First Drupal Commerce site

For nearly two years we have been working on getting a complex site to work with Drupal Commerce. This has been because Ubercart that we have used for years is based on a flawed concept.

With Ubercart a product is defined, such as a shirt, and then variants are applied such as size, colour, etc. That’s fine until you try to apply different features such as whether VAT is to be applied or not. At best everything then becomes a fudge. In an Ubercart store you might have 300 products and thousands of variants.

In a physical store a blue shirt, size 32 is a physical product on its own on a shelf. Its price will depend on a number of factors, including whether it is taxed or not. Therefore in a Drupal Commerce store every variant is a product that results in thousands of products that are then grouped as they would be in a physical store.

The move has been difficult because we have developed a number of stores on Ubercart and they worked well. By contrast, every time we have tried a Drupal Commerce store we have found it new, clever but immature with a number of significant issues.

We tried WordPress with WooCommerce, but found that it lacked the fundamental flexibility to produce something as complex as a school uniform store. It can only cope with pages that present a few products, whereas we need to produce multiple pages that have a unique set of product and one product might appear on many pages. Both Ubercart and Drupal Commerce can do that.

The crunch has come with the Payment Gateway that we use, SagePay. The two major hacking issues of the last year Heartbleed and Poodle have rendered most secure systems redundant. Heartbleed attacked SSL and Poodle focussed on TSL that replaced SSL. The module that connects Ubercart to SagePay is not be developed to cope with SagePay abandoning SSL on July 31 2015.

On the other hand the Drupal Commerce module connecting to SagePay is alive, being developed and will cope with the new security issues. Many older browsers used by prospective purchasers won’t.

So, we bit the bullet. Two months of intensive development have led to a reworked store that is secure, reasonable to maintain and user friendly. All future stores will be based on Commerce.

You can see it at www.schooluniformsdirect.ie

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