How Commerce affects SimpleCart

One of the most common questions we received after announcing Commerce last week has been how this will affect SimpleCart. That question takes on many forms, from the very direct "what will happen to SimpleCart?" to the read-between-the-lines comments about people worried to start a new shop on SimpleCart.

This is of course a very reasonable reaction and one we anticipated: in my announcement at the MODXpo I dedicated a slide to it and the Commerce page has an FAQ entry about it.

I'd just like to clarify where we are in terms of the whole "SimpleCart vs Commerce" thing and what we expect to happen to both of them over the next couple of years.

The first lines of code for Commerce were written somewhere last year and in January of this year we created the Git repository that would become the basis of Commerce we have today. At that time, Bert Oost was still in charge of SimpleCart and Commerce was born as an alternative with a different focus – one that would be more extendable and be ready for MODX 3. Then on Wednesday June 3rd, Bert announced his decision to stop working on SimpleCart.

At the time, we already knew Commerce was to make its first appearance later in the year. When Bert and I met in-person that weekend, we talked about what Commerce would mean for SimpleCart in the long term. All things considered, he decided that modmore would be the best home for his project and that was then announced on Monday June 8th.

When we do something at modmore, we take the time and put in the effort to do it right. SimpleCart is no exception. That's why it took 8 releases to reach SimpleCart 2.3.0-pl after taking over; we wanted to make sure the release was ready before calling it stable, that we had an adequate understanding of its internals, and that we could provide the support it demanded for SimpleCart users. This investment in SimpleCart is not something we would have done if we were going to throw it away as soon as possible: we're looking at SimpleCart for the long term too.

You may think that all sounds good, but what does it really mean?

It means that for the foreseeable future SimpleCart is not going anywhere. We're going to get started on 2.4 soon, have at least one new Payment Gateway for it coming in the next few months, and will continue to offer support as we have done.

One year after the Commerce 1.0 release we will evaluate where we are with SimpleCart and Commerce. Right now I expect that 1.0 release to be in Q2 2016, which would mean SimpleCart will remain supported until at least Q2 2017. There are many different possible outcomes of that evaluation, one of which is indeed declaring an EOL (End Of Life) date for it like so many people seem to fear. But it may also continue as an open source extra or parts of it may get merged into Commerce. And there's also the option that despite the awesomeness Commerce offers, SimpleCart continues to be a useful Extra for many, and that we decide to keep it as Premium Extra anyway.

I don't know what decisions we'll be making in 18 months time, but what I do know is that whatever we do at modmore, we try to do it right. That counts for Commerce, but also for SimpleCart.

So if you decide to build a shop with SimpleCart in the future, we'll have your back.

Mark Hamstra

Mark is the CEA at modmore where he helps people doing more with MODX. He accomplishes this by providing premium extras with great support and documentation, and other initiatives meant to help MODXers around, like MODX.today.