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What's Actinic all about?
Opinions regarding Actinic
muppets




msg:641135
 9:12 pm on Apr 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking of buying the Actinic developer edition. Can anyone who has experience of it answer a few questions?

1) Does the Actinic Catalog bit allow you to build a site for a client and then allow them to update the products, prices, etc. themselves? How easy do clients in general find this?

2) With developer edition is that a one-off fee? Say I built 10 E-Comm sites for 10 diff. clients who all wanted to update the products themselves does it allow me to do this or do they sting you for mutiple licenses for the Catalog component?

 

gsx




msg:641136
 10:05 pm on Apr 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have never used Actinic.

Have you registered to download a free 30 day trial? All the terms and conditions are likely to be in the trial version, so this may answer your questions.

muppets




msg:641137
 9:53 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm going to do that anyway but I just wanted to get some feedback from people who had been using it for some time.

Is there any e-commerce package you rececommend?

curlykarl




msg:641138
 10:10 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I looked at a few times a year or so ago, but didn't like it.

I decided to build my own using mysql/php and tieing it in to mals e-comm, and its free.

Have you looked at OS-commerce?

I have looked at quite a few sites using Actnic and didn't like any of them, but thats my personal opinion :)

Karl

muppets




msg:641139
 10:48 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like Mals. I think that looks good but I just wanted something to automate the whole process allowing a client to update the products, prices, etc. themselves.

I think what I'm starting to realise is that it's all about personal preference. I suppose the thing that I like about Actinic is that is creates static HTML pages which are good for SEO but this might be the feature that puts a lot of other people off who are more into database driven sites.

jamie




msg:641140
 10:54 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

hi muppets,

i spent quite a while going through the actinic software, wanting to install it for a client of ours.

although they had good customer support, i found the shop software to be not as flexible as we needed.

we have since installed another shop software - ab-shop.com - which specifically was able to work with spanish payment providers.

but in retrospect i wish we had started from scratch with our own system. php and mysql would have been a good choice.

i tend to think these shop software systems are perfect for clients themselves, who have no idea about html, to get a shop up online within a few days. but for a webdevelopper they don't offer nearly enough flexibility and customization options.

i would recommend developping a basic shop, which you can then customize according to the needs of each client. that way you control the indexibility of the shop by SEs, you control the navigation, you can even give a mini 'back office' so that clients themselves can change stuff like prices, products, descriptions, etc.

and making static pages in php is no problem - simply go to the php/perl forum on this site.

good luck

p.s. just wanted to add that i am no expert with programming, but (as i am finding out at the moment) a combi like php/mysql really is 'relatively' easy to learn ;-)

Scampi




msg:641141
 5:44 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ive been playing with Actinic, and it appears to be aimed at companies, situations that will use the software daily. It controls most things of the site, most importantly the orders, so It proberly isn't practical to use in this situation.

muppets




msg:641142
 5:55 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Scampi? That rings a bell. Guess who I am?

curlykarl




msg:641143
 5:58 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Kermit? :)

Scampi




msg:641144
 6:03 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Muppets : You viewed my port folio for a job interview about two months ago, check your email :)

muppets




msg:641145
 6:10 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Chris. I did have a look at your CV about 2 months ago. That's why I employed you. Welcome to Webmaster World!

jaeden




msg:641146
 6:36 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can someone please tell me, with OSCommerce, is it possible to enter multiple items into a cart at one time?

For instance, I've seen on some sites, there would be a list of items with a quantity box next to it, and in some circumstances a check-box that they would click to order that item. Then there would be one 'add-to-cart' button on the bottom of the page.

Can OSCommerce do this, or if not, anyone know of a good software package that can?

Jaeden

curlykarl




msg:641147
 6:57 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I cant help you with that jaeden, but I would recommend you try that question at the OS forum

[forums.oscommerce.com...]

:)

TallTroll




msg:641148
 11:02 am on May 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> 1) Does the Actinic Catalog bit allow you to build a site for a client and then allow them to update the products, prices, etc. themselves? How easy do clients in general find this?

You can build and deploy as many sites as you please for free from Actinic Developer. The client can do NOTHING without purchasing some Actinic package or other (including taking orders directly. There is an orders only module available). I personally consider this to be one of Actinics strengths.

If they do purchase Actinic, then they can make changes themselves, but take a tip, and get it reading from a database, so they are updating in their existing accounts / stock control system, rather than Actinic. This cuts out duplication of effort, and makes it rather more likely that the data will be good

>> 2) With developer edition is that a one-off fee? Say I built 10 E-Comm sites for 10 diff. clients who all wanted to update the products themselves does it allow me to do this or do they sting you for mutiple licenses for the Catalog component?

