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Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Beginner Edition [Paperback]

David Mercer
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Dec 2005 1904811884 978-1904811886
Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Beginner Edition will teach you how to build and maintain a working e-commerce Website using osCommerce. You will learn all the information required to set up, modify and maintain your own online store. It is often hard to find well presented, clear, and helpful information regarding the many settings and complications associated with running an osCommerce store. This book is a boon for those who want to learn how to do things for themselves. The book's business oriented approach focuses on using osCommerce to meet your business goals and requirements. You will also learn how to get the most from the osCommerce community, and see how the open source nature of osCommerce can bring great benefits to the quality of your site. By the end of this book, you will be confident in running your own store and possess enough know how to establish a strong online business. There is a Professional Edition of this title available ISBN 1904811140

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (15 Dec 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904811884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904811886
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 19 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,154,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

David Mercer was born in August 1976 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Having always had a strong interest in science, David came into regular contact with computers at university where he graduated cum laude with majors in applied math and math (although he minored in computer science). As a programmer and professional writer who has been writing both code and books for about nine years, he has worked on a number of well known titles, in various capacities, on a wide variety of topics. His books have sold tens of thousands of copies and have been translated into over 6 different languages to date. David finds that the challenges arising from the dichotomous relationship between the science (and art) of software programming and the art (and science) of writing is what keeps his interest in producing books piqued. He will no doubt continue to write professionally in the future. David balances his time between programming, reviewing, writing, and contributing to interesting web-based projects such as RankTracer and LinkDoozer. When he isn't working (which isn't that often) he enjoys playing guitar (generally on stage and unrehearsed) and getting involved in outdoor activities ranging from touch rugby and golf to water skiing and snowboarding. Visit RankTracer or find him on LinkDoozer where he is generally lurking.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book 1 Dec 2009
Fantastic book easy to follow - I am a complete novice and would recommend it to anyone.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars waste of time 19 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book is terrible. Its not written for the developer, rather the IT illerate. Fortunatly OS Commerce is a thing of the past....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I found this book really helpful in setting up an online store using Oscommerce. 13 July 2006
By Ravi - Published on
PHP has grown into an all encompassing language which is now the preferred choice for developing web based projects including many popular content management systems, database configuration front-ends and even e-commerce applications which can be configured to run out of the box. One such open source project is oscommerce which is an Open Source based online shop e-commerce solution that is available for free under the GNU General Public License. It features a rich set of out-of-the-box online shopping cart functionality that allows store owners to setup, run, and maintain their online stores with minimum effort and with no costs, fees, or limitations involved.

osCommerce has attracted the largest community for an e-commerce solution that consists of over 99,900 store owners and developers worldwide with add-ons being contributed on a daily basis. To date there are over 3,400 add-ons available that have been created by the community to extend the features of an osCommerce online store.

So it is no wonder that entire books have been written explaining the configuration aspects of oscommerce. One book which I found really interesting is "Building Online Stores with Oscommerce : Professional Edition" authored by David Mercer and brought out by Packt Publishing. This book is divided into 12 chapters spanning over 370 pages and aims to give the reader a firm introduction to setting up an online e-commerce store using Oscommerce.

The book is aimed more at people running business who have limited knowledge of web based technologies rather than the hard core techie. And going by this principle, the author starts the narration by giving a fly-by overview of e-commerce. Usually people who run businesses may not be as conversant about the different aspects of technology. This chapter gives a peep into the process of designing an ecommerce site from scratch. The author explains in simple terms the various issues that need to be sorted out like the business requirements, meeting the business related needs, deciding how functional ones site need to be and also the development, testing and debugging of the site.

To run Oscommerce on ones machine, one need to first install and configure three software packages - them being Apache web server, PHP and MySQL database. The second chapter of this easily read book walks the readers through setting up these software packages as well as installing Oscommerce. This chapter is replete with screen shots of the steps which makes it much more easier for the average person to follow what is being explained.

From here the author dives into giving the reader an insight into the underlying technology used in Oscommerce. Here the uninitiated in computers get to know the HTML tags, PHP tags, snippets of code in Oscommerce which interact with the Mysql database, the oscommerce directory structure and so on. This chapter does not cover these topics in depth rather the author explains these things on a need to know basis.

