An Interview With OpenCart Founder Daniel Kerr

Written by in Interviews on February 22, 2013  |  43 Comments

an-interview-with-opencart-founder-daniel-kerr

Daniel Kerr a well know person in open source community as OpenCart founder and developer.

I recently had a chance to interview Daniel Kerr. He talked about what he’s up to today, the release of OpenCart 1.5.5, what we can see in next release, and what are his plans for the future.

Q#1 – Hello Daniel, how are you doing? Thanks for giving us your first interview. Tell us, how are things going with your life and work lately?

Hello, I’m fine everything is going great.

Q#2 – Lot of questions in my mind to ask, but i will start with basic question. Please tell us when and what made you thought to develop OpenCart?

Got sick of waiting for OsCommerce to release their next version. Those guys really dropped the ball. Instead of updating the system to use a proper OOP framework they just piled junk code on top of junk code.

Q#3 – OpenCart name sounds very simple and catchy, was it your idea or from any other?

I thought because I want the project to be open source so it should have the word open in it, like Open Office.

I went through quite a few names first such Live Cart, Oscart. Someone already owned the domain name OpenCart.com and i thought if I’m going to start the project I might as well spend the extra money to get the name I wanted so I kept emailing the owner offering to buy the domain name.

I managed to buy it for 1000 USD’s. It was quite a lot for me as i was living at my mum’s house at the time and didn’t have a job.

Q#4 – How do you see OpenCart with present open source e-commerce software?

I see OpenCart currently as the best on the market. The other solutions out there are overly complex in the code.

Q#5 – OpenCart 1.5.5 has been just released, lot of developers were unhappy with the release, they think it was half-hearted release. What do you say?

Not really. You cannot make everybody happy. I wanted to get something out there as it had been nearly 6 months since my last release. The reason it took so long was because I did a lot of updates to OpenCart.com.

I redesigned the main site, updated the extension section and wrote a documentation system from scratch.

Q#6 – Lot of OpenCart designers & developers are earning thousands of dollars by selling OpenCart themes. Shoppica is about to touch 5,000 sales. How do you feel when you hear all this?

OpenCart just keeps growing. I thought we would have peaked by now but we are still making around 500 more sales every month than the last month. Last October to November sales jumped over 1000 more in one month.

Q#7 – Lot of buzz going around “Attn Theme Developers… We need an intervention” forum post, we want to hear your opinion on this debate?

Qphoria put that up because of problems with his extensions and theme developers replacing parts of the code. I‘m planning on adding my own type of vqmod system to the next release so hopefully template designers will use this instead of modifying core files.

Q#8 – Can you please share your present and future plans on OpenCart?

My future plans with OpenCart are about adding new features until we cover every feature our competitors have or don’t have. I’m currently adding custom fields which allow users to add their own fields to customer registration and addresses. Currently only CsCart has this feature built in.

There are still quite a few features OpenCart has that competitors do not such as affiliate system. I also think the new vqmod system will put us ahead of the other carts as it will make adding modifications to users web sites very easy.

Q#9 – Your brief thoughts about HTML5 and CSS3? Any plans on making OpenCart responsive in future?

Yes this is something I want to add as soon as I can. I’m actually thinking of paying a company to come up with a template or maybe use the template competition system we have setup to choose a template to use.

Q#10 – What are the biggest challenges that you face in OpenCart development currently?

There are a few. It’s hard to find good developers that are at your level of coding. I have 3 developers working for me at the moment and I’m constantly trying to push them to learn as much as they can about coding.

When I first started writing web sites I was working on them full-time at work then go home should keep working until after 12. Not that this is what I’m expecting but if you’re good at something you will try to learn everything you can about it.

Q#11 – Recently there was design contests, so tell us how it went and can we expect some more in near future?

The template competition will be held monthly. I wrote a template competition system from scratch particular for this. Winners will be decided in the future by who can get the most Facebook likes.

Q#12 – Do you have any secret or dream projects you would like to reveal us?

I’m hoping to get in to hosted solutions. Should be from what I can gather from my many sources in the ecommerce industry this is where the big money is.

The only problem I have not worked out yet is how to set something like this up, make it secure and deal with extension being installed. Magento and Prestashop are doing hosted solutions. Interspire shopping cart has closed down and is now solely a hosted solution under the name Big Commerce.

Q#13 – How do you see the e-commerce in next 5 years?

I have no idea. the web is changing so fast at the moment. New technology is coming out every month. It’s like responsive templates 5 months ago they were nowhere now they are becoming standard in designing a website.

