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Which language is the best for an ecommerce catalog and shopping cart?


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Hello,I was looking into designing a web site with a simple catalog of items, and to have a shopping cart as well.How easy is this to program, and is it even worth my time? Or should I invest in third-party "pre-coded" solutions.Also, what language would be the best to program this in? JavaScript, PHP, ASP.NET???It would be really cool if I could do most of it with HTML5 and CSS3..Any help would be greatly appreciated!Thanks!

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HTML5 and CSS3 aren't exactly ready for use yet, you will not get consistent results trying to implement them. They are just descriptive languages though, you can't get them to "do" anything whatsoever.Shopping carts require a lot of work to program, as well as a lot of work to make sure you meet security regulations, especially when taking payment details. If you did want to go ahead with it, however, any server-side language would do (JavaScript is not a server-side language).

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HTML5 and CSS3 aren't exactly ready for use yet, you will not get consistent results trying to implement them. They are just descriptive languages though, you can't get them to "do" anything whatsoever.Shopping carts require a lot of work to program, as well as a lot of work to make sure you meet security regulations, especially when taking payment details. If you did want to go ahead with it, however, any server-side language would do (JavaScript is not a server-side language).
OK, so PHP? ASP.NET is a server-side language too isn't it? Sorry, I'm relatively new to programming with web design.. Is JavaScript a "client-side" programming language?Thanks for the help.
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JavaScript operates on the client-side, which means it interacts with the page after it has been sent to the browser. Server-side languages are run before the page is sent to the user agent, and so can interact with server-side resources like databases and payment gateways.

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JavaScript operates on the client-side, which means it interacts with the page after it has been sent to the browser. Server-side languages are run before the page is sent to the user agent, and so can interact with server-side resources like databases and payment gateways.
OK that's it then.Oh, I think I'd take PHP over ASP.NET mainly because of its independence from Microsoft, open-source,massive community, etc and seems a lot nicer for the general n00b.By the way, are there any "compatibility" problems with PHP? I would think that would be more of ASP.NET but I'm just wondering.
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Well, client-side compatibility is not relevant, because server-side languages execute on the server; however, you do need an environment that can run your chosen languages. ASP.NET can only run on MS servers, but PHP can be made to run on many platforms, including IIS - Apache is the most common option though.

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Well, client-side compatibility is not relevant, because server-side languages execute on the server; however, you do need an environment that can run your chosen languages. ASP.NET can only run on MS servers, but PHP can be made to run on many platforms, including IIS - Apache is the most common option though.
OK, just one more question,if I know HTML well about how long will it take to be fluent in PHP.Also, why does W3 say that I should know JS before learning PHP?
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JavaScript is useful - it can help improve the usability of your pages, and generally make things feel nicer. It is also quite easy to learn. However, it is not necessary.HTML is very different from programming languages - but I'm sure you will be able to pick it up. To become fluent, however, will probably take a couple of years.

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It's not worth your time, and a cart has to be PCI compliant to protect purchasers.If you don't need too much control or integration - just a secure, simple way to allow people to buy something, I recommend PayPal.If you would like a cart, but not the administrative and technical headaches of maintaining the software, you might want to check out http://shopify.com, or a dedicated system like http://etsy.com.You may have cart software in your hosting package as well, if you have something like Fantastico - check your control panel or ask your hosting provider (if you have one).If you really want a cart that you have complete control over, check out http://x-cart.com. I've used it, it's a good value.Other popular carts: osCommerce, ZenCart.

