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Spree Commerce vs. Magento

Posted on June 04, 2015 by Kurt Prosser

About the Author

Kurt Prosser works with Easton Digital. Easton Digital is a full service ecommerce agency that helps small and medium-sized merchants create and grow their ecommerce businesses. Our team of marketers, developers, and designers offer PPC, SEO, and development and design services. We work with merchants in Columbus, Ohio and throughout the U.S.

The most important decision that an online retailer has to make when starting out is choosing the online shopping platform that’s going to serve as the base of their ecommerce store. The shopping platform you choose not only influences the layout and look of an ecommerce store, but it’s also used for handling the various backend functions in the website. Some of the important functions that the shopping platform should handle include management of inventory, delivery tracking and discount management.

Essentially, the platform manages all the operations of your store. Thus, choosing the right one is important. This article highlights a few of the differences between Magento and Spree Commerce.

Magento is an open source platform owned by eBay. It was founded in 2008 and acquired by eBay in 2011. Magento is built on the Zend Framework, which is an open source, object-oriented web application framework implemented in PHP 5. Spree Commerce is an open source platform built on Ruby on Rails. It was created by Sean Schofield in 2007 and has since been further developed with the help of over 600 contributors.

Magento is the most popular ecommerce platform online. Out of the box, it’s extremely powerful and filled with numerous features. Furthermore, Magento has a lot of extensions that can quickly add features and/or connect to other applications. However, Magento does have a reputation with some of being overly complicated, bloated, and a resource hog.

Spree Commerce is regarded as the new alternative to Magento. Like Magento, it’s free and open sourced. Spree is built using Ruby on Rails, which has earned a great reputation for producing fast, light, and elegant sites. In fact, many say that operations in Spree take 1/10th the code as Magento.

Spree Commerce has a robust community of contributors that work to constantly improve and enhance Spree. According to a recent Spree Commerce review, the amount of developers for this platform is rapidly increasing, and the contributors are making some innovative changes, while still keeping Spree responsive and light.

While there are many extensions available on Github, you’ll likely need to budget to have custom extensions built. Fortunately, the Spree team has created Wombat, "The Operating System for Ecommerce.” Wombat helps storefronts avoid the pain of customizing by connecting your Spree storefront (and any other ecommerce storefront) to any service, such as QuickBooks, ShipStation, and MailChimp, without any custom coding on their behalf.

If you happened to try Spree before reading this article, the first thing you’ll be blown away by is its admin panel. The Spree admin panel is one of the most well-designed, elegant admin panels out there. It’s extremely lean and efficient, but you’ll have to be prepared to load features you’ll need, like a CMS.

Magento and Spree Commerce are similar in many ways. Both are open-sourced, powerful, and fully customizable ecommerce platforms. The differences between the two platforms stem from PHP vs. Ruby on Rails and the collections of extensions, tools and themes. If you have a set budget, Magento may be the correct platform for you. If you’re seeking a leaner, faster, and more elegant platform, then Spree Commerce may be the correct platform for you.

To view this post in its original format, visit the blog of Easton Digital.

Spree Commerce: the Best Bet in Ecommerce

Posted on June 03, 2015 by 2beDigital

About the Author

2beDigital is a digital marketing agency based in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia and Barcelona. 2bedigital was formed by a multidisciplinary team whose principles of trust and transparency power their work.

Spree Commerce: The Best Bet for 2beDigital

Adaptability is is key to any ecommerce company hoping to experience growth. Your role as an agency is to not only accept industrial changes, but make strategic decisions to stay ahead of them. This ensures your clients are getting the latest and greatest technological enhancements in ecommerce.

At 2beDigital, we’re convinced that we will see more and more platforms emerging with non-PHP platforms, but rather with Ruby on Rails, the framework that Spree Commerce is built on.

Why PHP Dominates Ecommerce Now

PHP is still the dominant language in ecommerce. This is because open source PHP is an easy language to learn right off the bat. The communities that adopted early to WordPress, Drupal, or Joomia created a comfort level for many new storefronts to adopt to PHP, since many developers were already familiar with this language.

Why PHP is Not the Future of Ecommerce

PHP is not the most efficient language for ecommerce programming. In fact, PHP requires up to 10 times more code to achieve the same functionality as Ruby on Rails. With increasing speed, usability and performance, the operating costs required to ensure optimal performance are much lower for non-PHP technologies.

