From prototype to online store

We developed a prototype website (without shopping cart and database integration) using Apache/PHP/MySQL running on Windows XP on a Dell PC. You can download XAMPP from Apache Friends. There are several versions that run on Linux, Windows, Solaris and Mac OS. Installing the package was simple and quick, and compared to downloading and configuring each of the applications/database separately, was a huge timesaver! We accomplished a number of objectives with the prototype, including approaching banks for financing (the prototype together with the business plan was part of our “roadshow”). Having a working prototype definitely made a difference in our discussions with banks.  We successfully raised funds from a local bank to finance the import of Terra Keramik’s handcrafted tableware from Switzerland.

There are dozens of shopping cart options available and it is important that one does his/her homework. We selected WebAssist’s eCart for the following reasons:

  • supports multiple server-side languages (including PHP 4 and 5)
  • integrates with several databases (including MySQL)
  • compatible with all major payment gateways (both local and remote checkout)
  • available as a Dreamweaver extension
  • good tutorials for both static and dynamic implementations
  • includes several prepaid support incidents
  • good user support forum
  • several complementary WA packages available
  • We actually purchased WebAssist’s eCommerce package, which includes eCart, database search, client/server-side validation, email from the website, cookies toolkit, etc. and we found is a great value at $399 (includes 5 pre-paid support incidents). The support incidents were useful because we wanted to customize the code and the tutorials were too generic for our purpose. Two areas where we would like WebAssist to improve is their integration with AuthorizeNet (probably the largest payment gateway for processing online/offline credit card payments). We struggled a little with Web Assist’s integration with AuthorizeNet’s AIM method (local checkout), and we recommend that WebAssist improve its tutorial and Authorize Net provide better, up-to-date API documentation. To overcome the integration issues, we used Sound Commerce’s AuthNet PHP script ($49) to integrate eCart with AuthorizeNet. We also had trouble with WebAssist’s email application auto-generating a customer confirmation email on successful customer payment/checkout. Using one of the support incidents, we worked with a WebAssist engineer to resolve the email issue to our satisfaction.

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    One Response to “From prototype to online store”

    1. Apache Windows Server Says:

      For Apache, MySQL, and PHP there is also the ‘Web-Developer Server Suite’, that you might want to try.

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