I was not a fan of CubeCart V4 immediately following its release in 2008. What it offered over V3 just didn’t seem to justify its base license price when one took into account all the major bugs. Around a year later, and after a number of maintenance releases, I fully endorsed CubeCart V4. The post is still available to read: CubeCart V4 or CubeCart V3
. A full 3 years after the release of CubeCart V4, Devellion have finally released CubeCart V5. Here are my thoughts (from a developer’s perspective)…
Stable or unstable?
I wouldn’t say that the initial “stable” release of CubeCart V5 is, as it claims to be, stable. Having said this, it’s certainly in far better shape than than the initial release of V4. For me, there is only a single critical issue that remains. This being the mystery of the lost settings
, though this only appears to manifest itself after upgrading a V4 store. Nevertheless, recent comments from Devellion employees questioning the wisdom of their customers does little for consumer perception of the company as a whole!
Ready for production?
After the first maintenance release (V5.0.1), which promises to fix the aforementioned issue, I doubt that I will have many qualms recommending CubeCart V5. This is assuming that no additional bugs are introduced. If you are upgrading from CubeCart V4, please do perform the update locally (or on a staging server) prior to migrating over to your production server. This will provide you with the opportunity to thoroughly test your installation. Always remember to take a full backup prior to migration!
In short, it’s generally very good. There has been a galactic shift in the standard of the code since Devellion took on Technocrat (who now appears to be the lead developer). Class methods were suddenly reasonably documented and the architecture was vastly improved. This means a faster, more maintainable, piece of software.
Mods are Evil, Plugins are Good!
I will never cease to emphasize the importance of the code hooks. Anyone that has ever had to update a heavily modified CubeCart store will surely appreciate that the painful procedure this task entailed should be a thing of the past. For the average CubeCart user, adding additional features to the software suddenly becomes a drag and drop procedure. It is rather unfortunate that the Installer feature, which was included in the beta release of V5, has subsequently been removed. I hope that the developers reconsider this decision.
Some CubeCart users seem to have misunderstood the benefits of code hooks. Rest assured that they are advantageous for both ordinary CubeCart users and experienced developers alike.
It seems that every time Devellion release a new version, theme developers complain about how awful the included offering is. And why wouldn’t they? Circulating this sentiment surely sells more themes. I’m not suggesting that the themes included with CubeCart V5 are a magnificent work of art. Instead, I think that they will meet the requirements for a considerable portion of the company’s target market. Developers should also be pleased when they are greeted with some considered markup – rather than the usual mess of nested tables that we have come to expect.
Worth the license price?
Cost is always one of the biggest influencing factors when considering whether to jump aboard. Devellion have historically priced CubeCart for the small business market to which they cater. If you own a CubeCart V4 license, you might be pleased to hear that upgrading to V5 only costs £40.00. However, for those without existing CubeCart V4 licenses, I fear that the standard cost for a license may now price Devellion out of the market. A few years ago, £120 represented good value. Competition today is fierce with ever more open-source alternatives springing up which, generally speaking, boast equal or better features. For this reason, Devellion might see a declining market share over its entire product range. Only you can decide whether CubeCart V5 makes economical sense.
Overall, a cautious thumbs up. There’s always room for improvement, but CubeCart V5 is the definitive choice over previous versions.