Many moons ago, the “next” version of Zen Cart was given the name 1.6.0. As time moved on and features were added to the code for this release, it became clear that it was going to be different enough from the 1.5.x branch of Zen Cart that a bump in the major number made sense. So the release name was changed to 2.0. But many other things still used the old name – which was kind of confusing.
There’s a new release of Zen Cart – but why should you upgrade? I’ll review some of the key reasons in this post.
Compatibility with PHP 7.2 and 7.3: PHP is constantly changing, and as new versions are introduced, older ones fall by the wayside. This means they no longer receive bug fixes or even security patches for issues which are discovered by researchers and hackers. If you look at the PHP supported versions page, you’ll see that versions prior to PHP7 won’t even receive security patches after January 2019. To stay secure, you must update your PHP, which means you must update your Zen Cart software.
All security patches released in Zen Cart 1.5.5 and before included: if your Zen Cart hasn’t been actively maintained, you may have missed the PHPMailer security patch, the Trustwave patch, or any of the other Zen Cart security patches which has been released in the last few years. Upgrading to Zen Cart 1.5.6 gets you all those patches without any extra work.
All prior bugfixes from ZenCart 1.5.5 and below are included: how many times have you struggled with an issue, only to find that it has been resolved in a newer release? Upgrading means you’re using the latest fixes.
Improved admin appearance: the Zen Cart 1.5.6 admin is much easier on the eyes than the older versions. Works great on mobile too!
Open Source but powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility – notably, your responsibility to keep your software updated! If you haven’t upgraded to WordPress 5 yet, this WordPress security announcement should get you into gear. We all knew we’d have to learn Gutenberg some day, it just seems that someday came sooner than we had planned!
I have really enjoyed learning phpMyFAQ, and I have used it to create my own eCommerce FAQ. It works well out of the box, and is easy to customize to your own requirements. I’m hoping to do more FAQ projects, which I will announce here as they come online.
I have added an optional feature to Zen Cart 360 Sales Reporting (link) which shows recent direct deposits on the admin dashboard. Update admin/index_dashboard.php, and at the end of the file, add this block of code:
I’m a Zen Cart guy, so normally the only thing I have to say about osCommerce is, “Them’s fightin’ words!”
But Gary Burton is a true open source hero, who has provided an upgrade path for merchants whose businesses depend on an active branch of osCommerce that works with modern versions of PHP. Thank you, Gary, for your leadership in creating the Frozen and Edge branches of osCommerce.