Home Web Development Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Beginner Edition

Building Online Stores with osCommerce: Beginner Edition

By David Mercer
books-svg-icon Book
eBook $19.99 $13.98
Print $32.99 $18.99
Subscription $15.99 $10 p/m for three months
$10 p/m for first 3 months. $15.99 p/m after that. Cancel Anytime!
What do you get with a Packt Subscription?
This book & 7000+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with a Packt Subscription?
This book & 6500+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with eBook + Subscription?
Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats, plus a monthly download credit
This book & 6500+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with a Packt Subscription?
This book & 6500+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with eBook?
Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats
Access this title in our online reader
DRM FREE - Read whenever, wherever and however you want
Online reader with customised display settings for better reading experience
What do you get with video?
Download this video in MP4 format
Access this title in our online reader
DRM FREE - Watch whenever, wherever and however you want
Online reader with customised display settings for better learning experience
What do you get with video?
Stream this video
Access this title in our online reader
DRM FREE - Watch whenever, wherever and however you want
Online reader with customised display settings for better learning experience
What do you get with Audiobook?
Download a zip folder consisting of audio files (in MP3 Format) along with supplementary PDF
What do you get with Exam Trainer?
Flashcards, Mock exams, Exam Tips, Practice Questions
Access these resources with our interactive certification platform
Mobile compatible-Practice whenever, wherever, however you want
BUY NOW $10 p/m for first 3 months. $15.99 p/m after that. Cancel Anytime!
eBook $19.99 $13.98
Print $32.99 $18.99
Subscription $15.99 $10 p/m for three months
What do you get with a Packt Subscription?
This book & 7000+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with a Packt Subscription?
This book & 6500+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with eBook + Subscription?
Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats, plus a monthly download credit
This book & 6500+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with a Packt Subscription?
This book & 6500+ ebooks & video courses on 1000+ technologies
60+ curated reading lists for various learning paths
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Early Access to eBooks as they are being written
Personalised content suggestions
Customised display settings for better reading experience
50+ new titles added every month on new and emerging tech
Playlists, Notes and Bookmarks to easily manage your learning
Mobile App with offline access
What do you get with eBook?
Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats
Access this title in our online reader
DRM FREE - Read whenever, wherever and however you want
Online reader with customised display settings for better reading experience
What do you get with video?
Download this video in MP4 format
Access this title in our online reader
DRM FREE - Watch whenever, wherever and however you want
Online reader with customised display settings for better learning experience
What do you get with video?
Stream this video
Access this title in our online reader
DRM FREE - Watch whenever, wherever and however you want
Online reader with customised display settings for better learning experience
What do you get with Audiobook?
Download a zip folder consisting of audio files (in MP3 Format) along with supplementary PDF
What do you get with Exam Trainer?
Flashcards, Mock exams, Exam Tips, Practice Questions
Access these resources with our interactive certification platform
Mobile compatible-Practice whenever, wherever, however you want
About this book
Using an easy-to-read and engaging style, this book introduces the fundamentals of osCommerce, and helps you build your first online store. It covers the out-of-the-box features of osCommerce, but it also shows you how to customize the application to your own needs. The book starts with the basics of downloading and installing osCommerce, or simply how to enable it on your Internet domain using the tools provided by your host. All of the most important configuration issues are explained, with clear instructions and advice to help you make the right choices. Once osCommerce is installed and configured, you will take a good look at how to work with your store's data including product information as well as other data which is responsible for keeping your site healthy. The all important topic of customization is also dealt with comprehensively. You will see how to develop attractive sites that will make your store a pleasure to browse and your products a pleasure to buy! Of course, no discussion on osCommerce would be complete without a look at how to obtain and treat payments. Using the modules provided with osCommerce you will be collecting money from your happy customers in no time! Once the reader has a fully fledged, and operational site it is time to look at deployment? an important topic for discussion if development has taken place on a development machine. The appendix will add a few tools to your armory and shed some light as to what is going on behind the scenes in case things go awry.
Publication date:
January 2006
Publisher
Packt
ISBN
9781904811886

 

Chapter 1. Introduction to E-Commerce with osCommerce

When Tim Berners-Lee first decided it would be a good idea if his computer could exchange information with his colleagues’ computers up the corridor, he could scarcely have known that he was setting in motion, perhaps, the most profound change in the way mankind communicates since the written word. With the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW), communication underwent a kind of revolution that had an impact on our daily lives in hundreds of different ways.

