Review of 9 open source e-commerce platforms

Webdistortion, a web design studio in Northern Ireland, recently reviewed nine different e-commerce platforms. All nine platforms reviewed were open source software packages.

With e-commerce webdesign really starting to take off, its never been more important to choose a platform which suits you as a developer (i.e. one that you can support) and one that will provide your clients with the features that they need to run a successful online shop.

There are a number of ways of getting a shop online, and we’ve focused primarily on open source e-commerce platforms here.

PHP 5.2.6 Released

The PHP development team started the month of May with the release of PHP 5.2.6. With over 120 bug fixes, this release is mainly focused on stability. There are however several security enhancements in PHP 5.2.6:

  • Fixed possible stack buffer overflow in the FastCGI SAPI identified by Andrei Nigmatulin.
  • Fixed integer overflow in printf() identified by Maksymilian Aciemowicz.
  • Fixed security issue detailed in CVE-2008-0599 identified by Ryan Permeh.
  • Fixed a safe_mode bypass in cURL identified by Maksymilian Arciemowicz.
  • Properly address incomplete multibyte chars inside escapeshellcmd() identified by Stefan Esser.
  • Upgraded bundled PCRE to version 7.6

References: Release Announcement, PHP 5.2.6 ChangeLog, Download page

Are you using KnowledgeTree or SharePoint?

It has been awhile since I've considered using KnowledgeTree on the office intranet. I eventually decided that I needed to focus more on our content management system (we are now using Drupal) and consider implementing a document management system (DMS) at a later date. A recent article on KnowledgeTree reminded me about the DMS that I almost forgot about.

These days, effective document management means accessibility from anywhere on the planet, electronic storage, reliable backup, and instant document modification updates. KnowledgeTree offers all that and more. It's available in several editions, including an open source community version (which we reviewed last year) that businesses can tailor to their individual needs.

You can install KnowledgeTree in-house on your company's server or use it as an online, hosted service. With it, you can create, edit, and store documents from Linux, Mac, and Windows computer. KnowledgeTreeLive, the hosted version, can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a supported browser -- Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer.

I always promised myself that I would take a second look at KnowledgeTree sometime down the road. Unfortunately, at least for for KnowledgeTree, the regional office I'm under has started a move toward Microsoft's SharePoint. As I've written in the past, SharePoint is confusing system to describe and even Microsoft has a tough time explaining their product to potential customers. I initially thought SharePoint would be more of a CMS, Portal, and wiki but each time I've looked at SharePoint I'm realizing that it's greater strength may be in document management.

Simple Machines grants permission for Drupal-SMF Bridge

Last week, I mentioned that the the Drupal SMFforum Integration module was no longer being supported by the module's project leader, "vb". Apparently, Simple Machines had not granted permission to the module developer to distribute code found in the SMF application as required by the Simple Machines License. While some discussion followed this announcement at the SMF forums, as well as here at CMS Report, none of this discussion compared to what took place at the Open Source Community.

The good news is that Simple Machines LLC has granted vb to continue distributing some of the SMF code to work with the Drupal SMFforum Integration module. vb wrote:

How free is free?

It looks as if Laura Scott, pingVision, had some free time on her hands. There are reasons free servcies on the Internet are free. Laura wants you to start asking yourself, "why?".

Is the future really free?

It seems we've entered an age where there's a land-grab happening for personal data and attention time. Look at all the web start-ups backed by venture capital. They aren't investing out of philanthropy. There's value there. YouTube is "free" but Google paid over a billion dollars for it. Why?

Here's a hint: It's not about the Tube. [Read more at Laura Scott's Blog]

Personally, I'll need to read her post a few times and soak in on the information from her excerpts. Some things to think about...

Recovering from the Winter Weather Blues

Observed snowfall for April 25, 2008

Seeing four inches of snow on the ground in April does not make those that love summer happy.

We had four inches of snow here, but other parts of South Dakota received more than a foot of snow. In other words, I can't complain too much, but I still hold the right to complain a little! The good news is that most of the snow has melted with only a few snow drifts still left in the yard.

Seeing this much snow during the last weeks of April isn't unheard of in the northern plains, but it doesn't happen too often. I think the last time I saw this much snow in April was in 2004. For the meteorologists at heart, the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls has a good explanation for show these type of winter weather storms develop in April.

TYPO3 Version 4.2 Released

There is a new version of TYPO3 available, version 4.2.  There are lots of usability and performance improvements in this latest package. 

The main focus of the new 4.2 version is improving usability, but there are also many enhancements for system administrators and developers. Including bug fixes, there are nearly 650 enhancements in TYPO3 4.2.

What is very interesting about this version of TYPO3 is that it is one of the first CMS that have dropped full support for PHP 4 in a stable release.  TYPO3 and a number of other Web projects took the "goPHP5" pledge earlier this year and we watched it happen.  To run TYPO3 you will want need to make sure you have PHP 5.2 or greater on your Web server. 

Drupal and Wordpress are Webware 100 Winners

Drupal and Wordpress,  were the only CMS applications that made it to the winner list in CNET's hosted Webware 100.

Over 1.9 million votes were cast for the 300 finalists this year. These finalists were selected (by Webware editors) from a pool of over 5000 qualifying nominees. But the 100 winners were selected by popular vote. These winning 100 products represent the best of the Web, according the people who use it.

Both Drupal and Wordpress were two of ten winners in the "Publishing and Photography" category.  The remaining eight winners in Webware's 100 publishing category were web services and didn't provide stand-alone applications you can install directly on your server.

Drupal SMFforum Integration module no longer supported

Development of the SMFforum Integration module for Drupal is no longer.  Amy Stephen over at pointed out on her blog that the module's project  leader, "vb", pulled the module due to licensing disagreements with SMF LLC.  Amy references vb's original post at the Drupal forum, but she has a lot more to say.  Amy's an active participant in the Joomla! community, a community which had their own issues with a bridge between Joomla! and SMF.

According to vb's post, an email sent by Michael "Oldiesmann" Eshom, Project Manager, Simple Machines LLC stated that:

The problem isn't with the smfforum.module file or the packages distributed on The problem is with the "smf_api_subs.php" file that you're distributing as part of the smf api package - it contains modified versions of several SMF functions, and you did not ask for permission to use this code or distribute it.

It appears that Simple Machines LLC doesn't have so much of a problem with bridging SMF and Drupal as much as they have issues with their own code being used without proper permission.  The Simple Machines License clearly states that "Any Distribution of a Modified Package or derivative requires express written consent from Simple Machines LLC."  No word on whether Simple Machines LLC would endorse the use of their code if permission is asked.

Radiant 0.6.6 CMS Released

Radiant 0.6.6 was released over the weekend, shortly after the release of Radiant 0.6.5.  Obviously, 0.6.6 of this built with Ruby on Rails CMS was released to fix some bugs in 0.6.5.  So instead of focusing on the bugs, let's focus on what is new in 0.6.5/6 since Radiant 0.6.4 was released in November 2006.

Since Radiant 0.6.4, the latest versions of the software introduced two major changes:

  • Rails 2.0.2 included (0.6.4 used Rails 1.2.5)
  • RSpec 1.1.4 is used in core and supported in extensions


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