Ok Site is ready now...

  wiz33 19:57 25 Nov 2003

Taran and all the others

You have seen my site, click here , which now is completed apart from any new property that I may have to add on later.

Now I would like to add a live reservations system, so people and agents can check availability and make bookings, but having looked at several travel related sites which are offering this facility found all of them very expensive for the size of my program.

Any ideas how to go about it or is there anybody who can help but I have to say that my budget is small?

If you want to see an example of what I am after please go to: click here
and try it.

My IP has PHP. CGI. and SQL.


  Taran 11:04 26 Nov 2003

Right, your site is looking very slick now but I have to mention one point; you haven't cross browser tested it yet have you ?

Your CSS driven menu is all well and good and looks very nice in Internet Explorer but the code does not take alternative browsers into account and goes a little haywire in Firebird, older versions of NetScape and Opera on Windows and does similar tricks on IE running on my Apple Macs. Your links in the menu are only as long as each word or words that make up the link, so you get a staggered stepped effect on the menu (including the mouse rollover colour swaps) instead of the intended rectangular column of equal width links.

For many CSS driven menus to work over different browsers you need to do quite a bit of browser specific code hacks which is where a lot of people trip up when coding CSS. Without getting into a big lecture on the topic, different browsers interpret code in different ways and CSS is no different, so you need to include some browser specific code into the underlying CSS for all browsers to render it properly.

Anyway, that said, your online reservation example that you linked to is generated using FrontPage to make ASP pages with a bit of JavaScript hooked in.

I can't think of any solution off the top off my head that you could implement that isn't going to be either horribly difficult for a non-programmer to deal with or overly expensive to buy.

No insult intended there, but I am assuming that you don't program Perl of PHP ?

PHP/MySQL and even CGI could all be used, but the third party solutions are all quite expensive and creating your own would be a huge project in itself, especially if you need it to hook into existing systems used by other companies.

Being an old fashioned soul, I would also suggest that you'd need multiple MySQL database support from your web host.

I normally keep a user authentication database (username and password login system) completely separate from online trading/catalogue/booking systems.

The information from the one allows interaction with the contents of the others, but I never include the authentication database into stock control or whatever. For any form of adequate user security you also need to get into implementing password encryption using the built in PHP crypt() or MySQL PASSWORD() functions, setting up user sessions and all kinds of other geeky things that only people like me get off on.

Perhaps you could be a bit more specific in the systems requirements one of us could come up with a solution that is a little less hopeless-sounding than my above rant.

Who will use the system ? Who will administrate it ? Will users be required to generate unique (and therefore identifiable) usernames and passwords for return visits or will this be a more open reservation system intended for one off use ? Etc, etc, etc...

Knowing what you need is more than half the battle in reaching your goal in this situation and the above are just some of the many questions that any web application programmer or IT consultant would ask in trying to come up with a solution to your requirements.

Come back with more and who knows ?



  wiz33 12:46 26 Nov 2003

Thank you for your reply but my god where to start?.

Regarding the CSS Menu as you know it was sent to me and despite my long reading of a CSS book I still don't have a clue. I am afraid that my capabilities are not enough to write additional code......so until I find an expert to help me it will stay as it is.

No I don't program Perl or PHP or anything else for that matter. Just borrowed the forms from Jack......

About the reservation system until now I have my in house Res system running on PIC and writen in Basic language. For the size of my busines is easy to set up and very fast.

Now with the Internet things have changed.

My web site is hosted by FREEOLA for the past 6 years. I only pay for the Domain name to renew and the hosting is FREE. So far it was a very cheap way to present our Brochure to the public and the Agents.

Now of course I have to move on:

I have to be the administrator and dogsbody, due to budget considerations.

The site has to be acceced by individual clients and ABTA Agents.

The agents of course will have to register with us, use their ABTA number membership as ID and then given a PASSWORD to log in.

Both Direct clients and agents will be able to check flight and accommodation availiability but the Direct clients will have to pay by Credit card or post a cheque and the agents will pay us by cheque.

The system should provide flight and accommodation availiability and provide INVOICES with the total payable costs. As you realise agents take commission and I will have to be able to set the % for each individual agent. It will also have to calculate the VAT on commission for the agents and at the end give them a Booking reference.

It should also create e-mail lists for all of them, separately for agents and clients so we can use them for direct marketing.

After a booking is made an e-mail must be sent to the accomodation suppliers and to us.

I then need to be able to sent lists of all clients travelling to my agents at the airports and abroad.

I can go on giving you many other functions that my present system is providing. My problem is that I don't have the interface to connect my RES system with my site, taking into consideration, routers, firewalls etc.........

That is the reason I have been asking for something cheaper alternative. I wish the company who gave me the system in the first place had writen the interface etc between websites and the server....but they are not interested to do so.

So shall I go on or I will be ranting a lot?

I like your ranting......tell me more and more...I am learning.

Yesterday I had a look at the e-commerce solutions advised by Penny to another post.

So any clever person there who can help to make my site fully functional reservation system and e-commerse? You probably get a FREE hard earned holiday......lol


  Taran 13:48 26 Nov 2003

Well, since you want to tie into existing flight plans, holiday availability, make bookings (or even cancel them) and process credit card payments and so on I'm afraid I'm going to tell you what you don't want to hear; you're very probably going to have to dig into your pocket, scare the moths away and remember the combination to your wallet.

Absolutely nothing springs to mind at the moment that would come close to meeting even half of these requirements without either some pretty impressive PHP or ASP + database programming or by using a third party product written from the ground up especially for travel agents and the few I know of offhand all cost.

I'll have a think (on a weekday as well) and see if I can jog my failing memory into producing something of use to you. Perhaps someone else may be more constructive in this instance.


  Taran 13:52 26 Nov 2003

I'd completely forgotten that the navigation menu CSS had been sent to you.

I'll take a look at the code later on and see if I can tweak it for cross-browser use.

No promises though - I'm convalescing from major surgery and I'll be in serious trouble with my better half if she finds me seriously playing with code...


  wiz33 14:19 26 Nov 2003

My site can wait and so far has done the original job is intented.

Yes I had a look on several travel related sites but as you say they are very expensive 8K -10K which does not warrant for the size of my business.

I somehow have resigned of the idea of having fully live reservations system on the net and as you say it needs serious money to achieve it.

I may have to blackmail my son in LA to find me one of his programmers in India who can do the job on a very special price for the boss's father.
Unfortunately my son is not that forthcoming with help in web designing matters despite that I have payed for his Phd........lol

Well I better tell him that is payback time....but I don't want to do that.

Wish you all the best for your health.


  Forum Editor 18:30 26 Nov 2003

It's fairly obvious that either you will have to buy an off-the-shelf solution (of which there are several), or get someone to write you a customised program.

Both of these options are expensive, but the latter will be horrendously so. What goes on server-side is extremely complex, and I would definitely not advise you to have anything custome-written unless you can use the Asian prgramming services you mention.

Some time ago I designed a very similar site for clients in the travel business in Australia, and we bought in the reservation software from a company called Datalex. These people specialise in reservation/booking systems (including flights) for the travel industry, and they have exactly what you want. It will not be cheap, but it will probably be cheaper/better than starting from scratch.

  Forum Editor 18:31 26 Nov 2003

You'll find Datalex if you
click here

  wiz33 19:08 26 Nov 2003

i had a look on their site and I willwait to speak to them and find out costs.

Any rough ideas?


  Forum Editor 19:15 26 Nov 2003

but never mind.

I can't really give you a guide - the cost will depend on your specific requirements.

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