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Product Catalog

Discussion in 'Web Development & Web Hosting' started by ChrisH, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. ChrisH

    ChrisH Nibble Poster

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    Hi

    I know my way round HTML but don't have a clue how to handle things when they are a little more complicated.
    I'd like to create a online product catalog but I'm not sure where to start. I believe a database approach would be best rather than individual product pages as there may be up to 500 items.

    I'd like to create this myself rather than use any ready made solutions as I want to stretch my knowledge a bit further than basic HTML. Any suggestions on where to start? I have Frontpage and can get access to Dreamweaver if required. I know a little SQL if its of any use and I would be able to host a site on my own server if I need greater control/access.

    Thanks
     
    WIP: A+
  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    The usual way of doing this is to use a scripting system on the host, and a database behind it.

    As I prefer *nix to Winblows for this I'd say use PHP or Perl with mysql and Apache. On windows there are equivalent solutions, but I don't know much about them. The *nix apps I mentioned will work under Windows as well.

    And avoid Frontpage like the plague!

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  3. ChrisH

    ChrisH Nibble Poster

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    I've used Apache and mySQL on Windows before and breifly used them on Linux as well. Only for basic page serving but I'd guess theres plenty of tutorials so I'll have a look. I'll probably stick to Windows as its only for site development at the moment. Time to start looking at PHP.

    Whats the problem with Frontpage? I've seen mixed opinions on it but never read any reasons. A web design course I enrolled on insisted on using Frontpage.
     
    WIP: A+
  4. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    The problem with FP is that it is highly non-standard. The HTML it produces can be absolutely horrid, and require extensive editing.

    In addition, many browsers other than IE will fail to display the page properly, on the not entirely unreasonable grounds that it isn't valid HTML.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  5. ChrisH

    ChrisH Nibble Poster

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    OK Thanks. I automatically assumed Microsoft would stick to standards.

    I have uniform server installed and have managed 'Hello World'. lol.
     
    WIP: A+
  6. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    The thing is with Microsoft, they do stick to standards, their own. People have had to put workarounds into their webpages for them to display correctly in IE. Hopefully this is addressed in the latest version of IE.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  7. jodsclass

    jodsclass Byte Poster

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    I agree with Harry on this one. M$ is awful at implementing html standards in their editing suites. If you use Frontpage or 'Shudders' Word to format your code, you will get loads of non standard proprietary tagging thrown into the mix. It really does seem to make a hash of it. Dreamweaver was the same until a few years back, however Dreamweaver is now pretty much the defacto editor, and is, IMHO very good at the job.

    With regards the question, I think php and mysql are the way forward. It should be fairly easy to script, and to call in data from the database where required. Just out of curiosity, what is the purpose of the product catalogue? If its for sales, I would strongly recommend the Zencart Software. its open source, and very flexible with regards configuration. I use it for my wifes business (see signature).

    I realise you said you would rather code your own bespoke solution which is terrific. However do check out the zencart project, it is extremely good.

    Jodsclass
     
    Certifications: BSc IT & Web Development
    WIP: MSc Advanced Computing, Oracle Cert
  8. ChrisH

    ChrisH Nibble Poster

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    I will have a look at the software thanks. The purpose is to show available products (collectable records) however purchases would be handled by phone or fax as the owner of the website would just like to point sales in his direction rather than ran an online businesss. I have decided to begin by learning HTML from scratch, without wysiwyg (I think thats right) editors and then progress to PHP. I know this is the long way round but I beleive it would be best for me in the long run as my knowledge will be independent of design applications.

    The software solution above may be enough to get a temporary site up until I'm up to speed.

    Thanks
     
    WIP: A+
  9. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    IMHO this is the correct approach. Many of the WYSIWIG apps are reasonable, but sometimes do strange things. If you don't know HTML then you have no way of correcting it.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  10. ChrisH

    ChrisH Nibble Poster

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    I've just had a look at the ZenCart software mentioned above. Very impressed, I managed to get it installed on WAMP server and had it up and running in under 5 minutes (gave up with uniform server as I could not log on to mysql as root so I got confused, checked the website and their account has been suspended). It is far too versatile for the situation though. I was hoping the shop owner could maintain the website himself with very little computer knowledge. Just a quick list of instructions as to how to add, edit and remove products. The options in ZenCart are daunting to say the least.
     
    WIP: A+
  11. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Er - pardon? :biggrin

    If you think that is possible I have this bridge I could sell you! <giggle>

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  12. ChrisH

    ChrisH Nibble Poster

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    lol

    The plan is to have a website which allows vistors to search the collectable records available. If the visitor clicks the 'buy' button they will be asked to place the order by fax or phone.
    Therefore the website needs a simple product database in mysql and use php to alllow ease of use for visitors to search the database. Nothing else is really required in the website.

    From the owners point of view he just needs the option to add/remove/delete records from the database using a simple VB program written for the task (been a while since I've written database apps) or maybe an admin page using php.

    Should be a good little project to learn with.
     
    WIP: A+

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