Q#14 – Thanks again for providing this opportunity to interview you. Want to share anything for OpenCart lovers?

Thank you for the great support!

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About the Author

I’m Front-End Developer from Hyderabad, India. I work as independent web designer and also build Opencart Themes, Web Templates, Graphics and Plugins for Envato Marketplaces.

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43 Comments on "An Interview With OpenCart Founder Daniel Kerr"

  1. R G March 26, 2014 at 4:25 pm · Reply

    It’s nice to hear the developer of open-cart speaks to general public.. There are lot of criticisms about his attitude.. But considering the product he had developed, it is a minor issue as no body is perfect.. ! Main thing what I see is that, the product is so flexible that it had manage to take up a large portion of the market. Wishing success for OC !!!

  2. haroon k March 4, 2014 at 9:56 am · Reply

    excellent job thank you Daniel, all the best.

  3. Daniel Parsons February 25, 2014 at 2:25 am · Reply

    Notice the number of personal attacks against Daniel Kerr. Building my project using OpenCart because of this guy Daniel Kerr. We should be embarrassed with his website, OpenCart.com. And personally is an unprofessional hack. I don’t know enough about him other than he actually ripped me off for numerous extensions that he still refuses to give me after collecting payment. It is absolutely amazing the balls on this guy!

  4. Elizabeth February 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm · Reply

    I have had some email exchanges with Daniel and unfortunately they have all been incredibly unpleasant. From a layman’s perspective he comes across as unstable.
    As an online business owner, it is important to work with professionals who can provide customer service, not just technical solutions. I feel that Daniel has abused me via electronic communication but I wont go into these potentially illegal allegations he has made against me.
    I will not be associated with OpenCart in the future, due to fear of this person.

  5. Olly January 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm · Reply

    Haha some of these comments are hilarious.

    “OMG THEY DONT SUPPORT ANY OF THE EXTENSIONS!!!!”

    Haha you morons – they are ALL made by 3rd parties!

    Opencart is the best eCommerce platform on the market – anyone that thinks otherwise OBVIOUSLY hasn’t actually used all the others!

    • Bob Anderson April 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm ·

      I can’t speak to the usability of the other e-commerce platforms, but I know the OpenCart.com website very well, unfortunately. After 10 years or so the website has made no improvements and is one of the most difficult sites I have ever used. If you have to search for extensions, I’m talking about serious detailed searches, then the OpenCart.com website will make you want to blow your brains out. Or, better yet, the one who built that site.

      Huge amount of money was invested in this OpenCart multi website project and many, many hours have been wasted searching OpenCart.com for the proper extensions. I personally would be in barest to present such a website, especially to programmers.

      From what I’ve seen of this is Daniel Kerr he’s arrogant, cocky and I must question why he relocated to Hong Kong. How many enemies does this person need to make? Very unprofessional and appears to be willing to rip off anyone on a whim

      I have really made comments to articles but I was compelled after reading this about Mr. Kerr. After a quick Internet search I am amazed how many enemies this guy has made. I absolutely regret ever using OpenCart.com. This is the bottom line. Daniel Kerr is happy to collect the fee from selling these extensions and he’s more than happy to screw you the first chance he gets.

      I regret using OpenCart as my platform. I cannot give the details to what Mr. Kerr has done specifically. You can see other comments and articles regarding this person and he is vindictive. Use any other platform. You do not want to use OpenCart.com unless someone with some professional integrity could take over the company, then perhaps it would be worth it. But certainly not until then

  6. Imran Ahmed December 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm · Reply

    Hi all,
    I’m new to Opencart. I use this software and feel comfortable more or less. I am learning the inner part of the software in order to develop it in a way so that people from my country could use it in our own language, Bengali. My country is Bangladesh and I hope some of you have at least little heard of it.
    Wish you all fit and good luck.
    Thanks.

  7. aman December 17, 2013 at 6:50 am · Reply

    Hello sir,

    Please help me in opencart.I am new in opencart please help me for adding the extension in opencart.I am creatig a site in opencart but not start the extesion please help me.

  8. Daniel Kerr blows the cock! December 6, 2013 at 9:04 am · Reply

    Software is worthless just like the asshole that designed it!

  9. Jon December 6, 2013 at 9:00 am · Reply

    This guy is a worthless scumbag! His product is garbage and they don’t provide any support for plugins you purchase. Save yourself all the problems and use a real cart program!

  10. daniel n November 13, 2013 at 8:53 am · Reply

    We are a development studio and we are currently working with Opencart and did so over the past 2 years.

