Spree Commerce questions


I just started a contract job for a client who has previously been using Spree commerce for a relatively large product database (1000+). They are looking for certain design tweaks and addition of certain modules on the site.

Now im a fairly novice web designer, i focus mainly on front end and some php/mysql, so Im finding myself lost in getting started with a plan.

I was just wondering if there are any advanced Spree commerce users on here who can give me some points in the right direction and some answers as to whether or not certain things can be done.


  1. Are there any html pages that can be manually edited or is all html dynamically generated by the Ruby files?

  2. Whats the best way to copy this website and its spree platform onto a practice local server?

  3. Would I be better off switching to a more design-flexible e-commerce platform( I can create custom Wordpress themes, and use an e-commerce plugin)?

  4. Will I need to know Ruby to make changes to the navigation, or layout of the pages?

ANY help would be appreciated. Thanks!

You must be joking… seriously I hope your joking. That would be like taking a million steps backward.

I’m not familiar with spree but based on the what I do know about rails you will need to know some ruby. That is if you need to change the HTML.

Honestly, you are not going to get very far without learning some things about the command line installing ruby and rails.That is if you would like to set-up a local testing environment. Have you looked at the spree docs?

If those docs don’t make any sense to you than you first need to step back and set-up ruby than rails on your machine w/ the proper gems. That in itself can be quit a task depending on the machine you are running.

I don’t think this is really the job for a web designer not to mention a beginner. To even get started with rails you are probably going to need to dive into some amount of programming and command line fun.

Ah yes, unfortunately all the answered I feared were true are true.

As for moving to another platform, would be much backpedalling but I have no problem with monotonous database work as long as I know how to do it.
With ruby on rails, my inability to understand the command line well or ruby files and
their interaction with each other leaves me with alot more work than simply switching the products to a platform I can manipulate.

Thanks for your answers, will definitely help from this point forward.

Switching to Wordpress would result in a slew of other problems. Ruby and rails are good things to know. If the client is going to pay you to learn this stuff than you might as well learn it. Can’t hurt.

I’ve had a quick look at Spree.

You’ll be able to change the styles in app/assets/stylesheets without touching Ruby.
By default Spree has it’s own set of views(html templates) that are hidden. They suggest not to override these views so that you can upgrade Spree without changing anything. I don’t like this approach, I would much prefer to override the views and customize them as I want. Upgrading would be slower but nothing would be hidden and I could customize any part.

These views may have overridden when the store was built, if so you’ll see HTML in the app/views/spree which you should be able to make sense of if you’re familiar with PHP. .erb files are kind of similar. <% %> is equivalent to <?php ?> and <%= %> is equivalent to <?php echo ?> which prints the output into the HTML.

I’m not familiar with Spree but as oddz said moving to another platform because you’re unfamiliar with RoR is a really bad way to go.
Give it a shot, Rails was created for programmer happiness :slight_smile: