Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Professional Edition

Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Professional Edition
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Install, configure, and customize osCommerce
  • Enhance and modify osCommerce
  • Learn from a sample, fully functional site packed with useful features such as gift certificates and discounts, cross- and up-selling, RSS feed aggregation, enhanced product image handling and bug fixes.
  • Also available in a special Beginner's Edition 

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 388 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : December 2005
ISBN : 1904811140
ISBN 13 : 9781904811145
Author(s) : David Mercer
Topics and Technologies : All Books, CMS and eCommerce, e-Commerce, Open Source

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to E-Commerce with osCommerce
Chapter 2: Setting Up the Development Environment
Chapter 3: How osCommerce Works
Chapter 4: Basic Configuration
Chapter 5: Working with Data
Chapter 6: Customization
Chapter 7: Taxes, Payments, and Shipping
Chapter 8: Securing Your Store
Chapter 9: Advanced Features
Chapter 10: Tools, Tips, and Tricks
Chapter 11: Deployment and Maintenance
Chapter 12: Building Your Business
Appendix A: Troubleshooting
  • Chapter 1: Introduction to E-Commerce with osCommerce
    • The What and Why of osCommerce
    • E-Commerce! What am I Doing?
    • Do I Go For It or Not?
      • Resources and Commitment
    • Designing an E-Commerce Site
      • Isolating the Site's Requirements
        • Business-Related Needs
        • Site Functionality
      • Analyzing the Proposed Solution
        • Feasibility
        • Phone a Friend?
        • Critical Versus Desirable Criteria
    • Building an E-Commerce Site
      • Development
      • Testing and Debugging
      • Deployment and Maintenance
    • Summary
  • Chapter 2: Setting Up the Development Environment
    • Downloading Software
    • MySQL
      • Installing MySQL
      • Testing MySQL
    • PHP
      • Installing PHP
      • Configuring PHP
    • Apache
      • Installing Apache
      • Configuring Apache to Work with PHP
    • Testing Apache and PHP
      • Why Won't the Darn Things Work?
    • Testing Everything Together
      • Why Won't the Darn Things Work Together?
    • Downloading and Installing a PHP, Apache, and MySQL Package
      • Testing PHP Triad
    • Downloading and Installing osCommerce on Windows
      • Installing osCommerce
      • Configuring osCommerce
      • Testing osCommerce
    • Downloading and Installing osCommerce on Linux
    • Troubleshooting
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: How osCommerce Works
    • osCommerce and Internet Technology
      • osCommerce and PHP
      • osCommerce and HTML
      • osCommerce and MySQL
    • The osCommerce Architecture
    • The Online Store
    • The osCommerce Online Community
      • Contributions
      • Forums
      • Knowledge Base
      • Documentation
      • Bug and Progress Reports
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4: Basic Configuration
    • The Administration Tool
      • My Store
      • Maximum and Minimum Values
      • Images
      • Customer Details
      • Shipping and Packaging
      • Product Listing
      • Stock
      • Logging
      • Cache
      • Email Options
      • Download
      • GZip Compression
      • Sessions
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5: Working with Data
    • How Do I Categorize My Data?
      • Categorizing Contechst Books Products
    • Preparing to Add Product Data
    • Catalog
      • Categories/Products
        • Adding and Deleting Categories and Products
        • Moving and Copying Categories and Products
      • Product Attributes
      • Manufacturers
      • Reviews
      • Specials
      • Products Expected
    • Customers
      • Orders
    • Viewing Reports
    • Easy Populate
      • Downloading and Installing Easy Populate
      • Finding Your Way Around Easy Populate
      • Using Easy Populate to Add Product Data
    • Summary
  • Chapter 6: Customization
    • Form Follows Function
      • Visual Design
      • Functional Design
      • Language
    • Language Definitions
      • english.php
      • index.php
      • Using HTML for Language Formatting
    • Working with Boxes and Columns
      • Removing a Box
      • Moving Boxes
      • Modifying Box Content
      • Adding a Box
      • Removing a Column
    • Dealing with Images
      • The images Folder
      • Sizing and Naming Images
      • Saving Product Images
      • Graphics—Logos and Icons
        • Creating and Inserting New Graphics
        • Moving and Removing Graphics
      • Background Images
      • Button Images
    • Customizations Using the Style Sheet
      • Inserting Background Images
      • Changing Colors and Fonts
    • Miscellaneous Customizations
      • Resizing Pages
      • Adding Pages
      • Emails
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Taxes, Payments, and Shipping
    • Getting Paid
      • Preparation
      • Implementation
      • Testing and Maintenance
    • Locations and Taxes
      • Tax Zones
      • Tax Classes and Rates
    • Getting Paid with PayPal
      • Setting Up PayPal on osCommerce
      • Connecting osCommerce and PayPal
      • Working with PayPal
    • Credit Card Payments
      • The Credit Card Module
      • The PsiGate Module
    • Alternative Forms of Payments
      • Checks and Money Orders
      • Cash on Delivery
    • Shipping
      • Flat Rates
      • Per Item
      • Table Rate
      • UPS and USPS
      • Zone Rates
      • Contechst Book's Shipping Solution
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Securing Your Store
    • What's all This Security Business?
    • The Main Players
      • SSL
      • Passwords
      • Encryption
    • Securing the Administration Tool
      • Creating Password-Protected Folders
      • Implementing SSL for the admin Folder
    • Securing Payments
      • The Front End of the Store
      • The Back End of the Store
        • PayPal Payments
        • Credit Card Payments
    • File-System Security
    • Database Security
    • Disaster Recovery
      • Back Up Your Files
      • Back Up Your Database
    • Stay Up to Date
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9: Advanced Features
    • Highlighting a Generic Process!
    • The RSS Technology Feed
      • What's All This RSS About?
      • Using RSS Feeds
      • Planning the Application
      • Creating the Feed Table
      • Creating the Aggregator
      • Building the RSS Tech Feed Web Page
    • Cross- and Up-Selling Features
      • Installing the X-Sell Contribution
        • catalog
        • admin
      • Using the X-Sell Contribution
    • Adding Discount and Gift Voucher Facilities
      • Installing the CCGV Contribution
        • catalog
        • admin
      • Using the CCGV Contribution
        • Gift Vouchers
        • Discount Coupons
    • Summary
  • Chapter 10: Tools, Tips, and Tricks
    • Tools
      • Banner Manager
      • phpMyAdmin
    • Tips and Tricks
      • Low Stock Reports
      • Working with Downloadable Products
        • Installing the Download Controller
        • Working with the Download Controller
        • Testing the Download Controller
      • PayPal Trouble?
      • Dynamic Box Headers
      • Creating Matching Buttons
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11: Deployment and Maintenance
    • Getting Ready to Deploy
      • Make Sure the Host is Ready
      • Get the Files Ready
      • Get the Database Ready
    • Transfer the Files
      • FTP Drag and Drop
      • FTP Utility
      • FrontPage Extensions
    • Setting Up the Site
      • Set Up the Files
      • Set Up the Database
      • Configure the Site
      • An Interesting Problem
    • Testing
      • Test the Online Store
      • Re-Implement Security
      • Test the Administration Tool
    • Maintenance
    • Summary
  • Chapter 12: Building Your Business
    • Marketing
      • Research
      • Advertising
        • Using Google AdWords
        • Generating Revenue from Your Site
      • Affiliate Programs
      • Become Active in the Community
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Dropshipping
    • Summary

David Mercer

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. His technical books are now sold worldwide and have been translated into French, German, Polish, Greek, Spanish and many more. His book on Drupal 6 was reviewed on Slashdot and went on to become a best seller. Mercer's books are recommended reading at higher learning institutes like MIT, and he has a write-up on Wikipedia. David divides his time between consulting for companies and organizations in a wide variety of industries, helping them to develop and implement cutting edge systems. He also contributes to interesting web-based projects like design-a-webpage ( that allows people to create beautiful, effective landing pages in minutes - absolutely no code or Web experience required. He also maintains a blog, training and support site for his readers at Site prebuilder provides quizzes and exercises that accompany his books, and serves as his primary online presence and contact point. 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.

