Post by kk651 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:33 am

Hello again,

As an OC newbie I was suggested in various sources before here, that Journal is the most common and customizable theme to use for Opencart.
Maybe too early, yet due to some rush in business I decided to purchase Journal theme.

So far I can give a full thumbs up to Journal, relative to Wordpress (I hate WP & WC with all my life now).
Yet customer support of Journal theme is so far disappointing. They respond very slow, and certainly not productive.

Nevertheless, I noticed several strongly negative comments here from very experienced members.
Would you be so kind to elaborate, why you think developing an OC page with Journal theme is a bad idea?
And what alternative do you support to a newcomer in the field, with background in programming?

Thank you very much for your support!

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Post by IP_CAM » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:59 am

Well, just compare the huge amount of Data used, to create a simple Page,
compared with a default OC Installation, like I just mentioned in another
topic. It takes about 1'700 + Code lines to present a simple Category Page
and about the same amount, to present a Start Page, compared with a
'default'-like Theme, using a less than 10 Lines, if the Code is compressed
in a decent form.
viewtopic.php?f=202&t=220031&p=799605#p799605

But Journal is not just a Theme, it's more a complete rewrite of OpenCart
Code, and it contains a lof of stuff, thereby keeping one from requiring
many Extensions. But that has it's price, one just needs to be aware of that,
and without efficient Caching Systems, Journal would be a slug, when it
comes to performance, because of that.

No wonder, that just about nobody cares around here, if one asks for help,
because Journal never supported OpenCart, or even cared about it, so, why
should someone around here care about it, and that even for free ... :laugh:

Compare Journal with a mocked-up Woman, she's usually rather complicated
to handle, and so is Journal. :D And if Journal would really care about it's Users,
they would at least run their own (free) Forum, which is not the case either. But
it's a paid Theme, and the most stolen OC Extension too, so, don't be angry about
OpenCart, or this Forum, it's not an OC Problem, if one decides on using that
Extension. And especially not, since one cannot know, if one possibly even supports
Crooks and Thiefs ... 8) , only adding to unfair Competition.

But one should NOT avoid Journal, one should just be aware about, to NO LONGER
be using a relatively simple OpenCart Install, if one decides on Journal, and therefore
be willing, to pay for Support, like everywhere else, in real Business at least ...

Good Luck! ;)
Ernie

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Post by letxobnav » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:22 am

if you are happy with it, just use it.

I have a Kia and everybody says it is a POS, I am happy with it, move on.

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Post by thekrotek » Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:49 pm

The answer is simple: Journal is not compatible with most extensions on the market and you will have a lot of headaches by trying to make them work together.

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Post by kk651 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:20 pm

IP_CAM wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:59 am
Well, just compare the huge amount of Data used, to create a simple Page,
compared with a default OC Installation, like I just mentioned in another
topic. It takes about 1'700 + Code lines to present a simple Category Page
and about the same amount, to present a Start Page, compared with a
'default'-like Theme, using a less than 10 Lines, if the Code is compressed
in a decent form.
viewtopic.php?f=202&t=220031&p=799605#p799605

But Journal is not just a Theme, it's more a complete rewrite of OpenCart
Code, and it contains a lof of stuff, thereby keeping one from requiring
many Extensions. But that has it's price, one just needs to be aware of that,
and without efficient Caching Systems, Journal would be a slug, when it
comes to performance, because of that.

Good Luck! ;)
Ernie
Ernie thank you very much for your humble and honest response. Anytime I read your comment in any topic, I'm learning something new and valuable about Opencart. Big respect :)

Once my online store is set and running, I will run some performance tests and will share in this thread. It just surprises me that all other sources are full of positive reviews with Journal. Yet now I can see Journal is not as perfect as these hundreds of "profiles" claim to be. Also to be frank, their customer support so far is absolute disappointment. They respond quite late (roughly in 24h) and most of the time their response is "Journal does not support that". Fun fact: in all of them they direct people to right here, OpenCart forum :D

Finally I have to admit that choosing Journal as a theme felt like the sole choice since I'm not sure, how can someone manage to create a well functioning, stylish store without spending 20-40$ to every detail for another extension. If you have an alternative theme, a complete extension pack, or a learning path / documentation I will be happy to know for my next project.

