The Personal Disquiet of

Mark Boulton

Cardiff Camera Centre website goes live

– January 2nd, 2003 –

Camera Centre Cardiff
The Camera Centre website is a complete design and build project. I was asked to develop the site from scratch, both design and programming, to incorporate ecommerce functionality - this was the only requirement from the client.

The site also need to be updated by the client. They needed to be able to add products and manage the online catalogue. It was decided early on to develop the site using PHP/MySQL to enable the client to do this.

The first thing that was done was the designs, which were signed off almost straight away. Then, a prototype catalogue and content management system was built. This sytem allowed the client to add categories, add products and relate them to a particular category. This prototype then formed the basic structure of the site. The shopping cart and payment system was decided upon - IntelliCART MX (by Tim Green, http://www.rawveg.org) - a PHP shopping cart management system, and also SecureTrading would handle the credit card validation. And so begun, two months on integration and an uphill struggle on a rather steep learning curve.

Finally after integrating the shopping cart (and I must thank Tim Green for his help) it became apparent that the management of the shopping cart was much more sophisticated than I’d first thought. The problem was that the shopping cart items where not integrated to the credit card validation and therefore there had to be a way of linking all the steps in the process together. This was done in the following way:

When a customer buys a product they are added to a database and cross referenced with their order, which is given a unique id number. This number is used throughout all correspondence with the merchant and the customer. The order is then emailed to the merchant, and confirmation is emailed to the customer. Once the credit card has been accepted the merchant is emailed by Secure Trading, the merchant then has to approve the transaction, Once this is done the items are shipped to the customer along with an email.

Next steps for this system is a stock control system and also a semi automatic customer confirmation email once the goods are shipped. I’d like to also try and integrate the adding customer and cart to database functionality to the credit card page that way it’s a one step process rather than two - which is what it is at the moment.

The good thing about this system is that now it’s been developed I can basically reskin it and resell it to other clients.

The site was developed primarily using Dreamweaver MX, utilising the PHP/MySQL server model. Adobe Photoshop 7, Adobe Illustrator 10, Macromedia Homesite on a Mac running OS 10.2 and a PC running Windows 98. 

www.cameracentrecardiff.co.uk

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