osCommerce 2.3 to be tableless (well almost)

By | October 13, 2010

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.

Category: RC3

33 thoughts on “osCommerce 2.3 to be tableless (well almost)

  1. Billy Kellum

    Yes, the tableless approach is a breath of fresh air for the v2 series.
    …Notice that I was able to say the same thing without mentioning STS…oops…just mentioned it. I guess the mention can’t be helped 🙂

  2. jared

    I’ve never downloaded from Git before, but it looks like there are some good instructions here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/110205/want-to-download-a-git-repository-what-do-i-need-windows-machine that you should be able to use to download http://github.com/osCommerce/oscommerce2.git .

    Harald also committed “Integrate the 960 Grid System CSS framework into the core template
    Replace contentHeading CSS definition with h2” to many of the top-level files about 2 hours ago. Looks very promising.

    My guess is that admin files are next — they haven’t gotten the CSS conversion yet.


  3. Gary Post author

    The move to tableless = excellent. Allows designers to create lovely looking sites, see csszengarden for examples. The addition of 960 grid is a poor move, this now limits people in what they can and cannot achieve.

    2 steps forward, 1 step back. Why is it always that way with osc 🙁

  4. Gary Post author

    I must admit, very limited experience and from what I recall, I hated it. I’ve spent a couple of hours playing and I’m coming around to the idea of 960, but would have wished it was not forced on me.

    The good thing is that I forked before this commit was made, so I’m able to design my sites my way, rather than the grid way. Nice tool you found though, I might have to spend some more time playing with that and see what I can come up with.

    What’s your feelings about contributions having to be updated from tr/td to div’s – obviously a good thing, but will developers want to spend the time? I know I won’t be, gratis that is.

  5. will langford

    CSS frameworks are a good thing, they take some time to get used to but this will really speed up the process of theming a store. It’s easy to go grab the source from any revision on Github, I need to go update my library of various versions as it is. There is a good amount of info on 960.gs that’s where I got that tool. I would like to see Blueprint used instead as it has some great form style, as well as alerts and such that look a lot nicer then the old 2.x alerts.

    For contributions, if someone wants it enough they will update it. I don’t use that many on the front end, I just make my own. In most cases I’d have to rebuild what is out there. I have quite a few code snippits I will release at some point, but a lot of them are backend code to speed up the application not so much on the front end. But I feel you for not being as gratis. I can see this being good, there is a lot of older junk out there. The addons that are a true value to the community someone will setup and do them if the author doesn’t.

  6. Henri

    I think these changes are necessary and will make everyone’s life so much easier, switching to another framework for the css should be pretty easy, personally I hated 960 at the start but after making some pretty good looking sites using it I now try and use it for as many sites as I can

  7. George

    Yes, this will pretty much eliminate the need for OSC to CSS. I have spent the day looking at this, and I really like it. First and foremost it’s 2.3 and not 2.2a (OSc to CSS is an add on for 2.2a). Plus you are going to have the OSCommerce community developing for it .

    Gary, you mention it will limit what people can do, but you should look at what Harold and team have done with this. For example, the content, or center section, will expand. This means you can widen or eliminate the left or right columns, making the normally rigid 960gs format a bit more ‘fluid’. You noticed it really cut down on the code, well, it really cuts down on the time it takes to develop a site.

    Blueprint: a more powerful grid system, but the 960 grid just seems more intuitive and besides does everything I could think of anyway. (which may or may not be saying much!)

  8. Sammy Sumer

    I wish Hpdl would choose YUI Grids over 960 grids.

    I mean the new YUI 3.0 grid. It is amazing and very easy to use.

    Why YUI 3.0 (http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/3/cssgrids/)

    Because it doesn’t use floats for layout. It uses inline-block property to layout columns. As a result your columns can be any sizes. You don’t have to rely on preset widths.

    Please have a look at it. It simply blows any other grid system out of water.

  9. Gary Post author

    George – addition of 960 did nothing to cut down the codebase. You are not seeing the bigger picture – all good designers know that the addition of any such grid system limits design capabilities. They are simply not needed by *good* designers.

    Having said that, I can see that a grid system is a decent addition for shop owners, not for those who design shops for a living.

