Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Pareto Lamp

I was asked over the Thanksgiving break to create an online store for soccer fundraising.  This planned Christmas Catalog was behind schedule and needed something fast.  With turkey on deck, there was no time to code anything from scratch, so I jumped into Softaculous and installed the highly-rated OpenCart. Configuration was quick, and I soon had the 25 product store online and ready for business.

It can be just that easy in the LAMP Stack world.

That’s largely because most of what we do on the web has already been done countless times before. There’s rarely good reason to code a custom solution when open source options are readily available. That’s a very good thing, because an occupational hazard for code monkeys like me is that we often get asked to help with “computer things” like this.  We like to be able to knock out these common problems quickly and reserve most of our time for the uncharted territories that require more invention and programming horsepower.

I did have to browse the OpenCart source, but that was only to answer my questions about how to configure some things (like sales tax) that didn’t work quite right at first.  Since it follows a familiar MVC structure, navigating the PHP was straightforward.  In the end, I didn’t have to write a single line of code.

Nearly 80% of the server-side web is written in PHP.  And certainly less than 20% of overall programming work goes toward maintaining it.  I’m thankful for the LAMP stack and the Pareto principle that powers it, and will keep OpenCart and other ready Softaculous solutions handy.