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It's not worth your time, and a cart has to be PCI compliant to protect purchasers.
I can't agree with this sentiment. It is always worthwhile learning something, even if you have limited use for it. I found it very enjoyable learning PHP and integrating it with MySQL - the elegance of using the same lines with one or two parameters to create a dynamic page (product details, for example) is something that is guaranteed to put a smile on my face, especially having spent months picking up the requisite knowledge to do it. If you never try, you'll never know - it might just become a passion of the OP. Plus, trying to integrate someone else's shopping cart system or payment system without any server scripting knowledge will be like trying to follow an ancient guide to alchemy without an understanding of chemistry.
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I can't agree with this sentiment. It is always worthwhile learning something, even if you have limited use for it. I found it very enjoyable learning PHP and integrating it with MySQL - the elegance of using the same lines with one or two parameters to create a dynamic page (product details, for example) is something that is guaranteed to put a smile on my face, especially having spent months picking up the requisite knowledge to do it. If you never try, you'll never know - it might just become a passion of the OP. Plus, trying to integrate someone else's shopping cart system or payment system without any server scripting knowledge will be like trying to follow an ancient guide to alchemy without an understanding of chemistry.
I agree. It's not that it wouldn't be worth my time, I just might not have the time right now to spend on it. What was your level of experience in web mark-up / programming before you started with PHP? Did you spend a lot of time with HTML previously? How about JavaScript?
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I started learning HTML and CSS last January, and about 6 weeks later started on JavaScript/jQuery, then a couple of months later I started PHP and MySQL. So I didn't have much experience in any of them before I was juggling them all. I'm far from good at any of them, but with enough work and some questions on here I tend to get the job done eventually. The problem I have now is that I can make most things happen in long round-about ways, without knowing how to do the more elegant things.

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OK thanks, HTML and CSS aren't too bad really, although it seems the more experience with them the better. Would it be anyhow conceivable for you to build an ecommerce shopping cart and or catalog with your available knowledge? Or would it be far out of the question?

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I have already done so - my first site is an ecommerce site for my mum to sell treatments for psoriasis/eczema. I build the shopping cart and integrated RBS WorldPay. Once she completes the details of the stock and writes the product descriptions we'll be away

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It was a fair bit of work. My main difficulties came when I decided to change the way basket management worked when users signed in.At first, your basket contents weren't saved, but I wasn't happy with that. Now if you add items to your basket when you aren't signed in, they'll stay there for up to a week. If you sign in, they are stored permanently (within reason). I don't know why, but that took me a long time to get right, and I split the PHP into two documents to keep the workflow a bit simpler.Checkout was a bit of a pain as well. I make users sign in, even if they are already signed in, and if not, register before purchasing - and THEN also deal with the management of the shopping basket. The page that handles the logging in/registering posts to itself and it's the most complicated code I've got - looking at it today still makes me shudder. I don't like having those messy bits of code, though. I like to go back and break them down into well commented sections that I can follow and, if need be, change with confidence. My breadcrumb trail used to be like that, but it's pretty clear now.Every step of it is a challenge, but I don't find it hard to sit down and do it because it's fun in its own way. I daresay if I was working to a schedule for an unsympathetic boss it would be another matter entirely, but my mother hasn't the first clue about web development and she's the one holding the business up now, so it's easy street.

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I think wirehopper is trying to say that even if you are technically proficient to make a simple cart, because you are dealing with actual money, you have to deal with the security aspects, such as the PCI DSS, which can get very confusing, and it is hard to make sure you have everything right. For example, if you allow people to enter their credit card details on your site, do you have an SSL connection? Is the encryption strong enough? Then, if you are storing people's personal details, is your database secure... enough?The point being that unless you are really good, then it's really hard to write your shopping cart in a compliant manner, and making mistakes may potentially mean committing crimes.

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My cousin has been a professional programmer for about 8 years and he recently moved to a company that does web development and it was on the strength of his advice that I decided to hand over all payment processing to WorldPay. The bureaucracy involved in making sure your site adheres to the new regulations, as specified by Synook, is a real pain in the touche. Almost any new ecommerce site uses a third party payment service provider these days. Companies who have always taken payment on their own pages continue to do so in order to retain the customer experience - there's nothing more likely to lose you customers than a change or glitch in your checkout process. I'll find out when WorldPay vet my site for security, but I think I've done everything by the books when it comes to storing customer details. I don't have an SSL set up, but I will by the time we go live.

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