Zen Cart: E-commerce Application Development

Zen Cart: E-commerce Application Development
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Install, configure, and customize Zen Cart for your customers
  • Enhance and modify Zen Cart
  • Walk through the creation of a fully functional book store
  • Learn advanced features of Zen Cart with practical examples
  • Migrate products and customers from osCommerce to Zen Cart
  • Integrate Zen Cart shop with other CMSs like e107, xoops, gallery2, WordPress, phpBB, etc.


Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 324 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : July 2008
ISBN : 1847191177
ISBN 13 : 9781847191175
Author(s) : Suhreed Sarkar
Topics and Technologies : All Books, CMS and eCommerce, e-Commerce, Open Source

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to Zen Cart
Chapter 2: Installation and Basic Configuration
Chapter 3: Configuring the Store
Chapter 4: Customizing Look and Feel
Chapter 5: Localization of Zen Cart
Chapter 6: Promotions and Public Relations
Chapter 7: Migrating from osCommerce to Zen Cart
Chapter 8: Integrating Zen Cart with Other CMS
Chapter 9: Maintenance and Troubleshooting
Appendix A: Resources for Zen Cart
  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Zen Cart
    • What is Zen Cart?
    • The Main Features of Zen Cart
      • Easy Installation and Upgradation
      • Easy Localization
      • Customer Management
      • Categories and Products
      • Customer Retention Tools
      • Promotions, Sales, and Discounts
      • Powerful Administration Tool
      • Fully Customizable Catalog Templates
      • Third-Party Modules
    • Zen Cart versus osCommerce
      • Feature Comparison
        • Default and Contributed Modules
        • Security
        • Categories and Products Management
        • Template Customization
        • Promotion and Public Relations
      • User and Developer Community
      • Programmatic Differences
    • Zen Cart and Other CMS/Shopping Carts
      • Joomla-VirtueMart
      • CubeCart
      • AgoraCart
      • x-Cart
    • Summary
  • Chapter 2: Installation and Basic Configuration
    • Prerequisites
      • Web Server
      • PHP
      • Database
    • Step-by-Step Installation
      • Through Fantastico
      • By Uploading Files
    • Upgrading from Previous Versions
      • Preparation for Upgrading
      • Replicating File Changes
      • Testing and Upgrading
    • Basic Configuration of the Store
      • Removing the Installation Directory
      • Setting Appropriate Directory and File Permissions
        • Using FTP Programs
        • Using cPanel
        • Using SSH
        • On a Windows Server
        • On a Windows PC
      • Changing Configuration File
      • Using the Administration Panel
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: Configuring the Store
    • Shop Configuration
      • Store Name and Address
      • Customer Information
      • Product Listing
      • Email Options
      • Logging
      • Regulations
      • EZ Pages
      • Images
      • GZip Compression
      • Stock
      • Shipping/Packaging
      • Attribute Settings
      • Credit Cards
      • Product Info
      • Layout Settings
    • Zones, Currencies, and Taxes
    • Catalog
      • Product Types
      • Manufacturers
      • Categories/Products
        • Managing Categories
        • Managing Products
      • Products by Options/Attributes
        • Option Name Manager
        • Option Value Manager
        • Attributes Controller
        • Attribute flags
        • Attribute Images
        • Downloadable Products as Attributes
        • Copying Attributes to Other Products or Categories
        • Option Name and Value Sorter
        • Downloads Manager
      • Prices
      • Bulk Import/Export of Products
    • Modules
      • Installing/Uninstalling Modules
      • Payment Modules
        • Authorize.net
        • Credit Card
        • Cash on Delivery
        • Zen Cart Free Charge Card
        • LinkPoint/YourPay API
        • Cheque/Money Order
        • PayPal
        • Other Payment Modules
      • Shipping Modules
        • Flat Rate
        • Free shipping
        • Per Item and Per Unit
        • Store Pickup
        • Table Rate
        • United Parcel Service
        • United States Postal Service
        • Zone Rates
      • Order Total Modules
    • Customers
      • Registration/Authentication of Customers
      • Managing Customers
      • Communicating with Customers
    • Order Fulfilment and Inventory
      • Order Statistics
      • Managing Inventory
      • Group Pricing
      • Order Status
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4: Customizing Look and Feel
    • Configuring Look and Feel
      • Applying a Template
      • Controlling Layouts
        • Layout Settings
        • Showing/Hiding Sideboxes
    • Understanding Zen Cart Templates
      • Template Files Structure
      • CSS in Zen Cart Template
    • Understanding Overrides
      • Overriding Language Files
      • Overriding Module Files
      • Overriding Template Files
      • Using Your Own Definitions
      • Using Extra Data Files
      • Zen Cart Upgrades and Overrides
    • Customizing Zen Cart Templates
      • Changing Logos and Texts
        • Changing Default Texts
        • Changing the Header Image
        • Adding a New Logo
      • Changing Colors and Fonts
      • Changing Buttons and Icons
      • Changing Layout of a Template
      • Modifying a Page Template