Of course, it also wasn’t long before someone figured out how to make money from the Web and naturally everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Enter the dotcom boom and bust! Unfortunately, for the Internet and consequently Internet-based businesses, the dotcom fiasco hurt a lot of people who perhaps, buoyed up by bullish sentiment from investment houses and brokers who understood all too well the amount of money they stood to make, invested in something they didn’t fully understand. At the time, very few Internet-based businesses had shown that they were reliable, stable, and profitable. Nevertheless, the money kept flowing in and the new technology companies kept spending it—on what, no one was quite sure.

However, when the bubble burst, not all Internet initiatives collapsed. Some came through it a little worse for wear, but far more resilient, and many more learned valuable lessons about how to approach this new platform for commerce and trade. It is a testament to the exceptional value of the WWW that despite the massive losses made initially on this technology, it is now more or less taken for granted that businesses of any size require a presence on the Web: if they don’t have one yet, they are going to have one soon.

Today the world recognizes that being able to retail online to potentially billions of customers on a global scale is not the panacea it was first touted to be. Instead, a more mature approach needs to be adopted. It is now the accepted viewpoint that while having the ability to interact on the Web is a critical tool for success in today’s world, it is still just that—a tool! In order to be successful, your business still needs to be based on a solid idea, with a good demand or client base, backed up by either great products or great services. Just like the good old days.

By purchasing this book, you have implicitly given a vote of confidence to the Web and will, hopefully, be able to turn it to your advantage. Before we are able to begin working directly on the site, it is imperative that you are equipped with some basic information about life and business on the Internet.

This chapter discusses the following topics:

  • A brief history and motivation for osCommerce and e-commerce

  • The osCommerce community in general

Before we continue, it is important to realize that as things stand, our global village is still undergoing a revolution in communication driven by the giant leaps in the sophistication of both hardware and software alike. While it seems that everything is becoming more advanced and therefore complicated, the one thing to remember is that pretty much everything you see around us is here to make things easier. One of the best things about advances in technology is that they give everyone the ability to leapfrog stages of development. What this means is that the companies that invest a lot of money in order to be innovative and stay ahead of the competition blaze a trail that is decidedly easier for those of us without unlimited funding to follow.

A good example of leapfrogging is happening with technology in Africa. In many countries, poor infrastructure hampers business and communication. Luckily for them, laying hundreds of thousands of kilometers of phone line is no longer necessary, as it was for countries in the West seventy years ago. Nowadays, telecommunications companies install their own towers and the public has instant access to cellular or wireless communications. In ten short years, some African states have gone from utilizing ageing, outdated copper wire systems to modern cellular communications without having to invest their resources in research and development.

This idea applies very much to software application development and in the same way, we are going to piggy-back a ride on the work of others (in this case, the osCommerce development team) to arrive at a sophisticated and functional e-commerce website without having to re-invent the wheel. This is good news for everyone concerned, because it means that one no longer has to have a PhD in computer science in order to build and operate a fairly complex Internet‑based software application.

For a lot of us, the urge to dive straight into the building of the site is all but overwhelming because, after all, that is where the magic happens. Don’t do it! Instead, take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee and read through this chapter before doing anything else. While it may seem like a drag now, it will save you a lot of time, frustration, and sanity later.

What is E-Commerce?

Before we dive into anything specific to osCommerce, let’s take a closer look at what the term e-commerce means, just to ensure we are all reading off the same page.

We define e-commerce as commercial transactions occurring over computer networks, facilitated by electronic applications.

