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[NH] Re: Any ideas on a shopping cart?

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  • Wayne VanWeerthuizen
    I do not know of any free tutorials, although they likely exist. Here is a quick overview of how the process works. Realize it is MUCH more involved then
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 20, 1999
      I do not know of any free tutorials, although they likely exist.

      Here is a quick overview of how the process works. Realize it is MUCH
      more involved then merely creating a page in HTML and uploading it.

      Also, for security reasons, many ISP's will require that they do all the
      necessary programming themselves. At a minimum, they will need to
      inspect all the CGI scripts, to be sure they do not contain malicious or
      erroneous code that could mess up their servers, or other customers' web

      Some sort of CGI is essential. They are usually written in Perl.

      Normally, such a web page is connected to a SQL database. 'MySQL' is a
      _very_ good SQL server if the web server is on any sort of Unix platform.
      And MySQL is also free. The database stores information about available
      products, user information and account history, the contents of the
      user's shopping cart, and information needed to track the cookies used by
      the web browser.

      The SQL database is important because CGI scripts remember nothing.
      Every time the users clicks on a link, the CGI script tied to that page
      has to "relearn" everything about that user. This is usually done by
      using cookies and an SQL database. The user's web browser sends the
      cookie to the web server every time the user goes back to the page that
      issued it. The cookie contains a number that uniquely identifies the
      user. Then the CGI scripts uses that number as a key, and asks the SQL
      server to remind it everything else about that user - name, contents of
      shopping cart, etc. Then the CGI updates the SQL database with whatever
      change the user made (such as adding a new item to the cart. Then it
      creates, on the fly, an HTML page customized for this user, and sends it
      to the web browser to be displayed. After that point the CGI program
      terminates. When the user clicks another link on the page, this whole
      process repeats.

      An alternative approach (which is growing in popularity) is to use an
      IMBEDDED scripting language like PHP. Still, one needs an SQL database
      for the actual data storage.

      I warn you that setting up the database requires comand-line access to
      the server, and the permission of the server's owner. Easy if the server
      is on one's own machine - but for most of us, it is not. If one is using
      an ISP's web server, one will need to work out a contract with them. One
      will likely spend a significant amount of money just to have their ISP
      set things up, and also have pay ongoing fees for the database hosting.
      (Which is rarely, if ever, included with "basic" web hosting.)

      Wayne M. VanWeerthuizen
      ICQ: 15117288
      Homepage: http:/landru.myhome.net/wayne


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