Is osCommerce dead?

There it was in front of my eyes.  The headline in osCommerce's forum read, "Is OsC Dead?, Discussion of the Progress of OsC" [link removed by osCommerce folks?].  Despite how some may read the title, the thread isn't about bashing osCommerce.  Instead, it is about users and community members concerned and even fearful of the slow pace of new development for osCommerce.  Despite all the talk about osCommerce 3.0, it has been a year and a half since OsC 3 Alpha 4 was released with the roadmap showing that Alpha 5 and 6 are still under development.  How can one not ask if the future of osCommerce is in jeopardy?

As mentioned at the osCommerce forum, Kerry Watson also has an article out about the new breed of open source shopping carts.  The article starts off with a that was then, this is now statement regarding shopping carts.

While the Big Three of the old guard — osCommerce, Zen Cart, and CRE Loaded — continue to duke it out among themselves, new-generation open source commerce projects have begun to spring up with new ideas and new ways of thinking. Most noteworthy of the new crop are France-based Prestashop and US-based programs Ubercart and Magento.

These fresh Web 2.0-style carts are mature and production-ready contenders, and all are at or beyond version 1.0 in their production cycle. These carts are equal or superior to many commercial e-commerce programs, and are available for free under the GNU or OSL 3.0 Public License. We've previously reviewed Magento, so this column will focus on the other two next-generation carts: PrestaShop and Ubercart.

Personally, I've been working on recommending a friend to upgrade his osCommerce site to either Magento or Drupal's Ubercart.  Even when the 3.0 version of osCommerce is released, it will likely still not have many of the Web 2.0 features that the new breed of shopping carts currently have now.  It's not that I think osCommerce is dead, but I do think that osCommerce has stopped evolving.  Good open source projects never die, they just fade away.

Internet Explorer 8 Group Policy

The single reason enterprises with Windows networks prefer Internet Explorer over Firefox and other browsers: Group Policy.

For those of you who might be new to Group Policy, here is a quick background. Let’s first assume you use an Active Directory environment to administer the computers in your corporate network. If that is the case, Group Policy provides a wide set of policy settings to manage IE8 after you have deployed it to your users' computers. These settings are locked down and cannot be changed by users, as they are always written to a secure tree in the registry.

Complete Story

Quoting IT: SharePoint's Enterprise Role

"Our prediction, though proved to be correct though in another sense, inasmuch as the push to sell SharePoint as a replacement to ECM systems has to a large degree stopped — a good thing for buyers, for in that direction lay serious disappointment.

The fact is that buyers typically do not replace systems, be they ECM or otherwise. The growth in the data mountain and the ever-changing demands to the business mean that IT adds to and attempts to enhance what is already there, rather than rip and replace."

- Alan Pelz-Sharpe, CMS Watch, "Three Continents, One SharePoint Story", Intelligent Enterprise, October 1, 2008.

Contributed Modules for Drupal 6

I began running this website on Drupal 6 shortly after the official release.  Before then, I periodically installed development versions of Drupal 6 on the production server during the weekends so others could judge the progress that was being made.  During this period, I made the claim that I didn't really need any contributed modules to run my site on Drupal 6.

As I said last week, it's amazing how many people overlook the power of Drupal...even without its contributed modules. Yes, I'll be glad when the Views, Panels, and even the TinyMCE contributed modules are ready to use with Drupal 6. But I've always looked at contributed modules as modules of convenience and not necessity.

It could have been a bold statement that I made at the beginning of the year.  Although Drupal 6 interest has finally overtaken Drupal 5, there still are a number of popular modules still under the designation of release candidate, beta, and even alpha.  My site has shown that you don't have to always wait for contributed modules to upgrade a site to the latest version of Drupal.  However, my statement was a lie. By the time Earl Miles released Views 2.0 Beta 1, I found I didn't want to live without my essential modules for very long.

The following are a list of contributed Drupal modules that I wouldn't want to do without here at CMSReport.com.  I am neither the first word nor the last word of which modules you should be running for your Drupal site.  In fact, by coincidence, Kathleen Murtagh has just written a similar list of contributed modules that should be considered.  Some of the modules on my list are still going through their development phase and you'll have to assess the risk of using the modules on your own sites.  Personally, I like to take the risk for my hobby sites such as these, but I am more cautious when using development code for sites managed at my day job.  Whichever modules you choose, be sure to thank the developers that have made your site possible. 

Contributed modules used at CMSReport.com

Project Lead: Greg Gnaddison
 
There are a number of comment and subscription related modules for Drupal.  However, I found this module to be very convenient for both users and administrators.

Sends e-mail to notify both registered and anonymous users about new comments on pages where they have commented. The goal is to drive one-time users that comment back to you site to convert them to real registered users. This conversion step is an essential one in building a blog comment community.

Social Media vs. Knowledge Management

Wow, Venkatesh G. Rao writes the article of the year, Social Media vs. Knowledge Management: A Generational War.  I'm going to have to reread this article and do some reflection before I have anything of value to add.  Please do yourself a favor and read this article.

Note: Social Media, Social Publishing, Social Technology.  I wish we could all settle on the same term.

Developer's Tools for Wordpress and Drupal

Smashing Magazine has posted a couple articles to help web developers and designers with their Wordpress and Drupal sites.  Some great suggestions and resources are listed in these articles.

  1. WordPress Developer’s Toolbox
  2. Drupal Developer's Toolbox

The articles don't include everything, but it's a wonderful start for those just beginning to learn about Drupal or Wordpress.  Link found via Nick Lewis' blog.

Coming Soon: dotCMS 1.6.5

Curently as a release candidate, dotCMS 1.6.5 is shaping up to be feature packed.  While you may want to wait for the official release, there is no reason to wait on finding out what's new with dotCMS.

The new 1.6.5 version includes almost 200 improvements and fixes.  Highlights include:

  • Widgets
  • Major Performance Improvements
    • Now uses enterprise ready JBoss Cache.
    • Velocity Files cached in memory across cluster for speedier parsing.
  • Simplified Configuration, Maintenance, Installation and Upgrades
  • webDAV file access
  • User Interface Improvements / Simplified Inline Editing
    • Less user confusion:  new user interface cleanly distinguishes content from widgets/dynamic pulls.
  • PDF export
  • Web Form Improvements
    • Online webform builder allows end users to create forms without knowledge of HTML.
  • Other Improvements:
    • Google Maps Macro.
    • TinyMCE WYSIWYG upgraded to 3.1.
  • Over 120 bugs squashed.

The case for a boxed CMS: Security

Tim Wilson, the site editor for Dark Reading, recently posted an article about recent at the AARP.org website.  In the colorfully titled article, "Porn Operators Hijack Pages on AARP Website", Wilson interviews Jeremy Yoder of MX Logic about why AARP.org's site was vulnerable.  In brief, the explanation given is that the site deployed a number of Web 2.0 features including user profile submissions which the site didn't properly filter out JavaScript redirected code.  Yoder than explains that the site's security or lack of security was due to it using a custom or in-house built content management system.

Mailbag: Joomlatools and Nooku

Amit from Joomlatools contacted me to introduce me to their new company as well as their new product, Nooku.  The introduction is somewhat ironic given the fact that Johan already contacted me last Spring.  I have also had a link to Joomlatools' blogs in my Blogroll for a number of months!

However, it sounds like they're doing exciting stuff over at Joomlatools that should make quite a bit of the Joomla! community happy.  Nooku looks like a great product and the extension/framework should help Joomla! 1.5 users create multi-lingual websites more easily. I wish the best for Joomlatools.

The following is a copy of the email Amit sent to CMS Report.

Hello,

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