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satchmo customization experiences? customizing existing e-com vs. roll-your-own

snfctech
I'm building an order entry and tracking system for a Food Co-op for
their case and special orders.  We don't need the system to be on-line
(at the moment), but many of the system requirements are already
present in many existing e-commerce solutions (product catalog/search,
order entry screens, order tracking/history, etc.)

Initially, I was thinking of building the system from scratch using
web2py or Django.  (The RoR Spree project looks pretty interesting,
too - but I'm already writing a product/customer ETL in Jython and
don't want to balance the two languages - both Python and Ruby are new
to me.)  Web2py doesn't have any existing e-commerce project, so that
lead me to look at Django/Satchmo.  I'm guessing the Satchmo
customization necessary is probably on the order of 20-30%.

The question is whether that 20-30% customization is going to be more
of a headache than rolling my own clean order-entry and tracking
system with nothing extra I don't need.  Has anyone had a similar
experience they can share?  I would be especially interested in
anyone's experiences with customizing/extending Satchmo.

Thanks in advance for any tips.


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Re: satchmo customization experiences? customizing existing e-com vs. roll-your-own

Chris Moffitt
You may get some more answers on the Satchmo list but I assume all those folks are on this list too. I'll attempt to provide some answers here because it's probably of interest to the broader community.

Whenever I hear people talking about writing something from scratch, I think about these two articles -
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001284.html
http://blog.bitquabit.com/2009/07/01/one-which-i-call-out-hacker-news/

First off, I realize Satchmo is nowhere near the same as stack overflow but the principal is the same. Satchmo has been under active development for almost 3 years and it's by no means complete and nowhere near perfect. That being said, it does do a lot & has a lot of thought put into how to balance ease of use and functionality with the ability to customize. There could be a lot of debate about how well we've managed to do it & reasonable people could disagree about our approach; but there is a fairly significant amount of work to start from scratch. In fact, if Satchmo seems too much overkill for your needs, then you might want to look at some of the alternatives (which I have no personal experience with) like:
http://djwarehouse.org/wiki
http://www.getlfs.com/

Or if you feel you need to write one from scratch, this is probably as good a place as any to start:
http://django-ecommerce.blogspot.com/

Now, to answer your earlier question about how to customize Satchmo, a lot depends on what you actually need to do. Writing a custom shipping module or modifying the templates is trivial. If you need to yank out the entire product model and use something new then it might be more of a challenge. If you can discuss a bit more about the changes you would need to make, we can probably provide some more guidance on the relative difficulty of getting them done.

-Chris


On Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM, snfctech <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm building an order entry and tracking system for a Food Co-op for
their case and special orders.  We don't need the system to be on-line
(at the moment), but many of the system requirements are already
present in many existing e-commerce solutions (product catalog/search,
order entry screens, order tracking/history, etc.)

Initially, I was thinking of building the system from scratch using
web2py or Django.  (The RoR Spree project looks pretty interesting,
too - but I'm already writing a product/customer ETL in Jython and
don't want to balance the two languages - both Python and Ruby are new
to me.)  Web2py doesn't have any existing e-commerce project, so that
lead me to look at Django/Satchmo.  I'm guessing the Satchmo
customization necessary is probably on the order of 20-30%.

The question is whether that 20-30% customization is going to be more
of a headache than rolling my own clean order-entry and tracking
system with nothing extra I don't need.  Has anyone had a similar
experience they can share?  I would be especially interested in
anyone's experiences with customizing/extending Satchmo.

Thanks in advance for any tips.


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Re: satchmo customization experiences? customizing existing e-com vs. roll-your-own

snfctech
Thanks for your reply, Chris.  And thanks for the links.

However, the Stack Overflow example seems to be talking about cloning
and a tendency of developers to exaggerate their ability to understand
the complexity of a piece of software and how long it would take them
to do it.  My point is not about cloning Satchmo - but trying to
understand how easily extensible it is and at what point I may as well
build my own solution, because the gap between what I need and what
Satchmo does is too great.  And, for that, you're right - I need to be
more specific.  So here a couple things I think I may need to do to
modify Satchmo:

1. Pull out a lot of e-commerce specific clutter.  I'm building
(primarily) an internal order entry and tracking system.  I don't need
shipping addresses or postal rates or a payment gateway.

