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.

osCommerce MS2.2 provides a basic set of functionality that meets the common needs of online businesses. By taking this approach osCommerce has avoided the pitfalls from which many applications (including its own forks) historically suffer[citation needed]: too much functionality, requiring an overly complex implementation.

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.

Limitations

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)

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