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Coding tips/help for Webshop

Discussion in 'HTML, Graphics & Programming' started by welshtom, 30 May 2006.

  1. welshtom


    Joined: 17 Aug 2004

    Posts: 3,462

    Location: Pencoed

    HI all, first time post in this section so be nice ;).

    Im looking to code up a shop website over the course of June.

    What sort of bolt on shop software is out there that handles carts etc and how does taking card payments work these days.

    Im not totally fluent in the latest web technologies (last time i did HTML, all there was, was HTML).

    So im looking for info on what technology this sort of stuff is based on thesedays?

    Im fluent in Java/C# and can pretty much learn most languages on the fly.

    Any pro's out there wanna just point in the right direction technologically so i can start learning what i need to code?


  2. Beansprout

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 31 Jan 2004

    Posts: 16,327

    Location: Plymouth

    Take a look at Cubecart, Zencart and X-cart - they're popular PHP-based ecommerce packages which a few people around here use :)
  3. JustinW


    Joined: 27 Dec 2005

    Posts: 97

    Programming for the World Wide Web is a diverse area but I will try to make a few points and raise a few technologies and ideas for you to think about.

    When the idea of dynamic web pages first came about you needed a great deal of technology knowledge of web servers to do anything worthwhile. Then came CGI-Scripting which allows you to generate dynamic content from a script written in almost any language. The most popular language to use is Perl although you can also use Python and even C.

    From my experience CGI-Scripting gives you an insight into how programming for the WWW works at a lower level than some of the more modern, developed frameworks. So if you are a beginner it might be worth a look at, it will lay the foundations for learning the newer frameworks.

    There are some Web Development frameworks based on Python and CGI, these include CherryPy (http://www.cherrypy.org/), Django (http://www.djangoproject.com/), Ruby on Rails (http://www.rubyonrails.org/). These frameworks will build on CGI-Scripting by providing built-in features for you to implement.

    Then in another class we have Servlets/JSP, ASP.NET and PHP. Servlets/JSP use Java to generate pages, I don’t know much about this so I won’t comment too much. ASP.NET allows you to programme in C# or Visual Basic, it is an extensive framework which provides many controls and functionalities. The downside is that it will require a Microsoft server to run on (realistically). PHP is itself a programming language and very popular its focus is on database access and interaction with web forms. It has a closer relationship with cgi-scripting than Servlets or ASP.NET.

    The choice of technology should be based upon a number of things:

    What are you going to serve it on?
    Is it Microsoft or Unix based?

    ASP.NET runs on the Microsoft platform, you can run 1.1 on Apache but I am certain you would have less of a headache running it on a MS platform.

    Servlets, PHP and CGI can run on the Microsoft platform but probably work best on the Unix platform.

    Open Source or Closed Source?

    ASP.NET is a closed source product, to successfully produce a solution you will probably need Visual Studio, an expensive piece of software.

    The other options are open source and you can programme using a text editor or an open source IDE, for example Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org)

    E-commerce solutions?

    You have already said you would like an e-commerce solution. I am certain that you are more likely to find an Open Source PHP solution than a close source ASP.NET solution. A quick search on Source Force (http://www.sourceforge.org) for ‘ecommerce’ reveals 96 hits so its worth a look. Scanning down the list I can see PHP and Servlet solutions.

    To start from the beginning to design and code a decent e-commerce solution you are looking in excess of 500 hours work. My advice is to look online at existing solutions. See what meets your requirements, test out a few.

    Make sure you are aware of all the issues with regards to Web Programming:

    • - The web is a stateless environment; you need to carefully think how you are going to maintain a user’s session.
    • - In an e-commerce solution Security is paramount. Look into SSL (Secure Socket Layers).
    • - Make yourself aware of the Disability Discrimination Act and make sure your solution doesn’t contravene it.

    Good luck.

  4. welshtom


    Joined: 17 Aug 2004

    Posts: 3,462

    Location: Pencoed

    Oo, thanks guys. A nice bit of information to read about :)

    I know a fair bit about ASP and CGI etc (im about to graduate from a computer science degree:) so im in the frame of mind for this at the moment)

    I'll read up all that material as soon as i can.

    Thanks again