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STS or Designing layout from scratch?


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I have just installed STS and am quite confused about the files to ammend. Which files do I ammend to specify my logo, images, my background ..............?

 

Also, is it better to just design your own layout and preferences without using a template system like STS? If it is, then which files are affected? What files do you ammend?

 

Please help out!

 

Thanks!

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The 'Simple Template System' is anything but 'Simple'. However, it is probably more 'Simple' than completely redoing the layout yourself. Redoing the layout yourself involves altering virtually every file at the root level, plus all of the files at the includes/languages/english/ level, plus the header and footer, and perhaps the left and right columns also.

 

Vger

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I guess I'd settle for STS then, am just gonna have to learn to cuse it. Any suggestions about all files to modify when using STS? Or do you have any pointers to some manual or something. I just wanna be able to customise my site, add my logo, background, images ........

 

Tunde

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I guess I'd settle for STS then, am just gonna have to learn to cuse it. Any suggestions about all files to modify when using STS? Or do you have any pointers to some manual or something. I just wanna be able to customise my site, add my logo, background, images  ........

 

Tunde

 

The readme for STS is pretty extensive as to it's use. Pretty easy overall once you get it up and running.

 

Iggy

Everything's funny but nothing's a joke...

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well all u have to edit is the template in

root/include folder under the name sts_template.html

 

it's a html, so it's really easy to do it. take a look at my site on what i've done

www.edpsolutions.net

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Gary,

 

I'd love to hear why. What specifically caused the work? Do you think the template system expected to be in MS3 will be different?

 

Thanks,

Ed

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I agree. I first learned OSCommerce without STS, and after a very complicated process to get the site looking how i wanted it to, my next 'learning' site was with sts... sure, it was difficult at first, but, after i got comfortable with it, and using all the needed info, it is very easy to set up a new design with STS and incorporate CSS design much easier than without it. I would love to hear your experinece and how/what is easier without STS for design.

 

I will admit, the most difficult thing for me was infoboxes and contents with STS, but, after you clean out the boxes and use the sts templates+stylesheet(s) to generate boxes as you want, it is easier to design the boxes and do everything as you need to.

 

 

Gary,

 

I'd love to hear why.  What specifically caused the work?  Do you think the template system expected to be in MS3 will be different?

 

Thanks,

Ed

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I agree.  I first learned OSCommerce without STS,  my next 'learning' site was with sts... sure, it was difficult at first, but, after i got comfortable with it, and using all the needed info, it is very easy to set up a new design with STS and incorporate CSS design much easier than without it.  I would love to hear your experinece and how/what is easier without STS for design.

 

I will admit, the most difficult thing for me was infoboxes and contents with STS, but, after you clean out the boxes and use the sts templates+stylesheet(s) to generate boxes as you want, it is easier to design the boxes and do everything as you need to.

 

Hey guys...I've been wondering about something...I've been afraid of using STS, afraid it might cause problems with contributions in the future or whatever...are there known bugs?, and after a very complicated process to get my site looking how i wanted it to up till now, (I notice I can't move forward for several reasons = meta tags, adding pages, infobox links, menu at the top or bottom, etc) I'm now getting sick of changing things at the root level in php, back and forth, etc. I know HTML pretty good, both in and out, and would think STS is the solution for me....is it? Now that my site is almost finished...i just want those neat shadow effects behind the store, boxes, etc.

 

Also, I've already done some extensive design on my OSC site without implementing STS...can I still use STS or is it going to mess up my margins, headers, etc. See, i no longer have the OSC default look (sort of), but know it can be better. You think STS is the solution for me?

 

I want to be able to change and add links, pages, and stuff more easily like HTML. I know how to get a page looking like HTML in OSC, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to add a NEW page or a NEW link in a infobox.

 

Any Suggestions? :rolleyes:

 

BIG P.S. Can I add meta tags, keywords, descriptions, and classifications using STS??!! That's what I really need done. Or is there a seperate contribution for those?

