The worst nightmare of any developer

I have worked with Zencart for years, and have done many projects, so I was pretty confident and sometimes over optimistic when I take on ZC projects. This proves to be my leads to a rather “deadly” error I made recently.

There is a very great looking store with nice design and tons of features (ajax and all, very very nice) built on Zencart, I will not name the store here for many reasons. The owner contacted us a few weeks ago because the site has compatibility with certain browsers (in short, it doesn’t work on most versions of IE, and has inconsistent display on various major browsers). “This is an easy fix, we have done this many times”, I thought, so I gave a very optimistic estimation.

A few weeks from then, and here I’m still working on this site. The person (or rather, a group of people) who coded this site did not give a care about coding standard, browser compatibility, performance, or anything at all. When I first opened the files, I was welcomed into this dark place, where html, php, javascript all live “happily” together in one place, nested together like spaghetti. Once I fixed an issue, another one popped up and on and on…. In the end, it was decided that fixing thing is more time/cost consuming that re-coding them, so now we are still trying to rewrite almost all the pieces of code for the site.

The moral of the story:

  1. For me, from now on I will NEVER EVER try to be an overly optimistic estimator anymore, I learned my lesson.
  2. For you, from now on please check the work of the devs carefully before you approve it. A nice looking apple can be rotten inside. Do you buy a car just because it looks pretty, and don’t give a care about the quality of the engine inside it? If you don’t why do you do that when you have your site developed? Check the code yourself, if you don’t know much about coding ask your friends or a 3rd party company. Or, go with a reputable company that will stand behind its works.

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Lethaldiesel – our latest zencart project with all the bells and whistles

We have finally finished a whole new look for Lethaldiesel, this is the second Zencart Customization project we have done for Jonas at LethalPerformance. Be patient while we are working on the new design of our home page (if you haven’t seen it yet, you should check it out, much cleaner and more elegant design) and we will share all the cool new features and smart conversion tricks we used on this latest project. In the mean time, you can pay LethalDiesel a visit and enjoy the new “evil” look it sports!

Best wishes to Jonas and his business!

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Our latest project – Gift Card Store

Our latest project was to build a store using Zencart where customers can buy GiftCards for local stores, and they will be able to print those GiftCards and redeem at those stores.
The features we delivered:
1. A random 16 digit key automatically generated for each GC purchased.
2. The card is available for use only after the payment is made (if payment is made by check/money order then the card is not available until the check/money order is cashed in).
3. The 16 digit key will be printed on the GiftCard of the specific store, which customer can then print out for use.
4. Customers can track the GiftCards they have purchased so far, as well as the status of each card.
5. Local store owners can track the use of the GiftCard, they can also mark the cards as “redeemed” when the customer uses it.

All of this was done without modifying Zencart core code, thus allowing the store owner to easily upgrade in the future. This also demonstrate the capability and flexibility of Zencart to do things you never think it can do.

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