Sucks for Development – Why I Do Not Recommend BigCommerce for E-commerce

A bit of my history. I have developed my own e-commerce solution in Java / WebOjects and it ran about 20± online stores for 5-10 years. I began my search for Open Source solutions about 10 years ago. I’ve used OSCommerce, Magento, WP-ecommere, OpenCart, Woo-Commerce and I’ve rolled some e-commerce stuff in codeigniter. All of these have had their shortcomings for me. I’ve settled on OpenCart. I like the constant updates, the developer environment, it has a MVC (model view controller) framework and the VQMod system is a blessing or a curse. The available plugins for it allow you to quickly add features that would’ve taken much longer to write on my own.

opencart-logoMy latest stores for Tisch International and Build At Home Skateparks are built on the Sellegance Responsive Template and I manage everything via SVN which allows me to have a development store and then push changes to the live site.

I digress, why does suck? The primary reason is that there is NO DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT! You can’t setup a development site to work on a new design. The changes to the template, CSS or likewise have to be done in “real-time” on a LIVE SITE. I’m pretty good at CSS/HTML and JS but I do 90% of my design and programming changes on a development site. This is the recommendation I got from support:

JOHN U: It depends on the level of change. If it’s something small, a lot of people use Firebug or similar tools to edit in the browser, then update. If it’s a larger site redesign, they either set up a free trial or purchase another store for X amount of months while they are developing

This brings me to working on a “development” site. I was forced to setup a free trial and begin making changes to a template that my client purchased. After I finish development, I will then have to download the template files from the free trial site and upload them to the live site. I can live with this. Apparently free trials expire after 15 days… This is a low priority project for me so I haven’t had lots of time to complete everything in 15 days.

Purchased Templates / Themes! If you purchase a template or theme from the BigCommerce store you can’t install it in a development site / store and then transfer it to the live store. You have to purchase the template, apply it to your store and then make edits in real-time. This is ludicrous. Fortunately, I talked with the theme developer and they let me purchase a copy from them so that I can install it in the free-trial / development site. This will allow me to make all the changes and then upload it to the live site when finished. However, since I didn’t purchase it from the store, I will not receive updates to this template.

In the end, I can not recommend if you want your store customized. Sure, it’s a solution that will get your running and selling stuff quickly. Just don’t expect to make it look “exactly like you want” without some serious hurdles.

Other Reviews



Chat with – The agent was great. The e-commerce software platform sucks.

Thank you for contacting Bigcommerce. My name is John, how may I help you?
JOHN U: Hi james, I am glad to assist you today.How may I help you?
YOU: John, I’m developing a new site for –
YOU: when I log in with my account, i only see the and not my
JOHN U: Just to clarify James, When you are logged in you can only see the store but not the is that correct?
YOU: yes. I sent you a screenshot. I used to be able to select my test store
JOHN U: Oh I see, I can certainly assist you on this James. :)
JOHN U: Please give me 5 minutes while I am checking my tools, Is that okay with you?
YOU: definitely
YOU: i can’t do anything.
JOHN U: I tried to login in your store and I found out that your store was expired already, Here is the screenshot: that is the reason why you cannot see it when you are in Bigcommerce login.
YOU: so how do I develop?
YOU: BigCommerce sucks… I don’t want a store. I want a development environment.
JOHN U: You can contact our billing support to extend the trial days of your store.
YOU: you don’t offer a development environment.
YOU: i can’t take down the live store and develop.
YOU: i can’t have a dev with the current store.
YOU: i can’t believe you guys operate like this.
YOU: oh yeh, i can’t purchase theme and use it in a dev site and then transfer it.
YOU: So i need to talk to billing?
JOHN U: Let me look into it James.
YOU: I didn’t get any notification my store is expired.
JOHN U: Please give me 5 minutes to check the details about your questions.
YOU: is my client. they have a paid store. i need some development environment.
YOU: i need some place to work on their new theme.
YOU: i don’t want to pay for a store.
JOHN U: James, i’m talking with someone in Direct Sales/Billing right now to find out what we can possibly do for this store.. just one more moment
YOU: thx
JOHN U: Alright, James, I’ve got some information for you here. So, you signed up for a 15-day trial test site to do your customization in and now it’s been more than 15 days, hence why it was cancelled. I paired with a member of the direct sales team and they have made a special exception to extend that free trial by an additional 15 days so that you can get in and get access to the work you’ve done so far. You’re absolutely correct about the “development” environment, and that it would be very useful in this situation. We don’t usually hand out “development” environments to clients, but we DO give them to design partners. If you are going to be doing a lot of design work on this or other Bigcommerce stores, it might benefit you to reach out to our partners team and see about enrolling as a design partner. That way you would get a sandbox account to work in.
YOU: I appreciate it. I can reach out to them.
YOU: So far my experience with BigCommerce has been lackluster. I’ve made my own e-commerce sites, I also develop OpenCart and woocomerce sites and i would NEVER edit a customers live site.
YOU: seems like a MAJOR Flaw in your system.
JOHN U: I hate that you’ve had a bad experience :/. I hope we were able to at least get things going in the right direction today. Maybe not with the perfect solution, but at least with some new options and access to your hard work in that trial.
YOU: You have an e-commerce solution. But how do you recommend anyone makes edit to their site if their is now dev environment?!
JOHN U: Usually we recommend that they sign up to use a free trial, just like you were already doing. Admittedly, it’s not a perfect solution, and we are actually working on a development environment because we know how important that is to a lot of our clients. I hope we will see that out soon. I know you’re not the only one that would benefit from it :)
JOHN U: Does this get you going in the right direct today, James?
YOU: Furthermore, does everyone edit their store in ‘real-time’ when they want to do CSS or design changes?
YOU: When I log into this page:
JOHN U: It depends on the level of change. If it’s something small, a lot of people use Firebug or similar tools to edit in the browser, then update. If it’s a larger site redesign, they either set up a free trial or purchase another store for X amount of months while they are developing
YOU: it automatically takes me to the site and I can’t select my dev site. how do i get to the dev site?
JOHN U: try going to
YOU: O.k., thanks.

