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Choice of Web Tool for Database-driven application better for Shopping Cart

Posted on 2014-01-19
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Last Modified: 2014-02-02
Hi,
 
I have been designing database driven websites using ColdFusion/MS Access in the past. Whenever customer asked that I add "Shopping Cart" functionality and I posted a question on this board to learn about shopping cart integration with CF code, experts seemed to indicate that CF was not the best app development tool if I need to add shopping cart to the website.

Having said that I am about to develop another website that is database-driven with the possibility of selling items on the website.
(1) What language or platform provides the easiest integration of shopping cart for the items stored in MS ACCESS or some type of database format?
(2) Also I need to make this website "Mobile Compatible".
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Question by:sglee
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LVL 40

Accepted Solution

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Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger) earned 84 total points
ID: 39793290
.NET is a very good platform for what you want to do.

The language is secondary. When you are working with .NET, the Framework does the job. The language is only a way to tell .NET what you want to do. No matter if you say "I love you" or "Je t'aime", what is important is the meaning, no matter if it is English of French, as long as the listener understands that language. And it happens that .NET understand most languages, be it VB, C# or even COBOL (as long as it is COBOL.NET).

A lot of shopping cart templates and Tools are available for .NET (http://www.bing.com/search?q=shopping+cart+.net&qs=n&form=QBLH&filt=all&pq=shopping+cart+.net&sc=1-18&sp=-1&sk=&cvid=4ea2e412158f4d778642cff5c5994053)

I would drop Access however. Although it might seem to work at first, add just a little traffc on your transactional site, and Access won't be able to keep up. It has been designed for a small number of users. If your web site ever becomes popular (which is probably what you want to happen), Access won't be able to do the job well.

Would you use Notepad for a yearly report for your company?

SQL Server, for which there is a free version (SQL Server Express) that can easily be upgraded to a more capable (and $$$) version if the need arise, is a far better choice. Not as easy to use, but think of it. A DVD recorder with 25 buttons does a lot more than one that has only a Play and Stop buttons. If you are serious about DVD recording, you won't chose one that is easy to use because it has only 2 buttons. You will need at least a third one... the Record button.

As for making the website "Mobile Compatible", well... all web sites are mobile compatible. It's the display of the information that does not show correctly between one mobile an the other mobile.

You cannot display information on a web page that runs on a 30" screen the same way as you do on a 10" tablet or a 2" mobile phone. And displaying things correctly on an Android, IOS or Windows 8 hardware means different approaches.

Its already hard to display things correctly between a computer with Windows XP running on a 15 inches monitor at a resolution of 640x480 and another on with Windows 8 running on a 30 inches monitor at a resolution of 1280x1024. Think of what it is when you go from a Microsoft to a Google to an Apple operating system, from a monitor that is 30 inches to one that is 15 times smaller.

This is not that I want to make it hard for you. That is a fact of the current state of mobile applications.

That means a good data layer backbone (that's the easy part) on which you build different applications for different types of access (that one is the hard one).
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39793376
@JamesBurger
Thanks for the in-depth analysis and I appreciate it.
I guess I need to learn .NET pretty quick because this seems to be what is widely being used.
As to the database, I am going to stick to MS ACCESS with .NET because (1) I am familiar with ACCESS/VB programming (2) the website will have < 100 items to display/list. They may sell stuff online down the road, but for now, it is to display items for browsing purposes.
As to mobile device compatibility, I will look for the book.
0
 
LVL 40
ID: 39793464
.NET is a wonderful tool, most possibly the best thing Microsoft ever did. But with over 10000 classes (no error in the number of zeroes there), each with an average of 50-60 properties and methods, plus a completely object oriented environment, at least remove the "pretty" before the "quick". Even "quick" is something for the hopeful.

The problem with Access is not as much the amount of data as the number of users. It was designed for a unique user. Although the market forced them to adapt it to multi-users, Access still suffers from it basic design. On a web site, you never know how many users you will have. And since Access can process only one request at a time, that may slow things a lot if you happen to have many simultaneous users.

Over that, Access does not offer the proper security to serve as a the backbone of a serious web site. This is even worst if you use a version of Access that is newer than 2003. Some stuff may be "down the road", but changing everything after a few months or a few years is usually worst that doing it from scratch in the beginning, so better do it right right now.

Just an opinion, based on more than 20 years of experience with Access. Access is a wonderful tool when used for what it was designed to do, but the Web as we know it was not even in sight when Access was designed, and it was never designed to serve many simultaneous users.
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:Kusala Wijayasena
Kusala Wijayasena earned 84 total points
ID: 39793538
For this matter, my take is PHP.

Though ASP.NET is good, but it is very heavy. Therefore development like your scale can easily cope with PHP and it will run faster (remember PHP can scalable too).

For database, yes, please avoid Access. As JamesBurger explained, Access was not implemented in a way that it will fit for web applications requirements. Instead of that used MySQL or MarriaDB (MarriaDB is preferable)

If you pay attention to "Responsive Web Design", then you can create a site that will work on any device irrespective of it screen size. In here you can used JavaScript framework like Bootstrap/LessFramework to accomplish your task

Finally, don't try to reinvent the wheel. There are huge number of shopping cart frameworks freely available. used one of that and customize it to fit your requirements
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39795951
@kusala & @JamesBurger
I am new to .NET and PHP. I am not a website designer, rather ACCESS programmer and later learned ColdFusion.  I do have a web designer who takes care of website design and I add database functionality to it.
That said, I would like to evaluate both PHP and .NET to see which is I am going to stick to moving forward (and replace Coldfusion).
Could  you make some suggestions as to what would be best way to learn PHP and .NET in the shortest amount of time - whether it is online video training or books ... etc?
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:gdemaria
gdemaria earned 83 total points
ID: 39795978
sglee this is a loaded question which is very hard to get a real analytical response.  Everyone is going to tell you their favorite language.  I cannot possibly understand why anyone would say that ColdFusion is not a good language for a shopping cart.  It's a programming language for the web and you can build web code, any web code very quickly and easily.  I have written over a hundred different shopping carts in coldfusion very quickly and easily.   If someone tells you another language is "better" (whatever better means) then they are just saying they are most familiar with that language.   There is no way you should have to learn an entirely different language to write something as simple and common as a shopping cart.
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:myselfrandhawa
myselfrandhawa earned 249 total points
ID: 39799530
Hi,

I do not know who told you that ColdFusion is not a Good Programming LanguageFor E-Commerce, To me it is best secure E-Commerce Websites it Provides.

To Prove i need not give any evidence, but i will tell couple of things:

I have done many E-Commerce websites using CF only,

If you want to Spent Some Bucks:

1. Cartweaver - Awesome
2. cfwebstore - Brilliant

Freebies:

1. cfshopkart -  Good Enough [Support is Paid, functionality is Massive]
2. Mura CMS - with Slatwall as Extenton to e-Commerce

Here is more links for you

https://www.google.co.in/search?q=coldfusion+for+ecommerce+&oq=coldfusion+for+ecommerce+&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.10134j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

Help is always there, I am open for cf, if you need help in anything

cheers
0
 

Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39799861
@myselfrandhawa
I will look into your suggestions - cfshopkart & Mura CMS.

I have some experience in custom app development in MS ACCESS programmer and learned how to use ColdFusion to develop database-driven website. It was simple to learn and program. However when I had to build a shopping cart (where I had no prior experience), I had to advertize for that job and every one who responded to the Ad seemed to indicate that CF is not a best choice and they  were willing to change CF part of website with something different.

Now I don't mind learning another language whether it is .NET or PHP, but learning a new language thru tutorials is one thing, but becoming good enough to develop a website is another. It will be time-consuming.

But if there are shopping carts out there that I can easily integrate into the current CF-driven websites, I am all for it.
0
 
LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:myselfrandhawa
myselfrandhawa earned 249 total points
ID: 39800146
If you want to spend some bucks, i suggest you go for cartweaver, it has developer licence and it is easy to use and configure
0
 

Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39800253
OK. I will check out cartweaver.
0
 

Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39816804
@myselfrandhawa
I did not have time until today to return to this issue.
I visited both CartWeaver and CFWebStore. As you indicated, I tend to like CartWeaver.
Here is what I need to build in CF for this website.
They like to see photo w/ frame:
Each items has Description/Product Category/Artiest who created it/Reg. Price/Sale Price/Date Posted (on the website).
There are 30 some product categories and artists. The shopper should be able to list products/items based on Product Category or Artist. The list will display several items with small pictures (two row/three columns) per page with Navigation buttons. When the item is clicked, then the bigger picture will be displayed along with full description of the product and price along with [Add to Cart].
I am able to create CF based web pages that does what is described above.
But I have no idea how to make the connection from this to Shopping Cart.
If I buy CartWeaver, it is pretty simply? Is there a tutorial on how to integrate the shopping cart into my CFM page?
0
 
LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:myselfrandhawa
myselfrandhawa earned 249 total points
ID: 39817144
For all your above Questions, cartweaver is the Answer.

It has all features and much more and you can easily add many other features too, which are required.

The Support for Cartweaver is always open in the forums, they have own dedicated team to help the Cartweaver Purchasers, and also you will find tutorial on how to setup the Cartweaver, here are the links

http://www.yourcartweaverstore.com/

http://forums.cartweaver.com/#Forum/cartweaver-coldfusion

http://docs.cartweaver.com/

http://help.cartweaver.com/

http://support.cartweaver.com/Main/Default.aspx [This feature if you are getting some issues which are not covered in docs and anywhere, you can request them here]
0
 

Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39817567
@myselfrandhawa
I will give that a shot and post the result in the next couple of weeks.
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