Granted, this definition is pretty vague, but given the huge number of different businesses interacting over a variety of platforms and technologies all over the globe, it serves as a good basis for our purpose. In this instance, ‘commercial transactions’ can be taken to mean anything from buying and selling to marketing and distributing; ‘electronic applications’ means, in this instance, your osCommerce website.

Remember that it is crucially important that you plan ahead, and decide exactly what you require from your online store before you go ahead and begin building it. E-commerce applications are, by necessity, fairly complex beasts (even when most of the hard work has been done for us by osCommerce), and taking the time to learn about what you want from your application is time well spent.

Is there anything else we can say about e-commerce? Well, while there are many similarities between conventional and virtual enterprises since both have fundamentally the same goals, the differences can be devastating. Let’s say, for example, you have set up a conventional business, for argument’s sake, a bakery, and after one week you find that the new oven is not powerful enough to bake your bread quickly. As upsetting as it may be, you will probably have to go and buy another one. And while that problem has a painful solution, it is at least obvious.

This is where a conventional enterprise and a computer-based enterprise can vary greatly because, if instead of an incorrect oven specification, the virtual enterprise application accidentally utilized differing parameters (say, units of measurement) in some of its code, then it is entirely possible you could lose a $125 million Mars exploration vehicle just like NASA did in the late nineties. The loss of the Mars orbiter has, hopefully, highlighted areas where NASA’s processes need to be looked at again, but the point of this is that the fault was not immediately obvious until it was too late. For those of us without a few hundred million dollars in lessons to be learned, a little planning should help ensure our more modest efforts don’t suffer the same fate.

This brief section has highlighted what we mean by e-commerce and compared it with conventional commerce. However, the book is not intended to give you an in-depth discussion about best practices when it comes to planning your application. It is rather intended to help you achieve the most common and important tasks associated with running a conventional osCommerce Website. Of course, just because this book doesn’t discuss planning issues doesn’t exempt you from jotting down your requirements or researching your site.

Let’s continue…

 

What is E-Commerce?


Before we dive into anything specific to osCommerce, let’s take a closer look at what the term e-commerce means, just to ensure we are all reading off the same page.

We define e-commerce as commercial transactions occurring over computer networks, facilitated by electronic applications.

Granted, this definition is pretty vague, but given the huge number of different businesses interacting over a variety of platforms and technologies all over the globe, it serves as a good basis for our purpose. In this instance, ‘commercial transactions’ can be taken to mean anything from buying and selling to marketing and distributing; ‘electronic applications’ means, in this instance, your osCommerce website.

Remember that it is crucially important that you plan ahead, and decide exactly what you require from your online store before you go ahead and begin building it. E-commerce applications are, by necessity, fairly complex beasts (even when most of the hard work has been done for us by osCommerce), and taking the time to learn about what you want from your application is time well spent.

Is there anything else we can say about e-commerce? Well, while there are many similarities between conventional and virtual enterprises since both have fundamentally the same goals, the differences can be devastating. Let’s say, for example, you have set up a conventional business, for argument’s sake, a bakery, and after one week you find that the new oven is not powerful enough to bake your bread quickly. As upsetting as it may be, you will probably have to go and buy another one. And while that problem has a painful solution, it is at least obvious.

This is where a conventional enterprise and a computer-based enterprise can vary greatly because, if instead of an incorrect oven specification, the virtual enterprise application accidentally utilized differing parameters (say, units of measurement) in some of its code, then it is entirely possible you could lose a $125 million Mars exploration vehicle just like NASA did in the late nineties. The loss of the Mars orbiter has, hopefully, highlighted areas where NASA’s processes need to be looked at again, but the point of this is that the fault was not immediately obvious until it was too late. For those of us without a few hundred million dollars in lessons to be learned, a little planning should help ensure our more modest efforts don’t suffer the same fate.

This brief section has highlighted what we mean by e-commerce and compared it with conventional commerce. However, the book is not intended to give you an in-depth discussion about best practices when it comes to planning your application. It is rather intended to help you achieve the most common and important tasks associated with running a conventional osCommerce Website. Of course, just because this book doesn’t discuss planning issues doesn’t exempt you from jotting down your requirements or researching your site.

