Professional e-commerce software written in Ruby on Rails

Honest Engine feature image

Too Much Story? See Pictures Now:
See Store Designs and See Admin User Interface

E-commerce System Design

In March 2008 I had two years experience working with XCart e-commerce software and had completely rebuilt the front end templates, redesigned the admin, and came up with a new tag-based navigation system. I left my employer at that time as my wife and I had decided to try building a business of our own.

I could not find a suitable off-the-shelf e-commerce solution after weeks of evaluation. Shopify was attractive, but didn't do everything we needed. I set out to design and build my own.

Design and Architecture

I partnered with Brad Ediger, Rails developer & author of Advanced Rails from O'Reilly, and we built the software and storefront in about 6 weeks. This was my first big learning experience with Ruby and Rails. Prior to this I had done basic view work only.

Embroidery preview
Embroidery Preview: I designed a real-time product personalization widget.

Two of the features I'm most proud of on the user front are the one-page checkout and the way we handle user accounts. Accounts are never brought up in the checkout process, though they are automatically created or added to based on the email address. Customers can activate and then use the account if they want via email, otherwise it stays out of their way. Here is a public comment on the one-page checkout that I found recently:

Embroidery preview
One Page Checkout: Forum comment from someone who found our site.

Multiple Stores

In 2009 I sold the distribution rights to Honest Engine to my current employer — I do retain the right to use the system on my own projects.

Honest Engine now powers a large monthly revenue in online sales, growing rapidly, on five unique stores. My navigation system has been overwhelmed by the growth and I've designed a new hierarchical tag structure that will be in place soon. We're working on splitting the codebase into front end and back end, and the stores will be run as load-balanced dummy clients.

All stores are run from the same codebase with a shared layout and css base plus on-demand custom views and css by my design. Because of the core layouts and styles, a new store can be launched vey quickly, and applying updates to more than one store is usually no more than a series of deployments.

Code view of Honest Engine showing core layout and site structure
Code Structure Design: Shared layout, unique views and assets on demand.

Here are some screens from the admin and the store designs I have created to work in the system. All logos, graphic design and view code were built by myself.

Admin Screens

Honest Engine Admin: Dashboard

Honest Engine Admin: Product Edit Screen

Honest Engine Admin: Order Screen

Honest Engine Admin: Multiedit Tags

Store Designs

Since we are in the middle of a large design and system upgrade I have provided screenshots of the current designs as well as new mockups.

New Layout Concepts — In Progress
Navigation Upgrades and Style Changes

New Homepage

New Category Page

New Product Page

Current Designs
All Sites Built on One HTML5 Layout

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