      • Using EZ pages
    • Creating A New Template
      • Creating A File System
      • Using Overrides
      • Graphics
      • Sideboxes
      • Stylesheets
    • Creating and Modifying Email Templates
      • Text Email Template
      • HTML Email Templates
        • Stylesheet
        • HTML with variables
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5: Localization of Zen Cart
    • The Need for Localization
    • Countries and Zones
      • Countries
        • Adding a New Country
        • Editing a Country
        • Deleting a Country
      • Zones
        • Creating a Zone
        • Zone Definitions
    • Taxes
      • Creating a Tax Class
        • Assigning Tax Classes
      • Creating a Tax Rate
    • Using Multiple Currencies
      • Adding a New Currency
      • Currency Conversion
      • Editing a Currency
      • Deleting an Existing Currency
      • Hiding the Currencies box
    • Languages
      • Using Character Sets
      • Creating a New Language
      • Editing a Language
      • Deleting a Language
      • Translating Language Files
    • Order Status
      • Adding a New Order Status
      • Editing an Existing Status
    • Summary
  • Chapter 6: Promotions and Public Relations
    • Promotions
      • Banner Ads
        • Types of Banners
        • Displaying Banner Groups
        • Designing Banners
      • Adding/Editing a Banner
      • Promotional Discounts
      • Cross-Selling and Up-Selling
        • Cross-Selling
        • Up-Selling
        • Better-together
      • SaleMaker
      • Special, Featured, and New Products
        • Special Products
        • Featured Products
        • New and Upcoming Products
    • Gift Certificates & Discount Coupons
      • Sending a Gift Certificate
      • Creating Gift Certificate Products
      • Selling and Using Gift Certificates
      • Coupon Administration
    • Newsletters/Product Notification
      • Product Notification Subscription
      • Creating Newsletters/Product Notifications
      • Sending Newsletters
    • Product Reviews
    • Search Engine Optimization
      • Using Meta-tags
        • Site-Wide meta-tags
        • Meta-tags for Categories
        • Meta-tags for Products
      • Using Search Engine Friendly URLs
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Migrating from osCommerce to Zen Cart
    • The Need for Migrating to Zen Cart
    • Points to Consider Before Migration
      • Product Catalogue
      • Database Structure
      • Look and Feel
      • Uninterrupted Service
    • osCommerce versus Zen Cart Database Structure
      • Tables for Categories
      • Tables for Products and Attributes
    • Migrating Databases
      • Step 1: Backup Existing Data
      • Step 2: Export osCommerce Data
      • Step 3: Import osCommerce Data to Zen Cart
      • Migrating to a Zen Cart Shop that does Not have Products
      • Migrating to a Zen Cart Shop that has Products
    • Adjusting the Look and Feel
    • Converting osCommerce Modules
    • Common Problems during Migration
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Integrating Zen Cart with Other CMS
    • Why should you Integrate Zen Cart with CMS?
      • A Well Established Site Starts a Shop
      • Increase the Scope of Your Shop
      • Single Sign-in Benefits
    • How to Integrate with CMS?
      • Joomla!/Mambo
      • Drupal
      • Gallery 2
      • WordPress
        • WordPress and Zen Cart Installed in Separate Directories
        • WordPress and Zen Cart Installed in the Same Directory
      • XOOPS
      • e107
      • phpBB
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9: Maintenance and Troubleshooting
    • Website Maintenance Settings
      • Taking the Shop Down for Maintenance
      • Customizing for Maintenance Messages
      • Excluding the Admin from being Blocked
      • Notice for Maintenance
      • Showing Downtime
    • Backing Up Files and Databases
      • Why do you Need a Backup?
      • Backing Up Database
      • Backing up Files
      • Restoring Database and Files
    • Auditing and Hardening Security
      • Common Security Settings
        • Use SSL whenever Possible
        • Delete/Rename Sensitive Folders
        • Set Appropriate Permissions to Files and Directories
        • Always Use Secure Passwords
      • Securing Access to the Administration Panel
      • User Authentication and Security
      • Register Globals Setting
      • Session Handling
        • Session Save Path
        • Session Referer Setting
        • The session.use_trans_sid Setting
    • Common Problems and Troubleshooting
      • PHP Related Problems
      • Login Related Problems
        • Session Handling in Admin Area
        • Security Error during Login as Customer
        • Forgotten Admin Password
      • Template Related Problems
      • Image Related Problem
        • Catalog Images Directory
        • Image Distortion
      • Trouble with E-mails
        • Emails are not Arriving
        • Email Transport Methods
        • Bounce Handling
      • Database Related Errors
    • Summary
  • Appendix A: Resources for Zen Cart
    • Setting WAMP server
    • Zen Cart Directory Structure
    • Zen Cart Community
    • Zen Cart Support
    • Zen Cart Downloads
      • Some Essential Downloads
    • Zen Cart Integration
      • Joomla!
      • Drupal
      • WordPress
      • Gallery2 Integration
      • Zen Cart XOOPS Integration Module
      • e107 Plugins for Zen Cart Integration
    • Templates
    • Consulting

