An Interview With Qphoria
I talked to Qphoria about his association with OpenCart, OpenCart development in general and what his plans are for the future.
Q#1 – Hello Qphoria! can you please tell us about your association with OpenCart.
I am/ was a co-developer of OpenCart in the pre-1.5 days. I am extremely familiar with all aspects of the cart and handled the later releases of the 1.4.x version while Daniel focused on the 1.5.x version.
I have taken a backseat for the 1.5.x versions so far, but hope to begin contributing more to the core again in the near future.
I also have almost 200 mods for OpenCart so that keeps me busy as well.
Q#2 – Qphoria – OpenCart Guru other than this can we know more about you?
I live in Chicago (USA). I am self-taught in php and every other language I know. I started learning when I opened my first Zen-Cart store back in 2002 and have been coding ever since.
I find coding to be a very enjoyable hobby and working with OpenCart has been an amazing endeavour in both personal and professional aspects.
Q#3 – You’ve posted many OpenCart tips and advices on forum, what are some common mistakes you often see OpenCart users make?
Too many to count. Maybe it is our fault. We as developers try to think in terms of general users and understand that they are not developers. Though at the same time we maybe expect too much from people.
We assume some things to be common sense but I think the overwhelming nature of starting a website for the first time tends to leave you staring blankly at the simplest tasks.
Simple things like ftp file/ folder copying are taken for granted and many people don’t grasp the concept of that. And unfortunately with so many web hosts out there, all doing something a little different, it probably isn’t safe to assume that people will have basic training on these things.
Q#4 – Most developer/ designer feel unhappy -or maybe afraid- how OpenCart currently released where not just contain bugs fix but also system change. What you think about it?
I think it is getting a little better now that it is getting more stable. Early in development there are bound to have a ton of changes as it evolves. Now that is has stablized, we should see more controlled releases. He has already been patching the fixes in the latest, and warned developers of the new custom fields registration system in 1.6.0, so communication goes a long way.
What is damaging, however, is when simply obvious bits of code are changed or removed with no logical or physical improvement to the code. Like the language array merge debacle from 1.5.5 intial release. That needs to also be communicated and open to some level of discussion about what is or isn’t a good idea.
Q#5 – Most of the developer’s feel there missed the old time’s (1.4.9x) where you in charge for the bugs fix and Daniel focus on perfecting and developing features. Do you know when that kind management will be back?
Well again things are stabilizing now. Daniel has a staff of people now that he can delegate to for support so it frees him up a bit more for full cart development. The new git system allows for community fixes so it doesn’t all reside on Daniel alone. This should help.
It won’t like have the same structure again as it did in the past as project control methods have changed.
Q#6 – vQmod is one of your brilliant contribution for OpenCart, can you share us the story behind the development? is it accomplish the purpose of what you want?
vQmod was the brainchild of many years of frustration trying to find a better way to handle core changes. I had posted many attempts over the years for override systems and fall-back systems, but they all had flaws and limitations at the file level.
I searched around other CMS platforms checking out what they offered and none of them had the granularity I needed.
It was actually SMF forum’s mod system that I saw could do line level editing of the core files using a search/ replace type of system.
But they are based on actual core file edits and overwrites. So using the same base concept I created my own file manipulator, but save the final edits to its own separate file. Then swap the include file with the newly created one and vQmod was born.
It works better than ever now with JayG’s full rewrite for performance and proper class-based function calls.
Q#7 – Now OpenCart has wide range collection of premium theme, your view on it? and what you think of extensions-themes compatibility that tend not to work seamless by default?
The problems for this actually come back to the power of vQmod.
Most CMS/ Cart systems have limited plugin/ hook support that only let you change things based on the core’s hook system. With vQmod, you can change something down to a single character….that means an entire theme can be broken by changing one tag with vQmod.
Too many mods nowadays use vQmod for simple changes on the tpl files but can cause havoc when new themes are slightly altered in tagging or structure.
If we were limited to just the OpenCart extension system, core mods would be a lot more scarce and limited, but themes would work better because their changes wouldn’t affect the end user.
So in a way, vQMod is a double-edged sword. I just hope theme devs and ext devs can work together to make a more standardized theme approach that might limit the breakage.
But some themes are beyond ridiculous with the unnecessary tag changing.
Q#8 – Recently Daniel told he is planning to develop his own vqmod system for next release, what’s your view on it? And your suggestion on it?
While it is a good idea to put a modification system in the core, I don’t think that recreating the wheel is necessary. As I understand it, “ocmod” is only inspired by vQmod, but not written to support its format.
This means that the hundreds of vQmods out there may need to be rewritten to handle ocmod. So it will be more work for devs to do the same thing they can do on vQmod. Still having it in the core is a great step forward. I look forward to seeing it.
Q#9 - We know that you recently developing an automatic update for OpenCart, can you share us how it work and when we are going to see it?
This project was written for the SVN repository used by OpenCart when it was hosted with Google code. It has also been mostly scrapped when we moved the source to github. I haven’t had the time to learn the github command line.
It was also difficult to plan for all the different web hosts out there, each doing things slightly differently. Not to say it is totally dead…you may eventually see something as a mod when/ if I have time to revisit it.
Q#10 – What is your present and future plans?
I literally have over 100 mod ideas that I have been trying to make, so I keep cranking them out as I can.
But I also plan to keep on contributing to the best Open Source Ecommerce platform.
Q#11 – Thanks for your time Q.