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Leor Brenman
Newbie question regarding online forms
on Jul 30, 2007 at 5:53:34 pm

Hi,

I am a novice website designer who can design basic web sites.

I am trying to implement a web site with the following feature (similar to a shopping cart but it is not a cart, per se) and hope to get some pointers on what technologies I will be required to learn/implement and what requirement this feature places on the hosting site:

(a) viewers of the web site will view images of product (I can do this easily)

(b) when the viewer sees a product they like, they will click a button and the 'item #', 'item description' and 'price' will be recorded somewhere (not sure how to do this)

(c) they can continue to view items, clicking on desired items to add them to the recorded list

(d) when they are done, they click a button to submit the order

(e) the order will be e-mailed to a desired e-mail address

I am guessing that this is not trivial and will require scripting, etc....

Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Leor


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Abraham Chaffin
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Jul 30, 2007 at 6:17:09 pm

Hey Leor,

It sounds like a shopping cart to me but if you are wanting to custom build something like this you will need to learn some more advanced web techniques than just common html. I would use php and mysql to accomplish something like this, both have good reference material online to help you get started. php.net is a great resource to learn just about anything with the language.

You will also need a cookie handler or use sessions to store the information as you want the browser to remember information as they continue to browse and make additions or changes to their order.


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Leor Brenman
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Jul 31, 2007 at 2:23:23 am

Hi Abraham,

Thanks for the quick reply; I was afraid of that :(

Can you recommend a simple (and maybe free or inexpensive) shopping cart solution that works well with Dreamweaver?

I don't need any billing support; I simply want to compile a list of items (as described in the original post) and when the user "checks out", I want to e-mail the list to a pre-defined e-mail address.

I am hoping to get something that will require the least amount of scripting, etc... I mean something really turn-key (if such a thing exists).

Best Regards,
Leor


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Abraham Chaffin
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Jul 31, 2007 at 3:54:32 am

Hey Leor,

Wish I knew of one off the top of my head - I'm sure Google can help though because I'm sure it exists - Google "open source shopping cart" or something along those lines. The problem will be the complexity of what you find to download as most people want something more in depth than what you are looking for.

If you don't plan on building it yourself you will probably need something custom built to fit your specific needs. What you are looking for shouldn't cost much $200 or less to build I'd imagine.

Abraham


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Leor Brenman
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Jul 31, 2007 at 12:36:08 pm

Thanks again Abraham.

I will research further on google!

Best Regards,
Leor


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Bret Williams
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Aug 2, 2007 at 10:18:26 pm

Sounds like you simply want to add a list of things to a database, then email the contents of the list. Probably can be done with a string of variables as you suggest with scripts. I talk big but wouldn't have a clue on how to start. If a programmer has a script halfway there, they'd probably package it up for you for a few hundred. Otherwise that sounds low.

If you really need a shopping cart for Dreamweaver you may want to check out http://www.cartweaver.com - it was on my short list until I realized PayPal would do what I needed, which was fairly simple like yours. All you have to do is add a line of code to every product and Paypal takes care of the rest in a separate window that opens. Just like many carts out there. You don't have much control over what the cart looks like, but it's elegant enough. You can put a logo on it, but it is obvious it's paypal. Which actually may instill some confidence in people that are giving you a credit card number.

Bringing me to another question. How are the people buying the products that you plan on having emailed to you? You do not want credit card numbers emailed to you, especially if your site says it's secure, because email pretty much isn't. Their number would be viewable in transit. PayPal takes care of all the security and cc chargine. They take a little less than 3% if I remember correctly. You'll get a nice email when something is purchased, and the ability to automatically print out shipping labels and invoices and such.

If you want to try it on a site I did, try http://www.hownet.com/store. Add a few things to your cart, but don't completely check out obviously. My client raves about it. We had a custom cart before that was pretty ancient. We had to keep up with security certificates and he also had to have a merchant acct to handle the credit cards. They charged him more per transaction than paypal. I guess paypal is big enough to demand lower per transaction costs.


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Leor Brenman
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Aug 3, 2007 at 10:33:52 am

Thanks Bret.

The big picture is as follows:

The customer selects items on the web site and a form should be e-mailed to a sales rep. The sales rep will call the customer and negotiate prices and revised quantities. The customer pays by check after receiving the goods.

This is the reason that I don't need the billing support, etc...

I will check out cartweaver and learn ASP, PHP or Coldfusion as required to implement.

Do you know if cartweaver or others can support e-mailing the cart upon checkout or will I need more to do programming/scripting on my own.

Thanks again.


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Bret Williams
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:19:08 pm

Don't bother with Cartweaver. It's overkill for this I'd say. Is it possible to have all the products and options on a single page? All you'd be doing then is emailing the contents of a form. No different than a contact us type page.


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Leor Brenman
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:24:55 pm

Hi Bret,

Thanks for the heads up on Cartweaver.

I may be able to have all the items on a page, but I have to assume not.

The backup plan is to have the user download a form and e-mail it themself but I would like to try to avoid this.

So, I want the user to browse the site and whenever they see an item they like, click a button. Finally, then they are done, the would be able to e-mail the list of items they clicked to a predefined e-mail address.

Any ideas?

BR,
Leor


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Bret Williams
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Aug 4, 2007 at 4:31:25 am

For the coder, this sounds like it would have to be simple. Just keep adding items to a cookie or a database, then email the contents of the cookie or database when they're done. Anyone?


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Leor Brenman
Re: Newbie question regarding online forms
on Aug 4, 2007 at 2:32:02 pm

Hi Bret,

Thanks.

I think I can get away with a cookie mechanism and avoid a database. Do you have any pointers to how to work with cookies? Any web sites, books, references?

Best Regards,
Leor


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