2011 at 1:15 am

First of all, great review. Can any one recommend a very flexible and expandable free OS e commerce for us out of all since we have complex retail product and categories. thank you

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steph July 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for this thorough comparison. I have come to love OSCommerce because it’s easy to use and customize. I would want to try Magento in the future though.

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Paul June 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

The best e-commerce platform on this planet is nopCommerce “this is best rated .net eCommerce platform” did you ever hear about it? or all of you are using this stupid carts on which you can’t make any changes in the code or whatever add custom plugins or easily create design manage seo etc…..

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cheap custom jerseys May 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

15 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

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echo April 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

open cart is the best :)
wait the new release in agustus its more than a online store

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Alberto Dieago March 7, 2011 at 9:25 am

Zen cart is not bad at all. But still megento is good for any comparisions.

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Giles February 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm

You have missed off htpp://www.osCmax.com/

Active development, friendly forums, good functionality list, new v2.5 version to be released shortly.

Take a look – truely open source unlike quite a few listed here as “Free”.

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Lars February 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

Thanks for the tip Giles, gonna check it out

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evan February 18, 2011 at 7:53 am

Is there a (fully free) list of top appointment scheduling open source in php and mysql? (i.e used for salons and doctors rooms)

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Mobile Massage in Sydney January 13, 2011 at 8:12 am

Thank you so much, thanks to you we found Presta Shop. Does everything we need and more.

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yogi January 13, 2011 at 5:25 am

I have a designer thinking about using wordpress for ecommerce. This article mentions that there is a downside – “The downside: it lacks the functionality of some other ecommerce platforms…and, of course, is only available to wordpress users”

What functionality is it missing? Also do you have to pay to be a “wordpress user?”

Also once you use wordpress for the backend – is it easy to upgrade to a different system later? like magento?

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Lars January 13, 2011 at 8:31 am

yogi, You have quite a few central questions here. First of all I think it important to be clear on your requirements. If you are building a full size online shop I think you should go for a dedicated ecommerce platform and then consider using WordPress for a blog or product website to drive traffic to your shop. However if you’re going to sell a few information products like e-books I believe the shop plugins for WordPress has a good enough quality and your solution will be much simpler. Check out this post: http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2010/07/18-wordpress-money-making-plugins-and-themes.html

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Chris January 5, 2011 at 4:06 am

this is a great artcle, I have been considering to change the platform of our business and this is just great. I should have done my homework earlier.
Thank you

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Tamica Kanekuni January 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

In my opinion, this website has good information for anyone searching this topic. The info you have here can be used by everyone that doesn’t know about this.

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SolidShops.com December 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

Great list. While these are all open source packages one must install and customize, a smarter way to go is to use a hosted ecommerce platform like http://www.solidshops.com.

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Custom Shopping Cart December 12, 2010 at 6:27 am

Very important post.All of these source of e-commerce site was helpful for me.
Thanks for providing such important resource.

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Saravana November 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Why is OFBiz missing here ??

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Steroizi November 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

nice top :D 10q very much

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Ezra November 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Which one of these would work if you are thinking of switching over a store with 100K products?

Been doing some research and need some advice.

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rjb November 17, 2010 at 11:55 am

Unfortunately CubeCart requires you to buy a license key just to be able to remove their copyright notices on your lovely designed web pages!

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Dan November 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I think Opencart would have been well worth a mention.

Great solution and a great community behind it too!

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robertflorish November 3, 2010 at 8:34 am

Zeuscart is the best open source shopping cart software.

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Alee October 15, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I am trying Magento Community Edition but it’s not user friendly, there are no guidelines to easily setup the store and there’s no 2checkout support for version 1.4 (latest version)

Magento have to make their support availble for the community or soon they’ll have a very very bad reputation.

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Will October 13, 2010 at 9:34 am

How about ASP.NET shopping carts?
look at nopCommerce -www.nopCommerce.com

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bank September 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Should try http://shopdio.com only $9
Easy to use interface
Customizable
Competitive price
Variety of Themes
Secure Access
Google Ranking Optimized

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Ahmed August 24, 2010 at 6:55 am

I am still stuck on deciding…I have offers of pro’s designing a e commerce site for me to manage. they want to charge me $1200…I am going to sell 2 different lines of products, so I’ll need 2 sites….

