Pricing database/matrix for a printing website

Hi all

Hopefully someone can help with this question as Im not sure where to look for the best solution. I work at a printing company and I’m currently in the process of revamping our website, I’m wanting to bring our full line of products to the website, where customers can select the size of the printing they want, the finishing (booklet, folded leaflet, poster, business cards, etc), the quantity and the delivery speed. I want this in a similar ordering style to that of websites like Helloprint (google it and just look at their order process for an example of what i want, just tweaked somewhat to my own design and spec)

At the moment we use a piece of online software called “Printlogic estimating and production management” this piece of software like it says lets us estimate prices for customer orders. First we enter the customer details, then the order its self, adding design charges for artwork if they apply, the category of their order (poster, business card, leaflets, booklets etc) the size and finishing of their order (A4, A3, A4 folded, perfect bound book, stiched book, trifold menu etc), whether it is double or single sided, the quantity and maybe a few more options, but in essence I want customers to come to our website and be able to select from all these options and be given a price and delivery date by the end of the order process and if so it would be great if we could link this piece of software to our site so everything is linked together.

Now i posted another topic on here where someone suggested I use wordpress to design and set up my store front, although this looks like a great piece of kit for ease of use with making a website, I’m not sure It will be flexible enough to implement our pre existing product and estimate software Printlogic and whether its customization to the point where i can make a webpage design similar to the design when ordering via Helloprint

So if someone could perhaps point me into the right direction in regards of what path i should go down if i want to achieve the desired website, that would be helpful. I’m more than happy to get stuck in and learn the coding aspect if thats the only option, but it seems with so many ways and means to build websites these days I’m not sure how to proceed.

Thanks for any help.

You need to understand “data modeling” and how to build a relational database design covering all of your combinations. (Easy for someone like me to do.)

Then build a front-end over that.

I doubt you will find an off-the-shelf solution that will truly satisfy your needs.

Not sure of your technical expertise either.

At the end of the day, all robust and scalable systems are built on kick-*** backend database designs…


I got in touch with the company that supply our estimating and print production software, and they have informed me that there is a way to implement their software into wordpress or a website of my design. From the sounds of it, what you mentioned with the data modeling and relational database design, is what Printlogic is and is already set with a frontend for booking jobs in manually and entering customer details by the people who have access.

Of course like you said Im not sure ill be able to match my exact needs using the method mentioned above, but for now while I’m still learning everything, still in the very early days of learning about coding, web development, databases and frameworks etc i think using wordpress and integrating printlogic while be the best course of action for now while i learn all the technical stuff, although that wont be for awhile.

But maybe you could point me in the right direction into how i would go about learning to design these relational databases? I mean ive heard of MySql and other database languages, would that be a good start?

Appreciate the info

Life anything in IT, this is a big topic and one that would take years to master. Then again, why not start your journey today?

Rule #1 is forget about databases!

Instead, go get a paper notebook and a pencil and when you’re ready, come back and let me know…

Exactly, why not indeed!

Well ive got a pen and paper next to me and a note pad open on my computer, so fire away!

Guess ill go grab a drink :slight_smile:

Okay, first off, I am a little rusty on teaching this stuff. And I’m sure I take some things forgranted since I know this topic front and back. It is also getting late…

Data modeling’s goal is to take a look at the physical world (and how it works) and then trying to describe it in “logical” terms.

All data modeling can really be broken down into two main concepts: Data Entities and Data Releationships.

Data Entities are nouns, i.e. a person, place, thing or idea.

If you were designing a database for a library, then your Data Entities might include: Librarians, Book Titles, Book Instances, Patrons, Checkouts, and so on.

Data Relationships describe how these Data Entities relate to one another.

All Data Relationships can basically be distilled down into a one-to-one relationship, a one-to-many relationship, or a many-to-many relationship. (And many-to-many relationships will gte broken down into one-to-many relationships.)

So using the example above, one Book-Title (e.g. “Way and Peace”) may have one or more Book-Instances (i.e. book copies). Each Book-Instance can have zero or one Checkouts (i.e. the book is either checked out or on the shelf). One Patron can have zero or more Checkouts. And so on.

To get some practice, take your paper notebook and pencil, and write down a list of Data Entities related to an e-commerce site. (Pretend you have an online record store specializing in vintage vinyl record.)

Describe all of the “nouns” that would describe this business.

Oh, by the way, each Data Entity should be described using a singular name. For example, you will have a “Customer” entity which later on become a “template” tod escribe all Customers that you have.

That is your homework assignment.

Once you have a well-thoughtout list, come back here and we’ll go to the next lesson.

Take some time to really ponder your online record business. I assume your notebook has more than one page in it, and since you are using pencil, feel free to write lots and make mistaks.

Your goal is to write out as many Data Entities as you can think. (We will decide which ones make the most sense next time.)

Good luck and talk to you soon… :wink:

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P.S. This looks liek it might be a good chocie to buy and read…

“Data Modeling Made Simple: A Practical Guide for Business and IT Professionals, 2nd Edition”
by Steve Hoberman

(Remember that you need to learn to drive before you go pick out a particular brand of car to drive. Focus on learning to drive and then later choose the best database for your needs.)

Wow man, thanks a lot for this!

I’ll have to get to work tomorrow morning as its nearly 3am over here in the UK.

When you refer to these data entities that i need to right down for this online record store, could you give an example? Is it going to be nouns such as “rock, pop, punk, rap, customer, shop, order” is it literally any single words related to the whole business?

Managed to find that book on an ebook website, so i will for sure read a few pages here and there when i have the time or before i sleep.

Be back with a detailed list of data entities in the next day or so

Well I’ve managed to get down a 4 pages worth of different nouns that could be used to describe the Vintage Record Online shop, I’m sure i could continue adding as i discover more but for now i think its a good start. So whats next? : )

Happy to help! :smile:

Now you see why this can be challenging and soon you will see its importance!

If you were building an ecommerce site for a local record store you owned, and you were describing it to a non-technical friend, how would you describe it?

What is your physical store made up of?

What about your online store?

Think abstractly.

Here is a hint… If you plan on staying in business for any time, you better have Customers!! (So, “Customer” would be a key “data entity”.)

What are you selling in this online store?


Do the author a favor and pay them for their efforts.

If you are serious about this, I’m sure you can scrounge up $30-40…

(And read the whole book, not here and there!)

So don’t be shy… Tell us what you came up with!

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