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eSellerate Custom Store: FUWS!!!

Through the years Freshly Squeezed Software has been with eSellerate, several customers have written in concerned that when they click "Buy" they're taken to a site that looks and feels wholly different (eSellerate). Some get confused, and some just leave. We track the number of people that visit the store via our site, and a rather low percentage end up buying. Throughout the years, I've contemplated setting up a merchant account, getting secure hosting, and doing all sorts of things to provide a smooth process to customers without the jarring "Look, you're on a different site entirely!" surprise.

eSellerate recently rolled out a feature that purportedly allows you to customize the appearance of your storefront to match your own site (or to look any way you wish). I've spent the past few days marching through their code: I was very excited to have the opportunity to provide that smooth process to customers without leaving eSellerate, who has been a good partner for a number of years.

I was not nearly as excited once I saw their basic template code.

The code is flat out wretched. It's got terrible grammar and spelling errors:

<!-- Their are two layouts for this page … -->
<!--BEGINS THE BILLIENG INFORMATION HEADER TABLE-->

It's got malformed HTML:

<table border=0 WIDTH=100%>
<img src="blah.gif" Width=9 height=13 hspace=10>

It's also got some pretty crummy logic. style attributes cannot be applied to span tags because span tags are the method by which eSellerate applies logic:

<span _if="NOT _CatalogItem.LongDescription == '' ">

You can apply span tags with the class attribute, but you can't nest spans because the inner /span ends the conditional block.

Why couldn't eSellerate have gone with PHP, Java, or any scripting language from the past few years would have better sufficed here, and made a lot more sense. Instead, we have some Lasso/ColdFusion-like bastard child.

But, alas, it only gets better: when asked why the "Preview" button didn't do anything in Safari, Camino, Firefox, OmniWeb, or Opera, I was told "Use Internet Explorer, that works for us."

I say again: I was told to use Internet Explorer.

Though I may be able to "rescue" my store from this heaping pile of code, and though I've found (very tedious) workarounds to the lack of "Preview" functionality, I'm not very comfortable with the fact that eSellerate has basically said Fuck You, Web Standards!!! Well, fuck you to any standards developed in the past five years, anyway.

As much as I am disgusted right now, I still have the goal in mind: provide a smooth process to the customers. I'm frustrated that something for which I've been waiting for a few months has dumped itself so unceremoniously in my lap and taken 30 hours simply to get to a point at which things should work (but don't quite yet for unknown reasons).

I'm very happy with eSellerate, but this whole thing tastes a bit too much like a half-baked potato.

2 Responses to "eSellerate Custom Store: FUWS!!!"

  1. Oh the humanity! I had customizing the esellerate page on my list, but I think I'll wait a bit more... Did they hire monkeys to do the coding? Or am I insulting the monkeys now?

  2. Sounds almost as bad as this shopping cart I had to setup earlier this summer for a PC site. He signed up with this host because they offered a customizable shopping cart solution. I began poking around with it, and customization meant having to edit the tables based layout in the actual php source. No templating, the html was covered in font tags, and it made a job that should have taken a few days take weeks.

    It makes you wonder why these companies are really saying fuck you to the web standards. My guess? Since Microsoft is with IE6 and its lack of updates, most companies don't feel the need to adhere. Maybe Longhorn will change all of this? I highly doubt it though. :-\


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