Any advice??

Visit my current project: http://www.smallpondsolutions.com

I made this on xsitepro2 and it may be the limits of my abilities.

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adhi August 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

so many new cms, hope i can use one of them

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MajorDamo August 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I know I’m posting months after you did, but in case you revisit this, thanks for a nice read. i appears to me that there are for more platforms available than just these.

Let me know if you want my list.

In case I decide to review the platforms and publish them , please follow me on twitter @majordamo

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tripwire team August 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I just followed you, let me know if you want to write a guest post on this topic.

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payday August 5, 2010 at 11:11 am

Really, it is very good post, There is a 15 post of eCommerce platforms.SEO can build our sites by looking these posts.

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Michel Leconte July 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hello,

I’d like to attract your attention to http://www.seotoaster.com . It is free and open source, and very pleasing to use. It also is very advanced from an SEO stand-point, builds products using micro-formats and XML products sitemaps out of the box among other features.

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mitsui July 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Similar list (with some other eCommerce platforms mentioned) from webappers.com:
http://www.webappers.com/2010/07/09/15-best-free-open-source-ecommerce-platforms/

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hermes handbags July 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

FYI – Spree can handle the needs of large sites (both in terms of features and traffic) just fine. We’re launching a site next week that handles 200+ orders a day.

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Angela June 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

Nice list. I really appreciate your post. But what about TomatoCart? It is a free open source shopping cart as well.

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Wendy June 13, 2010 at 8:18 am

I’d like to introduce you our open source shopping cart TomatoCart. It’s the most easy-to-use shopping cart in the market.

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leosquarez May 18, 2010 at 5:52 am

I’m a big opencart fan as well!!

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bangladesh ecommerce April 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Potential insight in your maiden judgement!

Congrats!

bangladesh e-commerce training

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Peter April 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Zingiri Web Shop is missing from the list. Requires a CMS (Wordpress) to run but offers loads of functionality and great support.

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Dragan March 8, 2010 at 11:01 am

You miss this one : http://www.rbschange.com/

Its a CMS & E-Commerce open source

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Sean Schofield February 28, 2010 at 5:33 am

FYI – Spree can handle the needs of large sites (both in terms of features and traffic) just fine. We’re launching a site next week that handles 200+ orders a day.

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Jane Cooke February 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

We have used OsCommerce, Magento, Zen Cart, Cube Cart and X-Cart extensively for our customers. All these have contributed greatly in making eCommerce easier and affodable to small and medium businesses.

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Checks Only February 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Great list! Having the best paymnent system in place is key to a successful e-commerce site. Every e-commerce site should have a payment system that accepts all forms of payment; checks, debit, and credit. Being able to give those that don’t use credit cards is going to be a step above the rest. Thanks for sharing!

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Clipping Path February 13, 2010 at 11:24 am

It’s really a great post dude.. thanks a lot and keep posting more like this :-)

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New York Web Designer February 12, 2010 at 7:07 pm

WOW. I was only aware of few site, its awesome. Thanks for sharing this awesome list.

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rupesh February 12, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Hello,

I read your post. It is very Interesting. And i am Sure its very Benificial for me.
We are providing all kind of solution regarding to Website And Website
Promotion. Visit Our site http://seo-servicesindia.com/

Thank You,
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Reply

Ppol February 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

and “Opencart” this great! …and Open Source

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Paul Sanduleac February 11, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I’m sticking with OpenCart too. Thanks for the roundup.

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WelshStew February 11, 2010 at 11:23 am

I think LemonStand is also going to be a great option for some, but it is still in beta at the moment.

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Moprit Tran February 11, 2010 at 4:11 am

Where’s OpenCart ? I think that is good e-commerce platform.

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tripwiremag February 11, 2010 at 6:58 am

@Moprit, Jacob thanks for the tip. I’ll consider adding it

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Jacob February 11, 2010 at 1:42 am

Open Cart is pretty awesome too!

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