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osCommerce

The e-commerce.

how do you keep track of it all?


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After two weeks, I'm really enjoying the challenge of getting my oscom store ready to launch. I'm using a custom template and am already experimenting with 4 contributions and have a few more on deck that I want to try. You really don't have to be a super programmer to get the gist of things which is great.

Question: With all the rewriting of php files and switching things back and forth, what may I ask is a good way to keep track of everything. I guess what I'm asking for is tips (and tools) on how keep files organized. how do you know which files you have already modified without having to look at all your contributions and comparing?

As fun as it is, it seems like it can eventually become overwhelming if you don't have a system or at the very least a journal of every change you've made and every error you overcome..especially in the beginning.

Thanks

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I've installed the Admin Notes contribution and have found it very helpful for keeping track of each contrib added along with any needed notes about the contribution regarding problems during the install or any other note worthy comments. It came in especially handy when setting up a store for someone else that could benefit from all of the hard work that I've already done; I just used the notes that I already had setup to breeze through the installs a second time.

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pedgette thank you, from reading the description, I think this will be useful.

 

also any tips for backing up the site easily (although I admit I haven't searched for this yet) and I believe there was a contribution that allows you to compare 2 php files and merge them or something like that..can't remember the name?

 

it seems it would be a good idea to have one main folder with your total current "pimped out" store and then another folder with the default store and contributions separated in different sub folders? I'm just trying to categorize things, cuz at the moment, my desktop looks like Sanford's junk shop.

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I download my home directory and database everyday into a backup folder on my home pc, then I extract the html folder to another folder called "working on secret". I only work on this folder and always complete changes to my site in 1 day. In other words I take a complet backup before doing any changes and always complete the changes the same day.

This way I can always "roll back" my site to yesterday.

 

Get a free copy of "Beyond compare 2" for your php merging etc, I found it extremely timesaving.

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what may I ask is a good way to keep track of everything. I guess what I'm asking for is tips (and tools) on how keep files organized. how do you know which files you have already modified without having to look at all your contributions and comparing?

As fun as it is, it seems like it can eventually become overwhelming if you don't have a system or at the very least a journal of every change you've made and every error you overcome..especially in the beginning.

 

i always put comments in the code with my initials in brackets and a description of what change i made. if the change is due to a contribution, i put the name of the contribution as well. this way, i can always search for my initials within all the code files and see every change i've ever made. you can use textpad to do the file search recursively through the directory structure.

 

this also helps when trying to resolve a problem, as the comments remind me of what changes were made and i can compare the original file with my current one to see where the differences are.

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I have a folder on the hard drive of my PC with the title of my store.

 

When I first installed Osc I put the entire public_html folder (in my case since I didn't use the catalog folder option and this folder holds everything for OSc and nothing else) on my hard drive with FTP software (I use CoffeeCup Direct FTP).

 

Everytime I add contributions or make changes to any files I do the same thing each time, but each new time I download the folder which contains all the files I opt to "save as" and I rename the public_html folder on my hard drive with the date of that particular date the changes were made, so I have a working full copy of all files each time I update and I can revert back to any point I want of the OScommerce files with or without whatever contributions I have installed.

 

In that folder I also have a simple text file where I have each date that corresponds with the full back up copy on the hard drive and what contributions I have added along with which version of the contribution I used. I also have notes after the contribution name, if needed, if I had to do any modifications to the install that is different in any way from the installation instructions included with the contribution itself, so that way if I had to modify a file or 2 to get the contribution to work nicely with the already installed contributions I have documentation of what I did to get it to work rather than trying to rack my brain for it later--which I found especially helpful in the case of setting up my files for full SSL. I just add to the text file each time I add contributions or make changes so I know what changes were made.

 

I also have a folder called Contributions and within it I download contributions I would like to add as I come accross them. I download them as I see them, but I may not install them for quite some time. Within the Contributions folder I have a folder called completed and once a contribution is installed and working I move it to the completed folder so if I ever have to refer back to the instructions for anything I have them as well as the original files, which I find particularly useful when updating an existing contribution to a newer verison of the same one since many don't document what the changes are I can simply compare what files are in the old and new version packages and the installation instructions from both versions to see what files actually need changed rather than go through all the actual files on the shop only to find that that part of the install was the same as the previous version.

 

I do do a very bad thing in that I do all contributions on my site while it is live rather than offline, so far I have not had any major issues other than when I did my SSL, but I do this for one reason only, if I did it offline and ran into a problem I would procrastinate to find the issue and fix it, doing it while the shop is live I get on the issue and fix it ASAP. I am a night owl so I ad contributions in the middle of the night when there are very few if any visitors on the site outside of maybe Google.

 

Since I fully intend to switch hosting companies once my current plan is up, even though I am sure to most this seems like I have way more copies of my store and files then what is really needed, I would rather be safe than sorry, especially when it comes time to switch hosts.

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