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!

Code Quality

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.

Included Themes

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 Perception

Overall, a cautious thumbs up. There’s always room for improvement, but CubeCart V5 is the definitive choice over previous versions.


Comments

  1. Thanks for taking the time to review v5 Homar. Especially good to hear your thoughts as an experienced CubeCart developer.

    Overall I’m pleased you can see the benefits of v5 and its improved architecture / development opportunities. Lets see about getting the installer reinstated.

    There has indeed been an issue with lost configuration settings in the first release of 5.0.0. I don’t recall our staff denying it (I’d hope to think we wouldn’t have that kind of attitude) but I know that very soon after release some tweaks have been made to the config class and since we just haven’t been able to replicate it. Unfortunately no one reporting the issues has been able to provide a solid method of reproducing it. We certainly down want to inconvenience people with it let alone the embarrassment of it going unfixed in 5.0.1 either.

    So far sales of v5 have been strong so we hope cost isn’t too high. From in house competitor analysis we don’t think it is. I would like all those reading however to make a mental note that free alternatives are not always cheaper! v5 comes with a generous amount of technical support access which can be very costly with open source alternatives.

    Thanks again.

    By Al on Reply
  2. I have been a long term supporter of cubecart from V3 to V4 and still use a V4 website today.

    I do not think I will be following cubecart to the next level as there are a lot better shopping carts out there that are free which have more features than V5 standard.

    One of those is opencart which does all that Homar wants with modules and extensions but is not as confusing as the competitors out there.

    Sorry Al this is one supporter who will leave the bus once V4 is no longer supported by Devilin.

    By Degsey on Reply
  3. nice one mate, good review. Any skin updates?!

    By Fred Cassman on Reply
  4. I have used cubecart since version 2 and been failtfull to cubecart till late last year.

    Thankfully due to the long awaited releace I have been able to try new carts including carts like magento, opencart mentioned by Degsey, and after further searching I now use prestashop and find it awesome, it’s open sorce and I have found a nice skin on templatemonster for it at $140 in my opintion a cheap cart. comparing to my CC4 store that needed basic mods like:-
    Royal mail shipping,
    Contact form,
    Product attribute stock levels
    Dynamic price change
    related products search
    and more wich totald >$200 plus the cc licence ontop.

    Looking at the new CC5 and reading the review I found it still laks the following :-
    very slow on a dedicated server,
    No Royal Mail,
    Poor skins,
    Price tag of £140 ( or £40 upgrade, which I wont be using)

    Hope CC does get better for cubecart as they have been very hepful in the past as I have learnt alot about coding using previous versions however Prestashop is the current future for me.

    By Steve on Reply
  5. I have always been a big fan of CubeCart from V2 to V3 to V4

    The delay of CubeCart V5 also provided me a chance to look at a few other carts.

    Out of all of the carts I looked at and tested I found that OpenCart 5 offers all of the features of CubeCart 5 plus a whole lot more.

    I am now in two minds weather or not to migrate my 2 stores over to OpenCart 5 and this has nothing to do with the cost of upgrading because I think the upgrade price of £40.00 is very good value for money, it is more to do with the overall functionality (out of the box) which CubeCart 5 offers!

    I understand that CubeCart 5 may be suitable for a lot of customers requirements however it still lacks some important basic functionality which is required to run a small business which development team seems to overlook when designing the products they make.

    By Stephen on Reply
  6. Thanks for the review I cant see myself upgrading to version 5 for the time being due to the lack of features and all the bugs found in the final release, cant believe they were not fixed/found in beta versions. I currently use a heavily modded version 4 cart and looks like a lot of modders aren’t to sure about the new version as there isn’t anything being releaced yet so will have to hold tight.

    I think i will stick with my current version 4 site as its serving me fine for the time being but is looking really dated comparing to other competiter sites and may consider upgrading once things stabilise and features increase, however looking at other software options there certainly is plenty more in the sea with more features out of the box so may take this route of jumping ship when cc4 has stopped its surport.

    Opencart5 look good found some nice mods and skins for it too :o)

    By i Smith on Reply
  7. Great article,

    My biggest problem is i have a high traffic, good turnover cc4 shop, i have been told that cc5 does not currently support cc4 urls or even perform a seo redirect to the new cc5 seo friendly urls.

    This means that anyone upgrading from cc4 will lose massive amounts of traffic and business and is surely something cubecart should have thought of?

    By Jon on Reply
    • I think that this may have been overlooked. It shouldn’t be difficult to push a 301 (permanent) redirect from the relevant 404 action. If this doesn’t get added in the next release, I might create a small plugin to do this. I agree that this is a significant roadblock to those upgrading from CC4.

      By Homar on Reply
  8. We need updates!!

    By Fred on Reply
    • Hello Fred,

      I’m still working on our first CubeCart V5 theme. It’s definately coming together nicely. It has taken a while since all of the template files have been coded from scratch to ensure a consistent and semantic markup.

      Kind Regards,
      Homar

      By Homar on Reply
  9. Sounds great. Any rough ETA’s?

    By Fred on Reply
  10. yes Id like to know when your first V5 might be available?

    By Shane on Reply
  11. A demo of our first CubeCart V5 theme is now available. Please note that development is still ongoing. There are still a few minor issues to remedy and we’ll be doing some thorough cross-browser testing.

    http://www.shopdev.co.uk/demos/blueprint/

    By Homar on Reply
  12. looking fresh and cleaan! but hurry up and get it released so I can get away from crappy v4 !!

    By Fred on Reply

Add your comment

(will not be published)