Around this time last year, there was a lot of discussion centered around the release of CubeCart V4. Many of the developers who had experience working with CubeCart were urging their clients to stick with CubeCart V3 for at least another 6 months whilst the CubeCart team ironed out all the bugs.
Not being one to pass the opportunity for a good debate, I joined the discussion. I may even be quoted as saying “By the time CC4 goes stable, it will be outdated in comparison to its competitors
“. One year on… what is the state of CubeCart V4 and where is CubeCart heading?
Stable or unstable?
I’m going to just go ahead and say that CubeCart V4 is now pretty stable. Ok… So it may not be rock solid like CubeCart V3, but I can honestly say that I have not stumbled across a bug in some time. If you do happen to encounter a bug, you can rest assured in the knowledge that Al (and the rest of the CubeCart team) will formulate a solution.
Ready for production?
Absolutely… If it’s stable and meets your requirements, it’s ready for production.
Would you recommend it?
Without hesitation, I would certainly recommend CubeCart V4 if it meets your requirements. If you require some some unusual features or functionality, CubeCart may not be for you. In fact, if this is the case, you may not find a ready-made e-commerce solution that meets your requirements. Similarly, if you plan on managing a very large inventory through the software, CubeCart may not be suitable.
I often get asked by people whether they should use CubeCart V3 or purchase CubeCart V4. With all the modifications available for CubeCart V3, you might think that you could get all that CubeCart V4 has to offer (and save a few bucks). Whilst you might be right, you should consider that you would be purchasing these modifications from multiple providers. Each provider is likely to only support his/her own modifications. You almost certainly won’t be guaranteed compatibility with all other 3rd party modifications.
Let me illustrate my last point with an example. Say that you purchase a skin from one provider. You install the skin on your store easily – great! However, you’d really like to allow your customers to review the products you offer. This is of course the Web 2.0 generation and you’d like to take advantage of user generated content. In this case, you’d be well catered for since there are 2 customer review / comment modifications available for CubeCart V3. At this point, you may realise that there’s going to be a problem.
The product reviews modification requires that you make a modification to your skin – but they only provide instructions for making changes to the stock skins (included with CubeCart V3). If you’re an experienced website developer, this shouldn’t cause much fuss. Conversely, if you have little or no experience working with XHTML & CSS, you might be left wondering what to do.
Most people who find themselves in this scenario will end up contacting their skin provider – who likely to respond with one of the following suggestions:
- Contact the modification provider.
- Sure… I can add the necessary code. For a nominal fee that is!
Now, let’s look at what the process would be if you were to use CubeCart V4. You may already know that CubeCart V4 supports product reviews as standard. You can simply login to the administration panel and enable this feature at the click of a button. Great – even Grandma can do this!
Since this feature is standard in CubeCart V4, that well designed CubeCart skin that you purchased will support product reviews “out-of-the-box”, so to speak. There’s no service / integration / modification charges. The process is quick and painless.
I think that this example helps illustrate why it is advantageous to purchase a CubeCart V4 license. You may think that you’re saving by using CubeCart V3, but in the long-run, you’re likely going to sink a lot more cash into purchasing all those modifications. Believe me when I say that you’ll save countless hours (and probably a few bucks) by going with CubeCart V4.
Is CubeCart V4 outdated?
Over this past year, a number of eCommerce Shopping Cart scripts have popped-up. You only have to glance at the likes of Magento and PrestaShop to realise that CubeCart V4 is lacking in terms of features. Furthermore, Magento and PrestaShop are open source. So where does this leave CubeCart?
Whilst Magento may boast an impressive number of features, it comes at a cost: execution speed! Yes, to say that Magento is slow is an understatement. You’ll need a good amount of RAM to simply run the thing. Forget over-crowded shared hosting… It’s like trying to thread a rope through a needle. You should also take note that both PrestaShop and Magento are relatively new projects. Therefore, you can expect to find a number of bugs. This is true of almost all new software.
As I type, Devellion are probably hard at work on CubeCart V5. Actually… looking at the time… they are probably fast asleep. Nevertheless, from what little information has been divulged, this next version should once again bring CubeCart on par with the competition.