So, this will be my absolutely first post in English on a normal wise danish blog. But the thing is, that I had a hard time finding useful information about the different experience Ucommerce offers versus the newcomer Vendr for Umbraco.
It started more or less a year ago, when Ucommerce was released for Umbraco 8. As a long time, Umbraco / Ucommerce developer, this was my absolutely go-to system when thinking of creating a web shop based on Umbraco.
Put in a simple way, the first Version of Ucommerce for Umbraco 8 was not the joyride I had hoped for. I expected (and kind of promised my customer – my bad I know) a shiny, nice lightweight Product editor with the best shop system I knew of. – What I got was legacy user interfaces, the same stubborn API and outdated documentation. This suck, especially because I remember Ucommerce was best in class for a long while, and have worked well in a lot of other solutions. But somehow, they forgot to jump on the Umbraco 8 experience.
My customer onboarded with Ucommerce, and we implemented the necessary circumventions in order to compensate for the lacking editors etc. So, the customer went live and all is more or less well.
But the desire of a well-designed user experience that my customers can understand and that feels intuitive (with a nice look and feel) was still missing, So when upgrading to Ucommerce 9 I was anticipating all that was missing in the rushed V8 for Umbraco 8..
That was 10 hours from now, I spent the first 4 hours rewriting the shop so at least the Backoffice would be able to load in Umbraco. – The thing is Ucommerce 9 has finally taken the discission to rewrite the API structure to a more modern approach. I like it a lot (Although I miss some of the old features), but overall a really smooth experience.
But… The Backoffice… I was hoping by V9 I could finally give my customer the Shiny new Experience in Umbraco/Shop they expected. I got this.
When I originally looked at the new solution my e-commcerce customer wanted, there was a few solutions available,
- Create a shop from scratch ( I have the code somewhere),
- Use Ucommerce,
- Investigate TeaCommerce
As I soon discovered that TeaCommerce wasn’t available for Umbraco 8, but Ucommerce was working on their upgrade version, the choice was simple. Ucommerce (off course).
That was then. In the meantime, Vendr, which is as far as I remember a spinoff from TeaCommerce, has arrived. I have followed the tweets and product somewhat close (but without watching the intros / docs). But It seemed really cool. And Umbraco8 Ish.
So today, when the frustration over the missing shiny Ucommerce interface finally took over, I took the decision to try to “upgrade” my Customer to Vendr. If I could do “most” (aka 25%) of the upgrade within a few hours, then we have a match.
It wasn’t quite that simple, but within a few hours (where I have been spending time watching Paul Seals great introduction videos a lot of the time) most of the concepts from the existing web shop has been implemented in a form that “does the job”. Right now everything is still at POC state, but most of the requirements have been met so far.
So anyway. This ended out being something else than I plead in the headline. So, in short, I will give some (what I think) sound pros and cons on both versions.
Ucommerce is solid, stable and works. (Most of the time), it has performance issues in the Backoffice, but works well in the frontend if you don’t abuse the API. V9 is remarkably faster. You have your catalogs, categories and products just where you expect they are.
- Free of Charge when not using Marketing features
- Track record. Contains the features you expect in a modern web shop system.
- V8 – Intuitive product management features
- V9 - Great API’s (If you have knowledge of the old API’s)
- Maximum flexibility, the ability to create definitions for everything is a keeper.
- Everything is thought of (as compared to Vendr)
- Oooooooooooold user interface!!! (Sorry Søren, but it’s true)
- Backoffice IS SLOW (v8), v9 is a lot better, but still slow.
- Several payment methods didn’t work out of the box in the first Umbraco V8 package.
- Lousy documentation
Vendr is new! and is unlike Ucommerce a more native Umbraco D-I-Y solution. I was looking for the Product / category document types etc. some time until I realized I had to build them myself (Based on the editors Vendr installed). Since you setup your products in Umbraco (as normal pages) you get the native Umbraco feeling, and the coherency with the rest of your site (depending on how you implement the category/product structure).
- More “native” Umbraco
- Nice look and feel in the Backend
- Great documentation.
- Build by developers (I assume). The Documentation and the way to access the API’s is intuitive and makes sense.
- No free Tier.
- Simple! – A lot of the possibilities you have in Ucommerce is still not available in Vendr
- Too simple. I miss the category features from Ucommerce, I will have to write code / overrides in order to get my shop working as expected.
More to come, this article is just getting started :)