CRE Loaded Automated Load

I am working on a project right now that is quite a challenge--making CRE Loaded work with an automated load from a separate POS system. CRE Loaded is a tremendous tool, but I don't think it was intended to provide automated capabilities to tie into an existing POS system.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, CRE Loaded is a free, PHP-based storefront. You can find out more here. CRE Loaded is based on the popular OSCommerce platform, and is a great way to get an appealing and flexible storefront up on the web quickly. In addition to the free version, there is a paid Pro version that provides additional capabilities and features.

Generally, I have been very happy with CRE Loaded, but the loading process, called Easy Populate, is lacking. A few of the things you would expect to be there (automated loads, additional fields for the loads, and complete refresh of your entire store inventory) require stepping up to the Pro version, or are not available at all outside custom development. I believe the automated load of the store inventory is going to require hand coding of a CRON job to script out backing up the database, clearing it, and loading from a new import file.

This is a bit of surprise because CRE Loaded seems to handle the vast majority of the desired functionality simply and easily, right out of the box. Personally, it seems like a pretty common feature to require handling a load from a POS system or other external system. Because of that, I am surprised at what seems like anemic capabilities to support load imports.

That said, CRE Loaded is generally a great product, and the ability to write custom code as needed will even mitigate this issue. If you need to set up a storefront, I would put this at the top of your list to review. Just be sure you either don't need to handle external inventory, or can invest in custom code to fulfill this requirement.

Good luck out there!