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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well, if you download sts and read through it and what it does, you'll notice you really dont change anything major in your php files. I have found it incredibly easy to change the look of my site with. It creates an HTML file for the template on the most basic level. And then, all your elements are in your control. So, the infobox stuff you've done is exactly the same as your infobox, only in the template, wherever you want it, you put "$infobox" and it shows up there. All the dynamic php stuff, i.e. product discriptions, log in screen, my account screen, etc. is replaced just "$content" in your one HTML file. So if you dont do anything to the HTML, you can have your site exactly how you've got it now without doing much of anything. So in your template, you create a table, then you are in control of WHAT goes WHERE in your layout. Like this:

|-----------------------|

|....$header |

|---------------$login |

|$search | |

| | |

|$infobox | |

| |$content |

| | |

| | |

|----------------------..|

| $footer................|

----------------------...|

 

 

OK, here's what i've found from reading the STS thread and documents and a couple months of experimenting.

 

At it's basic level, it doesnt do much other than let you move around your infoboxes and stuff. You can't really change the way the boxes are made or how oscommerce creates things.

Most people do this, then get upset because STS isn't doing anything, so if they want to change the LOOK of the infoboxes, they still have to edit the PHP files and CSS and corner images, etc. to get everything to LOOK the way they want it. So it seems to be more work for very little effect.

I have found STS to be much more of a blessing than a curse. Because if you have something you have worked hard on and dont want to go back and change it to try to get it back to that point, you do not have to. BUT, if you want to change the look, for example, of the info boxes, i went back and removed the header and CSS tags of the manufacturers box, so the content of the box shows up and just the manufacturers list. Then, for the box header, look, CSS borders, box shading, etc. i put the CSS and design elements into my template file (instead of the separate php files.) Now, when i need to change the look of something, it is soooooo very easy with just the HTML file and css file. SOOOOOOO much easier than finding each php file and doing the changes there. To get to this point, you have to do minor editing to the php files still, but just to remove the design parts. If you are comfortable with HTML, it becomes easier after that point to do anything you want with STS.

The more advanced parts of STS, which you dont need to even get in to if you dont want to, let you have almost as many HTML templates as you need; so you can have a different design/look for each category, for certain products, and i've read for different languages/currencies etc. if you want to. I haven't used the templates for different languages etc yet (not sure how) but i have a shared SSL host, and i was able to easily even create different templates for the Secure pages and non-secure pages. So a "you are protected by ssl" was easy to put in my html, either a pull, hardcode, or picture added to the secure template that is absent from the other.

 

The last bit of praise i have for STS is has some smarts to it. For example, instead of adding both the "tell a friend" box and "specials" box to every page, you can add just one box, and sts will automatically display the "specials" box on your site, but when a product page is clicked, it will change to the "tell a friend" box on its own. etc. not like other template systems i tried that required you to put both on every page of your site if you wanted one to show up sometimes. Same with the "login/logoff" text or image, etc. ((or if you really want, you can have ONLY the "specials" show up on every page too etc.)) And it doesnt mess with the php files very much at all, so, if you have other contributions to add later, it is pretty easy to do.

 

 

The bad part of STS is that the included instructions are more of an introduction and guide to STS, but i found dont really get into the advanced things you can do. You do need to redo the css file and the php files for elements you want to control design of with STS and the html, but, once you do, its easier after that point to change things, move things, etc.

 

Now, i am a newbie still to oscommerce and not a PHP master by any means. I am still learning the nitty gritty of both, but, with STS, i am really pleased with it and find it is the one real contribution that i should 'promote' on the forums when i can.

here are two example sites that really modivated me to stick with sts till i got it figured out. (these are not my sites nor am i affiliated with them at all, i just dig their layouts for oscommerce)

 

http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com

http://www.feestartikel.nl/

 

...and actually, if you check out bert's website, who doesnt like sts, he is actually selling sts templates and designs. so it cant be that bad a system to use if its critics can profit from it.

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ok guys, my own viewpoint comes from that as a long-time user of osCommerce and over 5 years as a web-designer/developer...

 

Like someone else said, all the STS does is allow you to easily place infoboxes and other "elements"...it doesn't make actually designing a site any easier or harder.

 

I *know* there is absolutely nothing that you can do with STS that you cannot do using normal osC. However what the STS does do is save around 20 minutes of time 9this time is time saved because you don't have to amend each of the main .php files in a standard install.

