Introducing Forward

The platform for custom e-commerce — with MongoDB

Forward Commerce is now 830-234-4954

Forward Commerce is now Schema, but our goals haven't changed.
Visit 207-781-5251 to see how Forward evolved into a next generation cloud platform.

A full-featured, developer centric e-commerce platform that makes custom code easy, with powerful templates & expressive syntax.

Why does this matter?

Creative e-commerce is hard. There's no shortage of software, but out of the box solutions are rigid and frustrating for designers. Some are simple without being flexible. Others are flexible yet relentlessly complex. None of them make it easy to build outside pre-defined pages. That prevents the most interesting designs.

Let's face it. Real innovation in e-commerce is restricted to those who build the whole thing from scratch. It doesn't have to be that way.

So how do we fix it?

Programmers and designers clash because they speak a different language. Template systems were developed to solve this problem but they introduced new ones: What if your design change needs new data? What if your checkout flow goes from five steps to one? Suddenly a simple change requires a back-end re-write. That gets expensive quick.

We need to change what it means to build a template.

Free style templates

Designs should be totally boundless, but also easy to build, read and maintain. They should use practical standards that all web developers are familiar with, like HTML, CSS, and path-based routing. They should favor convention over configuration.

And, templates should have the power to direct your data.

{get $products from "/products" [search => $params.query]}

<h1>Found {$products.count} products matching "{$params.query}"</h1>

{foreach $products as $product}

With these conventions, for example, a custom product feed in one line of code:


REST methods are good for simplifying the interaction between web server and client, and as it turns out, REST methods are also good for mediating the interaction between templates and business logic. Now you don't have to be a JavaScript slinging ninja rockstar jedi to use this to your advantage.

{get $orders from "/orders" [status => "pending"]} 

{put [status => "shipped"] in "/orders/12345"} 

{post [to => ""] in "/emails/good-bye"} 

{delete "/channels/subscribers/entries/"}

The Admin is a template, too

If there's one thing we learned from a decade of building e-commerce sites, it's that every business eventually needs a custom admin interface to fit its process. Sometimes it's as simple as adding one more field to the shipment page and packing slip. Not having it leads to expensive workarounds or lost revenue.

It should be easy to build or customize your admin interface. Try the Admin demo and get this: it's built exactly the same way you would build a front-end store template, without complex programming. Design is important here too, so it's developed with Twitter Bootstrap to make things easier.

Combined with MongoDB by default — it's now easier than ever to customize admin screens without complex schemas, or database migrations.

Custom is great, but you shouldn't have to go there if you don't need it. The default admin interface is feature rich out of the box, easily extendable with plugins, and even completely replaceable with other admin templates.

Empowered by these ideas, developers will build many purpose-specific interfaces that will change what businesses expect out of their software.

We aim for a vibrant mix of free and commercial plugins and templates. Beyond the obvious, there must be a common way for developers to distribute their work. Where would a modern developer ecosystem be without an app store?

It all boils down to this

You shouldn't have to jump between e-commerce platforms chasing features. And developers shouldn't have to get deep into back-end programming just to turn raw designs into dynamic pages.

When you start to build a new web store, for your business or client, you shouldn't have to ask what the platform allows your site to do. You just do it.

Forward Commerce is now Schema, but our goals haven't changed.
Visit (209) 593-0728 to see how Forward evolved into a next generation cloud platform.