We can help you with a wide range of platforms. Here is a summary of the platforms we work with.
E-Commerce is the simple act of conducting commerce electronically and these days that means on the Internet. Our core focus on E-Commerce allows us to provide the highest levels of service for
E-Commerce businesses which are utilising the tremendous advantages offered by modern open-source E-Commerce platforms such as Magento.
Magento is the most popular platform with our clients. Magento is a very powerful e-commerce package that is based upon Zend Framework. It is hugely feature-rich and is suitable for all kinds of businesses right up to large enterprises. Magento comes in three versions; the basic hosted Go, the most popular free open-source Magento Community and the high end Magento Enterprise for larger companies wanting the very best open-source e-commerce solution currently available.Read More about Magento
Open Cart is a lighter weight e-commerce system that combines the shared hosting friendly resource requirements of something like osCommerce with a more modern structure and features. It is highly recommended for those on a budget or those who would prefer to trade off functionality for ease of use and high performance on lower specification hosting.Read More about OpenCart
Prestashop sits in between OpenCart and Magento. It is not as light as OpenCart but is also not as feature rich as Magento. Originating from Paris, France Prestashop now also has an office in Miami, USA. The most recent Prestashop version has introduced multi store functionality making it a real alternative to Magento for those looking to set up a multistore based installation.Read More about PrestaShop
Another very popular platform, at least historically, is osCommerce. osCommerce was branched off into other versions including Zen Cart, CRELoaded, LoadedCommerce, OSCMax and a few more to boot. osCommerce is really quite dated these days however if you are already heavily invested into it then moving away might not be economically viable. Edmonds Commerce are more than happy to work with all kinds of osCommerce implementation to improve, add features, improve performance and any thing else you might require.Read More about osCommerce
Content Management Systems are designed to provide a fuss free and accessible way to manage a content based web site.
If you want to build a brochure type site, an information portal or any other web site where the content is king then a Content Management System is likely what you need.
Content Management Systems allow you to provide various levels of administrators with the ability to create, curate and public content in the form of articles, pages, blogs and news.
For really well search engine optimised content driven websites and blogs we really highly recommend WordPress. It is an excellent platform out of the box and combined with one of the many high quality themes and some choice plugins you can build a really successful website in a short time. Edmonds Commerce have lots of experience with WordPress and have used it for content sites that often sit seamlessly alongside installations of platforms such as Magento to give you the best of breed in e-commerce and content management for the maximum benefit to you.Read More about WordPress
If you are looking to build a large scale content or community driven site for things like public sector portals, community driven sites and forums then Drupal is an excellent choice. Drupal is arguably more of a framework than an application, the focus is very much on extending the Drupal core to cater for your specific needs using a collection of the thousands of Drupal modules or even using a pre packaged Drupal distribution. Edmonds Commerce are very happy to work on Drupal projects utilising our high level of PHP web development skill and experience to deliver an enterprise level service.Read More about Drupal
Frameworks are the perfect foundation for building a bespoke solution quickly and to the highest standards.
Most modern open-source solutions are now starting to use Frameworks as their starting point as they provide the low level functionality that is always required
and provide a consistent and high quality code base allowing the application to focus on the specific business code as required.
Symfony2 is our favoured PHP framework at the moment. The reasons are plentiful however to summarise we believe it is one of the most mature, widely support and easy to extend frameworks available today. Symfony has a very modular approach that means that a project only needs to include the components it requires which reduces bloat. Also there are literally thousands of bundles available for Symfony which conveniently package up and provide extra functionaly for all kinds of uses meaning that assembling a bespoke range of functionality can be completed quickly and to a high standardRead More about Symfony
There are almost to many PHP frameworks to mention them all however it is worth pointing out that as highly qualified and experienced PHP developers we are able to work with any PHP framework out there. Ones that you might come across include Zend Framework, Laravel, Code Ignitor, CakePHP to name but a few.Read More about Other Frameworks
Magento is a very feature rich and flexible platform that is ideal for businesses ranging from SME right up to Enterprise level.
Magento comes in two main versions. The first and vastly most commonly used is the free open-source Community Edition. This is the version we recommend for the vast majority of our clients as the features are all there and the price is free. You will not have any ongoing direct costs using this version.
The big draw for Magento for most people is the huge list of features that come with it out of the box . You can see the full feature list here however here are some of the main ones we think you should be aware of .
If you have ever had the misfortune to have to manage a time limited special offer on a wide range of products in a standard ecommerce package you will know there can be a lot of manual work involved and the potential for human error can be quite large .
