A 5 Minute Look at OpenCart 2.0

A 5 Minute Look at OpenCart 2.0

The long awaited OpenCart 2.0 is getting close to being ready, so we decided to take a quick look at it today. While it's not officially out yet, you can download the archive from GitHub already. We took the version for a quick test.

The OpenCart 2.0 installer has been given a facelift compared to that of OpenCart 1.x. Apart from this, it is still the same 4-step installation process. This includes accepting the license agreement, setting permissions, configuring database access and finishing up. You still have to rename the config-dist files manually before proceeding with the installation, too.

OpenCart 2.0 Installer

The administration area of OpenCart 2.0 has received a major revamp compared to the one in 1.x. In addition to the new modern-looking style, OpenCart's top admin menu has been moved to the left side and only shows top level icons. While this may feel a little uncomfortable at first, it actually does look nice and saves the main container screen space. Accessing submenus is sometimes tricky, though – the dropdowns tend to disappear when trying to navigate to them.

OpenCart 2.0 Dashboard

The main admin dashboard shows the same information as in OpenCart 1.x. The big colorful buttons could be at least a few times smaller, though.

Data tables and lists have received a new styling as well and actually look nice. The pagination, sorting and filtering mechanisms don't seem to have changed though – page reloads and URL parameters are still there with no Ajax in sight.

OpenCart 2.0 Administration Products

Creating and modifying products doesn't look much different from the one in OpenCart 1.x. Image uploader looks nice and clean compared to the previous one, but still doesn't support multiple files uploads at once. Duh.

OpenCart 2.0 Image Uploader

There are a few admin interfaces in OpenCart 2.0 that don't exist in OpenCart 1.x. First, there is now an extension installer available under Extensions > Installer that allows to upload the extension files directly without having to use FTP or SSH. Nice feature, although we couldn't make it work – for some reason neither zip nor xml files would be accepted. May have something to do with a setting of some kind, though.

Unlike in OpenCart 1.x, the Extensions section now contains a Modifications page. Apparently, the practice of modifying OpenCart core files using vQmod is now becoming official. Even though the official modification system is called OCMOD, its documentation says OCMOD is simply a stripped version of vQmod. Whether it's meant to replace vQmod and if it's compatible with vQmod modifications – we'll see.

Another new section in OpenCart 2.0 admin is Marketing. In addition to coupons and affiliates, it allows to define custom campaign codes to track sales and orders for different marketing campaigns.

Finally, there is an area called Uploads, that presumably lists all files uploaded through the admin area. There is no option to upload anything through this interface and the only other possibility apart from listing files is to delete them.

The front store in OpenCart 2.x has received a major revamp as well. The new theme, while not being something exceptional, looks quite modern in contrast to the previous one. Also, it is built on a responsive layout which is something we've been long expecting.

OpenCart 2.0 Store Front

Apart from the new look, the rest of functionality doesn't seem to have received any major changes. This will most likely mean many of the extensions for OpenCart 1.x will work with 2.x without requiring a complete rewrite. However, if you're running a customized OpenCart store with dozens of extensions, you may want to give 2.x a try now before it's out to be ready for the transition.

Have you tried OpenCart 2.x yet? If so, what do you think of it?

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Martin Boss

Martin is the founder of MultiMerch, an ex-OpenCart developer and an e-commerce enthusiast.You can also find him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Quora.