Let’s continue…

 

The What and Why of osCommerce


osCommerce has been around since March 2000 and was originally founded by Harald Ponce de Leon. The development of osCommerce is still overseen by Harald, but has also since become the domain of a full team of dedicated people. You can read about the osCommerce team on the http://www.oscommerce.com/about/team page. At present there are about 6,000 live, registered osCommerce sites and about 70,000 registered community members. With the rising success and popularity of this remarkable piece of software, these numbers are all set to increase dramatically.

Looking at how long osCommerce has been around, it’s safe to say that there has been enough time for the technology to mature and for people to be confident that it has endured plenty of use and has been reworked and debugged to the point where it is stable and reliable. If you are not someone who is readily convinced, a visit to the osCommerce community forums at http://forums.oscommerce.com/ will demonstrate that there is a lively, active community supporting this technology—proof enough that osCommerce is working for others, and that there is the interest to push osCommerce forward in the years to come.

Quite apart from all this, it is fair enough and important to ask "Why should I use osCommerce?" at this early stage. Part of the answer to this seemingly innocuous question goes straight to the heart of an issue that has led to a massive divergence in one of the fundamental socio-economic questions surrounding modern computing.

There are two schools of thought that divide most programmers and developers firmly into two camps, which compete against each other, in some cases, quite vehemently. The issue is whether or not intellectual property (in particular, software) should be made available for everyone in the world to use, modify, and contribute to, or whether it should be protected.

It is strongly urged that you avail yourself of the facts when it comes to open source technology, if for nothing else than that it allows you to form a considered opinion about the software upon which your business relies. The following is a fairly good definition of the term Open Source:

  • Open Source is defined as any program whose source code is made available—most often subject to certain conditions—for use or modification by users or other developers as they deem fit.

Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and is freely available. For more information on what open source is, check out.

So, we know that osCommerce is an open source initiative—big deal! How does this change anything or how should it influence our decision to use it? Well, let’s look at some of the advantages of the open source paradigm and relate it to what you can expect from the overall osCommerce experience:

  • Totally free: It might cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a software development company to build you a fully functional commercial site from scratch. Not having to pay for this development removes one of the largest obstacles that retards e-commerce growth for the small to medium enterprise.

  • Secure and stable milestone releases: The osCommerce core has become a secure and stable environment for online commerce due of the large amount of community participation. This doesn’t mean it is impervious to attack—like any other software, it has weaknesses—but you can be sure of a swift community response to any new threats that may appear.

  • Large development community: osCommerce’s source code is readily available and free to modify and so there are thousands of developers who test and improve it on a daily basis. osCommerce effectively has an unlimited development team, and with the software gaining in popularity, new code will be produced at a faster rate.

  • Large support community: osCommerce has a large support community. This is due to the fact that the open source paradigm encourages the development of communities that feel a collective responsibility to aid others within that community.

While the above points might not seem like a big thing now, knowing that there is someone else who has perhaps struggled with the same issues that you have, and is willing to spend time to help you solve your own problems is a huge benefit that can’t really be quantified in terms of cost.

Apart from the previously listed advantages that have been automatically bestowed upon osCommerce users, it is also fair to say that this is one of the world’s truly valuable pieces of software that is leveling the playing ground between enterprises with large pockets and those with tighter budgets. This is because it empowers people to act on their ideas and bring their services and products to the world, via the medium of the World Wide Web, without being subject to high development costs. Removing obstacles in doing business stimulates growth and helps everyone in the long run. Hopefully, you will embrace the spirit of open source and encourage others to join in the future.

 

The osCommerce Online Community


Having a good technical know-how is one thing, but being able to effectively use the osCommerce community is at times equally important. Part of learning how to use osCommerce effectively must, at some point, take into account that no one needs to develop applications in isolation. The opportunity to learn from other peoples’ mistakes before you fall into the same traps is a great boon for budding website developers. Even better, once you have encountered a problem, it is a pretty safe bet that someone else probably has had that same problem and already dealt with it, which means that a solution might be available on the forums.

