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osCommerce

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TOTAL DESIGN CONTROL


Rodland

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Is there any documentation / tips / examples / templates of having full control over the design process of each page beyond simple CSS colour and font changes etc. ?

 

For instance - say if I wanted some of the contents of the 'side bars' in a different page (not at the front), how would I do that?

 

How do I create my own custom product pages? How do I link from one frame to another (should I want frames)?

 

I'm no PHP expert at all but I've had a number of years experience using Golive. I assume that I need to somehow create normal pages but link the PHP pages from within these pages? Donnu.

 

I know that osCommerce is amazingly powerful and wonderful but I'm just a bit afraid that I might end up with an osCommerce looking site. I want to know that I can do just about anything and create something which is visually original.

 

Anyone?

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Option 1: Learn PHP / osCommerce core

Option 2: Wait for a template system

 

 

Sorry.... :)

"Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them"

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Everything that you need to change to make yourself a really nice looking shop is located in;

 

stylesheet.css

includes/header.php

includes/footer.php

 

You may (depending upon exactly what you need to do) also have to change each of the 20 or so .php pages that make up the catalog...depends upon your needs.

 

- Forget trying to use frames.

- Sidebars. Read the page using PHP, then if the page name matches (or doesn't match) then display the infobox. Take a look at includes/column_right.php for how to do this.

- Custom product pages ? Unsure what you mean. Add a product in your Admin area and there you now have a product page...

 

HTH

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Everything that you need to change to make yourself a really nice looking shop is located in;

 

stylesheet.css

includes/header.php

includes/footer.php

 

You may (depending upon exactly what you need to do) also have to change each of the 20 or so .php pages that make up the catalog...depends upon your needs.

 

- Forget trying to use frames.

- Sidebars. Read the page using PHP, then if the page name matches (or doesn't match) then display the infobox. Take a look at includes/column_right.php for how to do this.

- Custom product pages ? Unsure what you mean. Add a product in your Admin area and there you now have a product page...

 

HTH

 

This is true if you want to maintain a boring three column look with all the same boxes that signify a typical OSCommerce installation.

 

However if you want two columns, instead of three or you want a layered look or you want to use advanced features, then you need to learn PHP because you will be changing every single PHP file.

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However if you want two columns, instead of three or you want a layered look or you want to use advanced features, then you need to learn PHP because you will be changing every single PHP file.

 

Rubbish. You need learn no PHP to set up a 2 column look. It is a simple matter of taking out one of the columns from the 20 or so main files. No PHP involved there whatsoever.

 

I just did exactly that this morning on a shop I'm working on right now - takes less than 5 minutes to do this across the entire store.

 

You don't need to know any PHP to make Osc look different, you do hoever need to know HTML and how to copy and paste.

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The point is that you shouldn't have to touch the PHP files at all whether you want 2 columns, 3 columns or 10 columns in your store.

 

Most people starting sites these days, don't know HTML let alone copying and pasting. This is why a proper templating system is needed. Personally, I don't have the time to code this and maintain it with the continually changing snapshots or it would have been done a long time ago with nice template system all stored in the database and an interface in the Admin Control panel to manage it all.

 

Now that the current task list is being finished off, maybe we can get a release of 2.2 and a proper templating system can be contributed making it so no files have to be edited to change the look and feel of your shop.

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The oScommerce site code is laid out fairly logically. If you take the time to learn PHP and HTML you will not have any trouble making the site look the way you want it.

 

The point is that you shouldn't have to touch the PHP files at all whether you want 2 columns, 3 columns or 10 columns in your store.

 

Most people starting sites these days, don't know HTML let alone copying and pasting. This is why a proper templating system is needed. Personally, I don't have the time to code this and maintain it with the continually changing snapshots or it would have been done a long time ago with nice template system all stored in the database and an interface in the Admin Control panel to manage it all.

 

Now that the current task list is being finished off, maybe we can get a release of 2.2 and a proper templating system can be contributed making it so no files have to be edited to change the look and feel of your shop.

 

Umm...then these people should not be starting sites in the first place. Even with a "proper templating system", you will still need to know a bit of HTML and PHP in order to make the templates. If people want to operate a website, they should at least have a working knowledge of the technologies behind the site. If that is too much for them, then there is always YAHOO STORES or Miva merchant. =)

 

 

 

-= SsZERO =-

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The problem I have found with customization is you will end up being stuck to the snapshot you have modified. If many changes were made, it is very painfull to bring in another snapshot. All the changes have to be reapplied and of course tested.

 

I have this problem now when I consider the new Checkout process.

 

I think customization is a must and a benefit of using OSC. The code is yours to do what you want. This gives you the advantage of being able to create a unique cart. Just be sure you are happy with the snapshot you intend to change before you make the changes.

 

Also, document your changes so you can change a new snapshot if you need to. I have pages of documentation that support my changes. From design, contributions, customizations to simple text and grammer. Once you get into it, your changes will soon become overwhelming.

