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The e-commerce.

Starting out right - just a few basic questions.


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Hi everyone,


This is my first post here. After looking at tons of different shopping cart options out there, I've decided to roll with osCommerce due to it's longevity and seemingly very active development. Thank you to everyone involved in the making of this script and the contributions; it's great to have a cart like this available and to see a lot of enthusiasts.


I'm experienced with html / basic css / FTP / web graphic design / cpanel on linux / installing PHP scripts / setting permissions etc... so I've decided to go with a manual installation instead of a Fantastico installation (from what I've read so far, it seems that Fantastico installations can be troublesome when it's time to upgrade).


So while I'm pretty comfortable with installing this and initial configuration, there are a couple things that I must admit I'm a bit naive about.


Mainly I'm talking about customizing the look and future upgrades.


I've seen a lot of template sites and such, but I can't help but think that if I purchase something from Template Monster then I'm bound to run into issues when it's time to upgrade versions. I'd like to design my own theme / template, and I have the graphical skills, but unless I'm missing something there doesn't seem to be a lot of documentation or a simple way to make my cart look the way I want it to.


So my questions, if anyone is willing to answer, are:


- Am I overlooking a great tutorial somewhere that could provide valuable advice for customizing the look of my OSC? I'm interested mainly in creating my own graphical header, graphical footer, and button graphics. From what I understand, the rest I can control through the CSS file(s).


- If I do customize the look with my own full graphical headers and footers, am I facing any pitfalls when it comes time to upgrade to a newer version? Are there any particular things (other than the obvious backing up of my database and files) that I will need to do / take note of before I upgrade my customized OSC?


- I don't forsee myself using a lot of plugins / contributions, but there are definitely one or two that I'd be considering (mostly related to the enlarge image feature and the way OSC handles opening the full size image of a product) so I'm wondering if that might also be a bit of a wrestling match when it comes to upgrading.


Thank you for any opinions and advice, I'm just about ready to upload and install OSC and see if I can "skin" this bad boy myself without causing myself future headaches.


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I'd look at installing the STS contribution (simple templating system).


If you are just doing headers and footer no problem on upgrade, just keep a note of what you change.


It is a lottery how difficult it will be to upgrade as it depends on which bits have been changed.





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