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Ecommerce Recommendations

by set_uk (Pilgrim)
on Apr 13, 2003 at 09:45 UTC ( #250114=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

set_uk has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I am trying to make a decision about which technology to use to put a data driven ecommerce web site together. Size 500 products, online sales required - option to extend to become a portal required to include forums etc. What do you recommend.

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Re: Ecommerce Recommendations
by eduardo (Curate) on Apr 13, 2003 at 13:55 UTC

    I'm afraid that you don't give me enough information to recommend a technology strategy, much less a concrete technology... this implies to me that you perhaps are not a technologist with a background in creating such applications... this will be reflected in my following answer. Now, obviously, since you've posted this on perlmonks, and I happen to be quite a big fan of perl and associated open source technologies, I am prejudiced in such a way that would pretty much guarantee that you're going to get the standard issue: "what you need is Linux, Apache, MySQL (or PostgreSQL if merlyn is around), and Perl!" However, that's not what you're going to get from me.

    Who is going to maintain this code, and what are their competencies? Are these people that understand enough about computers that they could be given an FTP or WebDAV interface into a template directory and be relatively guaranteed not to screw up product templates and site look and feel, or do these people need a content management system with an enforced workflow process for site management? Just becausee you might be a star developer doesn't mean that the people who are going to have to keep these 500 products going are even marginally competent.

    So, the reqal question is... have you considered any of the very fine 3rd party application providers out there for quickly and rather effortlessly putting up a web store? I mean, does your client (who might be yourself) want to manage webhosting, backups, database administration, security audits for credit card transactions, personal liability for flaws in your code? Because that's an awful lot to ask of a small business who just wants to put together a "data driven ecommerce web site for 500 products."

    Ever consider Yahoo stores? Sure, it won't give you quite the same cache with your geek friends as hacking together YAES (yet another ecommerce site), but it's one hell of a deal. hosted on Yahoo's servers, managed by them, backed up by them, *they* handle CC transactions, they have a really nice workflow system for putting new products in place, and all for probably less that it would cost you to build the site and host it. This would definetly give you access to using yahoo forums, yahoo groups, and the yahoo portal...

    I'm not saying that putting together an ecommerce website isn't a worthwhile endeavor, however, this is one hell of a wheel you're re-inventing. I can't immagine, for 99% of the ecommerce clients I've had over the years, suggesting that they go and build a website now a days, when the entire concept has become a turnkey commodity. So, you asked what the technology strategy I would recommend is? Simple, don't have one... use a trusted 3rd party that has invested 100s of millions of dollars in creating a powerful service.

      I think that you have provided a good summary of the situation. I hate reinventing the wheel too - hence the question. I agree with your points about backup and recovery. However, I am finding that the OOTB solutions you get with WorldPay and Yahoo for instance dont allow for enough customisation to differentiate one site from another - so I am looking for a semi OOTB solution that can be implemented fast but is extensible enough to allow for customisation and growth.
        Would you perhaps be able to provide a list of the features which you require that are not provided by the standard turnkey solutions? I know a few of the other off-the-shelfish packages, and i might be able to help you find one.
Re: Ecommerce Recommendations
by benn (Vicar) on Apr 13, 2003 at 10:48 UTC
    A couple of weeks ago I wote a shop for a client, and decided to use HTML::Template in conjunction with as many CPAN modules as I could find - the whole shop (basket, checkout etc.) managed to fit into about 150 lines of code, with another 100 for the product editor. I highly recommend perl for tasks like this.

    The other nice thing about LAMP though is that once you've got your 'P' sorted out, LAM can actually be anything you want, and very little code change is necessary - changing the 'M' to a 'P(ostgres)' is as easy as changing the 'connect' statement, and even using WAMP makes very little difference :)

Re: Ecommerce Recommendations
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 13, 2003 at 09:59 UTC

    Lamp is all you need. Open, free, stable, powerful, fast, and so on. It's almost as good as software I write ;). Don't forget mod_perl and mod_python, they rock. PHP is good if you don't know what you're doing, otherwise I'd stick to real languages.

Re: Ecommerce Recommendations
by perrin (Chancellor) on Apr 14, 2003 at 00:52 UTC
    One of the most popular Perl options is Interchange. There are others, but this is a big one.
      Great! I have been looking for something like that for some time. Most of the solutions were PHP (or java) - this is the first perl one. I wander if there is some perl ERP (or accounting) solution, there is an Open Source java one - Compiere.

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