 

Brian,

 

http://www.mylittlechampion.com

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I agree that a standardized template/theme system (a la PostNuke http://www.postnuke.com/ -- BTW, there is a module for PostNuke to integrate OSC into it -- nifty) is a good idea, but as I said in my previous message, it may mislead people into thinking that there is no need to know PHP/HTML for customization. To separate the HTML from the PHP entirely to a point where you could make the pages in dreamweaver would require a lot of re-coding of the entire osC package. If it were designed like that from the beginning, then it wouldn't really be an issue. Maybe version 3 will be more supportive of "skins" or "themes". I am developing a site which uses custom <zone> tags within the HTML to indicate PHP code. This allows me to make the entire theme within dreamweaver.

 

After working with raw HTML for such a long time, I actually find that I get better results with the HTML than I do using an editor like DW, but DW is handy for throwing things together quickly.

-= SsZERO =-

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You don't need to know any PHP to make Osc look different, you do hoever need to know HTML and how to copy and paste

 

"Different" is something else then the requested "Total Control".

That implies changing the way things get displayed / formatted as well.

You will not be able to that with plain html.

"Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them"

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Hi all,

 

If anyone is interested, I have made a template system that uses just one html file for the entire OSC catalog.....

 

I made a contribution for this.....

 

it works well except that the pop up windows has not been fully intergated yet....I have a fix for that if anyone is interested as well....

 

the link to it is...

 

http://www.oscommerce.com/downloads.php/co...ions,637/type,3

 

 

cheers,

Peter McGrath

-----------------------------

See my Profile (click here) for more information and to contact me for professional osCommerce support that includes SEO development, custom development and security implementation

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  • 3 weeks later...

Templating is a MUST for any program like this. I tested osCommerce one time just to see how it all worked. I have quite a bit of experience in PHP (developed two full applications) and HTML is cake at this point, yet still found making layout changes somewhat cumbersome. From what I gathered, if a newer version was released I would have to redo all the layout changes. That is ridiculous.

 

What a program like this should strive for is the ability to separate code/design. Take phpBB for example. It has an awesome templating system. If osCommerce took phpBB as an example, they would definitely be on the right track. I have built completely custom templates for phpBB in less than 3 hours! That includes making all the images as well.

 

If osCommerce had templating, I wouldn't give it a second thought about whether or not to use it. It is an great program.

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I am developing a system that uses XHTML output in order to completely separate PHP from HTML. Developing templates for this new application I am working on is superbly easy. I think XHTML is the way to go -- it makes it so much easier to share data between various sources, and it is backward compatible with legacy HTML standards.

-= SsZERO =-

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The problem I have found with customization is you will end up being stuck to the snapshot you have modified. If many changes were made, it is very painfull to bring in another snapshot. All the changes have to be reapplied and of course tested.

 

If you get a program like Beyond Compare it is a whole lot easier to update files with changes.

 

What I do, as I am still clueless about CVS ...

 

I go to this handy page about once a week to peek at code changes and sort by Age so they are easier to spot:

 

http://cvs.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/tep/

 

Then, I download the new snapshot.

 

I make a directory called c:TheShop and copy just the /catalog/catalog directory (and all subdirectories) into it.

 

Then, I take the /admin/admin and copy that in c:TheShopcatalog

 

Now I have the same structure as my site.

 

Next, I make an empty directory ... example c:compare

 

Drop to DOS ... :shock:

 

Yes, that black hole no one wants to talk about ...

 

type: (Be very sure that this is where you are before continuing)

cdcompare

 

type: (Enter the date of the files since you last did an update from a new snapshot to get all changed files.)

xcopy c:TheShop*.* /D:12-07-2002 /s

 

Now, quit out of DOS ... exit is a very handy command to remember here. :D

 

Next, open Beyond Compare ... tell it to start with c:TheShop on the Left side ... and your main directory (which is of course backed up before you are doing this) on the right.

 

1 you now have just a few files to change.

 

2 you know there are actual changes to these files.

 

3 if you never have changed these files, then you could just over write your files with them without even looking at them (hand to save your .bak files to know if you ever touched a file. And, if you inadvertantly touch a file and create one, I take the time to delete the .bak I may have created and re-unzip the original from the snapshot I started with so the date and time are preserved. ... yes many have had the same thought ... I am anal retentive ... :wink:)

 

4 Check the oscommerce.sql file for changes too. Most changes are just settings for if starting new. Others you need to pay attention to and insert, update, edit, etc. in the proper manner to work with an active MySQL database vs a new install

 

This takes 5 minutes to a couple hours a week. Could be done daily, weekly or monthly ... depending on how much work you like to do at one time.

 

The more often you check the code, the less time you spend trying to figure out changes.

 

Most changes are done in nice gangs of changes so like changes are done at the same time and easier to follow.

 

Use the URL above as a comparrison tool to what was changed and where.

 

Easy smeazy, eh? 8)

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