How to Migrate from osCommerce to VirtueMart?

Every once in a while, we get a new (or an existing) customer asking us to migrate his osCommerce website to VirtueMart. Some of these customers already own a Joomla website and know how powerful it is and they know that VirtueMart is a reliable alternative for osCommerce (these customers usually run their osCommerce website in a subdomain such as under their main Joomla website). Those who do not already have a Joomla website have heard from their friends or acquaintances that Joomla is very easy to use (much easier than osCommerce) and that it’s supported by a much larger community and that its VirtueMart e-commerce extension is nearly as powerful as osCommerce.

Now, the first thing that we tell our (potential) customers when we get this request: It’s not easy. Here’s why:

  • osCommerce is a CMS with a native shopping cart. This means that while the main purpose of having osCommerce is to sell products(digital or non-digital)/services online, the osCommerce website still has many non-ecommerce related pages. These pages cannot be migrated to VirtueMart, but rather to Joomla, which means that it comes down to osCommerce to Joomla migration, and not osCommerce to VirtueMart migration.
  • osCommerce has contributions, which is a very similar concept to Joomla’s extensions. If one wishes to migrate the whole website, these contributions should either be rewritten as Joomla extensions or he should find similar Joomla extensions that will mimic these contributions. Note that not only the code for these contributions should be ported, but also the data.

  • Tables and table structures are completely different between VirtueMart and osCommerce, so it’s not about exporting data from one table and importing in into another. The data in an osCommerce table can be spread over 3 tables in a VirtueMart instance, and vice versa.

Although there are only 3 challenges in the above, they are really big challenges, and so it takes a lot of time to migrate a whole osCommerce website to a Joomla website (especially when the contributions need to be migrated as well – we’re talking about a month of work here).

Now, of course, this migration would be very costly, so are there any alternatives?

Well, the only alternative to the above is to do a partial migration, which is just the migration of the osCommerce ecommerce data to Joomla and VirtueMart. This means that all the database tables that deal with the ecommerce functionality need to be migrated to Joomla and VirtueMart. These tables relate to the following:

  • Store settings
  • Users (Buyers)
  • Product Categories
  • Products
  • Promotions/Coupons
  • Orders
  • Vendors/Manufacturers
  • Taxes
  • Shipping
  • etc…

There is a lot of data that needs to be migrated, and that’s why the process will still take a week (5 working days or 40 hours – check our fees to see what the total cost will be for the migration) to finish. But is it worth it? Well, let’s check the benefits of migrating from osCommerce to VirtueMart…

What Are the Advantages of Migrating from osCommerce to VirtueMart?

  • Ease of use: osCommerce is a very powerful ecommerce CMS, but it’s also very complicated and thus very hard to use. Joomla, on the other hand, is much easier when compared to osCommerce. Doing something on Joomla takes (in many cases) just a fraction of the amount of time required to do the same thing on osCommerce.
  • Better support: Joomla has way better support than osCommerce. Joomla is much bigger (in terms of community), more important, and more supported products than osCommerce. Just look at the number of extensions that Joomla has versus the number of contributions that osCommerce has. Whatever new functionality you have in mind for your Joomla website, there is most likely a Joomla extension already developed for it.

  • More integration: This point mostly applies to those running an osCommerce within their Joomla website. Imagine the trouble that they have to go through whenever they need to change their design for example. They need to change their design on 2 websites! Often even the simplest and most trivial website updates will take more than double the amount of time required to do. Website upgrades can take up to a week, just because the integration between the two products is often very loose.

I think we have established clearly that this move will save you a lot of money and a lot of time on the medium and the long term. So why wait?

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Will the products’ URLs be the same when we migrate from osCommerce to VirtueMart?

Most likely no. If you wish to ensure that that the URLs of your products under VirtueMart are the same as those under osCommerce then this will take us about 8 hours of extra time.

How hard is VirtueMart when compared to osCommerce?

VirtueMart is very easy to use (it’s a Joomla extension, after all), we can’t say the same thing about osCommerce.

How powerful is VirtueMart when compared to osCommerce?

When it comes to power and versatility, osCommerce is the winner (but not by much). But ask yourself, what are the features that exist in osCommerce and that don’t exist in VirtueMart that you really need?

Will the functionality be migrated as well?

Only VirteMart supported functionality will be available. Functionality that is exclusive to osCommerce will not be migrated (but can be migrated for an extra fee).

What are the pitfalls for this migration?

There are many pitfalls that companies with no experience in this migration process fall into, too many that if we list them all, this post will turn into a paper! Nevertheless, the most comm ones are:

  • Migrating the data but not migrating the files (images, documents, etc…)
  • Not migrating the data to the right places or not migrating the data to all the necessary places
  • Not placing the migrated files in the right directory(ies) and/or not creating this directory (these directories)

Why not migrate VirtueMart to osCommerce?

Well, that can be done, but this is like moving in programming languages from C to Assembly. VirtueMart is much easier, and is nearly as powerful. Why make your life complicated when you can make it easier?

Now if you need help migrating your osCommerce data to VirtueMart, and you are overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to do so, then fear not. We can do it for you! Just contact us and see how rapidly and efficiently we can do this!

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