So this is the first time I've worked on an eCommerce site, and I'm a little in the dark about integration.
The client has chosen CardSave as the gateway. Now the CardSave system wants to know which Shopping Cart will be used. So, I'm going with TomatoCart, mainly because the hosting package has an installer script for it.
But, here's my main issue, I've already built the site (pretty much), using PHP and MySQL. All the documentation for TomatoCart seems to suggest that I chose a template and then add products to that.
The site's design has already been done and sent to me, and I have created the site form scratch to these specs, including a CMS to add products to a MySQL database.
Am I completely screwed here, or just misunderstanding how Open Source shopping carts work?
Normally an open source cart provides the full software (CMS) around which you build your site. There are lots of ways to provide ecommerce. I suppose you could install an open source CMS alongside what you have done, but it sounds like a bit of a mess. If the ecommerce needs are fairly simple, it might be better at this point to use a hosted cart lke FoxyCart (meaning that you just put Add to Cart links on your site, and the cart—though themed like your site—is actually hosted elsewhere).
But starting with a gateway and working backwards may not be the best approach. Firstly, find the appropriate cart, then find a gateway that supports it.
Integrating Shopping Cart is the toughest decision to take. If you can go for Open-source shopping cart then you can go for following,
1. Magento Shopping Cart. - Major advantage of this is it can handle Multiple Store. You need fast web host.
2. X-Cart - X-Cart is commercial and there are very few bugs.
3. Joomla - If you just want basic shopping features, then you can go for Joomla.
I finally decided to create my own shopping cart and integrate it with the gateway. The client sells high end watches, and wants the cart hosted on the site. And also I didn't have a choice in the cart because, for some reason, he had already set up an account with CardSave.
The documentation provided by CardSave is actually pretty lousy, but I've managed to connect to the gateway and perform a few test transactions, so all's well that ends well.
Well to be honest, they had a PHP script template that I just hacked basically, so not sure I deserve the kudos. It was a bit of a nightmare cos it was all OOP, and there were about 200 classes involved all referencing each other. It was pretty old as well, so for anyone who is reading this, if you have a choice maybe dont go for CardSave.
Also there's a great book which explains how to create a shopping cart and connect to a gateway (specifically Authorize.net) using PHP (cURL), called Effortless E-Commerce, by Larry Ullman published by New Riders, if anyone's interested. Although it didn't help me directly in this instance, it did make the idea of connecting to a gateway much less daunting.
Take a look at Avactis. It pretty much allows you to integrate the cart into the site instead of the other way which is typical of most open source carts. You may run into some overlap but it should be a lot easier than trying to do the same with a typical cart.
Also there's a great book which explains how to create a shopping cart and connect to a gateway (specifically Authorize.net) using PHP (cURL), called Effortless E-Commerce, by Larry Ullman published by New Riders, if anyone's interested.