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Advice on where to begin with product integration

Thread began 1/29/2010 11:41 am by carlene | Last modified 2/17/2010 4:20 am by mrs | 1745 views | 9 replies |

carleneBeta Tester

Advice on where to begin with product integration

Hello! I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to post this question - I couldn't find an all inclusive extension forum.

Here's my question, I have Data Assist, eCart 5, Security Assist, the Power CMS PHP code, Universal email, Validation Toolkit etc... I need to build a very custom ecommerce store. I've also downloaded the eCommerce recipes.

I'm having a chicken and egg problem here. I want to build my store (with no payment gateway) I need an admin backend to manage store products and look at orders, I also need to set up this store as a secure site that needs a password for access to the entire store (including catalog pages), I also need to create the shopping cart and the product catalog. I need my shopping cart to store the orders in a searchable database that is also accessible via an admin panel. I'm familiar with setting up dynamic sites and database integration with Dreamweaver and basic PHP integration and advanced CSS. I've worked with eCart and DataAssist and most of the other extensions before.

That being said - I was wondering where to start? Do I build the catalog/store first then the admin backend? Or do I start with the log-in and log-in admin for this site? Or do you suggest that I build the admin first before the store? If there is some Getting started guide that leads someone through this process, please point me there - I couldn't seem to find it.

My second question - is it possible to just adapt the Blue Sky store's code in the Solution recipes? I know how to point one of those sites to my databases and reskin it. And will that easily integrate with the Power CMS code?

I'm just wondering if anyone could recommend the best approach to your product integration here. (I couldn't use PowerStore or any other pre-built store because there's a high degree of customization needed in my store.)

Many thanks for your suggestions and feedback.


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Les CrowleyBeta Tester

Hi Carlene,

The first thing you should do is visit the support page here on (support/) and look through the resources there.

Personally the steps I follow when building a custom store would be as follows:

1.Map out the functionality and create a project scope - you really can't build something unless you know what it's suppose to look like and how it's suppose to function.
2. Build the database
3. Create the admin section so that I can manage the data that I'm going to be using on the front end and can get test data into the system.
4. Build the front end of the site
5. Once I'm happy with how it functions, wrap the security around the pages that need it.

I personally find it more difficult to take something like Blue Sky and retrofit what I need... most times it's easier to simply build it from scratch.

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carleneBeta Tester


Thank you for your suggestions, however, I'm looking for much more specific help. I am looking for the HOW to integrate all of these disparate Web Assist products together. Or if they will even work. For example can I use the Power CMS with Data Assist, eCart, and the Security Assist to create the store admin? Is there a trick to the integration? Will any of the parts NOT work together? Those kinds of things. I just need to know if starting at a specific place is required for the software to integrate.


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Office Guy-172461

I use the same steps that Les outlined. All of the WA extension were designed to work together. Each one takes care of a specific task. The solutions were built with WA extensions, so there isn't a problem there either.

I put each solution pack in it's own directory.

In DW I create a separate site definition for the admin part. This makes it easy to work on one part at a time. You would use DataAssist to create the admin. I use the completed admin part to fill in the database so I have some data to use to test the public part.

You use Security Assist to protect the Admin pages.

eCart does the e-commerce part.

The link that Les provided has all of the specifics for each extension.

The guys at WA will walk you through anything you need help with.

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carleneBeta Tester

Thanks for your suggestions.

However I'm still looking for much greater detail and specifics here. I am very familiar with all of the Web Assist software - I'm looking for specific information on how (step by step) to integrate the disparate parts of each of their software. And I'm looking for advice on where to begin with my store.

Am I asking in the wrong forum perhaps? If the people at Web Assist will walk me through this - how can I get them to do this? That's what I'm asking for here - How is this done - this walking through part? Do I need to open a support ticket to get someone from Web Assist to respond?


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Anna Robinson

Here is the workflow we recommend for creating a website from start to finish. We then have many how to documents, solution recipes, etc. in the Support section of our website, as one of our Community Experts mentioned. These will help you with specific steps for each product. Then if you run into issues, you can use technical support (via this forum) to help you with your questions. It is difficult to provide step by step instructions more in-depth than the workflow I link to above because every website is going to be quite different - as you mention, you need to highly customize yours.

However, to get started, I would suggest beginning with our free database. Then if you want to follow the workflow suggested by our Community Experts, use this how to document to walk you through the steps of creating an admin backend. Post questions in the product forums as you need assistance. Both our technical support team and members of our community will be able to help you.