Thank you very much!

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Post by thekrotek » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:40 pm

kk651 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:20 pm
Finally I have to admit that choosing Journal as a theme felt like the sole choice since I'm not sure, how can someone manage to create a well functioning, stylish store without spending 20-40$ to every detail for another extension. If you have an alternative theme, a complete extension pack, or a learning path / documentation I will be happy to know for my next project.
Theme should only provide you a nice customizable layout and shouldn't be an all-in-one solution. Journal developers made a grave mistake by creating a monster instead of a decent light weight theme. I dunno where all these positive reviews come from, probably from another planet.

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Post by paulfeakins » Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:49 pm

thekrotek wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:49 pm
The answer is simple: Journal is not compatible with most extensions on the market and you will have a lot of headaches by trying to make them work together.
Basically this really. It's massively complicated so if you have any problems most developers won't want to help or they'll charge you a lot to do so.

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Post by JNeuhoff » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:58 pm

Please read this forum thread on why to avoid Journal3.

To summarize:

Journal3 is of a poor software engineering quality.

It unnecessarily relies on OCmod (XML-based descriptions of core OpenCart files modifications). Worse of all, it even modifies OpenCart system engine core files, a recipe for disaster! None of it was necessary for what they set out to accomplish. OpenCart has been supporting proper event handlers since 3.x releases.

Journal3 also has way too much Javascript, contributing to its bloated and ugly themes.

Journal3 replaces at least 113 (by my last count) standard OpenCart frontend twig files with their own versions, even for what they try to accomplish, this number is totally blown out of proportion. A web theme should only contain modified twig template files (e.g. header.twig, footer.twig, to name a few commonly modified ones) in its own theme folder.

And Journal3 doesn't always abide by the standard OpenCart folders structure. E.g. theme-specific images should be stored in catalog/view/theme/journal3/image/, not in the image/catalog/journal3/. The image/catalog/ is mainly for content images (e.g. product or category images).

The Journal3 is several times bigger than the whole of a standard OpenCart!

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Post by p419 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:14 pm

If Journal is so bad why doesn't someone just engineer a fully compliant template with all of the best end user features that Journal has?
It seems like a great business opportunity given there appears to be no really good Open Cart templates available.

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Post by thekrotek » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:58 pm

p419 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:14 pm
If Journal is so bad why doesn't someone just engineer a fully compliant template with all of the best end user features that Journal has?
It seems like a great business opportunity given there appears to be no really good Open Cart templates available.
It's not about ideas or implementation, it's all about promotion.

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Post by p419 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:04 am

thekrotek wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:58 pm
p419 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:14 pm
If Journal is so bad why doesn't someone just engineer a fully compliant template with all of the best end user features that Journal has?
It seems like a great business opportunity given there appears to be no really good Open Cart templates available.
It's not about ideas or implementation, it's all about promotion.
I'm not sure I understand your comment.
Are you saying a well engineered, fully compliant template with all of the best end user features already exists but needs to be promoted?
Or that Journal is well promoted?

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Post by by mona » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:31 am

The best fully compliant template with all of the best end user features already exists, it is called Opencart and it is free .. There can not be an theme that is fully compliant and I disagree with any comments that a css only theme is - only in a very very minimal state which is not a theme its a stylesheet.

Journal is bells and whistles.

However there is no good business opportunity to “compete” with Journal because I very much doubt you would pay for the quality. A fake Gucci bag, is still a fake Gucci bag. If you want a real Gucci bag it costs more than most are prepared to pay and if you don’t understand the difference and think its just a label, which I suspect is what most people think (including those that buy the real one because of the label), there lies the problem.

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Post by JNeuhoff » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:34 am

p419 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:14 pm
If Journal is so bad why doesn't someone just engineer a fully compliant template with all of the best end user features that Journal has?
It seems like a great business opportunity given there appears to be no really good Open Cart templates available.
This was discussed on other OpenCart forum threads, but other than some vague fan-posts nobody really explained because of what features exactly users felt compelled to buy Journal3. Most of Journal3 has nothing to do with a web theme, it's web theme itself is very cumbersome to configure and user-unfriendly, but my hunch is that users get Journal3 mainly because of other non-theme related features, and even here a lot are just re-invented wheels.