Magento solves this problem with something called Shopping Cart Price Rules . These are logical rules that can apply a discount to a large number of products in one move . For example if you wanted to apply a 10 % discount for 10 days to all products that are over £100 and are manufactured by Sony you can create a single rule to do this and it will handle the whole thing for you .
The logical element of the rules system is really quite powerful and allows you to build a set of conditions as complex as your requirements demand . The rule can have a time limit applied . Furthermore you can use cases; groupings to only offer the promotion to certain customers which opens up all kinds of possiblities .
If you want to do a promotion based on buying certain quantities or combinations of products, perhaps with free shipping and maybe requiring a voucher code, then you would use customer; Cart Price Rules . These apply discounts to the shopping cart when the customer adds the requisite quantity and combination of items . One classic example of this is the buy one get one free type deal . You can also offer free shipping if the order value is over a set amount for example .
With these two systems combined you can handle almost any promotional idea that you can think of .
Magento has been built from the ground up to handle multiple store fronts . This is a core architectural concept and that means that in practice it works very well and is incredibly powerful . Other carts some times have multi store functionality bolted on as an extension or other after thought and this invariably leads to a less well implemented finished product .
Multi store means that a single Magento installation and administration area can operate multiple separate websites or stores . These could range from localised versions of the same site to completely different websites selling completely separate products and looking to a visitor like completely separate entities . This opens up all kinds of possibilities though the most common are for localisation for internationally trading organisations and for operating many niche sites via a single admin .
If you have read anything about SEO then you have no doubt heard of the long tail . In a nutshell the long tail refers to the very large number of search queries that individually represent very small numbers of hits compared to more common terms but viewed as a whole the long tail adds up to a lot of traffic . If you want to target the long tail then you need to create many niche focussed sites that individually are likely to do a low turnover however by operating many of these you can build up large total turnover . Furthermore these small niche sites are often more profitable and generally easier to get ranking well for their specific target phrases .
Magento comes in two main versions . The first and vastly most commonly used is the free open-source Community Edition . This is the version we recommend for the vast majority of our clients as the features are all there and the price is free . You will not have any ongoing direct costs using this version .
The Enterprise edition is a much more expensive proposition however for high turnover businesses that need the reassurance of a commercial relationship with the platform creators along with support and a few more enterprise focussed features then it is definitely a good option .
For the very large enterprise there is the Magento Enterprise Premium Edition . This is much more expensive again however it features a very high level of support, additional licences for the platform allowing you to set up server clusters and also some training . The premium edition is
Magento version one was launched on the 31st of March 2008. You can read their celebratory blog post here. At the time of launch the open-source e - commerce landscape was ripe for a new injection of energy and innovation . The only real open-source solution for e - commerce had been the wildly successful platform osCommerce . From the seeds of osCommerce sprang a few “loaded” versions that took the stock osCommerce platform and built in as standard a range of community developed extensions . The end result though was starting to look fragmented with a wide range of style and quality in terms of the features .
Magento was built by a company called Varien(now changed its name to Magento) and the CEO is called Roy Rubin . Before launching Magento they were an e - commerce focused web development agency very much like Edmonds Commerce . Their platform of choice was osCommerce and they gained a lot of experience working on modifying osCommerce to meet the requirements of their clients .
Eventually they realised that the time was right to leave osCommerce behind and build something from the ground up that utilised more modern and professional architecture and techniques such as an MVC code structure and a(perhaps controversial) EAV database structure .
There is actually a rumour that Magento was originally intended to be another of the many forks of osCommerce however Roy debunked this in his interview with SitePoint in September 2009 where he clearly states:
“we never really thought to use the OScommerce code base . I think when we started to really put together the vision for the project, we knew that the architecture was just going to be completely different . There is just no way that we could have worked with what OScommerce offered, and still offers, today . So really from the get go, we knew that we were going to have to put together something different .”
Magento launched with a feature set that completely blew away anything else that was out there . For me the most exciting features were the multi store functionality . I had previously built multi store implementations of osCommerce and it was not easy to say the least . The Magento implementation of this idea was so much cleaner due to the fact that it had been built in as a concept from the ground up so it all worked nicely and intuitively .
You can see the full list of feature’s that Magento version 1 launched with on this PDF
For Light-weight but feature-rich E-Commerce that will run happily on budget hosting without compromising on functionality, we highly recommend OpenCart. A great choice for smaller operations, startups and anyone looking for a simpler solution
OpenCart features everything you would expect from a modern shopping cart system. In particular though here are some of the things we think are most attractive in comparison to other modern open-source shopping cart platforms.
OpenCart will run nicely on fairly modest shared hosting. Of course if you have a high traffic or very large or demanding site then you will need beefier hosting to support this. In general though you will find OpenCart by its very nature will require less hosting resources for the same level of traffic than a more powerful but heavy system such as Magento.
