I'm now wondering whether I should have a developer start the whole project from scratch, or use an open source software such us PrestaShop or nopCommerce which can then be customized?
I'm looking at opening an eCommerce site on behalf of a friend at the moment. I haven't even considered the possibility of writing it from scratch simply because it would be too expensive (time for me, cost for you) to justify.
Open source eCommerce sites are so widely used because they offer a huge head start. Unless you have specific requirements which simply cannot be met by any of the open source options, I would strongly recommend not starting from scratch. Even if you do have some specific requirements that they can't meet, it's often much easier to modify an existing open source project than start from scratch.
You're really looking at:
- Open source: low cost to get going, lots of features and a large resource base (Googling for help)
- Custom project: high cost even to get off the ground, ongoing expense to add features, no help/reference other than your own experience
Unless there's a huge benefit to custom, why not go open source? Furthermore, if your hired developer leaves (moves, quits, etc.), your new developer will know nothing about the system. If you use a common open source solution, this doesn't need to be the case.
Edit: In terms of which one to use, I think it depends on your situation. There are quite a few eCommerce projects to choose from. Things to take into consideration include:
- What resources are available relating to this project (support, documentation, themes, etc.)
- Is this project still actively maintained/developed
- What projects has my developer used before
- What do people say about the code base, if I intend on customizing it/adding features later