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  1. #1
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    Open Cart Customization Concensus

    Recently I requested a module which would allow me to specify which customer group a banner will be visible to. I was told that this was doable, and paid for it to be implemented. When complete, the developer told me that it would be necessary for him to manually make this change any time it was needed, as the controls for this option would not be available from the Admin Panel. When I expressed that this was not ideal, he blamed my ignorance:

    I can draw up instructions for you on how to activate and deactivate the wholesale banner module. I'm only reluctant to do this because of your misunderstanding of my Discount vs. Special Price instructions (something that was entirely based in the administrative frontend).
    Is this standard practice for Shopping Cart Customization? Should I not have expected the controls to be accessible through the Admin Panel?

    The misunderstanding he refers to is this:
    > Should I edit the prices under the Discount tab, or use the Special tab? Under the latter, I don't see any way to specify price groups.

    Either a Discount or a Special should be fine.

    > Special seems most appropriate to me as well, because it will not affect the regular price if we end the sale, and I noticed that it can be applied to either group. The trouble is that even if I select "Wholesale" there is only one price input box.

    OK, then you will need to add prices under discounts and input the various quantities. Just ensure the "Date Start" and "Date End" are accurate and if you want this to override a current discount price then be sure to change the original discount "Date Start" box to the "Date End" box of the current discount.
    I left the "date end" field empty because we did not have a set duration in mind.

    > How hard would it be to add a quantity input field to the Specials tab?

    Extremely hard and wholly unnecessary: the functionality you want already exists within Discount pricing. Use Discount pricing.
    Again, I wonder if the Open Cart developer community at large would back up these conclusions?

    Thanks for your input.

  • #2
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    could you post a link to the cart system you're using? It sounds like it depends on the context of the words you're using to describe what you need. But also they just want to make money off you by saying they have to implement the cahnges which means either you didn't describe it correctly or they can't build what you want. In any case I'd check in to getting my money back!

    I requested a module which would allow me to specify which customer group a banner will be visible to.
    How I would take this would be...you want a simple banner rotation module with a customer group filter. Customer groups would have to be defined within the database somewhere. Pricing would be handled separately from from just showing banners to certain groups.
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  • #3
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    I've spent quite a considerable amount of time on an OpenCart installation in the last six months.

    Customer groups are already defined in the out of the box OpenCart installation, so there's already a hook to hang the conditional banner display from. My view would be that this functionality is a new Module, which can be disabled or edited via the admin panel like any other module. For example, I've recently added a "News" module for the front page which can be configured and enabled/disabled via the admin panel - this is almost the same thing except for the conditional logic on the customer group. The latter could either be hard coded to a particular customer group or, with a little more effort, configurable from Admin by customer group.

    Re the quantity on the specials tab, it isn't that hard, whether it's unnecessary I'm not sure without knowing a lot more.
    Last edited by SB65; 03-09-2012 at 04:16 PM.

  • #4
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    c1lonewolf, the name of the shopping cart is "OpenCart".

    We already have two customer groups established in the system, although I'm not sure that our web developer implemented this by the best method. We have Retail and Wholesale customer groups with independent pricing. It seems that he may have just established the Wholesale group as a discount group. That has been essentially effective. At least it allows me to identify customers as one or the other from a drop down menu in the Admin Panel, which is what I wanted.

    The problem is that we have specials sometimes applicable to the Wholesale group only. I was hoping for another drop down menu to be integrated into the Banners menu where I could specify which group the banner should display to. We paid the web developer $200 to implement this feature, but now he simply says it is something he will have to do manually each time. There is no way for me to tell if any change was even made.

    SB65, thank you for your candid and honest opinions. Unfortunately I do feel that my web developer has been less than forthright with me. He would now like us to pay for a monthly support service, but I'm feeling rather dubious.

  • #5
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    Sorry I keep getting a "corrupt file" alert when trying to download OpenCart. I was going to look at the coding to see what they're doing...It should be coded that all pricing options (ie. retail, wholsale, specified group, discount, onsale etc.) are contained within a single datatable using an itemID identifier. Then specified customer groups can view pricing options defined by the script loading the items. As far as banners go they should work the same way using a group identifier to show particular ads.
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  • #6
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    We already have two customer groups established in the system, although I'm not sure that our web developer implemented this by the best method. We have Retail and Wholesale customer groups with independent pricing. It seems that he may have just established the Wholesale group as a discount group. That has been essentially effective. At least it allows me to identify customers as one or the other from a drop down menu in the Admin Panel, which is what I wanted.
    Customer groups is out of the box and isn't a development activity, so I imagine this is fine. You can set discounts by product against customer groups, so all of this sounds like standard behaviour. I agree with your developer about using discounts, as far I understand what you're trying to do.

