[ic] "High traffic list" - ramblings on Interchange

Sandy Thomson sandy at scotwebshops.com
Tue Mar 14 05:32:25 EST 2006

Andreas Grau wrote:
> This is most certainly one reason. There are many PHP based shopping
> carts, and many hosting provider concentrate on PHP, with little or no
> support for perl.
> And many of the PHP carts are, well, good looking. Hardly any IC shop
> in the hall of fame is nice and modern. And inviting.

PHP is PHP, Perl is Perl. What are you suggesting here? Converting all 
of the Interchange code to PHP? If you want to use a PHP shopping cart 
... use a PHP shopping cart?
Our site is pretty good looking and has loads of nice features, check 
out http://scotwebstore.com.

Quite frankly I can smell most PHP/ASP shops a mile off. It stinks of 
the designer/developer being lazy and putting in minimal effort. Our 
shop has had 1-2 employees working full time on it for 2 years. Not 
cheap or easy yes, but the end result is pretty good and looks professional.

> Next, IC is largely unsupported. If you look in the mailing list
> archives, there are tons of serious questions which remain without
> answer. The other IRC channel is mostly dead.
> Then, IC is not really documented. Since when I follow IC, there has
> been zero visible progress on the docs.
> Take an unsupportive mailing list plus zero docs, and you come to think
> that IC is actually a closed-shop solution.

I disagree here. If you need some help search the archives most 
questions have been answered already. There is also the RTFM site which 
is very helpful. In the case of you having a new question try and make 
it as simple to understand and specific as possible rather than 
something like 'how do I get free shipping working on my store 
http://ipodsaregreat.com' (for example).

> To a newbie, IC is very complex. I can tell you from my own experience.
> And if one doesn't find a helping hand, he is likely to turn away again.
> What will be the consequences ?
> - Further drain of installations
> - Further drain of users
> - Increasingly bad reputation (complex, ugly, unsupported, few users)
> In the end, there may be a team of dinosaurs who satisfies himself with
> existing clients. Probably rationalizing that IC is technically better
> than anything else.
> Anybody remember Univac or Data General ?
> For IC to have a future, I believe it would be necessary to
> a) help people grow from newbie into intermediate state, so reciprocal
> help can build momentum
> b) do the marketing work: improve the docs, polish the sites, spread the word
> c) leave the ivory tower (see a.)

Interchange will work out of the box, and is very customisable. I think 
you are trying to compare it to most PHP shopping carts that are not 
designed to be tinkered with very much and therefore are more suitable 
for 'web designers'. You just style them and fill them with products. 
End of.

I have done things using Postgres and Interchange that I could add to 
some docs somewhere in my own time. Things like using tsearch2 and 
trigram searching (mis-spelled words). Also our shop runs clustered 
across 3 SMP servers (6 P4 Xeons in total).

Our pricing routines are also pretty complicated, consider this:
A Product requires X metres of Material (which can vary from $25-200 per 
metre), and then a varying manufacture charge. This is outwith the 
interchange options system too. Try doing that with most PHP shopping carts!

Interchange is probably well over 100000 lines of code, you (and I) 
didn't write that and we are not charged for it. No leg to stand on here 


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