    First of all Opencart is not top-notch written code. Daniel is very hard to work with. If you find a bug he usually does not consider it a bug and he considers that is just how it should work ( his favorite answer is “this is how you think something should work.”).
    There are quite a few extensions but most of them are not free and the quality of the one that you pay for is not that great compared with other open source systems.

    There are some big design flows in the database structure and in the extensibility of the core code. We have a shop with over 3 million products and the scalability of the Opencart store was very poor.

    Yes Vqmode is nice but from programming point of view is not exactly stable and if far from a good design choice, a hook system or a HMVC structure will be more appropriate.

    There is no clear release planing and features planing, this is a one man project that works without taking in consideration to much the community needs and problems.

    I appreciate the time Daniel spends on this project but he must understand that there are also other people working and promoting this product and if the community around it gets ignored they can turn to better projects.

    The only reason we are still working with Opencart is because we spend many hours in developing modules for our clients and because we don’t have a better alternative.

    I will not recommend Opencart to any agency that wants to make a long term strategy and develop on this platform. For small projects and people that just want to buy a template install it and run the shop is ok but no way for big projects and in general very custom projects.

  11. Daniel Sucks KERR November 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm · Reply

    The product is good but the owner is a stupid person!

  12. Sanjay Poudel July 5, 2013 at 8:21 am · Reply

    Its great interview with Daniel. I just found Open cart is rich features free eCommerce software and i thanks lots to Daniel and best of luck for your further development on your project.

  13. Lilah June 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm · Reply

    This is awesome! Always fun to hear from the developer of a brilliant program and I absolutely love OpenCart which I use with my provider at http://www.wxhosting.com/opencart_hosting.

  14. Inka Sheen May 22, 2013 at 5:09 am · Reply

    Man…I dint know..it has become so big…I mean look at that 5000 Shoppica templete sales…but sadly nobody actully updates about their website on the official Showcase to let people know the existence of opencart websites…

  15. mandrake April 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm · Reply

    I really appreaciate the efforts of Daniel to provide OC. However, as I gathered a lot of experience with OC now, I came accross some problems (also pointed out by John Stumps).

    Firstly, it goes without saying that none of the codebase has any kind of automatic testing. (Software without testing === malware). Maybe the tests are not commited to the repository, I don’t know…

    Secondly, there is lots of code copy & pasting in the controllers. Loading languages, setting variables for templates, creating the breadcrumps, checking if a user is logged, …

    Thirdly, the database layer is based on a quick and dirty PHP3 style. There would be lot’s of free PHP sql plugins out there for ORM or also QueryDSL style of coding…

    Next, vQMod is some kind of emulation of aspect oriented programming, which is highly fragile and soley based on string matching…

    Said all that, OC still has a very simple approach at it’s core, which makes it (1) easy to learn (2) fast. Removing the spaghetti style code inside the controllers (with some OOP abstractions) and introducing a proper testing suite would turn OC into a world class product for sure!!!

    Therefore I stick with OC, and hope I can contribute to Git if I am not rejected… Carry on with the great work!

  16. toko serbahalal April 8, 2013 at 9:30 am · Reply

    nice interview ….

  17. JohnC March 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm · Reply

    Great read. I’m new to OpenCart and am NOT a coder. My familiarity is with WordPress. That said, here are my quick thoughts on some of Daniels comments from the vantage of an admin/user.

    Theme contest are a good thing but I worry about rating based on Facebook likes. Hopefully to vote you need to actually install the theme and give it a run. (if you are only interested in look, this of course isn’t necessary.) I purchased, installed and with some trouble uninstalled three themes when we began setting up our new store. All three were highly rated themes. In one case, default theme wouldn’t work until I wiped the install. A pretty but you have to test drive a theme to see if it warrants a great rating.

    Hosted solutions. Like the idea in theory. With hosted solutions you don’t have to fret over lots of things that small store owners can’t manage but need to find the time and resources to address (security, updates, extension incompatibilities etc.) With hosting, that should mostly go away. HOWEVER, when reviewing this world for our online store (we were on an old version of osCommerce) we rejected many of the big hosted solutions because of their pricing model. Magento etc. seem to price based on SKU. That’s a mistake in my mind. Our store has lots of complicated items (think craft store). To keep our sku count down, we could have implemented complex dependent options but the staff would have had a hard time managing them going forward. Instead we “flattened things out”. That is to say, every size bead, every color is its own item. We link them with a series extension. This made our sku count go through the roof. Works fine internally as this is how we order products from vendors anyway, but it would have put us in the pricing ether with a hosted solution. Perhaps a different pricing model to win all those store owners who say no to the competitors based solely on price?

