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CNET Builder.com: Akopia Interchange 4.6 Review; Open Source E-Commerce

Nov 22, 2000, 18:49 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Todd Parsnick)

"The good: Excellent Web administrative interface; open source, thus free; powerful transaction management; proven, flexible architecture.

The bad: Poor documentation; confusing Site Layout editor; lack of CRM functionality.

The bottom line: Akopia Interchange is the most mature and robust open source e-commerce application server available for mid-size and large companies.

"The truly turnkey e-commerce application is still just a developer's dream. Despite the millions of dollars spent on development, no current application meets all the needs of businesses conducting Internet commerce. But companies that want a scalable custom e-commerce system without the big price tag have a great option with Interchange from Akopia. Because it is open source (offered through the General Public License), Interchange is free and can be modified to work with legacy systems and special needs. It combines the best features from two formerly successful open source products, MiniVend and Tallyman, which have thousands of active users."

"In just minutes, we had the latest RPM, or Red Hat Package, for Interchange installed on our Linux server. It comes with a "Construct Something" demo, provided as a foundation for developing your own site. There is no setup wizard, which some of the ASP (application service provider) storefronts, such as iCat Commerce Online and Yahoo Store, include; these require nothing but a browser to set up. Unlike these ASPs, however, Interchange has no limits on products, categories, transactions, or templates. Only your own hardware, programming resources, and creativity limit you. The demos illustrate everything from promotions (best-sellers, today's specials, and so on) and merchandising (coupons, custom receipts, and so forth) to shipping. The graphics included in the demos have a professional flair, which is a bonus for design newbies."

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