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NC Software, Inc. is a software consulting firm founded by Neal Culiner.  NC Software opened its doors in 1998 specializing in custom Windows applications for the aviation community providing Logbook Pro ( ) and later the general community with its advanced media cataloging application, AVCataloger ( ). 

NC Software has enjoyed growth in the IT industry as a Microsoft solutions partner.  Over the years NC Software extended its solution development from Windows application to include that of programmable web solutions. 

Specializing in Active Server Pages (ASP) and then .NET technologies with the advent of the Microsoft .NET Framework (ASP.NET), NC Software was looking for a e-commerce application first for company use, secondly for building increasing demand for e-commerce solutions.
NC Software, Inc.
2711 Centerville Road
PMB 5115, Suite 120
Wilmington, DE 19808

StoreFront 6 Implementation Review by NC Software, Inc.      March 3, 2004

NC Software set out in 2003 in search for an e-commerce application targeting the .NET framework for programmability, reliability, and scalability.  Microsoft .NET was the clear choice for cutting edge e-commerce solutions as .NET offers increased performance and lower development time producing feature rich web applications.  In the search for an e-commerce system, NC Software narrowed the product choices down to two – StoreFront by LaGarde ( ) and BV Commerce by BV Software ( ).  In comparing the two products, StoreFront portrayed a much richer feature set which catered to our specific needs as we were growing out of our custom store to that of a cart enabled store.  NC Software also uses the Intuit QuickBooks accounting package therefore synchronization from our store to our accounting package was imperative to eliminate manual entry if at all possible.  With this discriminator, StoreFront was the choice based solely on the QuickBooks synchronization capability advertised.

Before going forward with our purchase of StoreFront, we had some concerns.  In viewing the gallery of sites, it was noticeable that the StoreFront sites were running slow, later to find out there was a serious bug in the package resolved in February 2004 with a service pack update.  However, we didn’t let this stop us as we would overcome the slower performing package with higher hardware requirements to compensate.  We also took advantage of Microsoft’s SQL Server database engine to ensure the highest performance and scalability.  With these considerations, we decided to move forward and purchase the source code version of StoreFront, the XE version.

In July 2003, we purchased the StoreFront solution with the QuickBooks AccountSync package included for approximately $1500.  We were excited to be building a shopping cart solution and started many long days to come adapting the store to our graphics designer’s specifications and our developers requirements for automation.  We deal primarily with electronic delivery, so we needed to adapt the store to produce license codes and quality invoices to our paying customers.  To accomplish this task, we needed a system that would immediately return the shoppers payment status, then generate license codes, embed in our custom designed invoice and immediately deliver the key codes and download links.

We can’t rate support this highest, it’s probably one of the weaker points of the package.  The first 30 days are free, however, when calling in I wasn’t exactly treated with respect.  I had to remind one individual to listen to the problem, then provide his answer.  Support has been questionable throughout our experience and we often felt we were more knowledgeable then those that developed this kit especially after viewing the code underlying the system.  Using OLEDB providers for a enterprise solution, extensive use of session variables and a server load that prohibits shared hosting without tremendous hardware assets.  As of this writing, there is no free support as LaGarde has shut down their peer-to-peer newsgroup with no other alternatives.  The clients whom are now “cut-off” have moved to various other support sites trying to seek assistance with their StoreFront software.

StoreFront is intended for development using third party tools primarily Microsoft FrontPage and Dreamweaver.  We purchased the FrontPage edition as we are Microsoft partners.  We learned early that it was best to produce our web site using Visual Studio .NET as using FrontPage was troublesome and often the client failed to load for use with FrontPage.  We also learned several times that the style sheet would often get overwritten requiring us to start over again on our graphics design.  We removed FrontPage from the equation as the integration was not sound and moved on with Visual Studio making progress on our store.

As .NET developers, we were able to modify the StoreFront 6 XE version (source code edition) to meet our needs.  Later, we further took StoreFront to cover shortfalls in the package such as an ailing affiliate system that was not working and noted as such on their public peer-to-peer forums.  After approximately eight weeks of development and testing, on August 14th, 2003, we launched our new store which was well received with our customers.  With our new professional image thanks to the hard work and persistence of 9Ball Design ( and our shopping cart enabled systems, in the remaining months of 2003 we doubled the business of the prior months of the same year.

Now with our store live, it came time to do our first synchronization to retrieve our store’s sales data to our QuickBooks accounting package.  Low and behold, we were met with error dialogs and a system that did not work.  We contacted support and it appeared that our efforts to shorten the included seven step checkout process to three using the Pendx Streamlined Checkout add-on, a conflict arose.  StoreFront support later provided us with an update, however the results were less than satisfactory as voided orders will still being retrieved as normal orders and contact information was not inserted into the QuickBooks contact item list.  We unfortunately had to abandon use of this tool and also read that others were having the same problem.

With our store now in service we continued to work with StoreFront by creating custom e-commerce solutions to extend the capabilities of StoreFront for our clients.  With a non-functional affiliate system in the software purchased, we had to build our own affiliate system from the ground up to integrate with our store so our customers could e-mail promotional codes and further bring in business.  We took this baseline and offer it to our StoreFront clients in need of affiliate systems. Offering customers referral incentives is key to good business and customer relations and the new affiliate system we designed and integrated with StoreFront 6 was a tremendous success.

Nearing the holidays and responding to the calls of our StoreFront clients, we developed a system so StoreFront merchants could sell Gift Certificates like other big e-commerce sites shoppers are familiar with such as  With this idea came a new StoreFront logo certified add-on we named “Gift Certificate as Product.”  With GCAP, as our clients call it for short, the merchant is able to provide a HTML template (Figure 1 and 2) for the gift certificates so they can be skinned to whatever style the merchant desires.  With GCAP functionality added to a StoreFront 6 web store, shoppers are able to purchase Gift Certificates real time and with the Enterprise Edition the intended recipients are e-mailed the gift certificate immediately.  StoreFront 6 merchants have been overjoyed with our GCAP add-on and continue to extend their stores with our 100% source-code modifications.

Figure 1. Gift Certificate Template (Courtesy

Figure 2.  Gift Certificate Template (Courtesy of )

We are continuing to extend the StoreFront merchant line with a new round of products we anticipate releasing in Q2 of 2004.  Our Merchant Sync (Figure 3) product will be entering beta at the time of this article and provide advanced QuickBooks synchronization for multiple e-commerce platforms and also support Canadian partners.  We will announce the new series of e-commerce applications on our web site.  We also provide a mailing list system so our e-commerce clients can subscribe and we’ll keep them notified of our product updates. To join our announcement mailing list, e-mail in a blank e-mail to and we’ll keep our clients informed of our upcoming releases.

Figure 3.  Merchant Sync by NC Software, Inc.

StoreFront has certainly been an improvement for NC Software and we look forward to providing our clients continued support for our new line of products we will be offering in the near future.  For merchants preferring to build e-commerce solutions with Microsoft FrontPage or Macromedia Dreamweaver, StoreFront is a solution to evaluate fully!  With our business continuing to grow, we are concerned StoreFront is causing our search engine rankings to drop and our clients experience a high level of errors with the checkout system.  There have been a lot of updates over the past year and for this StoreFront is no longer cost effective for us to maintain.  We are now looking at the upcoming BV Commerce 2004 product to further improve our customer solutions with e-commerce.  We will gladly report our implementation of the BV Commerce 2004 package due to release the end of March 2004.
NC Software, Inc.
2711 Centerville Road
PMB 5115, Suite 120
Wilmington, DE 19808