Perl e-commerce?

Mallory van Achterberg stommepoes at
Thu Sep 15 13:08:19 BST 2011

On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 12:36:23PM +0100, Peter Edwards wrote:
> Imagine a graphic designer who designs sites for customers and can cope with
> FTPing some PHP files to a server and hacking a bit on the code - but not
> much more.
> Probably doesn't know how to use ssh or Unix shell commands.

Graphic designers are not front-end (nor back-end) web developers. They
should only be tweaking skins and themes, and they don't need to know
ssh for that.
Wanna-be's who've gotten their hands on a copy of dreambeaver are not
the folks I'm talking about.

> That's why PHP is used, the barrier to entry is low enough for them to be
> able to do a site on their own, and I would guess the majority of small
> e-commerce sites are written by such people.
Magento isn't limited to small mom and pop shops. It's like the blob:
getting larger with every customer. Currently I know someone who has
decided to focus on Magento work, even though he's no fan of it or PHP.
The amount of work it takes to get that thing off the ground is non-
trivial, and you can get paid a lot of money even for just being able
to fix "front-end" stuff. I've been told by the guy for whom I do a bit
of Magento front-end debugging that I could earn nicely just by hanging
around their (Magento) forums. Yuck, but shows it's popular.

> Another case to imagine is you do a shop for your client and then suddenly
> they want to change to a different payment provider. Or start offering some
> complicated coupon and rebate scheme for good customers. An existing large
> and popular cart product probably has a plugin they pick up off the web and
> stick on to do it with little or no coding. No coding == no cost of testing.
> They charge the customer £200 and it's straight profit. If you had to spend
> half a day hacking on Perl code to do it, it's cost you more money and
> you'll have an irate client when their customers start hitting the bugs
> (which will inevitably be there to start with).

Discounts for customers, multiple payment systems, rebate schemes?
Frankly, these should be default in anything that wants to call itself
cart software, but that's just me. The programmer dealing with it
should be capable, and don't think people don't have to play around
with PHP to get these carts to change stuff, but I don't see the 
automatic benefit of having only the shell of a system that constantly
needs a lot of hacking just to have what many merchants would consider
basic, necessary functionality. Why constantly rewrite things.

**in general, so not a specific reply to anyone**

I want to know: why, when I go to YAPCs, I hear people talk about
marketing and "Perl echo chamber" when it looks like few people are
interested in making stuff that people want? It doesn't have to be
moronic, or insecure. I suppose ideally it wouldn't need half of CPAN

-where are the Worpresses, the Drupals, the Joomla!s? (WP might be
easy, Joomla! might be complete garbage, but Drupal is neither easy
nor trivial... and yet Dave's blog with MT can't find someone who can
give us links to previous blogs??) 

-where are the Magentos, the ZendCarts, the OsCommerces?

Sometimes I think the push for marketing is misguided. You can't market
what you don't have. Not everyone choosing a certain blogging platform,
a certain CMS, a certain cart software is doing it because they want
the sleaziest way out (though free helps).
I don't think there's any reason to write that area off, either. Not
all PHP developers are morons who can't write in other languages. They
are writing the language that earns them clients, the language that
works with 1and1 or GoDaddy or whatever.

I also think it's unrealistic to think everyone should pay top-dollar
just to have a dedicated server or VPS. Why not have some of this
marketing fervour directed at getting popular hosting companies
to work better with non-PHP languages? Even when they have Perl on
board, it sounds like it's often outdated. 

I'm going to check out Denny's ShinyCMS though, and I'm eager to see
what James comes up with. 

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I was hoping I'd missed something.


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