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osCommerce (“open source Commerce”) is an e-commerce and online store-management software program. It can be used on any web server that has PHP and MySQL installed. It is available as free software under the GNU General Public License.
osCommerce MS2.2 provides a basic set of functionality that meets the common needs of online businesses. Beyond the basic functionality, osCommerce is able to be augmented, via either community-supplied add-ons or custom code, meaning that it can be customized to meet the specific needs of any business.
The following is a list of key features of osCommerce MS2.2 as stated on the osCommerce site:
- Compatible with PHP 4 and MySQL - easily portable to version 5.
- Compatible with all major browsers.
- Multi-lingual English, German and Spanish by default.
- Automatic web-based installation.
- Unlimited number of products and categories.
- Automatic setup of e-commerce payment systems: Authorize.net, 2Checkout.com, iPayment.de, PayPal.com, PsiGate.com, SECPay.com, and TrustCommerce.com; Many other add-on ecommerce payment systems, off-line (manual) credit card payments, and on-line payment processing.
- Multi-currency support via manual update from exchange rate server.
- Support for dynamic images (one image per product).
- Supports physical products as well as product downloads.
- Web-based administration module.
- Database backup and restore.
- Temporary and permanent shopping carts.
- Secure transactions with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) support.
- Many shipping options including by weight, price, or destination.
- Real-time shipping quote integration with UPS, USPS.
- Zone-based shipping options as well as a free shipping option as part of Order Totals Module.
- Full tax functionality, included compounded taxes, different zones for different products.
In implementing an osCommerce-based site one key decision is how to integrate the design. Unlike its forks, osCommerce MS2.2 does not come with a template system, though third party osCommerce templates are available. This has been seen as a negative for some. However it does mean that designs can be hand-coded or a template system installed. There are several well-known template systems, including STS, BTS and SMARTY.
Since its release in 2003, a number of issues regarding its functionality have been identified by the user community and recognized, in part, by the development team. For example:
- UPS is no longer a standard shipping module but can be added.
- The manual Credit Card payment is not PCI Compliant and should be used for testing only.
- Downloadable products are not fully secure but can be secured.
- Image thumbnails are in fact full size images reduced for display which impacts bandwidth.
- The PSI Gate module is no longer operable and needs to be replaced with an XML version.
- The lack of a plug-in system makes add-ons difficult, since each add-on modifies the core application.
- If an order qualifies for free shipping then no other option is available, so a shop cannot offer free regular shipping on orders over a certain value and a separate premium express shipping (as Amazon.com does)
- Bugs in the logic checking shipping methods allow customers to bypass the free shipping restrictions on sites that allow free shipping (by filling their cart in excess of the free shipping limit, proceeding past the checkout shipping method selection page, and then remove items from their cart)
Criticism of osCommerce stems from security vulnerabilities, including SQL injection via unchecked PHP code and loose file or directory permissions that are required for functionality.
The lack of an add-on/plugin architecture means that developers are often having to take already-forked versions of osCommerce, perform diff command checks, and merge in new code. This is problematic however because the developer must determine if the diff changes he sees relate to the fact that the previous code was written for a more recent version of osCommerce or whether it is building on code from another add-on that is required for their add-on to work. Therefore, 3-way diff command checks and very careful attention are required in order to apply add-ons. Essentially this could make osCommerce unstable or susceptible to security issues because developers might be reluctant to upgrade when it would break their series of add-ons they have done over the years. Many developers do not work with osCommerce for this reason and, instead, migrate to a commerce platform that has a more formal plugin architecture.
osCommerce was started in March 2000 in Germany by project founder and leader Harald Ponce de Leon as The Exchange Project. While osCommerce is still officially in its development stage, the current Milestone 2.2 release (Release Candidate 2a) is considered stable. As of August 2008 the osCommerce site says that there are over 14,000 'live' websites using the program. This number is almost certainly conservative, given the inclusion of osCommerce in hosting panel application installers such as Fantastico (web hosting)  and its dependency on osCommerce users linking their sites into the osCommerce Live Stores listings.
The planned Milestone 3.0 is expected to be a major re-write of the program to incorporate an object-oriented backend, a template system to allow easy layout changes, and inclusion of an administration-area username and password definition during installation . An early release candidate of osCommerce 3.0 (osCommerce Online Merchant 3.0A4) has been available for download since Mar 31 2007, 03:11 AM 
On 29th of October, 2008 it was announced by Harald Ponce de Leon (Project Leader) that the goal is to get v2.2 finalized and to release v3.0 Alpha 5 as soon as possible.
On March 15 2009 osCommerce made the first official release of osCommerce Online Merchant V 3.0 as a stable, production ready alpha release.. Introduced along with this release is a new "Social Coding on Github" initiative introduced by osCommerce to liven up a previously slow development cycle.
Distributed under the GNU General Public License, osCommerce is one of the earliest PHP based Open Source shopping cart software distributions. As such, it has spawned a number of forks including CRE Loaded, osCMax, Zen Cart,, Suocommerce , and Batavi.
- ↑ Shops OsCommerce
- ↑ Fantastico cPanel Hosting
- ↑ osCommerce: Roadmap
- ↑ (NEWS) osCommerce 3.0 Alpha 4 "Lebkuchen" Released - osCommerce Community Support Forums
- ↑ The Forum - osCommerce Community Support Forums:Oct 29 2008, 01:39 AM - osCommerce Community Support Forums
- ↑ (NEWS) osCommerce Online Merchant v3.0 Alpha 5 - osCommerce Community Support Forums - osCommerce Community Support Forums
- ↑ osCommerce: Copyright Policy
- ↑ CRE Loaded | Part of Chain Reaction Ecommerce. United.
- ↑ osCMax - osCommerce Maximized
- ↑ Zen Cart - free shopping cart software
- ↑ Suocommerce - Next Generation Ecommerce,
- ↑ Batavi - value chain ecommerce - value chain ecommerce