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Passing and storing website data

Hi

I am currently developing a website for selling t-shirts. I have the design
and structure of the site pretty much finished, I just need to work out the
business logic for the site.

An early version on the site can be found at
http://www.blackwaterbadgers.co.uk/fsm/default.asp
The design has changed since this version but it gives a general idea of how
it will work.

The user will have to go through a process of choosing the category,
choosing an image from within a category, choosing the shirt style, size and
colour
and then finally be shown a preview of the shirt at which stage they can add
it to their basket.

I plan to link the site to PayPal initially and utilise the online shopping
cart. I have experience with VB.NET and SQL Server so I should imagine a
SQL Server back end would be my best option.

http://www.junkfunk.com/ illustrates how I would like the site to work
initially with PayPal and the PayPay cart.

To start with I think I would have two tables to describe the categories and
the images in each category.

Category
------------
CategoryID
CategoryImageUrl

Image
-----
ImageID
CategoryID
ImageUrl

I then need a way to remember which design was chosen and then keep track of
the style, size and colour chosen. When the user is presented with a
preview
of the shirt, I want them to be able to return to any section and change any
of their options, such as colour.
If they are happy with the design, I want them to be able to add the shirt
to their basket and either continue shopping or proceed to checkout. PayPay
should be able to cope with the last bit, but I need some way of remembering
all the t-shirt options.

As I do not plan to use PayPal forever, would it be best to implement a back
end that tracks customer orders so the site could be expanded to have its
own cart or would it be better to just let PayPal cope with remembering all
the order details?

I should imagine the latter would be easier to implement but does restrict
future expansion. However, if I plan to make part of the system database
driven, why not make the rest the same.

At which stage would I update the database with customer orders? Even if I
do have a table for customers and orders I would still have to get the site
to maintain the order details until the user went to the checkout and
entered their details. Would session variables be the best method for
maintaining order details?

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated as there are obviously many
different approaches but its finding the right one that is the problem.

Regards, Carl Gilbert
Nov 19 '05 #1
1 1069
snt
If you are thinking of expansion in the future, it makes sense to plan
it now. For a single server website, maitaining order details in
session variables is the simple and sensible option. Normally, you
would decide to update the database and reset your session information,
once you get a response from the paypal gateway. Hope this helps.

snt
http://www.onlinemall.com
http://www.flexoweb.com

Nov 19 '05 #2

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