 

My own view is that anyone new to osCommerce should not use STS (or any templating system). Why?

 

1/ By using a template system, you cut down your ability to get support. The vast majority of STS (& BTS) users are people who are new to osC and want to take a (so called) shortcut. Thus, these are people who do not know the ins and outs of osCommerce.

 

2/ osCommerce will soon have it's own templating system. MS3.

 

3/ When you want to add in contributions, you have added an extra layer of complexity by installing a template system.

 

4/ Even when you have your layout in place using STS, you still need to change all the infoboxes etc by hand!

 

5/ When you want to add in something that is not in the standard STS "Tags", you need to; a/ create the code using php and osc_functions, b/ create a new "tag" for the code, and c/ include the tag in the sts_layout file.

 

To my mind, you are doubling the amount of work using STS. So, for the sake of 20 minutes saved, is it _really_ worth using STS.

 

In my opinion, no.

 

Some people might say that I am biased about not using STS - after all my bread and butter is making good looking osCommerce sites. But that would be untrue, as the previous poster pointed out - one of my main sites actually sells templates for STS...so it really benefits me whether or not STS is used.

 

As a developer, I would never use STS for a clients site. It's a shortcut to "success" that will rebound on the developer and client months down the line when an MS3, MS4 and so on upgrade is needed...

 

That's my thoughts on it. Game on!

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In a nutshell STS is all about looks and placement. It makes it much easier to place the different parts of your site where you want them to be. It also allows you to change how your site looks using plain html in one file without getting into php or digging through as many different files.

 

If you want to change the differnent parts of osC such as the boxes themselves you will not be able to to this using STS, with STS you can easily change where the boxes are on your site but not anything about the boxes themselves.

 

Some contribution installs can be affected by STS but for the most part it is not to bad.

 

It is really handy for someone who know html and wants to dig into the php part of the program as little as possible.

 

If you have already made a lot of changes you may find that you will lose some or all of the if you install STS

 

If you want to add pages to the store and link to them in your info box you can find the instructions HERE it is not all that hard you just need to make sure you do all the steps.

 

For your meta tags and keywords I would install the header tags controller contribution.

 

 

 

Hey guys...I've been wondering about something...I've been afraid of using STS, afraid it might cause problems with contributions in the future or whatever...are there known bugs?, and after a very complicated process to get my site looking how i wanted it to up till now, (I notice I can't move forward for several reasons = meta tags, adding pages, infobox links, menu at the top or bottom, etc) I'm now getting sick of changing things at the root level in php, back and forth, etc.  I know HTML pretty good, both in and out, and would think STS is the solution for me....is it? Now that my site is almost finished...i just want those neat shadow effects behind the store, boxes, etc.

 

Also, I've already done some extensive design on my OSC site without implementing STS...can I still use STS or is it going to mess up my margins, headers, etc.  See, i no longer have the OSC default look (sort of), but know it can be better.  You think STS is the solution for me? 

 

I want to be able to change and add links, pages, and stuff more easily like HTML.  I know how to get a page looking like HTML in OSC, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to add a NEW page or a NEW link in a infobox.

 

Any Suggestions?  :rolleyes:

 

BIG P.S. Can I add meta tags, keywords, descriptions, and classifications using STS??!!  That's what I really need done.  Or is there a seperate contribution for those?

The Knowledge Base is a wonderful thing.

Do you have a problem? Have you checked out Common Problems?

There are many very useful osC Contributions

Are you having trouble with a installed contribution? Have you checked out the support thread found Here

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!!! You did backup, right??

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Bravo Bravo...well said Wlpywd...sounds great...that's the kind of information I can live with...a good chunk of meat I can sink my teeth into...plus a cold beer to go along with it at the end...LOL

 

One more question...does it handle meta tags, description tags, or any kind of keyword meta tags properly...so in other words, if it is in essence html driven, can you use Frontpage with STS and implement keywords as you would in Frontpage? In a nutshell, can a person add the necessary search engine meta tags and spider information they need by using STS...

 

I don't see why not if it's HTML driven? Or am I wrong in that? Do I have to add an additonal contrib for meta informaton?

