I may be wrong on this, but ... many people feel the .htm or .html extension is given preference in the SE's, and that may be true to some very minor degree, but many .php / .asp / etc. sites rank very well, so I don't buy it. I personally find static pages desirable for both the potential server-load issue, but more-so for dial-up user experience. Most cart / store software create hugely bloated code, and any advantage you can provide on load times benefits these users. Though broadband is gaining in market share here in the US, there are areas where it is not available or too expensive for the average new user.
I looked at X-Cart and found this to be true. It has a huge user base, but with their pricing structure to get the store I wanted meant purchasing multiple add-ons per site, and living with tons of standard features I won't use bloating the sizes of my pages. What they don't offer is filled in by 3rd party add-ons that also cost additional fees. They actively discourage anyone from offering free mods, and have run off many of their most helpful and productive forum users.
I thought I made a wise decision choosing CS-Cart, a relatively new cart whose userbase is largely composed of disgruntled current or ex-X-Cart users. It includes a huge amount of the add-ons that you would have to pay for individually w/ X-Cart. They are quite aggressive in adding new functions and have had numerous releases in the year + since I purchased the software. The developers uesed to be mod providers for X-Cart, and though this is a ground-up system it has a lot of similarities.
However .. their template system is a bear to edit (Smarty, but way too many files), and it generates pages w/ tables nested sometimes 3 or 4 levels deep (X-Cart may do this too). Upgrading w/ each new release isn't an easy task for the average joe, though one regular user offers to "port your modifications" to a new version for free ... not sure how he does it. It has the ability to convert your catalog and product pages to html, though it does not do that for the CMS (general content) pages of your site, which is completely stupid in my mind. Though the html generation is included even in the most recent beta version, they've threatened to drop it in the future in favor of their SEO mod-rewrite capabilities so they've not spent any time improving it. The search function also returns only the .php versions of pages, and there are some navigation quirks, so I believe there is a real possibility of duplicate content issues in the SE's.
In time I think these guys may be the place to be, but the more I dig into it, the more discouraged I become. 'Almost there' but not quite. They are completely focused on adding new features, and do a great job at that, but I feel their focus right now should be on refining the existing features rather than adding new stuff. They remain at under $200 for lifetime free upgrades for all added features, and offer discounts for purchases after the 1st.
Just throwing another option out there, but for myself, I'm honestly not sure what my next step will be. I'm going to try to strip this down to a basic but usable cart, avoiding the problem features for now, and hope to get the html conversion worked out to my satisfaction, that was it's big selling point for me. But it's taken me far longer than I had to invest already and I still don't have a new store that works as I think it should. I may once again be to a point where I'm looking at other options ... till they fix my concerns. I wasn't thrilled w/ what I found last time I looked. Cube-Cart looked best to me at the time (another free OSC clone).
Edited by arlen, 24 August 2007 - 01:46 PM.