Well technically, the clients get stung, because they buy Catalog / whatever, not you.

>> but for a webdevelopper they don't offer nearly enough flexibility and customization options.

Umm. Actinic Developer lets you mod just about everything, the .mdb and the Perl scripts. Its as customisable as your technical skills. We even rewrote the database query routine because building a 50 line order from a 10000 product database took about 2 minutes. After the mod, it took about 4 seconds (there were issues in the order query processes were being carried out in, simple database query optimisation stuff really).

Also, we found a bug in our very first go with it, and the Actinic dev team were very nice, gave us a patch and everything

furman




msg:641149
 11:52 am on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi,
I considered Actinic for my store but I found Erol3 to be better and more customisable.

They have developer edition with multi store features.

muppets




msg:641150
 12:36 pm on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

TallTroll

Thanks for the advice. You answered my question exactly. We can use Developer to build multiple sites and any of those where the clients needs to update the product catalogue themseleves we can sell them a copy of Catalog and give them a bit of training.

As a tip you said to get Actinic reading from their existing stock / accounts software. How easy is this? What can it integrate with? One client in particular doesn't use a well recognised package like Sage or Quickbooks but uses a custom-built mail-order software package that is built on a Access DB. Could Actinic suck the product data out of that?

One other thing - how easy is it to train a client to use Catalog to update their product catalogue? 1/2 or 1 day?

muppets




msg:641151
 12:38 pm on May 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Furman

Erol looks good until you realise it's frames based. I don't do frames. I don't care what anyone says, they are not the best for SEO. Other than that, it's looks a decent product.

bekyed




msg:641152
 9:47 pm on May 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi,

As a tip you said to get Actinic reading from their existing stock / accounts software. How easy is this?
What can it integrate with? One client in particular doesn't use a well recognised package like Sage or Quickbooks but uses a custom-built mail-order software package that is built on a Access DB. Could Actinic suck the product data out of that?

At the moment actinic only works with sage and quickbooks
but the main database is access based and i am sure it can be customised quite easily.

One other thing - how easy is it to train a client to use Catalog to update their product catalogue? 1/2 or 1 day?

Depending on your clients knowledge of computers i would say normally a day to possibly 2 days as actinic has its own inbuilt ftp and everything is more or less done for you as soon as the upload button is pressed.

Bek

muppets




msg:641153
 7:03 am on May 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's what I wanted to know whether it was Access based. Should therefore be scope for doing easy integration between the 2. Great. Thanks.

TallTroll




msg:641154
 11:12 am on May 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Muppets, sorry, should have been more specific. When you get Actinic Developer, you can get at the Perl scripts AND the .mdb. F'rinstance, we have one out there, locally installed at the client site, which uses link tables (modded by us) to pull data straight out of the accounts system to populate the Actinic catalogue. The two apps run on the same server, so its lightning quick

>> At the moment actinic only works with sage and quickbooks

Thats native, no-brainer integratiopn. If you have a grasp on the data structure of ANY fairly open accounts system, you can integrate as closely as your skills will allow. If you don't, hire someone who does

>> One other thing - how easy is it to train a client to use Catalog to update their product catalogue? 1/2 or 1 day?

Depends a lot on your client... The whole point about doing the tight integration stuff (from our point of view) was to get the client doing updates in a system they are already familiar with (and that we don't have to support ;)) which, in theory, reduces the problems enormously

furman : I've spent some time looking at EROL, and yes it have some great features, but its still a frames based JavaScript cart. A much better implementation of the beast, and they were receptive to the idea of making it SEO friendly last time I spoke to them. I guess that if you use a static HTML site as the "pull" for traffic, and then pass to the cart, it should work well, but you aren't likely to get many hits direct to product level pages

muppets




msg:641155
 1:34 pm on May 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nice one TallTroll. Now I know that Actinic is actually .mdb based and we can get at it we can easily do integration in the manner you talk of.

You come across as you like Actinic. Is that all you use? Or have you used others and preferred that? I'm weighing them up at present and the only other one in the frame is StoreFront. Any experience?

TallTroll




msg:641156
 1:50 pm on May 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> You come across as you like Actinic.

Not really. It's one of about 3 or 4 packages we use. It has it's plus points, and its problems. We just pick the one that works for the project

>> the only other one in the frame is StoreFront. Any experience?

'Fraid not

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