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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There is i think one file to add meta tags to, and it will put them on all pages automatically(?) i think? i'm not sure exactly, read up in the sts thread, i know lots of people talk about this. I had a contribution installed before sts that handled this, so i didnt mess with it or check it out after sts was on.

i wouldn't suggest using frontpage ever. as for working with osc or sts........... i have no idea!

 

Burt -- i have a question.

I first tried the BTS system, but turned my nose up at it for these reasons, if i need to do that much work to separate the design and content of the files, i can just stick to changing all the php files myself. with sts, i've gone once to the php files for infoboxes and the css and removed the boxes headers, frames, sizing, etc. and let the sts template (and a reworked css) do all that for me. so when i need to change the look or size of something, i just do it in the template files and css, like a normal non-php html site. It picks up the dynamic content of the $tags just fine to control fonts, box header images, etc. so if i need to change the look, i'm still working with one html file and the stylesheet. Isn't this much easier than sticking to the php files everytime to change box designs? or am i harming myself somewhere down the line i dont see yet? i'm not too concerned about waiting for ms3, still seems a ways off, and taking sts off isn't very hard. Without the css and sts, the site loads pretty much all text now, no boxes or graphics really at all.

 

 

Bravo Bravo...well said Wlpywd...sounds great...that's the kind of information I can live with...a good chunk of meat I can sink my teeth into...plus a cold beer to go along with it at the end...LOL

 

One more question...does it handle meta tags, description tags, or any kind of keyword meta tags properly...so in other words, if it is in essence html driven, can you use Frontpage with STS and implement keywords as you would in Frontpage?  In a nutshell, can a person add the necessary search engine meta tags and spider information they need by using STS...

 

I don't see why not if it's HTML driven?  Or am I wrong in that?  Do I have to add an additonal contrib for meta informaton?

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...Like someone else said, all the STS does is allow you to easily place infoboxes and other "elements".

 

...it doesn't make actually designing a site any easier or harder...I *know* there is absolutely nothing that you can do with STS that you cannot do using normal osC...

 

...My own view is that anyone new to osCommerce should not use STS (or any templating system).  Why?

 

2/  osCommerce will soon have it's own templating system.  MS3.

 

3/  When you want to add in contributions, you have added an extra layer of complexity by installing a template system.

 

 

Hey Burt...Good Point you Joker...LOL

 

When they coming out with MS3 or MS4? B) You telling me that I can still install MS3 if I have still drastically changed my MS2 store in the .php scripting, etc?

 

I don't have the STS installed...I want to definately be able to update OSC in the future, that's what I've been worried about...because .php really isn't that hard when you get use to it, for goodness sake...there's so much information on this Bulliten Board it'll make your Head Explode (w00t)

 

Finding the answer sometimes isn't that hard, but I admit...I'm not an expert either :blush:

 

Believe me...if anyone has a question the answer is here somewhere...just that some of the newbies (that I see) post a quick question without even searching for it first...man, If I had a penny for every duplicate post I've seen...stay back Governor Scrooge.

 

Anyway...I really appreciate all the input from all of you guys...I've made it this far, problably just stick with PHP for now...I kinda enjoy learning it, besides I don't want to mess up what I already have.

 

I just want to know this also...how do I implement meta tags on this OSC buggard so it shows up in search engines?...I saw a contribution or post somewhere, but can't seem to find the darn thing again!

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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I first tried the BTS system, but turned my nose up at it for these reasons, if i need to do that much work to separate the design and content of the files, i can just stick to changing all the php files myself.  with sts, i've gone once to the php files for infoboxes and the css and removed the boxes headers, frames, sizing, etc. and let the sts template (and a reworked css) do all that for me. so when i need to change the look or size of something, i just do it in the template files and css, like a normal non-php html site.  It picks up the dynamic content of the $tags just fine to control fonts, box header images, etc. so if i need to change the look, i'm still working with one html file and the stylesheet.  Isn't this much easier than sticking to the php files everytime to change box designs? or am i harming myself somewhere down the line i dont see yet?  i'm not too concerned about waiting for ms3, still seems a ways off, and taking sts off isn't very hard.  Without the css and sts, the site loads pretty much all text now, no boxes or graphics really at all.

