Ecommerce Web Development Help: Custom Java Website or Opencart Customization?


I am building an ecommerce website with the following features:

  1. An amazon like platform for local food, both wholesale and retail
  2. Matching of sellers and buyers based on zip codes and other criteria
  3. Ability to save standing or repeat orders
  4. Ability to make the orders on credit terms
  5. Ability for the customer to modify the orders before the cut off time for placing orders
  6. Logistics page where transportation companies will input their availability and get list of orders to execute
  7. Discounts for particular buyers
  8. Ability for the seller to create his own inventory

So far, I’ve gotten to 2 teams which worked for a friend and are supposedly really good:

  1. The first team works with Opencart and estimated cost is $2,500 including design
  2. The second team will custom build the website in Java and will cost $4,000. The second one does not include design and that has been a problem because I contracted designers and they only got to the home page, but later bailed out because it was more complicated than they expected.
    I initially chose the Java team (most probably biased decision because my brother is java developer and because of the big idea that this business will actually be successful and will need scalability which I was told is best with a custom Java platform).

Because of the problems I have with the design, I am actually rethinking my decision for choosing java customized website.

This is not a plain vanilla website for sure, and it needs a lot of customization. The design is also very important to me and needs to be responsive. I am now worried that I will have to invest much more upfront and be caught in a continuous reinvestment cycle with a custom website that is actually not better than opencart. But I also want very specific things because this in theory is supposed to grow to be an amazon like platform. What would you go for: java custom or open cart?

Thanks in advance!

I am also a Java Developer that focuses on Web. Getting a full Java app under $4000 seems like a great bargain… of course, that all depends on the quality of design and testing. One can rush things w/ using brute force solutions with mentality of “Just get it done on time”. If they know the customer is not IT oriented then I can see them ripping you off.

My recommendation is to go ahead w/ cheaper team. Expect that they’ll create crappy code but eventually have a working application. If you got lucky and they did produce a good application then so be it. Chances are, if your site takes off and you are worrying about performance then most likely you’ll rebuild the system from scratch. It is not gurantee that just because app is written in Java means that it’ll scale automatically. This depends heavily on design that is not depended on specific programming language. The expectation of your first iteration of the app is to get definitive requirements and UI design. I’m 99% sure your requirements will change during the development phase. You’re not going to know these things until developers are deep into development or you may change your requirements.

If you really want to get application that is scalable from get go then I expect you’ll spend somewhere between $20~40,000 (for someone in U.S…not sure about India)… Well, I’m guessing it takes about 2~3 months to build it. But, if you already have a working application that needs to be redone then it’ll be substantially less because requirements and UI design are completed already.