Chapter 4 titled "Basic Configuration" is an important chapter in the sense that it explains the various configuration parameters of Oscommerce. Here one is introduced to the well designed and easy to use administration panel of oscommerce. This is the place where one has to enter the business details, details of the products that are to be showcased, customer details, configure the stock and more.

The primary job of an online store is to tout the products to potential customers. So once the oscommerce suite has been installed and configured, the next step is to add the products one intends to sell online. The next chapter titled "Managing Data" explains how to add, remove and update business related information in the database. The finer nuances of grouping data like creating a catalog, categories, setting product attributes which aim on increasing the aesthetics of the products and keeping track of customers are explained in this chapter. For example the author explains how to import data from an excel spreadsheet into oscommerce using the module Easy Populate which comes in handy when one is faced with entering details of products running into 1000s.

The 6th chapter titled "Customization" is a large one and walks the reader through ways in which one can customize the online store. And truly so an online store should be unique to attract customers. This chapter explains which section of code should be modified to get the desired results.

PayPal - the online payment option is one of the most popular and offered by many online businesses. The 7th chapter titled "Taxes payments and shipping" lists the steps needed to integrate PayPal into oscommerce so that the customers can be offered the choice of paying via PayPal. Various payment options like credit card payments and other alternative forms of payments are also pursued. The power of oscommerce is in its modular architecture. Here this power is amply evident when the author explains the use of two modules - credit card module and psigate module - in Oscommerce.

Chapter 8 titled "Securing your store" goes into security aspects of the online store and one gets to know about SSL and database security. This chapter is very important in the sense that only if secure payment options are included will the customer pay for the products online.

The next three chapters are rather advanced and deals with explaining for example, how to integrate gift vouchers and promotional codes, including an RSS feed as well as various tips and tricks that one can use to fine tune oscommerce to accomplish an out of the ordinary task as well as deployment and database maintenance.

The final chapter titled "Building your Business" gives further tips into attracting customers to ones newly formed oscommerce store. This includes marketing, research, advertising as well as making money through displaying advertisements on the site.

Oscommerce is a very popular e-commerce suite which is used by tens of thousands of business houses. And as I said earlier, this book is more attuned to people who are new to technology and who wish to setup an oscommerce store to do business online. This book will not only aid one to set up oscommerce with ease but also bring one up to date with the latest technologies used in the project. All in all a very useful book for any one interested in doing business online by setting up an e-commerce store.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginner - Oscommerce Store Owner 18 Jun 2007
By christine - Published on
I signed up for an oscommerce store and was able to do some of the functions. I have to say in the beginning this was a life-saver for me only because I was not computer savy and oscommerce is not as easy to add items and to manipulate if you know nothing. Although it is the best shopping cart out there. I love it now that I know more.
This book is just for the basic set-up of getting your store on-line.
It will teach you attributes etc. Which I was not getting in the beginning. But even now I refer to it. What someone has to do is come up with a book to explain the various add-ons to ecommerce in laymans terms. Without this book as a non-oscommerce user and new store owner I would have been lost longer. I recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners 3 Nov 2007
By Patrick Casey - Published on
The biggest reason that I was disappointed in this book is because most of the information is re-hashed in the Professional Edition. If you want to know more than the absolute basics of osCommerce, skip this book and go straight to the Professional Edition which contains more information that you'll need before building your store. The Beginner's Edition doesn't go into enough detail to answer a lot of the questions that you'll have but it's still hard to give this book a bad rating as the information that it does contain is well presented and easy to understand.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for people wanting to explore the world of e-commerce 3 Mar 2007
By Liam O'Shannessy - Published on
I had previously worked for an organisation that utilized oscommerce as their online store structure. my interest was fed by the fact that you could modify how the program acted through open source contributions via the oscommerce forums/community. thinking that this program was difficult to learn, and even harder to master i considered the beginner edition to be a suitable starting point for my little personal venture. in retrospect, the advanced edition would have been better suited, because by the time i worked through this book, i was making considerable contribution and giving advice on the forums to new comers.

In conclusion, if you work through this book from front to back, you will learn how to make an effective e-commerce enabled site.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars osCommerce explained? 23 Jan 2012
By Roger Williams - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very informative - pretty advanced for me for a "beginner" guide.
Not a "cookbook" with all steps shown. This book plus a lot of trial and error will help demystify osCommerce.
No information on "Easy Populate" which I consider to be a necessity to handle products easily.
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