    The problem is that we have specials sometimes applicable to the Wholesale group only. I was hoping for another drop down menu to be integrated into the Banners menu where I could specify which group the banner should display to. We paid the web developer $200 to implement this feature, but now he simply says it is something he will have to do manually each time. There is no way for me to tell if any change was even made.
    Assuming that the banner is just a message, not linked to your pricing/discounts/special stuff, then in my view the conditional display of banner on a fixed customer group is a couple of lines of code in the appropriate controller and template files - I'm not quite sure where the banner is supposed to appear. Less than an hour's work with no admin control of it. Making the feature toggle-able via admin is probably an hour or so, making it configurable by customer group a bit longer.

    If it works, then a change must have been made somewhere, and the code will be identifiable in the relevant files. I personally don't think it's unreasonable to ask what changes were made - even if it's just "original code" and "new code" without any explanation.

    It's not quite clear from your post why monthly support would be required...

    From an outsider's point of view, it also sounds like the relationship with your developer is broken. Time to get a new developer.
    Last edited by SB65; 03-10-2012 at 09:51 AM.

  • #7
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    Thank you C1lonewolf and SB65 for the time you have taken to help me out. c1lonewolf, I've experienced that error when downloading other installation files. Usually I am successful if I can find another download site, such as cnet, but I don't know why that happens. Thank you for taking the trouble to make the attempt.

    SB65, below is a list of my communications to our web developer in the past month, since the site went live:

    1/30 prices mismatched
    2/03 misdirected links
    2/07 categories missing, spelling error in form header
    2/10 emails not filtering correctly
    2/15 default shipping set to wrong carrier, request inventory status message removal from product pages
    2/21 request clarification on Special/Discount tabs
    3/06 address verification settings blocking an international order
    2/27 order emails 3 days belated, marked as "complete" by default in Admin

    The response I received to the latest concerns was as follows:

    It's been over 30 days since the store launched live and, despite having no post-launch support agreement I have continued to support the site because I believe in standing by my work. As with any launch there were some kinks to work out and you wanted some customizations which were mostly unforeseeable until the store was up and running.

    If I am to continue in a support role for the store then I must be compensated accordingly.

    Over the past 30 days I've tracked 50+ emails between us and 23.3 hours of billable time which I'm writing off. At my standard ad hoc support rate this amounts to a $1165 write off.

    I do have several monthly support plans that offer substantially discounted hourly rates. I recommend a 20 hour support arrangement which is $300/mo.
    I have intentionally omitted names. It is not my intent to air any dirty laundry here, but it is extremely helpful for me to get feedback from other experts to form a standard of reference. I have worked in website design, and it is not my intent to shortchange anyone for their work, yet it seemed to me that most of my communications were regarding minor kinks to the package we paid for and should be covered as part of the original agreement.

    Any time that I requested something which I felt fell outside that heading, I asked him to direct me where to make the change, myself, or offered to pay for additional services. Regarding the former, he typically notified me that he had executed the change, himself, and left it at that. As to the latter, the only additional fee he had stipulated was for the customized module which would allow us to target banners to specific customer groups (there is a banner carousel on the main page). I gladly paid it, but was disappointed with the result, as detailed previously.

    My hope with this website was to be able to manage it primarily on my own, through the Administration Panel - but to have the option to request support in the event that an issue arises outside my capacity to address. I would hope that this would not be a frequent requirement once the dust settles, but expect it from time to time. I would appreciate your honest opinions on what is reasonable compensation for the kind of work I have outlined above.

    Again, thank you both very much.

  • #8
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    Taking these on face value my personal opinion is:

    1/30 prices mismatched

    Presumably just a typo on set up - this should have just been an admin task to change the price I'd have thought - no coding changes

    2/03 misdirected links

    Either a change to hard coded link or a change to the language file containing the link

    2/07 categories missing, spelling error in form header

    Categories is an admin task, spelling error hard to tell, probably a change to the language file

    2/10 emails not filtering correctly

    Not sure what you mean by filtering - if you mean selecting recipients then not clear why this should be wrong, could potentially have been messy to investigate

    2/15 default shipping set to wrong carrier, request inventory status message removal from product pages

    Defsult shipping is an admin task. Inventory status removal is a change to the template file code.

    2/21 request clarification on Special/Discount tabs

    Sounds like this was just an explanation

    3/06 address verification settings blocking an international order

    Opencart contains all countries and zones and sometimes you need to tweak these to get it to work. Normally it's just a missing zone or country. It's an admin task.

    2/27 order emails 3 days belated, marked as "complete" by default in Admin

    Belated emails could be a variety of things not necessarily related to opencart. Default order status is an admin setting.

    Some of these read to me as just errors/omissions on initial set up - which are forgivable, but I'd have expected these to be corrected free of charge. Was there any sort of sign off that the system was working correctly?

    I'd have thought that's couple of hours work at most, the majority admin task not coding. Many of these things are settings that take a minute to apply. Dealing with emails does take a little time and 50+ sounds a lot of emails for those issues however. I'm conscious I'm only commenting on one side of the story but most of those sound like set up issues.

    I personally think that one of the challenges with opencart is that there is little user documentation, so it's hard to understand how some things work - specials/discounts being a good example. The opencart forums are reasonably active, however.

    Ongoing support - $300 for 20 hours seems well priced to me, but 20 hours per month seems enormously excessive.


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