Switching From PayPal to FastSpring

Uncategorized Dec 23, 2009

I’ve been wanting to switch my online store away from PayPal for quite a while now. Although there are a bunch of PayPal horror stories floating around the web (here’s a recent one), my main reason is to make my life simpler. As much as I like rolling my own solutions, it’s too complicated to offer quantity discounts, coupon codes, and multiple currencies on top of the PayPal API alone. After a lot of investigation and much urging from friends, I made the switch Sunday night to FastSpring.

I couldn’t be happier.

In addition to what is quickly becoming legendary customer support, their e-commerce platform is a dream to work with. Without even reading the documentation, I was able to setup my store and fully integrate it with my backend license fulfillment system (Shine) in under two hours. And that’s doing things the complicated way. If I weren’t such a control freak, I could have handed over the license generation and email confirmation responsibilities to their system as well.

The only tricky part I came across was creating a custom theme based on their default style. The documentation for creating a custom theme from scratch is well written and easy enough to follow. But, unfortunately, if all you want to do is add a custom header or make a small tweak to their default style, there’s no easy way to do so, since they don’t supply a “starter” theme to work from. But, with a little patience you can reverse engineer things easily enough and extract the assets you need. And that’s just what I did to create the look and feel of my store. Once I had their basic layout copied, dropping in my Click On Tyler header was a snap.

You can download the default theme I put together, here. Hopefully it’ll save you some time. Or, better yet, maybe FastSpring would be kind enough to post it to their documentation page for everyone else to use as well.

Update: Did I say legendary customer support? I mean it. It’s a little after 1am here, and FastSpring just emailed me a quick thank you along with their official default theme. Awesome work guys (and gals).