Any VERY Simple Guide to Building Shopping Carts

  The Paul 17:27 15 Feb 2004

I want to build a very simple shopping cart. There are three products with a few variables so not a lot of database material.

What I have found on the web in my own searches seems to assume that I am a proficient code write and I get totally lost in the articles.

I'm using Dreamweaver MX. Any help very much appreciated.

  Forum Editor 23:53 15 Feb 2004

payment processor like PayPal, or do you have a merchant account with a card provider?

My solution depends on the answer to that question, so post back and we'll sort it out. 00:14 16 Feb 2004

for trolleys. I have just set one up with PayPal, and it seems so hassle free to me. I am just having a minor hitch which may not affect you, but all in all it has saved me a lot of time on the site design. It's free, but a small percentage on the cash is taken.

  The Paul 10:08 16 Feb 2004

No online payment. Simply a trolley with an email forwarding of the completed order form. - as I dont need online payment will PayPal be of any use to me.

Thanks folks. Paul

  tomleady 11:31 16 Feb 2004

have a look at a program called Actinic (click here)

its very easy to use and you dont need any knowledge of php, asp or whatever. it has many templates. which you can change in FP or DW.

I know that it isnt that great for supporting mass buying, so if your venture pays off then you would probably have to change.

anyway, i've used it a couple of times as part of my course, and it works fine.


  The Paul 13:22 16 Feb 2004

Thanks for the link. I looked at the site. Did I find the right page - it said the software is £375 plus VAT.

  Taran 17:27 16 Feb 2004

Since you have so few products, so few variations of them and do not require payment transaction, surely you could simplify this whole process.

How about this:

Create a drop down list of Products. Each entry in your listbox is a hyperlink leading to a form with the details of that product only. On each product form you have options for quantity, colour, shape, size, and so on, with a simple submit button that emails you the form fields as an order.

I can see no reason for an underlying database or even for a dedicated shopping cart if you have very few products and variations of them.

Even if you had a dozen products and three variations of each, a series of forms to handle your orders would be drop dead easy to set up by comparison. It just takes a bit of time.

If you want to use a dedicated shopping cart or would like some links to a gentler introduction to them feel free to ask. Keep in mind that all DIY shopping carts will require quite a lot of hand coding and/or tweaking and a complete 'point and click' solution is unlikely to satisfy the needs of your situation since such tutorials tend to be very general and give an overview of the topic.

I'd seriously consider linking from a main products page to an order form based on product type from which all other variables can be selected and submitted to you via a simple CGI, PHP or ASP form mailer script.

Databases and shopping scripts are all well and good but you could make a far simpler solution appear equally professional and since you don't need financial transaction handling it could well satisfy your requirements without doing your head in.


  Forum Editor 17:55 16 Feb 2004

and unless you have a full e-commerce site it's not for you.

Taran has suggested exactly the same solution I had in mind (hence my question about payment). Knowing your site as I do I would suggest that you could in fact handle the whole thing with a form. The form handler could be set to email the results to a specified address, and also to leave the data in a text file on the server - that way you have easy access to any responses wherever you are.

I use a similar system on several of my sites, and it works perfectly. No need for coding, no need to spend anything on software - just use the mailto script on your host's server.

  The Paul 05:49 17 Feb 2004

Thanks folks. I think that Taran may be spot on here. The link below will take you to the sites testing ground. This is for a friend and she has decided that she wants visitors to be able to chose products, see the prices and totals online and then submit a completed order form.

click here

Using the system you suggest, is it possible to chose 2 or 3 items and then show a total cost to the visitor and then submit the order form? This is what my friend wants.

I'm off to France for a few days and one thing I'm going to organise is a French ISP so it may be a few days before I get back in here again.

Thanks for the input guys. Paul

  Taran 08:05 17 Feb 2004

Yes, it is possible to choose several items but it will complicate things a little for you.

Basically it all boils down to passing the selections made from one form to another.

Let's say you make a final order form with textboxes for items ordered, size, shape, colour and cost. At the bottom of the cost column you would need another textbox for the cost total.

Before we go any further, you also need to know from the outset whether or not you need to factor in local, national and/or internataional delivery charges, local sales tax along the lines of our VAT and anything else that may affect the total cost output.

Finally you need to pass the selections of Product X into the final order form, along with any selections made from Product Y and Product Z so that totals may be calculated and so on.

Now, this is starting to get a little closer to shopping cart type functionality and you may even decide to build in an item removal facility where if someone changes their mind over one or more products they can delete it from their form.

There are several ways of going about it all. Your calculations may be run on many platforms including JavaScript or through any of the dynamic languages.

Have you thought about one single form that lists all the items available for selection ?

I only mention this because it would simplify things right down to one selection form where you could also have the totals displayed, removing the need to build in a system that passes selections from one to another form.

If you went with one form, the totals would change depending on how many of an item was requested and it would keep things as easy as it could possibly be. Items could then be removed if no longer required by adjusting the number requested back to zero either from a drop down list or by typing 0 into a textbox for quantity required.

It would take less time to mock up and demo form for you than bounce ideas around like I am doing here.

Leave it with me and I'll post a link to a demo form along the lines of what I'm getting at above.


  The Paul 00:40 25 Feb 2004

Just back from France. At this stage, I am all ears. I have spent the week away trying to get to grips with this problem and, to be honest, I'm struggling.

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