The front end of the platform features everything you would expect and thanks to tasteful use of jQuery to add interactive elements to the site has some nice modern features such as a lightbox image viewer and tabbed product information. The design is clean and clear by design with little to distract the user from the core function of browsing and purchasing products.
Open Cart supports multiple languages, currencies, tax rates and even multiple store fronts out of the box. This means that you can easily have a fully international site with separate store fronts or simply offer a currency switcher and/or language switcher on your single store front to cater for international customers.
If you are selling to businesses and perhaps offer different pricing to consumers, businesses and larger customers then you will love the B2B features of OpenCart. You can define customer groups and assign customers to a group and then offer those customer groups different prices for the same products, quantity discounts and even hide all pricing unless they are logged in and have a wholesale account.
OpenCart started life as the university project of a highly skilled developer called Daniel Kerr who decided to launch the platform as an open-source project. The platform was originally targeted at small to SME level businesses and the goal was to provide a platform that was easy to use an implement and yet featured modern design styles and some nice Web 2.0 style dynamic elements.
As the name suggest, OpenCart is entirely free open-source and unlike Magento does not have any kind of paid for premium version. The code is currently being hosted on GitHub and is free for anyone to fork, download, implement and develop upon.
If it sounds like OpenCart might be the right solution for you then we suggest you give it a whirl. You can access the demo’s of the front end and administration areas here.
PrestaShop is a nice alternative if you do not like Magento or OpenCart
The PrestShop web site makes a big effort to emphasise the large number of features (275+ at time of writing) that are bundled with PrestaShop. Here is a highlight of some of the most interesting and important features that come with PrestaShop.
Prestashop comes with Ebay Integration out of the box. This is quite unique in my experience though I do not doubt that with Magento being owned now by Ebay it won’t be long before they have a similar out of the box solution. If you want to hook into other sales channels then there are affordable extensions available that will allow you to hook into other channels.
Prestashop ships with a fully featured bulk data import/export system that can handle products, categories, customers and more. This is a crucial feature to assist with migrations, bulk updates and possibly integrations with other systems.
A bit like Magento, Prestashop features a core code override system that allows developers such as ourselves to modify the way core elements of Prestashop work without having to edit those core files. When you come to upgrade this will make things a lot easier and also makes it very clear what core functionality is being overridden which can then help enormously when reapplying those overrides to an upgraded store.
The SEO credentials of PrestaShop are really quite respectable with dedicated and customisable SEO URLs for each product and full meta information for all products and categories. PrestaShop also features both an auto generated HTML sitemap and a Google XML sitemap that Google and other search engines use to assist with fully spidering your site.
If you would like to give the PrestaShop platform a try you can access a demo version of the system both front and admin side from this page.
The old man of open-source E-Commerce
The old man of open-source E-Commerce; osCommerce has been around since the mid 2000's. Many business took the platform and developed it into something bespoke and powerful. If you have a large scale legacy osCommerce site we have the expertise and experience you require to maintaing and improve the system to keep up with the best of the modern systems
osCommerce is built using a procedural programming paradigm that has fallen out of favour these days with most projects moving towards and object oriented architecture. There are certain challenges with procedural programming however with the right approaches and skill level it is still possible to provide high quality secure and optimised code for your osCommerce site.
Edmonds Commerce have been working with osCommerce for many years and have a wealth of experience in extending, optimising and improving osCommerce, ZenCart and CRELoaded sites. These days osCommerce and similar work means the abilty to work with highly customised or bespoke procedural PHP code. It can be a difficult and daunting task however we have plenty of experience with this kind of scenario and are not phased by this.
There are a few forks of the core osCommerce package that provide more fully featured packages that combine the osCommerce core with some of the best extensions such as Easypopulate to give a full featured osCommerce package. Most notably those include ZenCart and CRELoaded – now LoadedCommerce.
Starting in the year 2000 in Germany by Harald Ponce de Leon within a year the project was mature and within 2 years the project was being widely used. Version 2 became the really popular version and went through numerous releases and milestones.
osCommerce was the first open-source e-commerce package and gave countless entrepreneurs a cost effective solution for establishing themselves as online retailers. At this time the internet was a very different place than it is now and the opportunties that osCommerce presented were ground breaking and exciting.
Unfortunately like many web site platforms there were some security issues with osCommerce and some of it’s less well coded extensions that gave malicious hackers a back door to break into your server and cause problems. These were patchable but not everyone did that.
