VirtueMart: The Most Horrible Joomla Extension to Migrate

After migrating hundreds of Joomla websites from 1.5 to 2.5 (and dozens to 3.2), we have learned 2 things:

  1. A migration is never an easy task, and we have explained that, in details, here.
  2. VirtueMart is, by far, the most horrible extension to migrate.

Since we have already discussed the first point before, let’s focus, in this post, on the second point.

So, why is VirtueMart that horrible to migrate?

Well, first of all, there is no tool to migrate VirtueMart 1.x to VirtueMart 2.x – although the developers claim they have a tool, and they claim that it works, we couldn’t, for the life of us, get this tool work to properly for us once. Sometimes it migrates products, but without the images. Sometimes it doesn’t migrate the orders, sometimes it migrates the same products twice, sometimes it doesn’t migrate the categories. That tool that they claim one should use to migrate VirtueMart’s content is erratic, inconsistent, and buggy. What’s even worse that for one to use the buggy migration tool, he should perform a series of lengthy and painful rituals that may or may not work as intended!

Now, even if one decides (and rightly so) not to use the migration tool and create a script to do that, there’s one tiny hurdle: the database structure of VirtueMart 2.x is completely different from that of VirtueMart 1.x, and when we say completely different, we mean completely different. A small example is that the products are no longer stored in one table, but they are spread over multiple tables – and this is the same for many other data types (categories, manufacturers, etc…). This means that any working PHP script to migrate from VirtueMart 1.x to VirtueMart 2.x would be a really, really complicated script.

But, assuming that you were able to successfully migrate the data to VirtueMart 2.x using a custom made script (and the help of some Joomla experts). There is still one last hurdle: Your 3rd party and home-built/custom-built extensions for VirtueMart 1.x will not work with VirtueMart 2.x – now, if you’re lucky, you will find a new version for each 3rd party extension that is compatible with VirtueMart 2.x, but what about the extensions that are no longer supported, and those home built/custom built extensions that cost you dearly a few years ago and that you absolutely require for your online store? So, the next step would be for you to migrate these extensions manually, or to hire a company to do it for you if you don’t have the necessary technical skills.

As you can see, migrating VirtueMart from version 1 to version 2 is a never-ending nightmare. We think that the developers should have taken the migration tool that they have created more seriously – that would have saved quite a lot of money for the many VirtueMart users out there. But hey, that’s what you get when an extension is free from the get-go.

But what about just keeping good old VirtueMart 1.x and upgrading to Joomla 2.5 or (3.x)?

If you’re intimidated by VirtueMart’s migration process (and you should be – unless you’re a programming super-hero), then you might be thinking, “what if I keep my old version of VirtueMart when I migrate to Joomla 2.5?”. Unfortunately, this is not possible – you must use VirtueMart 2.x with Joomla 2.5 and higher; VirtueMart 1.x is not compatible with anything above Joomla 1.5.

So, what should one do?

Well, you have 2 options:

  1. Re-create your store from scratch in VirtueMart 2.x, which is probably your best option if you just have a few products OR
  2. Contact some Joomla experts and have them do all the work for you!

In case you haven’t guessed it already, we are those Joomla experts. Just contact us and we promise to fully migrate your VirtueMart store regardless of its size and the number of 3rd party extensions that you have. We are fast, we are professional, and we won’t cost you much!

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