This is a handy component if you need a fairly SIMPLE e-commerce solution that works with Joomla. However, what has already been said is VERY true.. The support on the VirtueMart forum is TERRIBLE.. I've used enough OS solutions where I come to expect that you will find an open RESPONSIVE community of folks who can assist with setup & configuration, error messages, as well as customizations and tweaks.. This component has VERY LITTLE, and asking a question on their forum is like PULLING teeth.. You either get NO response, a HALF response, or some weird coded "Pod People" like message in response to your questions.. You will have NO problem finding other folks asking your same question.. What you will have trouble with is getting someone to RESPOND in a coherent or comprehensive manner to ANY of the questions that get asked over and OVER again.. I can't tell you how many posts only include the responses of other forum members asking the SAME information, but no actual responses GIVING that information.. When 20 people ask the SAME question, it means we ain't ALL stupid or lazy!!!! It means we need an ANSWER!!! I even PM'd Soren on of my questions (a question MANY members had asked and not received and answer for BTW), and he NEVER responded.. That's NOT good..
IMO, there a COMMON sense features MISSING from the core code.. I can give you TWO examples:
1. The PayPal payment module does not pass shipping info over to PayPal by default, leaving the shopper to either re-enter the data again, or leaving the store owner to manually enter it when doing order fulfillment. You want an example of the POOR support on their forum; it took SIX posts on several different topics before I got ONE member to respond on how/where to correct this, and while he was helpful, his answer did not provide a COMPLETE response.. It took another FOUR posts and some digging around that useless forum (using some really weird and obscure search criteria BTW) to find out how to format the country and state codes so that I was passing over correctly formatted data to PayPal.. After all of that I was wondering, "WHY DID I HAVE TO DO THIS???!!!" If this solution offers PayPal as a payment option, why isn't it coded to really WORK COMPLETELY with PayPal.. At the VERY LEAST why did they not provide folks with the info they need to get it to work completely with PayPal.. Why isn't the admin tool setup to configure this???
2. VirtueMart offers (I think) a neat feature which allows users to do a passive signup. This uses the shoppers e-mail address as their user login. Shoppers do not need to create a username and password when they register for the store.. They simply enter in their billing data, and VirtueMart creates a username using their e-mail address.. HOWEVER, VirtueMart truncates the username if it is over 25 characters.. I had to finally come over to THIS forum (the Joomla forum) just to find out how to remove this retarded mismatch of code, and I had to go to TWO places to do this.. Did they not anticipate that e-mail addresses MIGHT be over 25 characters when they added this to their code??????????? Why not tell folks how to change it??? WHY NOT PUT IT IN THE ADMIN PANEL WHERE YOU ACTIVATE THE DARN PASSIVE SIGUP???????????????????????????????
That all said VirtueMart is a DECENT out of the box solution if you want a shopping cart which integrates with Joomla. Expect though that the road to get there may be hindered by the LACK of support on the VirtueMart site, and expect that you will find a few features which are incomplete or do not work well (CSV upload is a feature that REALLY does not work well.. DESPITE the developer’s claims -- the MANY (largely unanswered) support questions regarding this topic prove this point..).. It's a darn shame really, and I hope this doesn't to sound ungrateful.. I know that the nature of OS software development is a labor of love for many of the developers involved, and as a site developer, I applaud and appreciate their efforts. However, there is also a small amount of responsibility to support the work which is clearly missing in the VirtueMart project.. Perhaps the VirtueMart team gets away with this lack of community support because they have been the only game in town for a while (it appears) for an e-commerce solution which integrates with Joomla.. I banged VirtueMart into place, but I have only used it for ONE of my sites... I'm not sure if I'll use VirtueMart again even with all I've learned unless the support improves.. While it's been a good learning experience doing this, if I do anymore e-commerce sites using Joomla, I will either configure a cart outside Joomla and link it to my Joomla site or I'll be giving ECJoomCommerce (once they get their 1.5.3 release out) a more serious look..