While the community of platforms using PHP is so large that it will never completely go away, we believe that, little by little, PHP’s popularity will be replaced by Ruby on Rails and other languages.

Why is Ruby on Rails a Great Solution Now?

Ruby way always an option, but the concerns were in regard to the market share of available talent. Because developer demand always exceeded the existence of quality devs, development costs used to be higher. With Ruby coming in higher demand, more and more developers are becoming proficient in the language, thus bringing the development costs down.

Why Spree Commerce?

At 2beDigital, we seek platforms that meet market requirements, as described by our clients. We seek solutions with speed, ease of use, stability, scalability and third-party integrations. We found that Spree stands out in all these areas.

To view this post in its original format, visit the blog of 2beDigital.

Using Deface with Spree Commerce

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Marcin Dobrowolski

About The Author

Marcin is a developer at netguru. Before enrolling to Poznań University of Technology Marcin spent way too much time in front of a computer playing games. Finally he has figured out that the love for a shining screen can be channeled into something way more productive. Easily hyped about every new piece of technology on the market. Addicted to coffee, music in all forms, sports and computer games. Loves warmth, hates cold; the only good thing about winter in his opinion is the lack of bugs, mainly mosquitos.

Today I Learned: Deface Selectors Work on ERB Code, not HTML

Are you looking for quick solutions to your problems with code? Or want to find clever tricks you can read about in a few minutes? You’re in the right place! This is the beginning of the new post cycle: Today I Learned. In these posts, Spree Commerce Certified Partner netguru will present quick tips from its developers that they came across during their work day. The first tip comes from Marcin and concerns Deface—the gem used in the Spree ecommerce platform.

What Exactly Does Deface Do?

When working with Spree, you can use a gem called Deface which lets the developers inject code into a Spree view without overwriting the whole file. It works with HTML (ERB, Haml and Slim). In short, you select whether it should insert your piece before/after an element, replace it/remove it altogether, etc. Finding the right element to replace is easy because Deface uses Nokogiri’s implementation of CSS selectors.

The Problem with Deface

Our client asked us to replace mailto: links. Instead, we were supposed to put an email in a certain table and link them to a user’s profile. Take a quick look at this ERB code:

Unfortunately, the td had no class, so we needed a pseudo-selector to find it. Here is the selector that I thought would work:

However, for some reason the selector couldn’t find the necessary element. Here is what Deface had to say about it:

Why Didn’t it Work?

After a lot of frustration, trying different selectors, theories that Deface doesn’t find ‘a’ elements because of a bug, it turns out that Deface uses selectors on ERB files, not compiled HTML files. Moreover, you can write Deface overrides in Haml/Slim, but it will still:

  • Convert them to Erb
  • Convert Erb blocks into HTML-ish tags…
  • Do all the overrides there

So, since we want to replace an ERB block, our selector will have to contain erb[loud] instead of ‘a’.

The Final Solution

The trick that worked was to use a selector directly on the erb code:

As you can see, instead of matching an anchor element, my override matches an erb[loud] tag that is generated by Deface in an intermediate step, before printing the final HTML.

So, here’s the trick—hope you’ll find it useful! If you have any other tips and tricks for Spree, feel free to share them in comments—or link to your GitHub page.

In the next episode of Today I Learned you’ll find out how to render templates to strings in EmberJS, a tip brought to you by netguru developer Kuba. To view this post in its original format, visit the blog of netguru.

Yuve Chooses Spree 3.0

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Michal Faber

About The Author

Michal is a co-founder & COO of Spark Solutions, a Ruby on Rails & Spree Commerce software house that offers online store or marketplace development, integration, customization, migration, as well as high quality Ruby on Rails application & website development services for heavy loads and demanding users. Spark Solutions’ founders are both experienced web entrepreneurs who often assist their clients in a CTO role.

Yuve chooses Spree Commerce 3.0 to help busy people maintain a complete diet without compromising on time

New York City-based Yuve, Inc. strongly believes that a combination of complete nutrition, exercise, positive thinking and relaxation makes everyone feel and look younger. But there’s so much to do and so little time! That’s why the Yuve founders’ goal is to help people be healthier and more confident by providing them with the best tasting vegan nutritional shake, as well as with inspiring and informative content like fitness and psychology advice or health and beauty tips.

Yuve decided to choose Spree Commerce 3.0 as a unified ecommerce solution, seamlessly integrated with WordPress as a blogging platform, for a balanced mix of storefront and content marketing ingredients. The new website was launched in just three weeks, in cooperation with Spark Solutions, Yuve’s Spree Commerce & Ruby on Rails developers.

The Story of Yuve and Spree Commerce

The founding story of Yuve is an inspiring tale of determined search for the best solution to one’s life challenges. Lola Sherunkova, Yuve co-founder, left her life as a Russian ballet dancer and immigrated to the United States to pursue the American Dream.

After beginning work in New York City, she realized that leaving the active lifestyle of her former dance life had left her deprived of the fitness level, energy and nutritional motivations she once enjoyed. She searched high and low for the right solution, eventually reaching out to a renowned health expert to help her come up with her own nutritional formulas. With that, Yuve was born.

The story behind Yuve’s search for a technology platform to run its online retail business is a similar tale. Not willing to accept half-measures and unclean formulas, the Yuve team researched available solutions and decided to go with the open-source Spree Commerce 3.0 storefront and WordPress blogging platform.

“Choosing Spree Commerce 3.0 allowed us to develop a unified ecommerce platform in place of our old solution and we accomplished that in just three weeks. We launched our online store with a custom checkout flow for better user experience and responsive web design implementation for easy mobile shopping,” explained Sam Basilio, Yuve’s co-founder.

Benefits highlighted by the switch to Spree 3.0 include the ability to offer promotions to customers—such as free shipping for U.S. clients and student discounts— and were deployed quickly by Spark Solutions.

Spree Commerce and Wordpress Integration

Why did Yuve decide to integrate WordPress with Spree Commerce 3.0, using the same domain getyuve.com? Because it greatly supports Google positioning efforts and enables the Yuve team to share their know-how with wider audiences.

Edutainment and content marketing are very important to Yuve’s business. Nowadays, maintaining a high quality diet is a never-ending challenge. With the overwhelming amount of information regarding ingredients, sourcing, processing and delivery, making the “right” decision can often be incredibly confusing.

Countless products are disguised as “healthy,” but in reality we’re simply sabotaging our health. Lack of time due to long working hours often leaves us without breakfasts or lunches, causing bad snacking habits or chronic overeating. Spark Solutions and Yuve’s joint efforts help busy people around the world make better dietary choices.

GetYuve.com Integrations & FullStack

But there’s more to Yuve’s online retail website then meets the eye. Spark Solutions performed several useful integrations with such cloud services as:

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Braintree credit card payments
  • Mailchimp for building a mailing list and building customer loyalty for repeat business
  • Sendgrid for email transaction notifications
  • Amazon S3 for all file assets storage and trusted, scalable, secure backups
  • Amazon CloudFront content delivery network for faster page load all over the U.S. and the rest of the globe

Technology stack used by Yuve website:

  • Ruby on Rails with HTTP app caching & memcached for shorter page load times
  • Spree Commerce 3.0—one of the first implementations of the latest version
  • Twitter Bootstrap 3.3 for mobile-ready, easy-to-modify layout
  • ReactJS—improved checkout components such as unified login & signup form for better user experience
  • Haml, Sass, CoffeeScript for front-end components
  • PostgreSQL, Redis—back-end engine
  • Heroku—cloud hosting optimized for increasing traffic loads

Conclusions

Yuve is a natural solution for busy people to maintain a complete diet without compromising time. It can substitute a meal, serve as a snack, or be an addition to your favorite smoothie. You can mix it with water, juice, milk of your choice, or coconut water. This simple process does not require heating or cooking. You can easily appease your appetite in minutes.

Spree Commerce 3.0 is Yuve for ecommerce solutions—it enables rapid development and deployment of a mobile-ready, user-friendly online store. It decreases time to market and, hence, increases your ROI. It can substitute your old storefront and meet your growing customization and integration requirements.

You can mix it with PayPal, Braintree, Mailchimp, Sendgrid, Amazon and many other ingredients for a successful ecommerce business. This simple process doesn’t require a lot of time and no developers are harmed due to overcomplicated codebase. You can easily appease your appetite for ecommerce growth in weeks.

You can get your Yuve shakes at GetYuve.com. You can get expert Spree Commerce advice at SparkSolutions.co. To view this blog in its original format, visit the the blog of Spark Solutions.