Suhreed Sarkar

Suhreed Sarkar is an IT consultant, trainer and technical writer. He studied Marine engineering, served on board the ship for two years, and then started journey in to IT world with MCSE in Windows NT 4.0 track. Later he studied business administration and earned MBA from University of Dhaka. He has a bunch of BrainBench certifications on various topics including PHP4, Project Management, RDBMS Concepts, E-commerce, Web Server Administration, Internet Security, Training Development, Training Delivery and Evaluation, and Technical Writing.

He taught courses on system administration, web development, e-commerce and MIS. He has consulted several national and international organizations including United Nations, and helped clients building and adopting their web portals, large scale databases and management information systems. At present he is working on building a framework for education sector MIS, and promoting use of ICTs in education.

Suhreed is renowned technical author in Bengali – having a dozen of books published on subjects covering web development, LAMP, networking, and system administration. He authored Zen Cart: E-commerce Application Development, Joomla! E-commerce with Virtuemart, and Joomla! with Flash, published by Packt Publishing.

While not busy with hacking some apps, blogging on his blog (http://www.suhreedsarkar.com), reading philosophy of Bertrand Russell or management thought of Peter F Drucker – he likes to spend some special moments with his family. Suhreed lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Contact Suhreed Sarkar

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Sample chapters

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What you will learn from this book

  • Install and configure your Zen Cart shop
  • Manage, import, and export products in bulk
  • Configure zones, currencies, payment processors, and shipping modules
  • Use discounts, salemaker, cross-sell and up-sell to promote products
  • Use gift certificates, discount coupons, and newsletters to attract customers
  • Localize your shop by translating and adding new language and locales
  • Create or customize templates for your shop


Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to Zen Cart and its functionalities.

Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 deal with how to get everything you need up and running on a development machine and also briefly look at how all the requisite technologies gel together to produce a working Zen Cart site. Chapter 2 will help you with downloading and installing Zen Cart on your machine and Chapter 3 in configuring the store.

Chapter 4 will help you make the shop more attractive with the help of already available templates as well as by customizing templates.

Chapter 5 will discuss important configuration options for localizing Zen Cart defining countries and zones, zones for taxes, tax classes, tax rates, and assigning tax rates to specific zones. We also discuss adding, editing and updating currencies in a Zen Cart shop that uses multiple currencies and creating, and editing languages for Zen Cart shop and translating language files to another language.

In Chapter 6 we discuss several promotion and public-relations tools available for Zen Cart shop and use of these tools effectively and in a planned way to enhance the sales dramatically.

Chapter 7 discusses migrating from osCommerce to Zen Cart. The chapter covers points to be considered before migration, a brief discussion of differences between osCommerce and Zen Cart database structure, and finally actual data migration from osCommerce to Zen Cart, converting osCommerce modules for Zen Cart, and common problems during migration.

In Chapter 8, we discuss integration of Zen Cart with other Content Management Systems. In detail, it covers the necessity of integration, characteristics of successful integration, and ways to integrate CMS along with the ways to integrate Zen Cart with other CMS like WordPress, Gallery2, e107, and phpBB.
Once we have set up, configured, and customized our online shop, to take it to live production, we need to carry out some routine maintenance tasks to keep it running.

In Chapter 9, we discuss common maintenance and troubleshooting activities for a Zen Cart online shop.

The Appendix gives details of resources for Zen Cart.

In Detail

Zen Cart is a popular open-source PHP/MySQL-based e-commerce solution available under GPL that is designed to put the merchants' and shoppers' requirements first. Not only does Zen Cart offer a very long list of features, but the system is designed with both store owners and web developers in mind. There's no sacrifice of usability or power.

This easy-to-follow book will teach you how to install, configure, and customize a Zen Cart shop and use its promotion and public-relations tools to attract customers to the shop. It will also teach you to customize the look and feel of the Zen Cart shop by localizing and customizing templates. With this excellent tutorial, you will be able to extend and tweak the Zen Cart store.

This book will teach you how to install, configure, and customize your e-commerce shop using popular open-source Zen Cart and how to use its promotion and public-relations tools to attract customers to the shop. It will also teach you to customize the look and feel of your Zen Cart shop by localizing and customizing templates.


This is a highly practical book that can act as a reference material to which you will want to return again and again. The discussion in the book is right up-to-the point and it is filled with ample practical examples.

Who this book is for

This book is primarily for professional developers interested in building, enhancing, or extending Zen Cart sites for customers. It is also a useful reference for those who have got Zen Cart running on their own store, and want to improve it. It will also benefit those who want to migrate from osCommerce or other engines to Zen Cart.

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