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carleneBeta Tester

Thanks Anna -

I do know how to build a website and all of those steps are done. Thank you very much for the Administrative back - end link. That is precisely what I am looking for - very specific answers and links to my specific questions. No general website 101 is needed as I have been a professional producer/developer/designer since 1996 for some extremely high profile/ high traffic sites. I am also very familiar with dynamic site programming and pulling from recordsets and databases with Dreamweaver. My PHP programming is more on the beginner side though.

I will be very very specific with my questions. Sorry if I am repeating them in this forum. Please try to answer them for me as I feel so far - they have only been very vaguely answered.

1) Can I use the Power CMS as my site Admin? And will this easily integrate with Security Assist/Data Assist and my eCart 5 store? Or are there any issues at all in integrating this code with a customized eCart 5 store?

2) Can I wrap the eCart store/the site Admin using Power CMS with Security Assist and how do you suggest I integrate these all. Specifically? Is there a link to a tutorial with the appropriate database fields suggested. Would it be easier/faster for me to use the pre-programmed PHP Admin Support product that you are selling with the Power CMS and eCart 5 to set this up rather than Security Assist? (I own Security Assist/Data Assist/Power CMS/eCart 5/ Universal eMail/ Validation Toolbox.)

3) My customers already have Customer ID #s assigned to them. I am going to begin with a pre-populated database of customers. But the customers will choose their user name and password. Would it be easier to use the PHP Admin Support or Security Assist for tweaking the security code so that the database looks for the preassigned Customer IDs then they can input their user name and password?

4) Is it possible to customize one of the online stores that was provided in the eCommerce solution recipes to work with the Power CMS and Security Assist or your PHP Admin solution? Or are there any conflicts there? (I can't find the downloads for these anymore BTW - was this removed? Or am I just missing the link?)

5) How can I list multiple products on a page in my store with a quantity field and a single add to cart button for multiple product ordering? Is there a tutorial for that with eCart 5?

I apologize but since your site redesign I can't seem to find many of the support documentation that I was previously using. I'm specifically looking for the cross integration tutorials for many of your products. (Like eCart with Security Assist and Universal email.) I am trying to determine if any of your products conflict with one another or if integration is easy. My problem is that it seems most of the tutorials are written for individual products rather than integrating them into one store.

I'm just looking at the most time-efficient way to begin this store with the eCart 5 integration and security.


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Eric Mittman

I will try to answer these in the order you posted them.

1) The PowerCMS can be a part of your site admin, but since it is just creating page content it would not be the entire admin. I would suggest that you use PowerCMS and keep it separate from the other portions of your admin site. The Security in use comes from Security Assist so it will work with this.

2) Like the first one, you can integrate PowerCMS into the admin area of your site, but it will just be used to update page content and will not interfere with other aspects of your admin. You can use Security Assist to secure all of the pages in your admin area.

3) You can configure the Authenticate user server behavior on the login page to work with your existing id column in your users table. In order to do that part though you would need to determine what id corresponds to what users.

4) It would be possible to integrate some server behaviors of Security Assist and DataAssist with the sample store but I would not recommend it. I think it would be more time consuming and less flexible than if you created your own. Since PowerCMS just handles the page content you can use that with any site or store.

5) Having the multiple items with a single add to cart is not a feature of eCart. You could build something like this but it would be a custom implementation. We do not have any documentation for this currently.

What you should keep in mind is that the tools will work together, but they are used one at a time in a modular fashion. This is how you should make use of the tools, you should add in the functionality from one tool at a time to build up your site.

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Thanks for that link

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Forgive me if I misunderstand your understanding of Power CMS, but I will explain how I use Power CMS.

Power CMS is used for what I term to be a basic website where a company can tell visitors exactly what they do, but it gives the company the ability to update the information on display without having to come back to me and ask for those changes to be made. Each section that you update in Power CMS only updates one section of the website. It won't automatically add a new dynamic page to your site. You would use Power CMS in its simplest form to enable a company to update its 'about us' info or 'home page' text. Power CMS is a prebuilt admin section that is very effective for such sites.

I personally wouldn't use Power CMS for a store to add new products to a catalogue. For this, I would use data assist. I am in the throws of making my own online business, but I have started with PowerStore and I am changing it as I go. It just enables me to get up and running straight away, then make changes as customers are buying from me.

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