Google Breadcrumb Links for osCommerce

Recently, a reader of clubosc, “Snowbird” brought up an interesting diversion based on one of my previous posts about changing the breadcrumb in osCommerce.

I did not know that Google sometimes shows breadcrumbs as part of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), like so;

The breadcrumb part is the bottom line (in green). Note that the example is a result from Türkiye Google (Turkish Google), but can also be seen on the main google site as well as UK and many other Googles.

How to recreate this in osCommerce?

After some fiddling with code, I found that the simplest way is to use Googles examples as detailed here, the RDFa format is the easiest and involves changes to only 1 file!

Open up /includes/classes/breadcrumb.php and change the trail function as shown below;

Easy as that. I’ve also pasted the function here and if you want you can download the whole new breadcrumb class file here.

The changes really don’t do anything to your design, they only give Google the code it needs to determine that these links are to be used to produce a breadcrumb within your search listings.

Easy as 123. Of course, I give no guarantee that this change will do any good to your search results, please let me know if any of you change your breadcrumb and if Google then picks it up and displays as a breaded list of links in your SERP. Thanks.

Images, breadcrumb, osCommerce

My friend Paul recently asked about how to have images in the usual osCommerce breadcrumb…I answered it as a comment to a very old post in this blog, but thought it deserved it’s own post. So…

Step 1. Make yourself a “home” graphic and an “arrow” graphic, save them into the usual osCommerce images directory. I called mine “home.gif” and “arrow.gif”.

Step 2. Open up /includes/header.php and find this:

[php]$breadcrumb->trail(‘ » ‘);[/php]

Change it to this:

[php]$breadcrumb->trail(tep_image(DIR_WS_IMAGES . ‘arrow.gif’, ”, ”, ”, ‘align=”absmiddle”‘));[/php]

This is telling osCommerce to use the arrow image. The parameter align=”absmiddle” is not great, but does OK for this demonstration. Better would be to add a class and then vertical align the class (I’ll cover that another time). align=”absmiddle” lines up the image with the text.

Save the changes and upload the file.

Step 3. Open up /includes/application_top.php and find this:

[php]$breadcrumb->add(HEADER_TITLE_TOP, HTTP_SERVER);[/php]

Change it to this:

[php]$breadcrumb->add(tep_image(DIR_WS_IMAGES . ‘home.gif’, ”, ”, ”, ‘align=”absmiddle”‘) , HTTP_SERVER);[/php]

Save the changes and upload the file.

Refresh your osCommerce, and you’ll get a breadcrumb that looks something like this;

Mine is ugly in the extreme, but if you take your time in creating nice images, and then play with the stylesheet, you can come up with all sorts of great idea. Here is what Paul made;

Which I think looks great!

What can you come up with for the breadcrumb in your osCommerce site? More ideas.

Hostdime and osCommerce

Good Afternoon,

UPDATE: This email pertains to clients on Shared/Reseller servers who are currently using osCommerce.

We have seen a dramatic increase in attacks against osCommerce installations in recent months. There are several severe unpatched vulnerabilities for osCommerce. There has not been a stable release of osCommerce since January of 2008. The osCommerce project appears to be dead and it is reasonable to assume that the blaring security vulnerabilities in this software will not be patched by its developers. All versions of osCommerce have been confirmed to be vulnerable.

We have created mod_security rules to help mitigate these vulnerabilities for our shared and reseller accounts. This may protect your account for the time being, but these mitigations should not be relied on as a long term solution.

The only long term solution to ensure the safety of your site is to switch to another ecommerce CMS solution. An actively developed CMS ecommerce solution that you may want to consider is Magento:
www.magentocommerce.com

Magento supports similar functionality to osCommerce and is being actively developed and supported by it’s developers. The Magento Community Edition is free to download and is developed through an open source community.

Other solutions include Zencart which you can still install through your Fantastico interface. Zencart contains much of the same functionality of osCommerce, but it is still in active development.

For those absolutely unable to migrate to a different CMS, we recommend that you at least enable cPanel’s folder protection system for your osCommerce admin/ directory. You can access this feature through your cPanel interface at: cPanel ? Security ? “Password Protect Directories”. You can simply select your “admin” directory and specify a username and password. This will protect you from the security bypass vulnerabilities present in the osCommerce software.

Beginning December 1, 2010 we are removing support for installing the osCommerce CMS through Fantastico on all of our shared/reseller servers. This will not affect clients who currently have osCommerce installed.

Thank you very much for your consideration and if you have any other questions and/or concerns, please feel free to let us know.

So then, Hostdime are stopping osCommerce for NEW customers. But allowing existing osCommerce installations to remain. Hmmmm, and this is supposedly about security?

They say that osCommerce is dead. Strange that I am seeing almost daily commits to 2.3 and 3.

They say Magento is being developed through an Open Source Community. Is not osCommerce?

