eCommerce software can be complex technology to build and manage. As the internet has rapidly become the de-facto standard for buying and selling goods, business requirements of eCommerce systems are becoming increasingly more varied and intricate.
The majority of small to medium sized businesses often choose to rely on an open source solution called Magento, which whilst fully featured, is also a complex piece of software. It is not an uncommon situation for a business to require the extension of Magento, which depending on the requirements can be an expensive and time consuming endeavour.
Magento 1.x is also beginning to show its age. To run a Magento website can require large amounts of caching even on smaller websites and for many, the codebase leaves a lot to be desired. Luckily for the PHP community there are a few newcomers to the eCommerce space who are hoping to improve upon what Magento started in 2007.
Sylius is likely the most well known competitor to Magento, it has been built on the flexible and robust Symfony2 framework. Sylius has an extensive automated test suite fit for a project being developed in 2015, which should ensure that your eCommerce store is secure, bug free and has fewer regressions between upgrades.
Almost everything in Sylius is a module as the system was built to be extended. Combined with excellent documentation this should make creating themes and plugins for a Sylius developer a breeze.
For the non developers Sylius provides a relatively easy to understand management dashboard and the project has garnered lots of support and interest from the PHP community.
A slightly lesser known open source eCommerce project is Thelia. Similar to Sylius it is based on Symfony2 but takes a different approach to testing and user interface design.
The documentation should be enough to get you started building a theme or plugin and there is a community forum for any other problems you may encounter. It has a simple and easy to understand management dashboard which should be familiar to those who have used Magento in the past.
Mothership is quite possibly the most interesting eCommerce solution on our list, it was announced to the open source community a few months ago and is focused on creating a fully featured, but easy to install and maintain eCommerce platform.
It is based on Symfony2 components just like Thelia and Sylius but unfortunately lacks much if any documentation due to its early stage in development. Mothership also comes bundled with a Point of Sale system which could be of interest to shops who also have a physical presence.
Do you have a preferred eCommerce platform that we haven't listed above? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on social media by using #ALJTMedia!