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Open Source Ticket Ecommerce Solutions

Magento vs OpenCart vs Wordpress vs Ticket Press

Our review of different open source solutions for ticket ecommerce solutions

Ecommerce for Event Tickets

If you’re an event organizer and are looking for an online platform to manage your event and communicate with your attendees you’ll find there is a whole range of different content management, blog and ecommerce solutions…

We’re experienced web developers, and in addition to developing Ticket Press we also work with some of the most popular Open Source technologies. So, here are our truly honest and open opinions on some platforms (including our own)…

Please note: when we list the disadvantages below we’re by no means disrespecting other peoples work/solutions, we’re just listing our own findings based on past projects.

Using Magento for Event Ticket Sales

Magento is a highly configurable ecommerce system that suits most businesses’ online needs with often very little bespoke development required. However, if you want lots of editorial-style pages, then you may find the default feature list a little restrictive.

Fortunately, there are an abundance of third-party plug-ins that provide Blogs, Photo Galleries and other features that when combined, may match-up to your requirements list. There are also lots of developers ready to tackle any bespoke requirements (we can help here too!). So, advantages in short:

  • Feature rich
  • Multi-store front
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Popular
  • Third-party plug-ins readily available
  • Third-party themes available
  • Easy to use administration panel (once you get used to it)
  • Support for Virtual Products (digital tickets would come under this product type)

The only real disadvantages with Magento are:

  • When new versions are released you have to invest to upgrade (or accept you’re running on an older version)
  • Some plug-ins can conflict
  • Security vulnerabilities (they occasionally release patches for the community edition that must be installed promptly)
  • Because it’s so popular it’s prone to hacking when security vulnerabilities are known
  • Can be costly to host in comparison to other platforms
  • Re-indexing (Magento’s way of self-organizing an optimized set of database tables) can drain server resource
  • Custom development can be expensive due to the complicated nature of Zend/the template engine Magento uses at it’s core
  • It uses a complicated engine used for PDF creation that may hinder customizing order-print outs if you wanted to use these as tickets

So if you’re thinking of using Magento for online ticket sales you may find you can get ‘most’ of the way there without the need for many third-party plug-ins. However, if you get a huge spike in traffic and expect to have a flurry of orders when tickets are first released you may hit problems in regards to server-loads on hosting.

Contact us to discuss your Magento requirements or to talk about using Ticket Press as an ecommerce solution for ticket sales.

Using OpenCart for Event Ticket Sales

OpenCart is a relatively lightweight ecommerce solution that can be manipulated to support Ticket Sales. We have used OpenCart several times for a broad mix of projects and in a lot of different ways. If you’re thinking of using Open Cart for event ticket sales, then you’ll find the following advantages:

  • Easy to host
  • Clean database structure
  • Page speed / Low server load
  • Multi-store front
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Third-party plug-ins/modules
  • Easy to use administration panel (very little learning curve)
  • Third-party themes
  • High security (we’ve not known an OpenCart website to get hacked)

OpenCart is not as advanced as Magento in terms of it’s feature list or architecture, but, websites generally are not complicated pieces of software – they serve HTML documents that end-users can interact with… we generally like OpenCart. Developing bespoke additions or modules is relatively easy (though it can take some time depending on the requirements). We feel OpenCart has the following disadvantages when being used as a Ticket Sales platform:

  • Very few editorial/content management features out of the box
  • Third-party plug-ins can be hit-and-miss (some are exceptional, others just don’t work or install cleanly)
  • Modules and themes sometimes struggle for future-compatibility of the core system without further work
  • VQMod (a way of making virtual code changes) is great as long as you don’t need to adjust the code of the module and/or OpenCart itself

If you wish to use OpenCart to create a ticket ecommerce solution or event information portal please contact us to discuss your needs.

Using Wordpress for Event Management and Sales

Wordpress is loved by front-end web developers for its speed of deployment and easy to install themes, but is Wordpress the right solution for Ticket Sales or event management?

Out of the box and with a default theme Wordpress has very few features, in fact, after a clean install you can easily thing “Is this it?”. But, in the hands of an experienced developer you can tailor Wordpress with custom-post types, template pages and custom fields to build-up a purpose-built content management system for your specific requirements. Add-on a few third-party plug-ins and you can even start to bolt-on ecommerce functionality and custom enquiry forms. All really good stuff, but there are some advantages and disadvantages to using Wordpress as a event management/ticket sales platform. Advantages:

  • Fast and often cost-effective front-end development
  • Third-party themes
  • Third-party plug-ins
  • Can be made really fast using caching plug-ins
  • Easy to host
  • Easy to update (unless you have badly written or outdated plug-ins)
  • Using security plug-ins and a web-application firewall can help to beef-up security

Disadvantages:

  • Regular updates needed (and must be applied)
  • Can be insecure
  • If a vulnerability is in the public domain that effects the Wordpress version of a plug-in used on your website you are highly vulnerable to being hacked
  • The database structure can make it difficult to publish future code changes (e.g. development version needs to merge with live version)
  • Once too many plug-ins are installed the administration panel can feel a little bit disjointed/messy

From a front-end developers point of view, it’s hard not to love Wordpress (really clean template system and fast to deploy). From a developers perspective there is lots of documentation and the ‘hooks’ make adding code relatively pain-free. But, to use Wordpress (cost effectively) as a ticket ecommerce system or event management system would typically require the use of, lets say, half a dozen plug-ins. Whilst the plug-ins we would use are trusted, it’s hard to say how long they would be supported for in future (and this could limit the shelf-life of the website’s platform going forward).

If you’re happy with the potential limitations of Wordpress and want to work with us to create a outstanding event management website/ticket sales ecommerce system please get in touch.

Is Ticket Press the answer?

We created Ticket Press as we couldn’t find off-the-shelf ticket ecommerce solutions that are pre-configured with features typically needed for event management and ticket sales.
This website itself is powered using the Ticket Press ecommerce / content management system. You can read more about it here or click here to view the features list.

As with the other solutions we’ve listed, there are limitations but pound-for-pound (and without additional development work), Ticket Press may prove to be the most cost-effective solution – please contact us to discuss your needs.

And it wouldn’t be right to not list our own advantages and disadvantages (there’s some marketing guru shouting “STOP” somewhere!)…

Advantages:

  • Tailor made for you (each project is deemed to be a bespoke development tailored to suit your needs)
  • Seamless admin
  • Fast page speeds
  • Very easy to host (apache or nginx)
  • Robust and secure (no project-code in the public domain)
  • Database caching
  • Easy to use administration panel
  • Feature rich
  • If you find a bug we’ll fix it (warranty details to be confirmed in your project proposal)
  • Great expected shelf-life (some websites built on my older ecommerce system are over 10 years old and still running strong)

Disadvantages:

  • Not in the public-domain (third-party developers can write code for it but no third-party pre-built modules exist)
  • If you use an unusual payment system we’ll need to write an integration for it (a selection of standard payment systems are pre-written)
  • No documentation for other developers (though our code is really clean and easy to follow – if this was a concern we can grant some time for liaising with third-party developers on your project proposal)
  • We’ll add new features in future, but they wont automatically apply to your version of the software (they can be retrospectively installed but each upgrade would carry an installation fee)

Posted on Wednesday 25th May 2016, in Ecommerce Solutions

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