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Has anyone come across a hybrid shopping cart system. What I mean exactly by a hybrid shopping cart system is one where the page URLs stay static, but the shopping cart is dynamic. Prefferably it would interact with Dreamweaver and be WYSIWIG.
If not, do you guys think this would be an interesting system, combining the benifits of a Static url for most search engines with the easy of a Dynamic Shopping cart, and WYSIWIG to boot.
So there are definitely ways to do it with any shopping cart. Unfortunately this one isn't WYSIWYG compatible, programmers and text editors only.
I've seen some incredibly beautiful high end sites that have the product pages static as you mentioned, with a little customization of Interchange, which is Open Source. I believe it can also be done with osCommerce (also Open Source) with some modifications.
I'm working on a site that will need a shopping cart in a couple of months, and I'll definitely go with an Open Source solution and get whatever features changed that are necessary. Then, if that works out with what's needed, it'll be implemented on a client site that's now using hosting that includes Miva, but without static pages. In that case it means right now being stuck with a particular host with some features missing that are needed but not there (like decent stats, not worth installing because of other deficiencies) and a too-slow server and control panel.
There are some hosts that offer Interchange as part of their hosting package, so if the static pages, an affiliate feature and inventory tracking are possible that would be the easiest route to go.
sort of, but it won't be of any use. oscommerce is a brilliant shopping cart system that has been severely let down by extremely poor coding by the authors.
if a browser or spider cannot read cookies, oscommerce sticks a lovely session ID in the URL. spiders will not follow links with session IDs in the URL. try it yourself by turning off cookies then visiting an oscommerce site. even if you have cookies turned on, when you first hit a page on an oscommerce site, oscommerce sticks a session ID on every link for that first hit.
i queried the poor coding and the use of session IDs and one of the oscommerce authors replied along the lines of "it works the way we intended it to work so shut up and go away".
there is a way around the sessions problem for those who know PHP - create a dynamic site map to display URLs without session IDs. if the link to the site map is added to the footer, then every page will carry that link and the site map will be spidered. i launched an oscommerce site at the beginning of june and www2.google.com lists 592 pages of the site (june update for google is happening right now).
there is another oscommerce problem - search in google for "oscommerce" and you will find hundreds of sites using oscommerce. virtually every single one of them has the same title on every page and no meta tags - yet another example of poor coding on the part of the oscommerce authors.
you can get around this by adding a bit of code at the top of each page to query the database and create dynamic titles and meta tags - these will use the product name and other information already stored in the database.
there are a couple of other problems with oscommerce that can make shopping or setting prices (especially tax and shipping) a cumbersome process. if you know PHP quite well, go for it. if not, try another cart.
Thanks, Crazy_Fool. That's very helpful information, thanks for pointing that out. It's also right on point. Generally the code savvy and/or those who have generous budget, or the webmasters who do sites for them, don't have much problem.
But for a lot of webmasters who are starting on a budget and don't know programming, the simplest and most affordable solutions are what's needed until they can have enough revenue from a site to move up. And those are not always easy to come up with.
Lisa did an insightful post in our New to Web Development [webmasterworld.com] forum on Open Source. There are some solutions that haven't gotten enough attention, so the more information we can get on them the better.
i've built a shopping cart site in ASP that uses plain HTML pages. the 'buy now' button is a link with the product ID. the pricing information and other details are saved in the shopping cart script (could be saved in a database, but no real benefit). the shopping cart is the bit that sets the session ID and cookies to remember products that have been selected. it works perfectly, but it's a pain to update. far better to use a dynamic shopping cart where all product info and pricing etc is stored in a database as this saves a lot of time when updating the site. dynamic URLs can be spidered by google, fast and altavista, and there is always the option of using mod_rewrite with a dynamic site to convert dynamic URLs to static ones.