While I agree with most of the article, having used both systems extensively I wanted to share a few of my own personal opinions on X-Cart and Magento.
Varian is now Magento, Inc. which is now owned by Ebay.
X-Cart is NOT OOP and is VERY difficult to follow an upgrade path when new releases come out, this was my biggest reason for switching to Magento after having many Clients with X-Cart and spending countless hours just to upgrade a client to the latest X-Cart release.
Magento is a very complex system (almost overly engineered) but after spending enough time with it, it starts to make sense why this is the case, and how its easy to rapid prototype client requested features without FUBAR’ing the upgrade path.
You are also correct on Magento being slow, it uses a huge amount of abstraction layers, ORM, EAV data models to make it easy to extend both on the Client side and Programmers side. This is where I would say X-Cart wins because of its procedural code if speed is your only consideration. However, for example, adding a new multi-option drop down on a product is far more cumbersome in X-Cart than in Magento.
I would disagree on the documentation for Magento, there forums aren’t very helpful however StackOverflow and people like Alan Storm, Inchoo, etc. really help in understanding Magento easier.
Smarty templates are just overhead IMO, simply doing PHP wrapped in HTML like Magento does makes sense from a performance stand point, most designers/FEDs are going to have to learn one or the other either way and it doesn’t separate business logic from presentation very well either.
Conclusion: I am by no means saying X-Cart is a horrible E-Commerce package, it works very well and has/had served many of my clients well. However if a client doesn’t have many new features, doesn’t care about upgrade paths and wants a cheap reliable hosting that is responsive. X-Cart is the way to go. If you are wanting a robust E-Commerce system that can grow with your business easily, and you have lots of time, money and programming resource at your disposal Magento is the best choice. I know that statement sounds like Magento is just a money/time waster. It is not as your investing in your companies future more so with Magento than, X-Cart. That being said, for small shops that want a similar route to X-Cart now have the Magento Go! option as an affordable SaaS solution to get an E-Commerce store up and running without having hardly any programming, design and/or e-commerce experience.
Something I have been wanting to do for awhile is attempt at writing a MagentoX-Cart import module. Since I’m no where near getting such completed, and was needing to get a clients old X-Cart version 3.5.X product data imported into Magento 1.2.x, I decided to do it the old fashioned way. Export the X-Cart data into an Excel document and map the exported data. Since I had no idea what fields Magento would require for the import. I simply exported my existing Magento products I had added manually. If you don’t have any simply create a single test product and then proceed to export from Magento.
Please keep in mind this is a very basic import, as Product Options and Categories from X-Cart are ignored. I’m open to any ideas and/or thoughts to achieve this, so please feel free to add any comments.
Here is the SQL Query that I have used to grab the basic essential data out of X-Cart:
Left Join xcart_pricing ON xcart_products.productid = xcart_pricing.productid
Left Join xcart_thumbnails ON xcart_products.productid = xcart_thumbnails.productid
Left Join xcart_images ON xcart_products.productid = xcart_images.productid
Left Join xcart_categories ON xcart_categories.categoryid = xcart_products.categoryid
GROUP BY xcart_products.productid
One Remote MySQL Manager I found very useful for alot of this was “NaviCat“, the free version doesn’t support export/importing however they do offer a 30 day trial with all the bells and whistles.
As you can tell I am only exporting xcart_products, xcart_pricing, xcart_thumbnails, xcart_images and xcart_categories. However I did not use xcart_categories when mapping my data in Excel, I merely wanted to export it so it was easier to determine products while in Excel.
When exporting with NaviCat I noticed two Excel options, both seem to yield the same results, however I noticed with one of the options long descriptions over 255 characters were being truncated, here is the option to use for best results I’ve found:
A few things to take note while mapping and/or copying your X-Cart exported data to your Magento exported data is:
You will need to remove the full path that X-Cart uses in its image tables, i.e. /home/mysite/public_html/
Keep a front slash ‘/’ in front of your image filename’s.
Copy all of your X-Cart product’s Images via FTP or however you choose. And upload them to /media/import/
Keep existing data in the fields of the Magento products export the same. The most note-able are: store, attribute_set and type.
You may have some custom data from X-Cart that can be utilized, per say if you were using param00 for a cost field, you can easily map this field into Magento’s custom attributes you can create to be able to port this information over. You can find custom attributes under “Catalog”->”Attributes”->”Manage Attributes” within the Admin.
Export as a “Comma Separated Values” (CSV) file. I opened this file up in notepad after exporting and re-saved just to ensure line-breaks and odd characters aren’t miss-interrupted.
All of Magento’s export and import functionality can be found under “System”->”Import/Export”->”Profiles”.
I created a new profile entitled “X-Cart Import” and used the following settings:
Here is the XML profile for my X-Cart import profile as well:
One Idea I didn’t realize during my first initial import was the import process at least on a low-end server can take hours to complete, so you may want to take a small portion of your spreadsheet, export to CSV and do a small amount of data to ensure you have all of your data properly laid out. I made this mistake and am now in the process of re-importing all 2000+ products after doing a small amount to ensure things are in order.
If at anytime you want to wipe all of your products and start from no products, run this query in NaviCat or PHPMyAdmin: