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#1 2007-02-14 23:04:51

a_band
Member
Registered: 2007-01-19
Posts: 41
Website

Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

I’m a freelance web developer. I started using TextPattern for my sites about six months ago and I’m hooked. I get regular requests to build online stores and, for lack of a better option, I’ve been using DigiShop for all my clients. I found myself wishing that there was a solution that managed stores as well as Textpattern manages sites. Then it hit me: why can’t TXP manage stores?

Why not another solution?
The only two open-source solutions on the market are osCommerce and Zen Cart and they share the same code base. Both are over-blown and archaic, completely lacking in elegance. Speaking from experience, customizing one of these solutions is a nightmare of digging through miles of code circa 1999. Most people go with basic variations of the default install .

So why Textpattern?
I doubt that I need to reiterate the benefits of using Textpattern to build a website. It just makes it easier. I believe that with a few plugins the same benefits could be applied to building an online store. The store plugin would focus specifically on taking advantage of the following features:

Custom Admin Interface
Because Textpattern allows users to write admin plugins the store would have its own management section separate from the rest of the TextPattern functionality. I’m thinking it would be a peer tab to ‘content’ and ‘presentation’. This would give developers the ability to let store content managers to administer their store. This admin section would handle the following items:

  • Product categories
  • Product management (standard CRUD functions)
  • Customer management
  • Order management
  • Store settings

The Plugin API
Standard E-Commerce components would be built as individual plugins that don’t depend on each other. So if you wanted to have a custom payment/checkout process but also wanted use other existing plugins you could just write a new plugin and replace the tag without breaking any of the store’s other functionality.

Products would be Articles
Normal product attributes such as weight and price would be custom fields. This way store developers can take advantages of the wealth of tags and functionality available to articles.

These seem like reasons enough to build this plugin but can anyone else think of some other good reasons?

I’m considering developing the following plugins.

  1. Admin store interface
  2. Shopping cart
  3. Customer checkout
  4. Credit Card gateway/Payment process
  5. Customer order management
  6. Package tracking

Issues to consider:

  1. Some hosts have separate server directories for HTTPS content. To get this to work you might have to install TXP in two separate places and point it to the same DB. Sounds like a pain.
  2. Should customers be saved into txp_users with privileges set to ‘0’? Or should customers be saved into a separate table?

I’ve been toying with some mockups of how the admin screen might appear:

I’m going to be working on this as my schedule allows. I welcome your suggestions and advice!

- Levi

Last edited by a_band (2007-02-14 23:28:34)


~ Levi
———————————-

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#2 2007-02-26 14:18:13

producemedia
New Member
Registered: 2007-02-21
Posts: 9

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

Hi, Any movement on this?
I for one would be eternally in your debt for development of this plugin.
If its any help this wordpress plugin was released a while ago. and seems like a good solution.

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#3 2007-02-26 15:28:44

squaredeye
Member
From: Greenville, SC
Registered: 2005-07-31
Posts: 1,495
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

a_band,
Could be exciting. I’ve heard that Team Textpattern were working on something themselves. Might be interesting for you to contact them and see what they are up to and how it might be a good interaction or competition:) for the best interface?

I would think a well thought through approach to this would be worth some cash for a good developer. Possibly following Zem’s Pro model?


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#4 2007-02-26 15:52:13

mrdale
Moderator
From: Walla Walla
Registered: 2004-11-19
Posts: 2,064
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

I’d love to see this move forward and would contribute to it’s development. Your approach (modular, article-based, etc) seems sound, and I’m waiting with baited breath to see what happens.

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#5 2007-02-26 15:59:06

sthmtc
Member
From: CGN, GER
Registered: 2005-01-17
Posts: 586
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

of course this would be the bomb.
currently struggeling through shopify, i see how complex things can become soon, though… there are so many things to be considered. uff. like management of shipping rates, taxes, affiliate system (?), discount codes (?), etc, …

i’m really wondering what happened to the thing Team Textpattern was working on…

i bet i’d not be the only one that would pay some rather large amount of cash for such an extension/plugin…

Last edited by sthmtc (2007-02-26 15:59:52)

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#6 2007-02-26 23:52:57

a_band
Member
Registered: 2007-01-19
Posts: 41
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I’ve been moving ahead on this and I decided to set up a site where you interested folks can track the progress, download builds and even donate money if so inclined.

The site is: http://homeplatewp.com/TextCommerce/ I also posted a detailed update on the progress

Because I have the nightly build available to download, please feel free to dive in doing some development collaboration. I’d love to work with some other developers on this.


~ Levi
———————————-

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#7 2007-02-27 01:14:17

mrdale
Moderator
From: Walla Walla
Registered: 2004-11-19
Posts: 2,064
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

OK, so which of these locations does the js folder go in?

  1. here… tld.com/js or
  2. here… tld.com/textpattern/

Suggestion: I think it makes sense to use the built-in TXP image capabilities for store images.

Thanks

Oh, and you should edit the curlies out of the DB query…

Last edited by mrdale (2007-02-27 01:18:42)

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#8 2007-02-27 01:18:07

a_band
Member
Registered: 2007-01-19
Posts: 41
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

The js should go in “tld.com/js”.

Thanks for pointing that out about the SQL quotes. TextTile converted the simple ticks to HTML entities. I updated the SQL so it just plain ol’ quotes now.


~ Levi
———————————-

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#9 2007-02-27 01:48:30

mrdale
Moderator
From: Walla Walla
Registered: 2004-11-19
Posts: 2,064
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

OK, either bugs or my own daftness in effect…

  • “Categories” tab produces a page with no TXP tabs, and a select nav, in the middle of the page …
  • When I create a new product I get the following error…

Array ( [uploadFile] => Array ( [name] => [type] => [tmp_name] => [error] => 4 [size] => 0 ) )

  • When adding a product with an image…

Array ( [uploadFile] => Array ( [name] => pan_2.jpg [type] => image/jpeg [tmp_name] => /usr/local/www/php/tmp/phpZORz3k [error] => 0 [size] => 18541 ) )

  • I can get a customer list on the customer tab, but clicking add new customer does nothing.
  • “Orders” tab produces a page with no TXP tabs, and a select nav, in the middle of the page …
  • “settings page is blank but with expected TXP tabs
  • “dashboard” produces expected TXP tabs, but gives me the following error: select count(*) from txp_log where time like '2007-02-27%'

My “js” directory is structured like this, buut I’m not sure its functional. do I need to set it to 777?

  • TLD.com/js/lib
    • TLD.com/js/lib/prototype.js
  • TLD.com/js/src
    • TLD.com/js/src/scriptaculous.js
    • TLD.com/js/src/all_the_other_files.js

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#10 2007-02-27 02:35:16

zem
Developer emeritus
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-04-08
Posts: 2,579
Website

Re: Thinking about building an e-commerce plugin...

i’m really wondering what happened to the thing Team Textpattern was working on…

i bet i’d not be the only one that would pay some rather large amount of cash for such an extension/plugin…

Serious enquiries here please.


Alex
tstate

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