    Sammy – I’m not a fan of any such system. Not needed for designers, maybe for shop owners. I wonder how many shop owners design their own shops? Any ideas? (By design I mean move away from the “osc” look completely).

  10. George

    To each his own, I guess. In any case, there are some critical features for me, anyway 2.3 lacks, such as the authorizenet payment gateway, so I am just going to update. It does have the SEO page titles in the admin, which I struggled with. Have you looked at that feature?

    Also, looking in Github, I cannot figure out how to tease out the security updates for 2.3? Any suggestions?

  11. Richard

    My question is why is this being done?? I though 2.3 was now in pre-release mode, not alpha build. This is a major change from what I can see. That means more bugs,etc being introduced. Does not make any sense to me, unless I am reading it wrong.

  12. Gary Post author

    It’s a good question. Really 2.3 should have been the conclusion of the 2.2 series (tables based for compatibility with everything). Then 3 to start the xhtml series. That would have made more sense, I think. B ut it is good to see the end of tables based layout.

  13. Mark

    I have been having a play with the jQuery UI and no matter what theme I change it to the corners are not rounded but squared. When I select the theme I get the css but no images is that correct?

    Any ideas on what I am missing?

  14. Gary Post author

    Mark – check the look of the buttons in a browser other than IE.

  15. Mark

    oh I thought it would round off the box corners as well urgh.

    Can this be done or are we stuck with the square ones?

  16. Gary Post author

    Hi Mark – if rounded buttons are ultra important in IE, then I guess you could wrangle it using a conditional statement and using the jquery buttons if its not IE and normal buttons if it is IE. Probably not worth the effort though.

  17. Gary Post author


    “In any case, there are some critical features for me, anyway 2.3 lacks, such as the authorizenet payment gateway”

    2.3 has both aim and sim authorizenet modules as standard.

  18. Richard

    Following my previous comment. While I appreciate it is all HPDL project which he gives for free. I just do not follow his working style. He publishes a blog entry saying which to be expected in the final release and then goes and completely rip to to pieces and does major alterations. It may be cool not to have tables (however in my view CSS is just a nightmare dealing with all the different browsers) but you definately do not do this in a stable release. It means that 2.3 probably is going to ages to release. More bug fixes will be needed and presumably there will be no documentation on this change.

    I may need correcting on this but I would also assume quite a few contributions are now not going to function and will need reworking??

    And what now for version 3? There are forums for this version and people have practically been encourage to use this version, despite it being an alpha. I would assume this is not going to see the light of day until 2012. (May be Oscommerce V3 is going to try and rival Duke Nukem forever)

    Well thats my rant/ramble for today. At least on the bright side it will mean more work for you Gary!

  19. Gary Post author


    I would say that most contributions will still work with some extra effort in installation.

    v3 is not suitable for commercial use yet, any person advising to use v3 for commercial use is plainly misguided.

    I hope that the release of 2.3 is imminent (hopefully by the end of October), which I then hope will be abandoned to the community. Leaving HPDL, Mark etc to work on 3 exclusively. Which will speed up release of 3.

    I’d guesstimate that 3 will be released as a ready to use script by October of 2011.

    I agree with you about the lack of foresight on the part of HPDL. What should have happened is HPDL getting -good- feedback from a number of developers and shop owners, then planning out a road of coding with —achievable— release dates. Really, for 2.2 to still be the latest stable release (after 10 years coding) is not on and is the exact reason why so many other carts now exist.

    Always a silver lining – those of us who “do” osCommerce as our day job will be very happy to see these major changes happen. 1000s of contributions to update, 1000s of templates to update etc etc… 😉

  20. enigma1

    I had a look at the latest 2.3 on github and on the demo site. Apart of the 960 system which I agree with what was said basically not forcing ready CSS systems to users, another bad thing is the cart only works with js enabled.

    That’s a bad idea especially when jQuery is used – a framework designed specifically to be transparent to HTML. I see jscripts mangled with buttons instead of using jQuery.

  21. Gary Post author

    Indeed so – I just raised the “js off” as a bug. Though the buttons do look nice, there’s no need for them.