2. Add a bunch of business specific stuff:
- bizarre discount rules that apply on certain days, that customers
can only use once a month or once a quarter, that can only be stacked
in strange ways, etc.
- adding lots of additional attributes/relations to products and
customers such as: upc_unit, upc_case, plu_unit, plu_case,
quantity_case, is_organic, has_redemption, measure, size, require_id,
category_id, location_id, producer_id, etc.
- product holding time/ notifications (e.g. how long we can keep
perishables vs. dry-goods before someone needs to be notified/
business process initiated)
- customer/member/product lookup by contact info, past purchases,
member number, producer order number, PLU, etc.
- a producer/mfg. schema for tracking store->producer orders, status,
modifying lead-times
- printing invoices with UPCs that can be brought to POS registers

Btw, http://djwarehouse.org gave me "Oops…Trac detected an internal
error:"  I've looked into LFS but their motto "The online shop for for
search engines, which appreciate speed" threw me off.  Plus I had to
dig into the FAQ to find the source and it broke on some dependencies
when I tried to install.

On Feb 6, 1:50 pm, Chris Moffitt <[hidden email]> wrote:

> You may get some more answers on the Satchmo list but I assume all those
> folks are on this list too. I'll attempt to provide some answers here
> because it's probably of interest to the broader community.
>
> Whenever I hear people talking about writing something from scratch, I think
> about these two articles -http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001284.htmlhttp://blog.bitquabit.com/2009/07/01/one-which-i-call-out-hacker-news/
>
> First off, I realize Satchmo is nowhere near the same as stack overflow but
> the principal is the same. Satchmo has been under active development for
> almost 3 years and it's by no means complete and nowhere near perfect. That
> being said, it does do a lot & has a lot of thought put into how to balance
> ease of use and functionality with the ability to customize. There could be
> a lot of debate about how well we've managed to do it & reasonable people
> could disagree about our approach; but there is a fairly significant amount
> of work to start from scratch. In fact, if Satchmo seems too much overkill
> for your needs, then you might want to look at some of the alternatives
> (which I have no personal experience with) like:http://djwarehouse.org/wikihttp://www.getlfs.com/
>
> Or if you feel you need to write one from scratch, this is probably as good
> a place as any to start:http://django-ecommerce.blogspot.com/
>
> Now, to answer your earlier question about how to customize Satchmo, a lot
> depends on what you actually need to do. Writing a custom shipping module or
> modifying the templates is trivial. If you need to yank out the entire
> product model and use something new then it might be more of a challenge. If
> you can discuss a bit more about the changes you would need to make, we can
> probably provide some more guidance on the relative difficulty of getting
> them done.
>
> -Chris
>
> On Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM, snfctech <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > I'm building an order entry and tracking system for a Food Co-op for
> > their case and special orders.  We don't need the system to be on-line
> > (at the moment), but many of the system requirements are already
> > present in many existing e-commerce solutions (product catalog/search,
> > order entry screens, order tracking/history, etc.)
>
> > Initially, I was thinking of building the system from scratch using
> > web2py or Django.  (The RoR Spree project looks pretty interesting,
> > too - but I'm already writing a product/customer ETL in Jython and
> > don't want to balance the two languages - both Python and Ruby are new
> > to me.)  Web2py doesn't have any existing e-commerce project, so that
> > lead me to look at Django/Satchmo.  I'm guessing the Satchmo
> > customization necessary is probably on the order of 20-30%.
>
> > The question is whether that 20-30% customization is going to be more
> > of a headache than rolling my own clean order-entry and tracking
> > system with nothing extra I don't need.  Has anyone had a similar
> > experience they can share?  I would be especially interested in
> > anyone's experiences with customizing/extending Satchmo.
>
> > Thanks in advance for any tips.
>
> > --
> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
> > "Django users" group.
> > To post to this group, send email to [hidden email].
> > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
> > [hidden email]<django-users%[hidden email]>
> > .
> > For more options, visit this group at
> >http://groups.google.com/group/django-users?hl=en.

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Re: satchmo customization experiences? customizing existing e-com vs. roll-your-own

Chris Moffitt
Based on the additional details describing what you're trying to do, you may be reaching the threshold where Satchmo (or any current package) is going to have to be so heavily modified that it might make sense to roll your own.  It sounds like you're trying to develop almost an ERP type of application and that's definitely an area where Satchmo has minimal functionality. Don't get me wrong, I always like to see new uses of Satchmo but you are going in a direction that hasn't been well blazed.

There may be a few parts of Satchmo you can leverage or at least learn from but I don't see that much that you'll gain at this point.

If you do decide to continue with Satchmo, let us know, I'm sure folks would be interested in hearing how it goes but I do want to make sure you go in with your eyes wide open.

-Chris

On Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM, snfctech <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks for your reply, Chris.  And thanks for the links.

