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I recently gave the link of my website to be rated (click here), thanks for all you comments, I have taken them into consideration.
Recently, I have been playing around with OsCommerce, I've got it installed click here, but I don't know how to integrate it into my site, ie have the layout of my site with the shopping cart it it.
Someone please help!
It would take page after page to write a full walkthrough for you on site integration and it could well be beyond the scope of this forum.
osCommerce is pretty easy to use and that is partly why it has reached the level of popularity it now enjoys. About the only real snag it has is in loading your own range of products into the database, but people have written and are writing third party solutions that allow you to run an import from Excel tp populate the database.
osCommerce has a very strong online support community and its documentation is pretty comprehensive, so although I hate to say it, have you thoroughly read and understood it all and have you delved into its admin control panel ?
How far along are you with dynamic sites, web programming concepts and so on ?
The easiest way I have found to integrate it is to treat it as a subweb of your own site and link from your current site into the osCommerce pages then back out again. There are other methods of embedding in iFrames or as includes and so on, but why go looking for trouble if you aren't 100% up to speed on dynamic site concepts and PHP programming ?
Hi Taran, thanks for you reply.
This is the first dynamic site I have done, before I just used static HTML.
What I would like to do is have the shopping cart within my current site - click here.
How do I do this?
I have looked on the osCommerce web site for support and/or a forum but I cant seem to find it.
I'm not really sure how dynamic sites work, could you briefly explain it for me please.
I agree with Taran - have it as a subweb, especially if you want to preserve the look and feel of your site.
Most users don't bother to integrate it into their own site - they use it straight out of the box with just a few cosmetic changes. That is why it is so popular - because it *can* be used straight out of the box; but the result is that many OsC based sites are instantly recognizable. That was what let it down for me and why I abandoned it - I really, really dislike its appearence and that is probably the hardest aspect of it to customise beyond the basics. Even the miriad of templates available for it still have the same basic layout and overall look.
Take a look at the Contributions pages. There are some excellent contributions but some of them need to be used with a virgin, unmodded installation, especially those that aim to improve the visual appearence and those that Taran mentioned, which make poulation of the database easier.
The Basic Template Structure:
There are further add-ons for this contribution,for instance (limited) CSS.
As Taran says the online support forums are excellent, they are used all over the world so there will probably be someone online to help at any time of the night or day.
If you are finding the official OsC documentation not quite clear try the unofficial, breakaway group OsCDox
Their documentation is a lot clearer, but don't ever mention them on the official forum :-).
If, however, all you want is "add to basket" buttons to add to your exisiting pages take a look at PHPCart
It isn't database driven like OsC, so it doesn't have nearly as many bells and whistles, but it is simplicity itself to set up (though the documentation is well hidden!!!). Unlike OsC it is NOT open source so you do have to pay for it but it isn't expensive. It has some modifications available (they are called hacks in this case) and it has quite good online support.
About the quickest way of implementing osCommerce is to make an iFrame where your page body content would normally go and load it into the frame. Subsequent links in the osCommerce content will continue to load into your page iFrame. The world and his wife already knows what I think of frames in general, so I won't comment further on that front other than other than to say that the disadvantages of frames could largely be ignored or overcome if the only framed element of the site was osCommerce.
The thing is, as Penny says, osCommerce IS your site. It is intended to be the site in its entirety and most people who already have their own site design find it difficult to overcome the layout and feel of osCommerce, which is where you either decide to put up with it, load it as a framed element to maintain existing site structure or even as an include, or use another product.
I'll finish on this point:
Unless you have a ton of products osCommerce is serious overkill.
If you want to process orders for your web design and hosting services I suggest you rethink the whole idea.
FrontPage has more tools than you can shake a stick at for generating forms and you can use them to very good effect in creating an ordering system. The FrontPage server extensions make it an absolute doddle to process your forms, there is an ASP/Access database wizard if you feel the urge to try a dynamic site [always assuming that your web host supports ASP/Access of course] and you can easily integrate different payment processors into your forms. Calculating values based on user selection is simple and your only real challenge would be in receiving the actual payment and setting up a secure transaction environment. I guess it all depends on your intended use of osCommerce.
I am a great believer is not using a sledgehammer to crack a nut though, if you can avoid it.
Thanks PP and Taran for you words of wisdom!
I have given up the idea of using osCommerce, as from experience of a couple of hours and your advice it seems a bit over the top.
All I really want to do is add a shopping cart so people can purchase a hosting plan from me. I have thought about creating forms and think that would be ideal for me.
Just for your information Taran, my host does not support ASP/Access, which is a bit of a shame.
Thanks for all you help, I'll let you know of the outcome when I've got a shopping cart in place.
Once again many thanks
This afternoon I've been playing around with forms in Frontpage to create a shopping cart.
I think I've come up with a reasonable one.
Please have a look at my site and tell me what you think.
James - click here
Your form needs validation on the entry fields.
I didn't fill anything in at all before I clicked the link to pay and it obligingly loaded up the page asking if I wanted to pay by cheque and so on.
You need to add form field validation to make sure that all required fields are filled in before you are allowed to proceed to the checkout. In fact, instead of just simple field validation you could be clever and set the status of the "Click here to pay" button as inactive until all fields have been filled in.
I notice there is no field for an email address. If your clients already have email available [very likely] it seems a shame not to ask them for such a convenient method of contacting them. An email form field takes a little bit more to configure, since you really want to validate the address entered rather than accept the form if someone type in 123 @ not .net
I've gone off on one here though.
To begin with, concentrate on getting your form fields filled in before allowing your clients to proceed to the payment page.
How do I set up form validation?
Which authoring program are you using ?
If I remember rightly you are using FrontPage 2002 ?
Open the page in FrontPage, double click on the form field you want to edit the properties of or right click on it and select Form Field Properties. Click the Validate button and fill in whatever requirements you like or that you find appropriate. Usually you can get away with putting a tick in the Required tickbox.
If you're using a different authoring program or if you would prefer to hand code your own validation rules post again.
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