The name osCommerce is derived from the combination of the words “open-source commerce”. osCommerce provides a fully featured platform for powering online shops including a front end with a complete checkout procedure and an administration side for with full management capabilites for customers, orders, products and categories.
These days osCommerce is showing its age and it is no longer a platform that you should consider basing a new site build on. That is not to say that the platform has no value. There are a large number of merchants still using websites based upon osCommerce and often those sites are very highly customised and largely bespoke.
If you have an osCommerce, ZenCart or CRELoaded site that you need some expert services for get in touch with Edmonds Commerce today.
The most successful, powerful and extensible easy to use blogging and CMS platform currently available
At it’s core, WordPress is a blogging platform. Blogging is simply the process of writing articles that are displayed in descending chronological order on your web site, usually on the home page or on a sub page called something like “blog”.
Modern WordPress is also a fully featured CMS system which means it supports pages nested in a hierarchical structure such as you can see on this site. In terms of content WordPress (perhaps with a few choice plugins) can support all kinds of content from standard text through to image galleries, videos and more.
WordPress comes as standard with a fully featured user commenting system with nested comments, moderation and editing.
The SEO and syndication features of WordPress (again with a few choice plugins) have made it the darling of SEO agencies across the globe. Things like ping and trackbacks made building link networks so easy it could be automated which gave big SEO gains. These days the benefit of these features has been reduced by the latest Google algorithm updates. Google continues to love WordPress sites though and WordPress and its themes present best practice HTML structures and combined with your well written and optimised articles the SEO potential is huge.
WordPress is probably one of the most successful open-source packages of all time. Its beginnings can be traced back to a blogging platform called b2 that enjoyed some small success in the early 2000s. WordPress was a fork of this package that went on to dominate the open-source blogging platform market.
Since that time WordPress the platform has grown from a simple blog into a fully featured content management system (CMS) that now powers over 10% of the top million sites on the web.
In general we prefer to stick to its roots though and avoid using WordPress for things like e-commerce as we believe e-commerce sites should be powered by a proper e-commerce system such as Magento or OpenCart. For CMS and blogging services though we recommend WordPress nearly all of the time – it’s a superb platform.
If you would like to discuss your WordPress requirements with some expert PHP web developers then get in touch with Edmonds Commerce today.
open-source Content Management for Enterprise and Public Sector Portals and Big Ideas
Drupal differentiates itself from more lightweight CMS systems with features like multiple users with user profiles and more complex content types including polls and forums. The focus is not just on admin generated content but also more community and user based content meaning that Drupal is an excellent choice for any kind of community portal.
The real magic of Drupal comes from the modular nature of the system, it really is more of a framework than an application. If you want to know what Drupal can really do then you need to look at the Drupal modules
If you do not relish the idea of installing a sequence of modules to the Drupal core to get what you need, you may find that there is an existing Drupal Distribution that provides all or most of what you need. These distributions are pre-packaged collections of Drupal Core plus some relevant modules to give you a particular flavour of Drupal.
Drupal is a very popular content management system or framework that is very well suited to more complex and larger content driven web sites. It is possible to use Drupal for all kinds of sites ranging from blogging through to e-commerce however we prefer to use more specialised platforms such as WordPress and Magento for those kinds of sites respectively.
Drupal consists of a core framework which handles the core functionality and on its own is enough to power a brochure site, blog or web 2.0 style user content driven site or forum. Where Drupal comes into it’s own though is with the use of community contributed modules to extend the Drupal core and provide for all kinds of other functionality.
As mentioned there are e-commerce contrib modules for Drupal however we would always recommend using a fully dedicated e-commerce package such as Magento or Prestashop for an e-commerce focused web site. We would only really consider using a Drupal ecommerce module for very light e-commerce requirements.
By looking at the distributions you can get a good feel for the kinds of sites Drupal is great for. Distrubutions such as OpenPublic which are designed for specific requirements and audiences. OpenPublic focusses on things like security and accessibility to ensure that your site is going to meet the stringent requirements of a government web site. The fact that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is using this distribution underlines the public sector and enterprise readiness of this kind of platform.
Distributions we think you should check out include:
With our very high level of PHP web development expertise, Edmonds Commerce are well placed to provide you all the technical development service and support you need to get your Drupal project delivered to the highest standard. Please get in touch with us today to discuss your Drupal project.
Symfony 2: High Performance, Highly Extensible Mature and Professional Grade PHP Framework
The Symfony Framework has been around for a while and it was always very popular. Symfony2 has seriously raised the game though and is now finding its way into various other frameworks and open-source platforms due to the excellent functionality it provides and the way that it is very modular allowing only select components to be used. We think Symfony is great because it lets us focus quickly on core business requirements.
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