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  1. #1
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    Trouble understanding e-commerce.

    Hi all.

    I'm interested in building an e-commerce website. Thanks to the sitepoint books/forums I think it's fair to say I have a good understanding of basic HTML and CSS.

    Before I learned HTML/CSS however, I was talking to a web designer about building the website for me. He mentioned a standard price for about 6 pages. I was a bit confused and asked him what exactly he meant by a page. I was a little shocked to learn that a page was any link leading to another part of the website.

    I showed him wwwDOTbluedialDOTcom as an example of something I wanted. If every linked counted as a page then how could I afford all those pages?

    He then mentioned something about using PHP to avoid that problem and that he could make a similar site that would consist of about 10 pages and that the data would dynamically load instead.

    So my questions are


    1) Is each and every product on wwwDOTbluedialDOTcom a different page? or is it using some type of programming language to load the data based on what was clicked

    2) If it's not PHP, what language is it?



    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist jonbey's Avatar
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    Links are not pages. A designer should not charge per link. And should not charge per page is using a CMS (you make the pages) and charge for design.

    eCommerce is a different kettle of fish though. You need to start on a good, robust ecaommerce platform. It needs to be very reliable, very secure, and run on quality servers. Design is less important that this. eCommerce done properly is not cheap though. But done badly can ruin your reputation.

  3. #3
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    molona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurCatigbe View Post
    1) Is each and every product on wwwDOTbluedialDOTcom a different page? or is it using some type of programming language to load the data based on what was clicked

    2) If it's not PHP, what language is it?



    Any help would be appreciated.
    I can't load the site you mentioned. It must be my connection or maybe they are updating... Still, to answer your questions:

    1) The information would be in a database and dynamically shown on the site. This means that you would use a template and not a page per item which would be absurd

    2) There's no way that anyone can know for sure the language used... It can be PHP, or ASP, or ASP.NET... They are server side languages and therefore we only see the result of the transformation done by the server. PHP is the preferred language, closely followed by ASP (classic and .NET)

    People using ASP normally charge more, because it is a corporate language (meaning that it was created and developed by a corporate company, Microsoft and it is supposed less risk for an enterprise, although this is not true)

    I am surprise that this guy quoted by item (as if every single item was a different page) and no by "template". If it is an e-commerce site, he'd be using a database anyway.

  4. #4
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    Well to clear a few things up. The designer isn't charging by item or even by link. He is charging for a certain amount of unique pages which sounds about correct. I guess I should have explained a little better.

    Secondly, what exactly are you talking about jonbay? Are you referring to things platforms such as oscommerce and the like? If so I think I know what your are talking about, otherwise, no.

    Molona, are you saying that I basically need to learn one of the server side languages to do this website? If so, which would you consider I learn? I'm willing to learn anything I need to know to make sure this website is created correctly.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist jonbey's Avatar
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    Yes, talking about eCommerce CMS, shopping carts etc. If you are keen to learn, then build yourself. Otherwise you may need a professional. Some eCommerce platforms are easier to get to grips with than others. Some say that osCommerce is a real pig.

    I looked in to carts a while ago, and ZenCart seemed worth a closer look.

    Unless you are a natural coder, I would not suggest trying to build something yourself, simply because of the securites requirements. Leave a hole and some hacker will take all the credit card details, and you'll never sell another item!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonbey View Post

    I looked in to carts a while ago, and ZenCart seemed worth a closer look.

    Unless you are a natural coder, I would not suggest trying to build something yourself, simply because of the securites requirements. Leave a hole and some hacker will take all the credit card details, and you'll never sell another item!
    ZenCart or osCommerce I think are a good choice in terms of security if you install latest versions and do change the admin login folder (ZC).
    ZenCart is over osCommerce in terms of possibilities behind front page (I mean you may want not to know in depth PHP, but still can customize some - there is a build in functionality - a very user friendly search for PHP pages after given text). Although, osCommerce has a much more eyes-like template.
    Fully agreed concerning security warnings.
    Please bear in mind that in case you adopt either ZC or osC, PHP is to be learned just to keep control over your code.

  7. #7
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    molona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurCatigbe View Post
    Molona, are you saying that I basically need to learn one of the server side languages to do this website? If so, which would you consider I learn? I'm willing to learn anything I need to know to make sure this website is created correctly.

    Thanks!
    PHP. There is a lot of free stuff that's been built using PHP. If you are starting a business, you want to drop your costs, so using something already tested and free would be great... all the free e-commerce platforms I know have been built with PHP.


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