  22. Paul


    Might sound like a silly question but how can I tell once the conversion from tables has been complete as this is when I want to grab the files? If it’s been uploaded would that mean it has been completely done?

    Or for a live site should I really wait until 2.3 is totaly finished which I fuess no-one has a timescale for?



  23. Gary Post author

    Paul – the conversion is pretty much complete as it stands now. There are still tables in there, and some of them are not needed, but I think these will most likely stay in (an example is the create_account.php page where the form is in a table).

    What I would do, is take it now, make my site. But keep an eye on github commit rss feed and make sure to update my own site with any new commits as they come out.

    2.3 needs to be released soon, but it seems to me that there is some resistance to doing so on HPDLs part. That’s only my opinion though.

  24. Paul

    So the recent commit list, is that showing changes that have been completed or are planned and not yet complete?

  25. Gary Post author

    Mate, if you see an entry in the commit list, it’s existing in the download. Obviously at the date you download, you should note the latest commit so that you know any future commits and can act on them if you feel it’s appropriate.

  26. Gary Post author

    By the way, the 960 grid system is CRAP – there are some fanboi’s in the osCommerce forum but it’s bloody dire!

  27. Richard

    Had not had chance to post a reply until now, however some else I spoke to thought that the 960 grid was not very suitable. Unfortunately I do not have enough understanding to offer a view on it. Care to view what you think are its major failings?

    As I thought some bug fixes already have gone in already which is not unexpected for such a massive change. Anyway we shall see what happens when 2.3 is eventually released. Me thinks it is going to be a mess. All this 360 should be pulled back out and then released as 2.4. Cannot see any point in putting a live shop out on the current code as nobody knows what is going to be changed next and if it is significant again any work done on modifying a shop on the current git code will have to be done all over again. Still feel HPDL will have to put out a 2.31 etc.

    On to Version 3. I realise nobody should be using it, however the way the forums are set up and actively looking for contributions, it gives the appearance to be almost ready. It is in fact still an alpha. I mean how can you have a contribution forum??? You cannot write a contribution for something in alpha. It is a moving target and a complete waste of effort. HPDL has just broken dozens of contributions for the stable release so who knows what he has plans for development version. I wonder if he is going to scrap the current version 3 altogether and just continue to develop the 2.3 code line into a new version 3.

  28. Gary Post author

    960 limits a good designer. It might help some people who hav e to be held by the hand to come up with a layout.

    osCommerce is full of logistical issues, it needs to get 2.3 out asap and then concentrate on 3 (whatever 3 might be). HPDL simply needs to say “enough is enough, here’s 2.3, do what you want with it”, and simply abandon it to the community.

    My own github repo does not have 960 in it. I’m going to try to find the time to update it to add in all the other stuff that has been added since 960.

  29. Jamesalex

    I have noticed a few bad things on the commits of Harald, they are planning to use CSS3 (webkit) this is a huge mistake, CSS3 still in-like-a-beta webdesigners around the world dont make too much usage of CSS3 and HTML5 because many customers are requesting sites friendly with IE6+ , CSS3 is a IE6 enemy. So you shop will look like a disaster when a IE6 buyer visit you. heres https://github.com/osCommerce/oscommerce2/commit/3c8f132905794b4e445f99c3c6ff7b9fe61c8873

    WordPress is advancing more and more, one day maybe they will add a shop module to the core who knows… I think Harald needs some advice on how to monetize his project without charging the downloaders. I mean something like WordPress VIP they sell special host for wordpress users. Harald is loosing a big change here, he need a good advice someone who can help him investing more on his project and launching more tools.

    Its going to be sad that thousands of Contributions will be unavailable for the so-called 3.0 version…… well this happen to wordpress and community plugins aswell.

    WordPress is gaining more fame each year and Oscommerce should become wordpress little brother but Harald is busy with other stuff than be working on oscommerce? CMON HARALD!

    you have out there plenty capital investment companies ready to give you money to make a oscommerce a better option to store owners!!!

    we are using oscommerce a few years ago for some of our clientele, and I can tell you something as a webdesigner that Oscommerce 2.2 template system is quite a nightmare.

    But I cant work without oscommerce its our favorite tool for online shops.

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