10 Homemade vegan Energy Bars for Exercise and Refueling

Refueling after a tough workout and making sure your body is amped with nutrients, carbs and protein can get expensive if you buy energy and protein bars from the grocery store. Having a bulk box of protein bars stored away so you’re always prepared is a convenient way to stay satiated while leading a busy lifestyle, but they are not necessarily conveniently priced. You save money by buying a box of 12 or 24 or more bars, but if you purchase one bar on it’s own, you may be paying up to two dollars just for one bar. While you’re at it, there’s a chance you might be getting some fillers and add – ins with the store-bought varieties. For cheaper, healthier bars, make one of these homemade energy bars.

10 Homemade Energy Bars: The Easy and Inexpensive Way to Refuel | One Green Planet.

Edible protein per unit area of land – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soybeans produce at least two times as much usable protein per acre than any other major vegetable or grain crop, except for hemp which can produce up to 293 lbs of usable protein per acre 33 g/m². They produce 5 to 10 times more protein per acre than land set aside for grazing animals to make milk, and up to 15 times more protein per acre than land set aside for meat production.[1]

via Edible protein per unit area of land – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Delta Dawn – Paddling a River Run Free on Vimeo

The 2014 Colorado River Pulse Flow. Of the 260 rivers that cross international borders, this is the first binational agreement of its kind. A short highlighting the first crossing of the delta via watercraft
(self support Standup Paddle Board) in over two decades.
Video, writing and editing by Pete McBride/ Pete McBride Productions.
Shot on assignment for Outside Online and Outside Magazine to accompany the story: “The River Was Nowhere and Everywhere. Outside Magazine July 2014.
Delta Boatman: Sam Walton, Fred Phillips, Juan Butron, Osvel Hinojosa, Rowan Jacobsen, Pete McBride.
Aerial Footage: Thanks to Owen Bissell/ Sonoran Institute.

Delta Dawn – Paddling a River Run Free on Vimeo on Vimeo

via Delta Dawn – Paddling a River Run Free on Vimeo.

Elevation Training Mask | Simulate High Altitude Training

I’m thinking about getting this!


The secret of truly elite athletes isn’t the amount of time spent working out, the intensity of the workout, or the determination to push one’s body to the limits. No, world-class athletes are beating their competition thanks to the effects of high-altitude training.

When the air is thinner, your body works harder, increasing your ability to process oxygen. When you return to lower elevations, your performance will show substantial increases in strength, endurance and speed. It’s as if you were wearing a suit of armor while working out and then removed it for the competition.

It used to be that most athletes who wanted that edge were out of luck. Unless they lived near very high mountains, or had an enormous amount of money to travel to training facilities there, they had to settle for the benefits of a hard workout at sea level.

That was then. Now there’s a way to get the benefits of high-altitude training without heading to the mountaintop.

Altitude Training Mask

Elevation Training Mask | Simulate High Altitude Training.

The History of WordPress, its Ecosystem and Community

Really nice piece on the history of WordPress

WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet. With over 22% of websites run on this platform, we thought we would look at the history of it, how it transformed from a simple blogging system into its current form, how its community was born, and the ecosystem around WordPress.
The platform is changing how websites from all around the world work, with more power and performance than traditional websites or most other CMS systems. Because of the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) ability to change parts of your site, more and more people are becoming bloggers, webmasters, and internet marketers than ever before.

The History of WordPress, its Ecosystem and Community.

A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber. : WTF

I saw this picture earlier in the day and it definitely had an affect on me… Later in the day the image came back in my head and I had to review it again and come to terms with what happened. I’m still in total disbelief and It really hit home because I have a 5 year old daughter and can’t imagine the heartache this dad is feeling. Some people are fucking lame…

A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber. : WTF

It is almost certainly from the Belgian Congo. King Leopold ll took control of The Congo and claimed that he was guiding them towards independence. Instead he demanded harsh rubber harvesting quotas from the natives. If they didn’t harvest enough rubber their village would be massacred an the soldiers would cut off the hands of the corpses as proof of what they had done. They received a bounty for every hand they brought back. Many soldiers would cut the hands of living people so they could make more money.”


A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber. : WTF.