How to Customize Your OsCommerce Store

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What is OsCommerce?

OsCommerce is an open source (free) e-commerce solution for people who need to create and run an online store. As the success of OsCommerce continues, more and more solutions are becoming available to help people learn how to customize OsCommerce so as to present their customer based with a truly unique store front, catalog, and backend options to make running their online business smooth and efficient.

What Can Be Customized?

Learning how to customize OsCommerce can be a pain in the neck for some, depending on the experience level with CSS and PHP. The look and feel of the store is controlled by templates which use CSS to control the colors and other visual elements of the store.Other elements of the store are controlled with a few PHP files, but it is important to recognize that customizing the store does not generally take more than edits on a few files in addition to the CSS file, listed below.

  • includes/header.php
  • includes/footer.php
  • includes/left_column.php
  • includes/right_column.php

There are tutorials in the OsCommerce community website that will help designers learn which lines of code to edit and what can be done, but for experienced designers, this should not be a problem. There is even a tool called Simple Template System, also known as STS that works similar to a WYSIWYG editor to help design the front end of the store.

Learning how to customize the backend of the store is not nearly as complicated as customizing the front end. Once you install OsCommerce on your server the customization of the backend is fairly self explanatory, but coming up in May here on the Web Development channel, we’ll have something to help you with that, too.

Don’t want to learn how to customize oscommerce?

If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of customizing your OsCommerce store front on your own, there are many different ready made, free and premium templates available for download and use from a variety of websites. Keep in mind though, using one of these templates may mean that your store will not be completely unique.