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Submit Errata

Please let us know if you have found any errors not listed on this list by completing our errata submission form. Our editors will check them and add them to this list. Thank you.


- 1 submitted: last submission 12 Nov 2013

page 23 Modification 09 Jan 06
The sentence: "Incidentally, if version 5.0 is out as a stable release by the time<br />you read this book, feel free to make use of that as it won't affect the site<br />adversely in any way." should be changed to "Incidentally, if version 5.0 is out as a<br />stable release by the time you read this book, feel free to make use of that as it<br />won't affect the site adversely in any way (check the MySQL manual if you run into<br />any statements that cause errors as there may be slight changes between versions)."

Sample chapters

You can view our sample chapters and prefaces of this title on PacktLib or download sample chapters in PDF format.

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What you will learn from this book

In Detail

The book can be read from front to back, but each chapter is self contained so the reader can skip chapters to read those that they are interested in. Each chapter will move from basic to advanced where applicable and also relate what the administrator (reader) is doing to how this affects what the client sees on the site.

So, for example, the customization chapter will start off with a discussion on the concept of design and how to relate this to your business. Once the reader has a clear idea of what they need to do, we look at some really simple changes such as modifying the site's language, before moving to some advanced modifications which may involve some PHP programming. At the same time the discussion will demonstrate how the changes made affect the site.

Throughout the book, much consideration is given to the "right" way to doing things. Readers will have the great advantage that they begin, from the very start, doing things properly. This will save them a lot of time and effort in the years to come as they build on and modify their site. Utilizing best practices and sound methodologies is a great asset for beginners and experienced users alike.

At all times, the coverage given in this book pays homage to the fact that, ultimately, the reader has a business goal in mind. To this end, the material never gets bogged down in technical issues or long discourses, but rather focuses on what is practically important for the online business and then moves on. To complement this, there are plenty of suggestions and hints as to how and where to look for further information.

As featured on Slashdot :
"... David Mercer's book is the book you have been looking for and is available in either a beginner's or professional edition. It is written in a straightforward, easy to understand manner, yet does not compromise on technical knowledge and provides all the essentials of getting your website up and running with OsCommerce"

Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Professional Edition will teach you how to use, build and maintain a complex, powerful e-commerce website using osCommerce. As well as everything you need to get started with osCommerce, this book goes onto cover how to:

  • Increase your sales through cross-selling and up-selling
  • Offer custom discounts and support the use of gift certificates
  • Incorporate your own RSS feed to enhance the content of the site
  • Use and control banners to market popular or profitable products within your store
  • Customize the osCommerce code to make your site more robust, eliminate bugs, and increase flexibility and customer appeal
  • Understand the security technologies involved in e-commerce and develop your own security and backup strategies
  • Build your business by utilizing various advertising techniques, search engine optimization, affiliate and drop-shipping schemes
  • Learn the principles and methods used by professional programmers to empower you to continue creating and building your online business


These techniques will enable you to build a unique and powerful site, giving you an ideal platform to enter the competitive world of e-commerce.

Through this complete, comprehensive education in osCommerce you will develop the confidence to experiment with your own enhancements and modifications, leaving you with a truly unique online store. Practical demonstrations and well considered advice will ensure that your store will always be developed to the highest standards.

As you become serious with osCommerce, this book will show you how to make the most of osCommerce's open source development process and community. You will see how to use the community as an excellent resource for developing your business strategies and practices, as well as making it easy to continuously enhance your customers' shopping experience.

Read Chapter 4: Sample Chapter: "Basic Configuration" (PDF - 365KB)


Who this book is for

This book is written for anyone who:


  • Already uses OSCommerce
  • Would like to use OSCommerce
  • Would like to make a website for their business
  • Is charged with administering, running and maintaining an OSCommerce site
  • Is interested in learning how an eCommerce application is created and maintained


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