Stuff and Nonsense

Malarkey is Andy Clarke, a UK based designer, author and speaker who has a passion for design, CSS and web accessibility.

Andy has been working on the web for almost ten years. He is a visual web designer and author and he founded Stuff and Nonsense in 1998. Andy regularly writes about creating beautiful, accessible web sites and he speaks at events worldwide. Andy is the author of Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design, published by New Riders in 2006.

NB: Neither I nor Stuff and Nonsense are affiliated in any way with Karova. (Update July 2009: My opinions expressed in this entry refer to the Karova company prior to its purchase in March 2009. I wish the new owners every success with the business.)

An ecommerce strategic partnership

Finally designers and developers have what they want: a standards-based, highly accessible and professional ecommerce solution that has fewer limitations than anything we have seen so far.

When I sold my shares in Karova earlier this year, many people wrote to me asking whether or not I was still using Karova Store (KS2) accessible, css based e-commerce software for my clients and whether I would still recommended it to them. The answer was no, and as the question keeps getting asked, it's time to go public with the reasons why.

I am still extremely proud of the work that I did on the Karova Store software, improving the markup, usability and accessibility, and introducing Microformats (albeit in a very limited form). I am even more proud of the legacy that I left them; a strong visual identity and a web site design that I consider to be among some of my best work.

But for several reasons I cannot now recommend their software to my customers as a solution to their ecommerce needs, not least because of the fact that when I have inquired on the price of updates and extensions to its core functionality, the price quoted has been far in excess of what I know to be fair. Added to this the inflexibility of their hosting options and the difficulty of my customers owning their site (not just owning the data that they input), I needed to find an alternative solution.


Tradingeye came to my attention again after being highly recommended by a number of my friends and colleagues. The flexibility of its templates, as well as the developers' keeness to work with the standards community to continue to improve them, impressed me. Added to this the sheer depth of their product and its ability to already integrate with Sage and Act!, both popular business packages, peaked my interest.

Although the software is currently offered with a Cold Fusion back-end, the developers are keen to allow Tradingeye to run on any server that supports Cold Fusion. This means that designers, developers and their clients have a far greater choice of hosts: something that Karova Store sadly does not offer for various technical and business reasons.

A new PHP version of Tradingeye is in final testing and will be released in the next few weeks. I'm sure that this will eventually make the Cold Fusion version redundant as it finally give designers and developers what they want: a standards-based, highly accessible and professional ecommerce solution that has fewer limitations than anything that we have seen so far.

An ecommerce strategic partnership

In all my dealings with them I have been so pleased at the attitude and responsiveness of the team at dpvision, the company behind Tradingeye, that I will be helping them in the future; as I know will be a number of my accessibility specialist colleagues, to make Tradingeye's markup even more flexible and accessible.

So it's out with the old and in with the new. I'll be writing more about ecommerce later this week with a special Christmas ecommerce givaway. Ho, ho, ho!

This article was originally published by Andy Clarke on his personal web site And All That Malarkey and is reproduced here for archive purposes. This article is published under a Creative Commons By Attribution License 2.0.

Andy Clarke Stuff and Nonsense Ltd.
The Cow Shed Studio, Eversleigh Gwaenysgor Flintshire LL18 6EP UK

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