New kid on the PHP E-Commerce block Sellvana has been released as a private beta. I was fortunate enough to get access and take her for a test drive.
“There is a revolution in e-commerce open-source software. Sellvana is easy to use, and learn.”
“We are building a new platform that removes all technical roadblocks for merchants, developers, and designers and puts community back at the center. Based on our own Fulleron PHP Framework, Sellvana provides powerful features that are easy-to-use. In starting afresh, we have looked at every aspect of an ecommerce platform and worked out how to improve on it. We have delivered the changes that the open source ecommerce community has been calling out for, with radical improvements in functionality, flexibility, performance, and security.”
“The goal is to create an easy to install, maintain, extend and customize eCommerce suite, which would provide most of the functionality of Magento, while solving inherent Magento framework issues (memory, speed, complications, number of files/tables)”
- Closed a $5 million seed round from unnamed investors in New York.
- Sellvana is a six-person team based in Portland, Ore. Cofounder Boris Gurvich.
- Boris was a lead architect/developer of Magento, and also maintains quality Magento modules at Unirgy.
Buckyball framework: PHP is fun again (Just don’t swallow them )
What I believe the term Fulleron and Buckyball names are derived from:
- Fulleron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullerene
- Buckyball: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet_toys
Buckyball is the underlying PHP framework to Sellvana and is somewhat similar to lib/Varien and Zend Framework most are familiar with in Magento. Except Buckyball solves a lot of problems both have. I think the biggest core piece the Buckyball framework achieves is the true modular approach, hence the framework name. As My favorite key points of the framework:
- Providing more flexibility than Magento framework, but much more efficiently.
- Complication of implementation should be proportional to complexity of specification.
- Easy Bootstrapping. Module requires only bootstrap callback. Everything else is up to the developer.
- Keep folder structure and number of files as minimal as possible.
- Module files are confined to one folder.
- IDE friendly (autocomplete, phpdoc, etc)
- Conserve memory by not storing unnecessary data or configuration more than needed.
- Inner file/folder structure within the module folder is up to the developer.
- Debug friendly (concise print_r, debugbacktrace, debug augmentation GUI on frontend)
- Everything non essential is a module, and can be disabled.
- Lots of Event hooks.
3rd Party tools and utilities included in the framework:
- Idiorm & Paris – Object oriented ORM and Active Records
- Twig Templates via Symfony Twig Class
- PHPTAL – Template Attribute Language for PHP
- FireLogger – Firefox Logging utility
- Ganon – PHP Based Access to HTML/XML documents in a very simple object oriented way
- Markdown Extra – A text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers
- HAML – MTHAML is a PHP implementation of the HAML language which can target multiple languages (PHP/Twig).
- BUI – Homegrown Grid manager?
If you’d like to read more about Fulleron Buckyball it is open sourced and available now, without the need of a private access to the Sellvana code:
- The heavy lifting core classes: http://sellvana.com/fdoc/buckyball/core
“Fulleron is built upon Buckyball library and inherently is not rigid in its structure or implementation. However, the following set of conventions is recommended for clean, uniform and maintainable application.”
Some of the advantages to the Fulleron API from my perspective:
- No more XML configuration files! YAML used instead, all relative to the module directory itself.
- Configurations options are saved as a simple PHP file with Array definitions. (see /storage/config/)
- Layout files are also YAML based.
- No sight of EAV anywhere!
The Sellvana File/Folder Structure:
Installation was fairly straight forward as those may be familiar with Magento. A quick extraction of the codebase, a few chmod to web server writable directories (dlc, local, media) and an empty MySQL Database. Access codebase via configured URL and begin installation.
Overall the administration feels a lot like how WordPress’s admin feels and functions. With the modularity of the framework, the “Manage Modules” and “Install from Market” should hopefully be as painless as installing a new WordPress plug-in.
With other similar packages in Alpha/Beta stages: Forward, as well as Magento 2, it will be interesting to see which developer friendly e-commerce framework wins majority. If you want to help shape the future of E-Commerce, make a request for access.
Note at the time of writing this article: Keep in mind Sellvana is in private alpha/beta stages and its safe to assume there are bugs/issues and is NOT something to be used in production environments yet.
Sellvana will be released officially, later this year, under the Open Source Licence (OSL v3.0). Ahead of this, the firm is providing limited access to its private alpha technology preview.