Integrating OpenCart with other Software

Posted by Paul on December 7, 2012

OpenCart is an absolutely fantastic ecommerce platform. It is not, however, a blog, CMS or forum - that's not what it's designed for as those are platforms in their own right. Many people try to use blog software (such as WordPress) to build CMS websites and then bolt on ecommerce.

We believe the way to get the best out of your website is to start with software that was designed from the ground up for the goal you're trying to achieve.

That would mean...

For ecommerce: use OpenCart
For forums: use PHPBB
For blogs: use WordPress
For CMS websites: use Concrete5

But what if you need great functionality in more than one of these areas? It might be tempting to choose the best at one and then use extensions to implement the other. However, just like a WordPress ecommerce extension will never compete with OpenCart, an OpenCart blog extension probably won't ever compete with WordPress.

The solution?

Use both bits of software on one website. If you want ecommerce with a forum for example, install the PHPBB in a subfolder of your ecommerce website. You then "theme" the forum software to look almost identical to the ecommerce software, being sure to make sure that the top navigation is consistent.

This is the technique used on the OpenCart site itself and we used it here on RC Geeks (check out the forum):

What are the pros of this solution?

  • You get two great bits of software doing what they do best.
  • It's relatively easy to implement.
  • When done properly it can be very hard to tell you're switching between two platforms.

What are the downsides?

  • Well, as the website administrator, you'll have to log in to two separate bits of software.
  • Unless you develop code to synchronise users, which could be tricky, users will have to create two accounts. For a blog this might be okay, but for a forum it would be nice if users had just one account.


In a lot of situations this is a great way to use the best software together in one place. For blog software it makes sense because it doesn't rely heavily on user logins. For forum software, you have the choice of keeping the logins separate for users or getting single-sign-in code written to synchronise users. Either way it's probably a better solution than expecting one piece of software to do two totally different jobs by heavily modifying it with an extension.

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