[ic] ZdNet Review Of Interchange...

Mike Heins mikeh@minivend.com
Wed, 13 Dec 2000 04:57:53 -0500

Quoting John Beima (jbeima@reality.palb.com):
> G'Day Folks,
> I must say I was very dissapointed at this recent review that ZDNet did of 
> Interchange. It was more than evident they just installed the product, if they 
> even did that, and they reviewed it based on the demo without even looking at 
> one line of the documentation.
> You know there is nothing worse then a hack doing a review.
> I couldn't just even leave it alone, I had to write him, the editor, and their 
> public relations department back.
> They made statements like they were facts of features thet Interchange doesn't 
> have that it in fact does.
> God give a guy a review to write, and he thinks he's god!
> Anyways I have ranted enough, if you feel like it, you can read it at...
> http://www.zdnet.com/ecommerce/stories/main/0,10475,2661750,00.html

I thought the review was fair enough, though the "Performance=C" hurt.
(I am afraid he used Oracle, which isn't the best for IC without some
heavy indexing and lots, lots, lots of memory.)

If you compare the letter grading with his review for AllCommerce, we
came out worse. That hurts, and I know that that isn't the reviewers
real opinion. He said it was "head and shoulders above" the Zelerate
stuff. Perhaps we got hit with the transition period in a battle against
grade inflation. 8-)

Sometimes not communicating the features is as bad as not having them.
He did the review from the perspective of a non-techie using the system, and
we still are not there enough on the documentation and user interface.

Wait til' the next round. Here is what I have added to 4.7.x so far:

Menus and display:

  * All UI menus now in a database, no more hacking on the
    catalog_before.cfg to change it

  * Complete CSS control of the display, including being able to
    control the sizing and spacing of the various table edit
    screens (not complete, but planned)

  * Configurable items display so you can remove the "upsell" stuff
    if you don't want it in items

  * Grouping of display to show items by category, etc.

  * "Cloning" of products including pricing, options, and inventory

  * Inheritable product attributes, so that you can create one
    entry and then use it as the basis for additional products
    within its category, all overrideable

Product options:

  * Completely flexible simple options.

  * Matrix options (that is your separate inventory tracking)

  * Modular options, with multiple levels and JavaScript price
    calculator for the end-user.


  * User feedback forms with saveable entries (for reviews and
    comments about products). The feedback can optionally be sent
    by email at the same time it is put in the database.


  * Content editor upgrade, create and edit templates and

Pricing and Taxing: 

  * Price profiles, so you can define "Bronze, Silver, Gold" levels
    for pricing in the UserDB

  * Modular item group subitems cost shows up in master item

  * Category-enabled taxing interface

Low level stuff:

  * Nestable [if-item-param ...] and friends

  * New [tree ...] tag to build nestable categories

  * Cascadable mv_click

  * mv_form_profile for easy checking of user input on forms

  * SDBM interface to help the Solaris and other people with no

  * Now can set DEFAULT entries for tables, with luck removing
    the pain and suffering of dealing with NOT NULL on Postgres
    and some others

  * dbconfig allows adding, renaming, and deleting fields from
    tables on the fly, also adding/deleting tables from the UI
    (this stuff is dangerous, but I will put suitable warnings all
    over the place. 8-)

  * [table-editor ...] tag allows you to build custom DB entry

That being said, we had better get cracking on a 4.7.x release.
It will be out before too long, but will be sort of alpha-quality
for a while.

Akopia, Inc., 131 Willow Lane, Floor 2, Oxford, OH  45056
phone +1.513.523.7621 fax 7501 <heins@akopia.com>

Any man who is under 30, and is not liberal, has not heart; and any man
who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has not brains.
 -- Winston Churchill