 

I think that what you are doing is fine - after all I don't hate the STS! It just seems un-necessary to use in 99% of cases. What I do is pretty much what you do (except I stick to the standard osC files), with just a few extra stylesheet calls, and a revamped infobox system.

 

The main reason why I always recommend not to use STS (or the BTS) is that it is sometimes difficult to get support. The only people that can really help are the other users of STS (or BTS). If you consider that most users will have used either of these template solutions for a "short-cut to success" you'll see that these people will (in the main) not be experienced with all the ins and outs of normal osCommerce.

 

Makes a little more sense now?

 

If anyone wanted I could upload a couple of screenshots of sites which show that it is easy to get geat looking stores without using a template system like STS or BTS etc...

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When they coming out with MS3 or MS4?  B)  You telling me that I can still install MS3 if I have still drastically changed my MS2 store in the .php scripting, etc?
No ;) But it'll be a lot easier to upgrade if you don't have the extra hassle of STS to deal with...

 

because .php really isn't that hard when you get use to it, for goodness sake...there's so much information on this Bulliten Board it'll make your Head Explode (w00t)
Agreed.

 

Believe me...if anyone has a question the answer is here somewhere...just that some of the newbies (that I see) post a quick question without even searching for it first...man, If I had a penny for every duplicate post I've seen...stay back Governor Scrooge.
Doubly agreed.

 

I just want to know this also...how do I implement meta tags on this OSC buggard so it shows up in search engines?...I saw a contribution or post somewhere, but can't seem to find the darn thing again!

 

You can install the "header Tag controller" contribution, or do as I do and use "Dynamic Meta Tags" which takes no extra work on the part of the Store Owner - search on "meta" and my username for more info.

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search for it on the board or in the contrib section? That is, for your username along with the meta keyword?

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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No ;)  But it'll be a lot easier to upgrade if you don't have the extra hassle of STS to deal with...

 

 

By No...what do you mean? No as in I won't be able to upgrad to OSC3

 

The only things I have changed in OS2 is logo, side margins, look, stylesheet, images, and that's about it for now, what's the use of having upgrades when people can't change their shop and upgrade it later? :(

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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By No...what do you mean?  No as in I won't be able to upgrad to OSC3

 

The only things I have changed in OS2 is logo, side margins, look, stylesheet, images, and that's about it for now, what's the use of having upgrades when people can't change their shop and upgrade it later?  :(

 

There'll be problems upgrading one way or another. Add a contrib, modify the db, get ready to migrate that db by hand.

 

As to STS... It doesn't really DO anything except filter the functions in osC to a series of functions in STS that can be wrapped in standard html thus letting you place a call for (let's say) $content somewhere on your page and get everything in the center of your shop. Or individual boxes etc.

 

It's really very light in code changes and allows A LOT of flexibility. I haven't run into a contrib yet that required me to hack around it and I've got more than a few installed.

 

There's a point to be made from getting into the innards of osC and learning how it does it's thing. STS won't shield you from that in any more than a cursory manner. What it DOES do exceptionally well is allow you to make major changes in layout very quickly.

 

If that's what you want/need I say go for it. When MS3 comes out it's going to be straight back to the drawing board anyways.

 

Hope that helps a bit.

Iggy

Everything's funny but nothing's a joke...

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i wouldnt hold your breath or worry about ms3 yet regardless.

 

http://www.oscommerce.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=108051&hl=

 

ms3 seems to be back to the drawing board regardless of what you've done. and apparently, ms3 will have a template system, but no features that will be included, and current contributions wont work right. ms4 will have all the features upgrade to ms3. but no word on what contribution folks are to do in the middle. i seem to see they want good stable up-to-date error free code for ms3 and then all the contributions/options/features in ms4 so shop owners can turn on/off whatever they want without needing contributions, yet contributions will be easy to make and drop into ms3. then OOP revamp for the final 2.2? I was not really able to follow exactly what each step has, but they are all planned out, and way out in the future. doesnt look like you'll need to worry in the near future. Am i wrong? someone know more than this?

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By No...what do you mean?

 

You telling me that I can still install MS3 if I have still drastically changed my MS2 store in the .php scripting, etc

 

No

 

If you have made many changes to the core files then you will not be able to upgrade easily. Do-able for sure, but not a simple 5 minute thing.

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