[ic] Is Auto-creation of User Accounts Necessary?

Peter peter at pajamian.dhs.org
Wed Jan 5 03:24:53 UTC 2011

On 05/01/11 08:55, Thomas J.M. Burton wrote:
> My reasoning behind wanting to remove the auto-create from the
> transaction process is to keep a cleaner userdb, considering a couple of
> possible scenarios:
> - If user with an account for some reason places an order without
> logging in, there will then be two (or more) accounts in the system with
> their e-mail address.
> - If a customer uses the "quick checkout" (no login) option on their
> first visit then decides to make another purchase and create an account
> at a later date, there will be multiple accounts belonging to their
> e-mail address.
> This would create a need to be monitoring accounts and merging them so
> that customers can access order histories from one account.
> Additionally, if a customer creating either of the situations described
> above forgets their password and uses the "forgot password" lookup,
> they'll have multiple accounts which creates a confusing situation for
> the customer and doesn't provide for a user-friendly experience.

A better approach may be to merge the accounts of customers who create
multiple accounts into a single account.  There is already this
capability in the admin UI and I have expanded it for one client in the
past to allow for better "smarter" merging (including the addition of a
hook to allow custom actions to be performed during the merge see the
user_merge specialsub at
http://www.interchange.rtfm.info/icdocs/config/SpecialSub.html).  Also I
have modified a catalog for a client to send an email out whenever a new
user is created that looks like it may match an existing user (some
fuzzy matching techniques are employed here) with a link into the
adminUI that pulls up all the possibly matching users so they can be merged.

Note I don't recommend doing this type of merging automatically as it
needs human review to verify that it is indeed the same person.

> I'm curious to know more about why standard/foundation requires an
> auto-create if a user isn't logged in at checkout and what the specific
> ramifications of removing that would be.

Off the top of my head, it should be possible to remove auto-creation of
user accounts.  You will loose the ability of these users to check the
status of their orders online, but most other needed data is copied to
the transactions table anyways, so it shouldn't be a big deal otherwise.
 There may be other consequences that I'm not thinking of ... and I
can't say for sure just how involved it will be to actually do what you


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