However, the Stack Overflow example seems to be talking about cloning
and a tendency of developers to exaggerate their ability to understand
the complexity of a piece of software and how long it would take them
to do it.  My point is not about cloning Satchmo - but trying to
understand how easily extensible it is and at what point I may as well
build my own solution, because the gap between what I need and what
Satchmo does is too great.  And, for that, you're right - I need to be
more specific.  So here a couple things I think I may need to do to
modify Satchmo:

1. Pull out a lot of e-commerce specific clutter.  I'm building
(primarily) an internal order entry and tracking system.  I don't need
shipping addresses or postal rates or a payment gateway.

2. Add a bunch of business specific stuff:
- bizarre discount rules that apply on certain days, that customers
can only use once a month or once a quarter, that can only be stacked
in strange ways, etc.
- adding lots of additional attributes/relations to products and
customers such as: upc_unit, upc_case, plu_unit, plu_case,
quantity_case, is_organic, has_redemption, measure, size, require_id,
category_id, location_id, producer_id, etc.
- product holding time/ notifications (e.g. how long we can keep
perishables vs. dry-goods before someone needs to be notified/
business process initiated)
- customer/member/product lookup by contact info, past purchases,
member number, producer order number, PLU, etc.
- a producer/mfg. schema for tracking store->producer orders, status,
modifying lead-times
- printing invoices with UPCs that can be brought to POS registers

Btw, http://djwarehouse.org gave me "Oops…Trac detected an internal
error:"  I've looked into LFS but their motto "The online shop for for
search engines, which appreciate speed" threw me off.  Plus I had to
dig into the FAQ to find the source and it broke on some dependencies
when I tried to install.

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Re: satchmo customization experiences? customizing existing e-com vs. roll-your-own

snfctech
Thanks for your honesty, Chris.  I'll keep the community posted if we
go the Django and/or Satchmo route.

On Feb 9, 8:55 am, Chris Moffitt <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Based on the additional details describing what you're trying to do, you may
> be reaching the threshold where Satchmo (or any current package) is going to
> have to be so heavily modified that it might make sense to roll your own.
> It sounds like you're trying to develop almost an ERP type of application
> and that's definitely an area where Satchmo has minimal functionality. Don't
> get me wrong, I always like to see new uses of Satchmo but you are going in
> a direction that hasn't been well blazed.
>
> There may be a few parts of Satchmo you can leverage or at least learn from
> but I don't see that much that you'll gain at this point.
>
> If you do decide to continue with Satchmo, let us know, I'm sure folks would
> be interested in hearing how it goes but I do want to make sure you go in
> with your eyes wide open.
>
> -Chris
>
> On Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM, snfctech <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Thanks for your reply, Chris.  And thanks for the links.
>
> > However, the Stack Overflow example seems to be talking about cloning
> > and a tendency of developers to exaggerate their ability to understand
> > the complexity of a piece of software and how long it would take them
> > to do it.  My point is not about cloning Satchmo - but trying to
> > understand how easily extensible it is and at what point I may as well
> > build my own solution, because the gap between what I need and what
> > Satchmo does is too great.  And, for that, you're right - I need to be
> > more specific.  So here a couple things I think I may need to do to
> > modify Satchmo:
>
> > 1. Pull out a lot of e-commerce specific clutter.  I'm building
> > (primarily) an internal order entry and tracking system.  I don't need
> > shipping addresses or postal rates or a payment gateway.
>
> > 2. Add a bunch of business specific stuff:
> > - bizarre discount rules that apply on certain days, that customers
> > can only use once a month or once a quarter, that can only be stacked
> > in strange ways, etc.
> > - adding lots of additional attributes/relations to products and
> > customers such as: upc_unit, upc_case, plu_unit, plu_case,
> > quantity_case, is_organic, has_redemption, measure, size, require_id,
> > category_id, location_id, producer_id, etc.
> > - product holding time/ notifications (e.g. how long we can keep
> > perishables vs. dry-goods before someone needs to be notified/
> > business process initiated)
> > - customer/member/product lookup by contact info, past purchases,
> > member number, producer order number, PLU, etc.
> > - a producer/mfg. schema for tracking store->producer orders, status,
> > modifying lead-times
> > - printing invoices with UPCs that can be brought to POS registers
>
> > Btw,http://djwarehouse.orggave me "Oops…Trac detected an internal
> > error:"  I've looked into LFS but their motto "The online shop for for
> > search engines, which appreciate speed" threw me off.  Plus I had to
> > dig into the FAQ to find the source and it broke on some dependencies
> > when I tried to install.

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