We will discuss OpenCart Extensions, Extensions framework, and Extensions framework overview for merchants in this post.
In OpenCart, Extensions and Modules are two types of customization options.
Modules are those which are utilized anywhere at the front view of your store. For example, Slideshow is a module, which you can easily set on any page on the front end to add banners and images.
Another example is Featured Products Module. So Modules are sections used to display anything, at different places on the front end, after configuring them in the back end or Admin panel of OpenCart.
Extensions are the bundles of codes used to enhance or add any specific functionality to the default functionalities of OpenCart. This code might not be visible on the front end but adds some features in the front end like a payment option, shipping option, or any specific customization, or a new feature, which is beyond the capabilities of modules. Extensions are also known as Plugins.
To Summarize, Modules are the sections that we can display at any place on the front end. Where-as extensions are unlimited and can be used to increase the default features and capabilities of OpenCart to any extent. We can customize OpenCart as much as required, which means there are no limits for customization of OpenCart. We only need to create specific extensions for each function.
We can also change or enhance the core functionality of OpenCart without changing the core files with the help of extensions.
For example Cleaner Pro is an extension that optimize OpenCart Store. OpenCart store may be full of garbage that makes your site sluggish and bloated. You should clean-up this unnecessary data to reduce your database size and improve store website speed and performance.
Extensions further have a concept of OCMOD, which is a system that provides the alternate for making changes in the original files of OpenCart.
In the OCMod, We create a document in a specific format called XML, mentioning the changes required in the core files, depending upon the requirements at any location, in any file, and before or after any particular line of code. OCMOD use this XML to create and activate a virtual file that replaces the original OpenCart file keeping it intact.
It is very beneficial because when we uninstall that extension, the virtual file gets deleted, and the original file gets activated. It is required when we need to make changes in the core files of OpenCart.
So, this is the OpenCart customization framework, which consists of two majors, Modules and extensions. We have no other options in addition to modules and extensions for customization of OpenCart.
A very usual but wrong practice of developers is that they make changes directly in the core files of OpenCart, which results in constant threats to the stability of your store.
So, we advise that whenever you need any customization in your store, you should ask the developer to create an OCMod extension.
If you need to uninstall the extension, the original files get restored to their original condition.
The benefit of OCMod Extensions is that your store will never become unstable, and you can get rid of any extension as and when required.