View Full Version : Buidling a Shopping Cart, what Books can you recommend?

Paper Shredder Clay
10-09-2009, 10:44 AM
I have built sites before that had products but used PayPal as a easy and secure way to sell. But can anyone here recommend any PHP, MYSQL, or ASP books on building a secure shopping site?


10-09-2009, 08:13 PM
First thing I would do is choose your programming language. That will generally lead you to your database choice. For example you wouldn't need to learn both ASP and PHP. One or the other would be enough.

I'd recommend PHP/MySQL combination for the programming language and database combination in part because both are free and most every hosting account will have them installed and because they're both pretty easy to learn with an abundance of books and tutorials.

As far as specific books I don't have a recommendation. You can find a lot of books that will teach both PHP and MySQL in one and some will lead up to a shopping cart as a working example. One of the books I learned from is Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL (http://www.amazon.com/Web-Database-Applications-PHP-MySQL/dp/0596005431/). The book is a few years old now, but it does lead to one of those shopping cart examples at the end. I never worked through it so I can't say how well the example is. The earlier parts of the book were good.

10-10-2009, 01:18 AM
Making a shopping cart from scratch is a pretty big task. Whats your knowledge base, how much php or other programming languages do you know?

10-11-2009, 10:23 AM
My only question would be - why do you want to build a shopping cart? What kind of business problem are you trying to solve?

On the other hand, if you are trying to learn something, rather than make a commercial product, I'd go with something that pays more money.

10-11-2009, 11:06 AM
How do you intend to handle completing purchases this time? Are you going to use Paypal as the processor or are you thinking about signing up for a merchant account and processing your own payments.

Firstly, there are alot of important things to consider when completing processes in regards to credit cards. There a specifc requirements, (including what you can store, how you can store it, where you can store it, etc) when handling credit card numbers.

Processing credit cards/payments are something that require high security. If this is for fun, it will be interesting to work on, if for public domain, if you arent experinced in creating such applications, I would advise you find and use an open source/commercial product.

10-11-2009, 09:18 PM
If you need to ask for help, then you really should not be designing anything and should instead focus on the business aspects and hire in a professional.

Paper Shredder Clay
10-12-2009, 03:07 PM
I have experience with PHP and MySQL and some in ASP, but I would code in PHP and MySQL since that's where I have the most experience. Steve if everyone had that mentality there would be no professionals.

10-12-2009, 04:32 PM
Steve if everyone had that mentality there would be no professionals.

I agree. Some people want to do it themselves and learn. Nothing wrong with that.

01-14-2011, 04:23 PM
No need to re-invent the wheel if you don't have to. Building a shopping cart from scratch can be a daunting task. But if your up to it.. More power to you. But may I suggest Zen Cart. It is open source (free) very powerful admin and highly customizable and plugging in merchant gateways is fairly easy. But keep this in mind... There is a learning curve but once you make it around the corner, you will be surprised at the types and quality carts you can develop.

01-23-2011, 01:35 PM
You might consider Wordpress. There are many e-commerce and SEO plugins, and at the end of the day you will have a professional website that you can update from anywhere. Wordpress also has one of the largest support communities that can help you get out of the trouble you are likely going to get into HA HA. Really, there are thousands of plugins for Wordpress - 42 Million users have come to rely on this platform - and it has finally matured to be a no-excuses platform for small business.

Reflo Ltd
01-23-2011, 09:53 PM
I used a product called phpcart. it is pretty easy to use and modify. www.phpcart.net

you can see it in use at my site Reflo Ltd - a smart alternative to sippy cups (http://www.reflo.net)

I think it cost 20 or 30 bucks.

01-24-2011, 06:47 AM
From a cost perspective, it's a lot cheaper to buy a shopping cart, or use a freely available one, then spend your time customizing it. Otherwise, you will be re-inventing the wheel. I use Sunshop (http://www.turnkeywebtools.com/affiliates/pages/133.php) for my clients, but many others are good. If you get most / all of the source code, you can modify the features as you wish.

I'm a professional php / mysql programmer, but I didn't "roll my own" shopping cart for 2 main reasons:

1. Features - take a look a the features offered by any of the full featured carts out there. The admin / management interface, front end user features, shipping modules, payment modules, etc. Building even a stripped down cart is going to take dozens of hours.

2. Security - shopping carts deal with sensitive credit card and personal data (names, addresses, etc.). Now with PCI requirements coming up, the bar is being raised higher for websites to protect this information, and handle it correctly. Unless you really understand how hackers can attack these systems, you can easily leave some holes open for a security breach.

Probably a third reason is that I personally don't like writing code for things that have already been done. I'd prefer to modify / add features, and focus on the unique aspects of the site that require custom programming.

In any event, good luck with the project. You will learn a lot by taking on new challenges.


01-24-2011, 11:50 AM
From a cost perspective, it's a lot cheaper to buy a shopping cart, or use a freely available one, then spend your time customizing it.


Totally agree with Jim. Unless you are doing it because you are bored or for a research project why do it? Also, the good shopping carts that are out there also are optimized for SEO rankings also. If you just want to play with .php files, all shopping carts allow you to customize their templates, panels and snippets. You can rent by the month or buy one outright.

01-24-2011, 02:22 PM
I believe the original poster asked for recommendations on books regarding building a cart. His question wasn't a recommendation for a cart, which is the best cart etc.

@OP: I've seen books on this but I don't recall what they were.