Let’s look at the reality

We all know that osCommerce has it’s problems – and the fact is most of these stem from the lack of released updates from the core team. However, the updates needed to secure osCommerce are released by the community – in any Open Source project it is usually the community who are at the sharp end of development.

For Hostdime to basically dismiss the osCommerce community shows they have a real lack of class.

A challenge to Hostdime

Go and download osCommerce 2.3 and look at all the new features – watch the commits for regular activity. Go to the community and take a look at the handful of committed people who are developing new scripts and giving Technical Support for osCommerce on a daily basis. Will you still say “it’s dead” ?

osCommerce Hot 100 update

Spent some time yesterday updating the Hot 100 list to authorise the sites added over the past few weeks. A total of 40 sites were added to the list of which;

13 were good enough for inclusion
12 were template monster and so not added
10 were osCommerce, but had no attractive features and so not added.
3 were broken
2 had disappeared

I wonder why people don’t read the rules?

1. No Templates
2. osCommerce only
3. Must have an attractive design (changing the default colour scheme is not enough!)

If you added your site prior to yesterday and it is not on the list, you know why!

How to download osCommerce 2.3

It’s not at all straightforward and this is because Github recently changed the way that downloads works.

Step 1:

Go to http://github.com/osCommerce/oscommerce2

Step 2:

Click the grey (blue when you mouseover it) button;

Up pops the download box;

Step 3:

Click the [Download .zip] button on the popup.

Step 4:

Save it on your hard drive

Step 5:

Unzip it, install it, play with it. Let us know what you think of it!

Important Note

The .zip that you download will be named 2.2rc2a.zip or such. Don’t know why this is – but it will be 2.3.

osCommerce 2.3 – hidden modules

Well, not exactly hidden, but not straightforward to understand that there are files that you cannot see via the admin area.

The new look way to install modules!

Take for example the payment modules. Pre 2.3, these were just in the list waiting to be turned on and off. In 2.3 this has changed, so that unused modules are no longer listed. You can only see those which are “live” on your site – in the case of a new install, this is as shown in the screenshot below;

Did you notice the [+ Install Module] button?

Guess what that does if you press it – yep, it brings up the available modules ready for installation;

As you can see, quite a list. Over 20 payment modules ready to be used. Let’s say I want to install the “authorize net AIM” module – select it and click the [+ Install Module] button in the right hand side, as shown above.

Now you will be back where you started, but also have the newly installed module listed;

You can now edit the module;

and insert your details (that you obtained when you signed up to the auth.net service) appropriately.

And that is all it takes to have AIM authorize live on your osCommerce site.

Easy as 123?

osCommerce 2.3 to be tableless (well almost)

Latest commit shows osCommerce 2.3 is going tableless (well almost). This is great if the commit remains in the eventual download.

That is conditions.php – 12 lines of code. Reduced from 2.2 which is triple that.

66 changed files, with thousands of lines of code updated, removed, added.

This commit should absolutely do away with the need for STS (Simple Template System), Niora’s “osc2css” contribution and many more.

Of course,it does mean that developers will need to recode portions of contributions to deal with the new layout, but that’s easy enough.

This change really brings the 2.x family of osCommerce back as a force to be reckoned with in the world of e-commerce. osCom3 (version 3 osCommerce) will still be much better though as that’s a whole new engine, rather than this change which is just a new body…but, it’s a MASSIVE leap forward for osCommerce.

I also noticed that the “download source” button is now gone. So how to download this version from Github? Anyone know LOL.

2.3 and Simple Template System

I just learned that my good friend Bill Kellum is to start work on making the Simple Template System (STS) compatible with 2.3 version of osCommerce.

STS is basically a module script that parses information and displays it based on one (or more) template files. It’s a convoluted and not particularly great way to make a site look nice. Side note; I’ve seen sites with hundreds of STS template files which gave an effect that a couple of well placed “switch” could have achieved. Horrible module that no-one should be using in my opinion.

So, 2.3 and STS…

On the one hand I’m disappointed as STS brings little advantage that 2.3 does not have natively. 2.3 moves towards a slightly better template structure. 2.3 has the ability to grab tags per page. And so on.

On the other hand, I love STS, as it holds back people from learning how osCommerce and PHP work together. The smallest error or needed code change usually means an STS user having to get help from someone like me, and that means they have to pay for expertise.

It’s a conundrum. With no conclusion. Perhaps some of the readers here might like to share their views on STS? Should it make it into 2.3? Why? Why not?

Cool Gallery in osCommerce

A customer of mine needed to have a new system for showing images – after a lot of hunting I found a nice jQuery Gallery system called “GalleryView”.

After some initial troubles with it, I eventually got it installed on the live site, and this is how it appears;

Nice, isn’t it. Well, I think so.

Another Horizontal Menu in osCommerce

I’ve been looking for some more options to create nice looking menu’s in osCommerce using semantically correct “ul” and “li” (with some nested lists) layout.

I recently found a very nice one called Menumatic from Green Gecko Design – it took me a fair while to get working in osCommerce, but the end result is very nice;