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Looking for open source software that showcases products
clicking on product triggers an inquiry form

 7:54 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello Webmasterworld! Been a while since I've been here..

I'm helping a client to build a used machinery showcase website. The purpose of the site is to have about 5 categories with product pictures, specs in them, and I can have a feature on the backend that I can tick, to select the ticked products on the homepage.

When I click on a product link, I'd like it to go to a contact form with some contents already placed inside the body, like the specs and such (I can program up this specific parts of the function)

This is basically it. I know that there are a lot of product showcase websites that mainly describes the product, and if clients wants to know more information, they click on the "Contact us" form thingy. I just don't know what type of platform they are using.

I don't want to use blog type of softwares, and don't need drupal as well (too server intensive). The website will always just function as a product showcase, so something kinda simple, but most importantly open souce, is good enough for my purpose.

Can anyone here give me some software names, or other recommendations, for my software hunts? My project is due in 10 days, so any help or feedbacks at all, will be appreciated!




 9:43 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

A full CMS like Drupal may be too much for your requirements, but you could look into systems which are made for picture galleries. Many picture galleries have the option to let users comment on the pictures they see. If you choose a system which firsts sends these comments for approval to the webmaster, you already more or less have a "Contact us" option built-in.


 10:37 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thank you very much Iammert, sorry about the wrong section..

Picture gallery wouldn't work, as I still need to input in a lot of criterias like price, specs, age, and other misc information inside the back-end for it to easily updated by the client's staff, via a CSV file. Also their specifications differ across the subcategories, for example used engines they'll add horsepower, and cranes they'll add lift tonnage, etc..

Hence would still require a front-end/back-end system that's a bit more advanced than an image gallery.

Would be along the scale of tractor farm equipment website, for example..



 10:57 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

With a lot of attributes which also need sorting/selecting, some sort of eCommerce system comes in mind, but without the payment part. I am not sure how easy it is to remove the shopping cart and payment processing module from an eCommerce solution though.


 11:13 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would also suggest an ecommerce package.
Only use the categories and product display pages, admin backend and db and have the buy now button go to a page you write yourself which pulls the "product" data from the db based on the product ID number linked to your button.
Then take it from there.


 4:08 pm on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

lot of criterias like price, specs, age, and other misc information

Agreed. That's probably best handled by an e-commerce app with the shopping cart disabled.

In the CMS world, Drupal and ModX are the best I know for complex forms (Drupal with CCK and ModX with Template Variables). I think ModX is less server intensive than Drupal, but I'm not certain.


 2:54 am on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thank you everyone for the reply.

I was afraid that I had to use an e-commerce package for this, as it just seems like an overkill on server resources, but with today's server specs, I can make do with it. It's just that I have to dedicate another licence fee to my current e-commerce software to this small project, for a client (he doesn't really want to pay for it, as we're both quite web tech savvy enough to know it's overkill).

I will take a look at ModX, but probably won't go for that due to time constraints..

Do you have other CMS recommendations?



 10:32 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, you said you don't want the server load, but Drupal + Ubercart with the actual payment and cart modules turned off would basically do this out of the box.

Drupal + CCK would also do this pretty much out of the box with a bit of theming for nice display of all the fields.

Of course, it *is* a heavy app, but since most of your visitors won't be logged in and you content is probably relatively static, you could use the Boost module and implement static page caching, so load on the server will be low.

In fact, boost can also cache both plain text and gzipped versions of pages, so it even saves Apache from gzipping on the fly for compliant browsers.


 4:14 am on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ergo that sounds amazing! I'm just quite anxious about the timing of it all, as I've always heard of Drupal, but have never laid hands on them as a project before. I'm going to give it a go, as what you have describe is what my client need.

Going to start up that coffee machine for the long night ahead!

Going to experiment with Ubercart and theme it a little! And if all else fails, I'll hire a drupal developer to work with me on this.

Thank you again for the great suggestion! And also for the clarifications on Drupal's server resource.


 6:09 am on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Honestly, I would probably start with Drupal + CCK - possibly a little more work on the theming end but

- this is a module with a high level of support
- probably most of the features you would use in this case will be built into Drupal 7 core and you won't need an add-on module at all if you choose to upgrade
- it's ultimately going to be simpler to theme. It's real easy with CCK to take soem short data fields and output those in a sidebar box for example.

Still, wrapping your head around Drupal + CCK + theming is not a one night affair. For figuring out which variables are which, I strongly recommend the Contemplate module. I usually use it to ID the output I'm looking for, but then build file-based (rather that DB-based) templates.

Still, this is one of those tasks that's pretty straight-forward if you know Drupal, but I think you'll need a lot of coffee - and maybe something a lot stronger - if you've never used Drupal before.

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