    WordPress. I won’t enter the debate about WordPress and OpenCart from a technical point of view as I’m not qualified but as a tool, I love WordPress. WordPress eCommerce solutions are (in my opinion) not as feature rich as OpenCart, csCart etc. but we wanted to front end our site with WordPress for the blog, image galleries, content pages etc. and have OpenCart as the Store link. Bit of a permalink struggle but got it working. It would be grand if these two PHP based gems played well as integrated systems. In our case, they co-exist. Problem seems that to chase this issue form the OpenCart side is to have a store front with a blog tacked on and inventory items showing up on WordPress pages. I want to go the other way. Maybe Daniel can chat with the WordPress folks and collaborate?

    Anyway, nice to put a face to OpenCart and hear of the struggles and wins. I think the product has a very bright future.

    • Alastair McDermott May 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm ·

      Hi John,

      Two questions for you: what theme did you choose in the end for the OpenCart install, and how did you structure the WordPress:OpenCart site? I’m in a similar situation now, coming from a WordPress background, I’d love to have a quick chat with someone who’s been there.

      Cheers,
      Alastair.
      @WebsiteDoctor on twitter

  18. rohit March 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm · Reply

    Hi all of you,

    My Q For all you those one use the opencart solution is that possible to sell opencart e commerce portal behalf for own e commerce developement compnay by editing by comapny name…after change the theme and interface of opencart…..

  19. John Stumps March 17, 2013 at 8:48 am · Reply

    OpenCart is very popular, but it is badly coded. It is a great example of code duplication – same pieces of code are used in many different classes just by copy-pasting. Speaking of classes, you might think OpenCart is OOP. But it is not. It is functions, wrapped around with class names. You can’t find any OOP concepts there – encapsulation, reusability etc. (not to speak of design patterns) Just bunch of classes which call each other in a messy way.

    There is a loose idea for “plugins”, but you can’t develop something advanced (and thus useful) without touching the “core” files. And here we come to the so called vQmod. I wouldn’t call it monkey patching, because monkey patching is actually a good concept when used carefully in languages that support it. vQmod lets you replace actual pieces of code by string matching. And don’t think of any elegance here. It is just raw text file parsing and replacing. Of course, when a “core” file is changed in a future opencart version, your string matches and replacements go to hell, but that’s another story. It is like an insult for every educated developer. The sad fact is that this actually is the most convenient way of modifying the spaghetti opencart structure, without touching the core files. You wouldn’t need such suspicious and shady tools to do modifications in a good designed project.

    I can speak more, but it is meaningless, because OpenCart is an endless abyss of bad practices.

    • garuda March 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm ·

      Dude, you are full of sh.., uh, “lies”. I question your intentions for this agro and grossly exaggerated post. First, to call OpenCart “spaghetti” is total bs and it elevates a whole LOT of junk open-source software out there into another stratosphere of quality! It is well structured and, most importantly, unbloated. Second, OpenCart uses both encapsulation AND reusability! As well inheritance, another OOP concept. While much of the Catalog and Admin classes and methods behave functionally, it’s core System classes are OO. But what’s the problem with mixing OO and functional? Third, vQmod is an EXTREMELY powerful tool for extension developers. Yes, it is fragile to future file changes, especially if you’re overly verbose with your string-matching. But that’s a trade-off for its power and can be managed. Besides, G*d forbid you MIGHT have to make a few updates to your extension with every major release. Finally, OpenCart is the BEST open-source shopping cart platform, period. (Heck, it could even be easily adjusted and used as robust web application development framework!). It’s not perfect. Nothing is. (In particular, it’s front-end template files (HTML) could be improved). But nothing in this software can be accused of written poorly or carelessly. THANK YOU Daniel and the strong and growning OpenCart community. LONG LIVE OpenCart!

  20. Utomo March 4, 2013 at 4:06 am · Reply

    I think opencart need more developer.
    I know it is not easy to find good developer now.
    many people just complain and not giving good suggestion/ solutions.
    If many are helping and contributing I believe opencart will be much better.
    I just suggest daniel to have paid support options. not always free. but still reasonable price.
    and also maybe to consider contest for developer to contribute the code. who can contribute best code get the prize. or something like that

    Good luck

  21. sari yono March 2, 2013 at 5:29 am · Reply

    i just want to thank Dan for the great work hes providing i really am appreciative to what he has done and i wish i was at the level of programming that he is at would be more than happy to help you in any way i can if you need any help in graphics or so just name it my email is there i have a great graphic designer that will dedicate any time for you, i also sent a couple of suggestion through your contact us form on the main page would love to hear back from you.

    again thank you very much for this product god bless you to succeed and wish you the best of luck

  22. Rishi Ram Gautam (Nepal) March 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm · Reply

    Very happy to read this Interview. There is very good future of OpenCart.

