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Skill Requirements: Using & Customizing Your Store

Overview

Installing ProductCart on your Web server requires familiarity with things like using an FTP program to move files between your desktop and your Web site, and configuring your Web hosting account to set directory permissions and establish a connection to a database. Consider purchasing an installation service from ProductCart or a ProductCart reseller if you would rather not have to go through the installation steps, which are detailed in Chapter 2.

Once ProductCart has been installed, using our shopping cart software does not require that you know any programming language. The Control Panel allows you to define virtually all properties of your on-line store through an intuitive, point-&-click interface, which can be accessed using a standard Web browser.

A basic knowledge of HTML however, will help you take full advantage of ProductCart’s features. For example, ProductCart can generate for you HTML links that can tie any static page on your Web site to your on-line store. In this scenario, simply being familiar with how HTML links work allows you to connect any area of your existing Web site to your storefront. For more information on this feature, see the Generate Links section of this document.

Customizing the store design

Customizing your storefront’s graphical interface is another area in which a basic understanding of how HTML pages are structured can be helpful. For more information on how to personalize the appearance of your ProductCart store, see Integrating ProductCart with your Web site.

For an introduction to HTML, try these Web sites:

If you would rather hire a professional to help you integrate ProductCart with your existing Web site, or design a completely new graphical interface for your Web store, contact a ProductCart reseller. These are companies that have developed an expertise in building complete e-commerce Web sites powered by ProductCart. You can find a list at the following URL: http://www.earlyimpact.com/partners.asp

Editing or adding features

When you purchase ProductCart, you will receive the program’s full ASP source code, where ASP stands for Active Server Pages, a popular programming language developed by Microsoft®. If you are an experienced programmer, this will allow you to further customize the application to exactly meet your needs. However, note that ProductCart will not be able to provide technical support on your efforts to modify the ASP source code, nor on areas of ProductCart where code has been modified by you.

If you are familiar with ASP and are looking to customize ProductCart to better meet your needs, you may want to visit the Developer’s Corner located on the ProductCart Web site at the following address. It contains code snippets that might be useful in your project. Some of the appendixes located at the end of this User Guide provide additional technical information. http://www.earlyimpact.com/productcart/support/developers.asp

If you are not familiar with ASP, but are still looking to add new features to ProductCart or modify existing features to better meet your needs, we encourage you to contact a Certified ProductCart Developer for a quote. These are companies that have ASP programmers on staff and are experts at customizing ProductCart’s ASP source code: http://www.earlyimpact.com/cpd

Updating a customized store

Before embarking on a project that involves customizing ProductCart's source code, please note that updating ProductCart when new files are released becomes a more time consuming task as some of the files that you have modified might also have been updated by ProductCart.

If that is the case, the only solution is to compare the source code of the two files and reapply your changes to the latest version of the file. This is often not a difficult task, but it is certainly a time consuming one.

  • Make sure to clearly comment the changes you are making to the ASP source code (or ask your developers to do so): it will help speed up the process of synchronizing those files with updated ones if and when a ProductCart update is released.
  • There are applications that make comparing files a rather simple task, highlighting for you everything that’s changed in the source code. For example, you can find a good one at http://www.examdiff.com.

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