As of today Cartthrob, the latest venture in e-commerce for ExpressionEngine, is released and available for purchase. Cartthrob was developed to be as flexible as possible while still allowing you to control your inventory and e-commerce site with ExpressionEngine.
I exchanged a few emails with Chris Newton of Cartthrob and asked for his take on the new release.
Let’s first talk about the flexibility. Chris says:
CartThrob forces very little on the developer, there are very few strict rules on how things have to be built. For EE people this will be a godsend… we’re already used to getting it our own way with EE, and that is the spirit of our development efforts with CartThrob.
Rather than the typical feature-benefit focused cart approach: “your product must have a title, price, this option set, two pictures, and a shipping weight, ” CartThrob lets you create your store however you’d like. You can store data in weblogs in whatever format suits you, repurpose existing weblogs, or just hardcode product data in the templates. Most carts assume a structure and flow for a customer’s business, CartThrob doesn’t.
You can get an idea of what Cartthrob can do by reviewing the example uses they posted in the documentation. Donation site, simple t-shirt sales interface, integration with third party shipper are all things you can do with Cartthrob.
And all of this uses the regular weblogs or channels in EE (watch this video for details on how to set up weblogs for products). This means that even your existing EE add-ons should play nicely with Cartthrob.
Another nice feature is that CartThrob, once configured is not something your client even need be aware of. Once set up, all of the Items, Orders, and Purchased Item data can be stored in weblogs. It’s not some custom interface that the client will have to learn.
If your preferred payment gateway isn’t supported, you can create your own to interface with Cartthrob. The documentation has an example gateway that you can use as a guide when building your own.
Cartthrob is currently only available for ExpressionEngine 1.6 but they are going to start working on the EE 2 version soon.