Need an XML shopping cart tutorial

I’m working on getting my wife’s website working, and it’s really the first site I’ve done (other than a simple paypal button site) that will use a shopping cart.

I’m using Google Checkout, which is fine with fixed price items, but I need to add the option of adding a recurring payment, and this seems to be an XML thing. I know less than nothing about XML, nor how to make it work with my shopping cart.

If someone could point me to a sort of plain English tutorial that’ll get me through the basics, that would be really helpful. I literally don’t know where to start.

Depending on how complex your needs are, I would suggest first looking at PayPal which is very easy to set up:

If you need something more advanced, check out Recurly, Chargify, Spreedly and Cheddargetter.

For some reason I always thought Paypal required your customers to set up accounts. Seems that’s not the case. I’ll give them a closer look.

EDIT: Ok, I took a closer look. They ding you $20/month to do the recurring payment thing, OR your customers DO have to sign up for a Paypal account. Very annoying!

Buyers generally do not have to sign up for PayPal to pay you. It’s possible they need to create an account for recurring billing. Also, the recurring billing service is free.

The $20/month service you are thinking of is called “Website Payments Pro” and is if you want to avoid buyers visiting the web site and instead take their credit card number and process the credit card manually or via API. Note that if you choose to handle credit card numbers you will need to be “PCI compliant”.

But when I log in to Paypal, and click “Website Payments Standard” it tells me this:

Accept Recurring Payments: Basic
Buyers need a PayPal account

Accept Recurring Payments: Advanced (Optional, $19.99/month)
Buyers do NOT need a PayPal account

So that leads me to believe they must sign up to have the option of recurring payments unless I got for the $20/mo option. If I’m missing something somewhere, please feel free to point it out.

Now, if I knew the business was going to come rolling in and lots of people were going to pick the recurring payment option, I’d go for the $20 option, but for all I know it’ll take two years before someone decides to pick that option, or they may never pick it, so it’s hard to justify the expense right now.