So! Open or Closed?
Front-commerce is a front-end PWA solution for e-commerce. Leader and pioneer, it has a technological edge. It chose a business model different from its competitors.
Before addressing its distribution model, let’s ask the main question: what is “open source” software and “free” software?
According to Wikipedia, the words free and open source software is often used to mean the same thing but there is actually an important distinction between the two.
The first formal definition of free software was published by FSF in February 1986.
That definition, written by Richard Stallman, is still maintained today and states that software is free software if people who receive a copy of the software have the following four freedoms.
- Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
- Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
- Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute and make copies so you can help your neighbor.
- Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.
Freedoms 1 and 3 require source code to be available because studying and modifying software without its source code can range from highly impractical to nearly impossible.
There is no mention here of pricing, so it is quite possible to resell free software and not prevent a buyer from redistributing the software for free.
According to the OpenSource Initiative, the first criterion of Open Source software is its freedom of redistribution.
It is worthwhile to continue to list the other criteria as we know that Front-Commerce is not an open source solution. If you want to dig the subject and study the other criteria: Follow this link to OpenSource initiative
in the same way as for free software, there’s no notion of access for free. The software can be Open Source and priced.
A living tool maintained and documented
Front-Commerce, of course, is not a tool that can be freely copied and distributed.
But his code is OPEN and MODIFIABLE
Users who have paid for a license become beneficiaries of the code and can use and modify it according to their needs.
Its code is MAINTAINED and EVOLVING!
The updates are free of charge during the first year of purchase.
Access to the corrections shall be maintained for a period of two years from the date of the last version contractually purchased being made available.
Front-Commerce maintains the tools used for development and updates regularly the technical documentation.
It has a COMMUNITY and LIVING environment
Your developers have access to the code repository, can open bugs and feature requests and make changes if necessary.
Front-commerce and ecosystems
For “Chaîne Thermale du Soleil”, Front-Commerce recovers the content of the majority of pages from a WordPress. Front-Commerce middleware retrieves data through its REST API and ElasticSearch projection. Choosing WordPress allowed the team to implement a WYSIWYG editor, used by site managers to easily build content with a beautiful layout.
The search uses the advanced features of Algolia, and the emails are sent by Mailjet (via its templating system).
Finally, online payments (via Ogone) were made possible thanks to the integrated payment mechanism of the Front-Commerce core.
Other platforms are being studied and other shops are in progress.
Despite having a different business model from other solutions, Front-Commerce can be easily integrated into multi-channel architectures and open source or proprietary ecosystems.
What about Hosting?
With Front-Commerce, you are free to choose your hosting. If needed, Front-Commerce can refer you to their partner https://www.ethersys.fr/.
Despite its recognized skills, there is no obligation to choose it. The only technical necessity is to have a brick: NodeJS and Redis.
Front-Commerce, with its central cache and direct access to third-party data (avoiding synchronizations in the e-commerce database), drastically reduces the load required for hosting.
Not free but so profitable!
Pay-at-Start WITHOUT any subscription or renewal required, Front-Commerce offers a range of benefits that no other solution is offering today:
- Extended functional coverage due to its prior experience in the market
- Experienced and responsive technical support … but not required
- A code tested that respects good practices with up-to-date documentation
- Development tools maintained up-to-date
- A lively and responsive community
The engineers who designed, maintain Front-Commerce have already encountered the pitfalls of creating a Progressive Web App in micro-service architecture in production. And solved them.
Pitfalls that you will inevitably encounter.
The logic that a free solution is less expensive than a paid solution can be illusory when we take into account all the parameters.
Before choosing one or the other solution, perhaps it is important to ask the right questions:
- What is the development cost for an open source solution to reach Front-Commerce functional coverage?
- What are the costs to support tests and patches before arriving at a mature and stable release?
- How long do you have to ask technical questions instead of focusing on your core business and making the necessary changes?
- How long to solve the bugs or misses of the solution?
Perhaps you better understand why Front-Commerce made this distribution choice.
In the end, a totally open solution
Not Open Source but really Open!
It can be said that Front-commerce is an OPEN solution.
- Open because its code is available and editable
- Open because it integrates perfectly into an Open Source ecosystem
- Open because it evolves and you are one of the contributors