Last week at RailsConf 2009, the Spree folks from End Point conducted a Birds of a Feather session to discuss Spree, an End Point sponsored open source rails ecommerce platform. Below is some of the dialog from the discussion (paraphrased).
Crowd: "How difficult is it to get Spree up and running from start to finish?"
Spree Crew: "This depends on the level of customization. If a customer simple needs to reskin the site, this shouldn't take more than a week (hopefully much less than a full week). If the customer needs specific functionality that is not included in core functionality or extensions, you may need to spend some time developing an extension."
Crowd: "How difficult is it to develop extensions in Spree?"
Spree Crew: "Spree extension work is based on the work of the Radiant community. Extensions are mini-applications: they allow you to drop a pre-built application into spree to override or insert new functionality. Documentation for extensions is available at the spree github wiki. We also plan to release more extensive Spree Guides documentation based on Rails Guides soon."
Spree Crew: "How did you hear about Spree?"
Crowd: "My client and I found it via search engines. My client thought that Spree looked like a good choice."
Spree Crew: "What other platforms did you consider before you found spree?"
Crowd: "Magento", "Substruct", "My client considered Magento, but I know several people that have developed with Magento and have found it difficult to override core functionality."
Spree Crew: "What types of functionality were missing from Spree that you'd like to see developed in the future?"
Crowd: "My client wanted checkout split into multiple steps instead of the new single page checkout. I was able to implement this by overriding the Spree checkout library and checkout views.", "My client needed complex inventory management.", "My client needed split shipping functionality."
Crowd: "What is the plan for Spree with regards to CMS development?"
Spree Crew: "There has been some discussion on the integration of a CMS into Spree. No one in the Spree community appears to be currently working on this. Contributions in this area are welcome. Also, Yehuda Katz is giving a talk on mountable apps - the Spree community would like to investigate the implications this has for Spree."
Crowd: "What are the next steps for localization, especially multilingual product descriptions?"
Spree Crew: "This is on the radar for future Spree development. It is not currently in development, and again, contributions in this area are welcome."
From the discussion, I took away that some of the desired features for Spree are inventory management, split shipping functionality, cms integration, and improved localization. I hope that the application of Spree continues to contribute to it's progress. The Spree Crew also hopes to showcase some of the sites referenced above at the spree site.