Web Software Architecture and Engineering – Life on the Bleeding Edge

AbleCommerce Responds

In my previous post, I asked people if they had any experience with AbleCommerce. Several people responded with largely neutral to negative reviews. I added in the comments that I may contact them to see what they have to say. Well, I did, and they responded.
My comment to AbleCommerce:
“I am trying to gather knowledge about people’s experiences with AbleCommerce for ColdFusion. Can you provide references. Also, my blog generated some comments and I was wondering if AbleCommerce would like to address some of the concerns. http://www.bytestopshere.com/post.cfm/ablecommerce-need-some-insight”
AbleCommerce’s response:
“Hello Sami,

I don’t recognize any of the folks on your blog as having purchased AbleCommerce.  Post to our cfmx forums if you want real opinions.
Honestly even though our CFMX product is without peer in the CFMX community it represents about 2% of our sales and we’ve never recouped our 500k investment in it’s development.  It’s sad considering it was our foundation for our first three versions dating back 14 years, I was the one that wrote versions 1 to 3.  Anyone including myself could program in CFMX, I cannot make heads or tails out of asp.net :), but it’s what everyone wants.

Our 5.5 product still sells but it’s not going to be updated it’s just not worth the effort. Sadly the CFMX community will be left with one man (woman) development efforts for their eCommerce software choices.

Kind Regards,
Mike Randolph
Thoughts? Why don’t we have an industrial strength e-commerce offering written in ColdFusion? Perhaps ColdFusion is the only large web development platform without a set of industrial strength tools, particularly in the field of e-commerce. We know PHP and ASP.NET have them. Tis a sad day to see an email like this, but I’m not surprised either. Maybe we can do something about it.


Comments on: "AbleCommerce Responds" (9)

  1. I got a not-so-glowing review of AbleCommerce myself when I asked about shopping cart software on House of Fusion:

    I guess it comes down to the fact that they’re focusing on their ASP version now.
    If you’re looking for CF ecommerce product, though, it was recommended that I look into SiteDesign (http://www.quilldesign.com/). I haven’t tried it, but it looks promising for their web site. Another one I’ve been sonsidering is CFWebStore (http://www.cfwebstore.com).

  2. Though still in its infancy, it seems some folks are trying to do something about this issue.
    Will it be industrial strength? Will it eventually need some sort of paid support options? Hard to say.

  3. Looks like cfcommerce is still working out basics like what framework to use, how to handle session, etc. Sigh.

  4. As one of the people who commented on your last blog entry, I am not surprised that Mike Randolph says:

    “I don’t recognize any of the folks on your blog as having purchased AbleCommerce.”

    But I am surprised at the following comment:

    “Post to our cfmx forums if you want real opinions.”

    Just because I never purchased it and he doesn’t recognize my name, doesn’t mean my clients didn’t purchase the product, and doesn’t mean that I have no experience with the application, nor does it mean that my opinion is not real.
    Back in 2002, I worked as a sub-contractor on a project to make modifications to skateamerica.com which at that time was using AbleCommerce 3.0. I had to modify some of the AbleCommerce source code to change the way the product gallery pages paginated and displayed products. At the time I remember thinking that the code was a little bit spaghetti-code-ish, and it was harder then it should have been to make such a small change.

    Overall, I think it was a decent product as long as you just needed it to do what it did. I just didn’t think (at that time) it was developed with a lot of thought towards making it easy for other CF developers to come in and customize the functionality of the application.

    It could be different now, perhaps in the newer versions they implemented a more customizable architecture, if so then that’s great. If they just added more functionality to the same code base as version 3.0, then my opinion would probably still be the same.

  5. I spent a fair bit of time with AbleComm back in the day. I can tell you exactly why it did not sell when they upgraded it. The problem, for most, was 2 fold. Firstly the product, prior to rewrite, was in shambles; the code a mess. Application.cfm’s included one another up the chain, templating was implemented half ass at best (not even a proper working preview feature), comments in the code like “I am not sure what this does but stuff break if it is removed.” I will not even get into all the details how half the code looked to been written by a Jr Developer with evaluate(), over used cfoutput, and the serious lack of cfqueryparam strewn throughout the code. Honestly prior to the rewrite the application was indeed crap, a spectacular conglomeration of samples of what NOT to do.

    The second problem, the rewrite. The rewritten AbleCom was LOOOOAAADS better. It was clean very nicely written and easy to follow, for a Java developer. Half, dare I say more than half, of the ColdFusion package had been moved into jar’s, no longer could you customize many of the core parts of AbleComm unless you got Java. So even if the average CFML developer wanted out of the HELL known as AbleComm 3x they had no place to go unless they understood Java. These days our landscape is changing and it is slightly more common to find CFML developers with Java experience, or willingness to get experience, back in 2002 (slight guess on the date) this was not nearly as common.

    For what its worth I loved the new package but I knew it would never fair so well.

  6. Adam,

    That makes lots of sense. I wonder what the reason to move to java was, especially with a .net sister app, it doesnt make sense to me. Maybe one for CF8 with .net components in the back would have made more sense now. Either way, I’m hoping a full fledged app to show up one day, otherwise I have to continue to outsource and work with 3rd parties, and that’s a shame. Maybe someone could purchase the source code to the CF version and upgrade it… who knows!

  7. Hello All,

    “Honestly prior to the rewrite the application was indeed crap, a spectacular conglomeration of samples of what NOT to do.”

    Yes it really was novice stuff, I was the primary author of the versions up to and including 3.0. ColdFusion allowed anyone including myself to do a lot. The last version I had my hands on is nearly a decade old and we’ve got a great team now, so what I did (or shouldn’t of done) really shouldn’t be a reflection on AbleCommerce nearly 10 years later :).

    Thank you for the opportunity to reply.

    Kind Regards,
    Mike Randolph
    AbleCommerce, Founder and CEO

  8. I often read your blog and always find it very interesting. Thought it was about time i let you know…Keep up the great work

  9. Don’t buy AbleCommerce cart. I am using the ASP.NET version though my comment is about support and service. Support is terrible, feels like they just don’t want to bother. Also, they charge “small” $69 fees to change your license to another domain. Borders on fraud. I bought software. I don’t care for their licensing scheme, it’s something they do to protect themselves against piracy. Not my problem, why do I have to pay “small” fees for this?

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