Should I use the BTS for osCommerce

By | May 20, 2009

Stephen asks;

I have a css (almost tableless) design that I would like to use. I am planning to BTS to convert it for osC. Good idea?

I think I can safely say that I am still the only person who has made the same design in BTS (Basic Template System), STS (Simple Template System) and standard osCommerce. I did this to test which was better in terms of use and also forward use by the client…

BTS came second, with STS a poor third. However, since then STS has been re-written and has good support available in the osCommerce forum. BTS has almost zero support.

So, if you are fairly good with osCommerce, I’d say don’t use BTS or STS. Just recode the parts of osCommerce (v2.x series) that need to be recoded…


Use the new v3 version of osCommerce which has it’s own template system built in – it’s still in developmental stages, but each new user helps development to continue at a good pace.

Good luck!

9 thoughts on “Should I use the BTS for osCommerce

  1. jeff cocking

    If you comfortable performing mods and understand basic php you can implement a new design. It will take work, since you have to update 25+ main files. The hardest part of the effort is to find all the places where there are called objects that assume there is a table structure to support it.

    We went through the effort about 6 months ago. It allowed us to have ultimate design flexibility and much cleaner code and simpler code. We never benchmarked our website, but do know that for the number of mods we run and the size of the product catalog, our osCommerce website runs pretty fast.

    My recommendation is to do it. You will be much satisfied with the results. The most important part is the world needs one less basic osCommerce website.

  2. Gary Post author


    “The most important part is the world needs one less basic osCommerce website.”

    That is 100% true!

  3. ABCommerce

    I think BTS could be a good system for osCommerce if it was taken to the next level and someone actually spent the time to separate the logic and the display. As it is currently all they have done is cut the pages into pieces which IMO does nothing to improve standard osCommerce, it just cuts out a lot of your support options.

  4. Gary Post author

    BTS used to be the better template system before STS was updated. STS is now not so great as the coder(s) have over-egged the whole STS system.

    “it just cuts out a lot of your support options”

    Agree 110%

  5. bkellum

    Hello friend,

    I think STS is better now than what it was prior to the version 4 release. It’s faster (one of, if not the biggest drawback to using the older Simple Template System)and it DOES have more options and most of these options are contained within new STS files, so the core osC code is not all mucked up.

    There are no SQL modifications, very few core file changes and the ease of use has been, well, made easy.

    It allows any non-PHP coder to design an osCommerce shop to their heart’s content. This is really what makes STS a useful contribution. A lot of shop owners know HTML, CSS but they do not know any PHP at all. STS opens the world of osCommerce up to them.

    With STS, you instantly have the following functions without adding another contribution:

    – Infobox Templates: Easily create infobox templates that control the header, header link, background, border, content and anything else infobox related.

    – Home Page Template: Place anything you want or remove anything that you want from the first page a customer sees visiting your store.

    – Category Page Templates: Make a single template to be used for all of your category pages and/or make a specific template for a specific category including subcategories.

    – Add category descriptions to specific categories.

    – Product Page Templates: Make a single template to be used for all of your product pages and/or make a specific template for a specific product.

    – Content Templates: STS comes with Product Info Content Templates and gives you the possibility to create your own content templates for any page in your store.

    – Change Themes on the Fly: STS allows you to have as many template folders that you want, each folder can be a different theme to be used for such events as holiday seasons, special sales, etc. This is controlled in the Admin by simply stating which folder you want STS to use. This includes image/button sets, page/infobox templates, stylesheets, etc.

    – Add PHP Code directly in the Template: Since version 4, you can add PHP code inside the HTML template. This brings unlimited functionallity to osCommerce without ever touching any of the Core Code of osC! This is for advanced users and is a whole lot of fun to play around with. I like using this feature for adding different Flash files depending upon what category is being displayed, or poping up a special box to promote another product depending upon the product being viewed.

    – Automatically display New Contribution Mods: STS will automatically “pick up” any new add-ons that you may install that makes changes to the content (stuff in the middle). Simply by adding a content variable ($content$) to your template, STS will display whatever your new contribution has added to your store, such as Product Listing in Columns, etc. Of course, if you are using the Product Info Content feature in STS, you will need to make changes to the sts_inc/product_info.php file that is made to the stock product_info.php file. This is not very difficult to do but does require a basic knowledge of PHP. Keep in mind, if you don’t know PHP, you are not left in the cold here. You simply need to not use a product info content template when using these contribuitons. Otherwise, ask in the forum and someone may help you out. You should also take a peek in the STS Add-on Site as someone may have already crossed this bridge and has uploaded a gift for you.

    – I’m sure I’m missing some of the obvious uses of STS but the above should provide a glimpse of some of the benefits STS gives.

    STS is highly supported as well as offers a separate download site for all STS related add-ons. These add-ons are really tips & tricks from the osCommerce/STS community. Here is the link to STS Add-ons:,4456

    You can download the most recent version of STS here:,1524

    Free STS support can be found here:

    Gary, I hope you don’t mind me posting this info here on your site. Keep up the Great Site and all of the helpful tips!

    Bill Kellum

  6. Ron

    My question is where does OscMax come into play with all of these???
    Is it different??? Rename of these???

    Also Gary if it is the same as OsCommerce will what you have in your ebooks for design work on it….


  7. Gary Post author

    Hi Ron – oscmax is basically oscommerce with a bunch of contributions installed. oscmax uses BTS as it’s default templating system, so none of the design ebooks at would be any good for oscmax.

    I’d say avoid oscmax – it’s full of bloated, unnecessary code – go with oscommerce and add the handful of contributions that you really need…

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