    Best of luck.

  23. george February 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm · Reply

    I’m sorry but Daniel is a Stuck Up Moron that believes his software is top notch… OpenCart breaks every single good practice on the market… he fights over each security hole someone finds,and yet he think he’s the only inteligent human being in the world.

    Daniel should be a product manager not a developer , as the ideas he has are generally good, not ingenious or overly innovative, but he’s good at getting his ideas working… just not very gracefully…

    • Joe March 7, 2013 at 2:05 am ·

      Exactly what is your point in making your statements? “Every single good practice” as if there is some authoritative list out there – you make the comment but offer no specifics. I’m sure there are certain aspects of the system that he would do differently if he had the time (and would also have to think about all existing versions), but as software developers that’s a nature of the business – development is evolutionary.
      A moron? Really? Are you serious? Perhaps a disgruntled ex-employee?

  24. opera.com February 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm · Reply

    Hi there it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this site is truly fastidious and the viewers are really sharing nice thoughts.

  25. John February 26, 2013 at 12:08 am · Reply

    Opencart is not bad, the support however is just not there, it’s not supportive and sometimes rude. Daniel is the most rude person I ever met . I hope Opencart will make it to the top, but I don’t see how it could be possible with this man driving it.

    • Rishi Ram Gautam (Nepal) March 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm ·

      This is the wrong way to comment for the guy who is giving away his hard work for free.

    • Daniel March 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm ·

      There is support! and its free. I pay 3 people to answer emails, login to peoples site and fix their issues.

      I take issue when people come to my site demanding we fix problems, reporting missing features as bugs and start disputes when they have gotten software for free that would take them years to build from scratch.

    • Joe March 7, 2013 at 2:07 am ·

      Therefore, go pick another cart and good luck. I choose not to.

  26. OC extensions February 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm · Reply

    Great interview, thank you for that!
    OpenCart is definitely the best coded cart out there. Daniel can be compared with a huge team for that.
    It will be nice to have a hosted solution too. Look at shopify how nice is growing and it has only 5% features of what OpenCart has right now.

    Cheers and keep out the good work!

    • george July 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm ·

      Best coded! Hahahahahahaha hahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha hahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha hahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha hahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha hahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha hahahahahaha! go play with vb kids

    • saibot December 13, 2013 at 6:07 am ·

      @george
      Bet you couldn’t even use VB, lol
      Silly little troll

  27. syed February 24, 2013 at 1:40 am · Reply

    Hi santosh and danial..it was intresting to read the interview… I hope next time it will be little more detailed._like wordpresss.. Hosted solution is great idea

  28. Leo February 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm · Reply

    Nice interview guys!

    Keep it up Daniel.

  29. chinabuydropship February 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm · Reply

    I like opencart and thanks for the founder

  30. OpenCart China February 23, 2013 at 9:11 am · Reply

    Congratulation! Daniel. Thanks for your great job! We’ll do a good job on marketing opencart in China.

  31. Mohamad Fahmi February 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm · Reply

    sorry ,, i mean .. would be great if designers and developers have profile pages on the menu OpenCart extension. it would be a benefit for the developer.
    ps : sorry for my bad english :)

  32. Mohamad Fahmi February 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm · Reply

    wow,, nice interview,, and i love opencart so much.. and i love open sources too
    but I have a little input,, designers and developers must have profile pages on the menu OpenCart extension. it would be a benefit for the developer. suggested like drupal
    thank you

  33. OpenCart Templates February 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm · Reply

    Great Insight Mr. Setty, nice to hear from the man himself.
    I like the monthly template competition. Great idea, not sure if the winner shall be selected just on the mere basis of facebook likes, there shall be a bit more to it (its like i have 10000 facebook page fans- more than any one else and my template is always a winner every month)

    And the plans for hosted solutions sounds great, let see when.

    Great interview though.

    Regards
    Sumit
    Shopping Cart Hub- Maretplace for Ecommerce developers

  34. Sainath Chillapuram February 22, 2013 at 11:29 am · Reply

    Very nice interview Santosh Setty :).
    And thanks to Daniel for Making Opencart Success.

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