Basically, a Journal3 site is not really an OpenCart site anymore, hence they should set up their own support forum.

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Post by thekrotek » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:47 am

p419 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:04 am
Are you saying a well engineered, fully compliant template with all of the best end user features already exists but needs to be promoted?
Exactly. There're hundreds of well engineered, fully compliant extensions with all the best end user features, but they have very low sales due to the lack of promotion. You may have tons of great ideas and even implement them, but you won't get much profit until you become well known.
p419 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:04 am
Or that Journal is well promoted?
Journal is the first theme any new OpenCart store owner finds at his first search. So yes, I'd say it is very well promoted. Probably now self-promoted, since it is so popular.

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Post by kk651 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:54 pm

by mona wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:31 am
The best fully compliant template with all of the best end user features already exists, it is called Opencart and it is free .. There can not be an theme that is fully compliant and I disagree with any comments that a css only theme is - only in a very very minimal state which is not a theme its a stylesheet.
As a beginner to OC I want to give you my honest and humble reason for buying Journal on top of OC: Documentation.
Maybe I gave up too early, but after doing some research I noticed that finding a source to learn fully about Opencart was very challenging.

Can't lie, documentation of Journal is also a joke, but at least it is a start. Thus I manage to find my own way.

Now, for those in future who are new to Opencart, and also for newbies like me, I will be more than happy if you can share:

1- some reliable, well organized resources providing how to develop in Opencart default theme,
2- alternative cms' or extensions that can provide equivalent capacities as Journal provides.

Guys, you point to an obvious problem almost everyone agrees. But in order to overcome this problem, it's even more important to point a solution on top of it.

Thank you very much for all your comments and such!

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Post by thekrotek » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:10 pm

kk651 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:54 pm
1- some reliable, well organized resources providing how to develop in Opencart default theme,
2- alternative cms' or extensions that can provide equivalent capacities as Journal provides.
You're missing the main point. so once again: theme should ONLY be responsible for layout. Heck, it should even have as less settings as possible to keep the light weight! So #2 is absolutely irrelevant here.

As for developing a theme you should be a developer, apparently. If you're a developer already, you don't really need any resources. Just copy default theme in new folder and edit it as much as you like to create your own. Easy-peasey.

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Post by letxobnav » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:37 pm

theme should ONLY be responsible for layout
Journal is not a theme but a template which incorporated much more than sheer color palettes and buttons.
Since journal wants/needs to be everything to everybody it is heavilly loaded with stuff most people will never use or change.
Like using MS excel for your daily shopping list it makes for an OC site with an elephant on it's back.

But if you are happy with it and are fine with the performance, use it.

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Post by johnp » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:52 pm

letxobnav wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:37 pm
You're missing the main point. so once again: theme should ONLY be responsible for layout. Heck, it should even have as less settings as possible to keep the light weight! So #2 is absolutely irrelevant here.
Agree 100%.

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Post by kk651 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:52 pm

thekrotek wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:10 pm
You're missing the main point. so once again: theme should ONLY be responsible for layout. Heck, it should even have as less settings as possible to keep the light weight! So #2 is absolutely irrelevant here.

As for developing a theme you should be a developer, apparently. If you're a developer already, you don't really need any resources. Just copy default theme in new folder and edit it as much as you like to create your own. Easy-peasey.
I wish it was easy as you mentioned. Maybe I don't know yet, but that also accounts for hundreds of people who are new to OpenCart. Default theme of OC is nothing near Journal, when it comes to customization. Fair enough, I intend to go with default theme in my next project. But then how am I supposed to cover all the capabilities with the same budget? What I see from extension market, every detail you need for your page costs at least $60 a year!

I'm not asking these to prove anything opposite. Contrarily, I believe you are right. But if you argue something as bad, and the other is good, then you are expected to state what good is, where we can reach out to it.

Speaking of, thank you very much for sharing these cool sources @JNeuhoff. I will definitely take a look into them!

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