DotNetNuke, ASP.NET, Web Development Blog

Quick review of DotNetNuke ECommerce stores

We've been doing a lot of DotNetNuke based E-Commerce projects lately. The projects we've done have really spanned a variety of store types (wine, audio files, church stuff, an automated shutoff system, resistors, printing products, and more), client types (wineries, churches, incentive programs, manufactures, master distributors) and feature requirements. So far, for all the DotNetNuke based E-Commerce sites we've built, we've used Catalook.

Catalook has a huge number of features, an immense number of configuration options, and is probably the worst implemented piece of software I've ever used. But it works. At times, though, I think it would be faster if I had just built the E-Commerce pieces of each of the sites from scratch.

When I look at Catalook's administrative interface, documentation, and code, I'm reminded of a "Home"I've seen in rural Missouri. For the "home", the enterprising individual started with a school bus on cinder blocks. Apparently, they outgrew the school bus and so they created an addition of of plywood, some bricks, some tires, and seemingly whatever else they had lying around. And then they added a second story to the addition and another addition on the other side of the bus. And thus it is with Catalook. Feature after feature is glued, crammed, and duct-taped on to something that was never meant to be what it became.

But it's not all bad. Suzanne seems to have learned a great deal over the years she's been creating Catalook and the new features she's adding seem to be quite well done. And all those features that I was overwhelmed by when I first started using the product, have mostly proved to be necessary for one client or another. In addition, I now KNOW Catalook, and while making the changes that a project always requires is still much more difficult than it should be, I know what I need to do. But I'm ready for something else.

I've got two projects getting started that have fairly simple requirements and so, I've been exploring some of the options out there. Both projects do require that products have options (aka attributes or variations) such as size or color and that you can associate a price change with the option (e.g. XXL adds $5).

I'll blog about my findings in a separate entry for each store.


Frank Wang Says:
7/13/2008 3:58:00 PM
Just want to let you know, alicommerce has a close feature set to catalook, but user interface is much more user friendly and well thought out. Regarding product attribute, you can override variants' sku, name, price, weight, descriptions and image information. You can track some or all variants' inventory, and even disable some variants.

You can download quick start guide from our website without registration. We can also provide you a license for testing or demo purpose.
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