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Why Piggybak exists

By Brian Dillon
June 13, 2012

There are some clients debating between using Spree, an e-commerce platform, and a homegrown Rails solution for an e-commerce application.

E-commerce platforms are monolithic—​they try to solve a lot of different problems at once. Also, many of these e-commerce platforms frequently make premature decisions before getting active users on it. One way of making the features of a platform match up better to a user’s requirements is to get a minimal viable product out quick and grow features incrementally.

Piggybak was created by first trying to identify the most stable and consistent features of a shopping cart. Here are the various pieces of a cart to consider.

  • Shipping
  • Tax
  • CMS Features
  • Product Search
  • Cart / Checkout
  • Product Features
  • Product Taxonomy
  • Discount Sales
  • Rights and Roles

What doesn’t vary? Cart & Checkout.

Shipping, tax, product catalog design, sales promotions, and rights and roles all vary across different e-commerce sites. The only strict commonality is the cart and the checkout.

Piggybak is just the cart and checkout.

You mount Piggybak as a gem into any Rails app, and can assign any object as a purchasable product using a the tag “acts_as_variant” and you’re good to go. To learn more, and to see it in action ‘checkout’ Piggybak on GitHub.

ecommerce piggybak rails


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