Apart from providing ready-made solutions to problems, as well as a huge repository of information, the osCommerce community is a living entity with which we can all interact. Exchanging ideas and information is an integral part of learning and the open source ethos suits the learning-as-a-collective paradigm very well. Just as important is the Contributions section, which can provide you with hundreds of different add-ons to do almost anything you can conceive of without having to write the code yourself. Consequently, it is imperative that you know how to manage and use this valuable resource.

Contributions

One of the great things about programming is the ability to reuse code. This means that if some PHP guru decides he or she needs to extend the functionality provided by default with osCommerce, they can write the code that will perform the task they have in mind, and can then make that code available to everyone. Sounds almost too good to be true, but this is in fact true, and you can browse through the contributions section at http://www.oscommerce.com/ community/contributions/ to take a look for yourself.

This resource provides a categorized list of all the different contributions available to users like you and me. All the contributions listed on the site are provided freely under the GNU general public license (make sure you read and understand any additional license information provided with a contribution). It’s worth checking this out, and you can find a copy of the license at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html. Other than providing a categorized list of contributions, there are also two options to search through the latest and most downloaded packages.

It is important to realize that these contributions are often developed by individuals, and while they are an excellent resource, at times they can contain bugs. You will notice that many of the download pages have multiple versions of each package each one fixing bugs or improving on the last version. Accordingly, you should always approach the use of contributions with caution, and at all times endeavor to understand exactly how the package is working to achieve its tasks.

Once we start adding some advanced functionality, we will come back to this topic and run through how to download, install, and modify community contributions.

Forums

The idea behind the osCommerce Forums is to provide a kind of huge noticeboard for everyone involved in osCommerce to ask questions and search for answers. It also provides a convenient way to meet other people in the same boat, which can be a useful means of sharing ideas and discussing technical issues with people at the same level of experience. Specifically, the following interesting and useful topics, among others, can be found at the osCommerce forums:

  • News and announcements

  • General support

  • Installation and configuration

  • Tips and tricks

  • Contribution announcements

  • Contribution support

  • General chitchat

  • Next steps

  • E-commerce laws

With approximately 70,000 registered users and hundreds of people online at any given time, it is certain that you will find at least a part of the answer you need from the forums. However, bear in mind that like any public service, there are rules and guidelines to abide by when using these facilities. A quick read over the rules at http://forums.oscommerce.com/index.php?act= boardrules should avoid any infringements of netiquette.

One of the main points to remember is that you should make an honest effort to search for similar posts before adding your own post to any of the lists—obviously it is nice to keep redundancy in the lists to a minimum. This is quite a big point because it is notoriously hard to find the exact postings you are looking for. The forum gives you the option of ordering the posts based on a few criteria, searching for only those posts posted recently, and so on.

Of course, you are encouraged to register as a forum user in order to make use of the forums properly-you will find that you are able to use the search features without any problems.

Knowledge Base

The osCommerce Knowledge Base takes a different approach to help osCommerce users. It is more of a documentation effort taking the form of a series of articles that describe a wide variety of osCommerce issues and topics. Navigating to the homepage for the knowledge base at http://www.oscommerce.info/ gives the following page:

As you can see, the list on the left-hand side provides a categorized table of articles, which is really easy to use. Each article covers a single topic, and all of them can be ranked in terms of how useful you found them. The downside is that not everything has had an article written about it yet. So, while this may be the answer for your more run-of-the-mill queries, it is unlikely that it will provide you with a solution or example for more complex problems. Having said this, it is a community project, and new articles are added all the time—definitely something worth using and supporting.

Documentation

The official documentation is available online and as a download. It is recommended that you use the downloadable version, since this will be available to you whenever you need it regardless of whether an Internet connection is available. The documentation uses a different method from the forums and knowledge base. This time, each aspect of osCommerce is briefly discussed in an easy-to-navigate HTML-based hierarchy. A complete listing can be found in the table of contents at http://www.oscommerce.info/docs/english/table_of_contents.html. Perusing this is definitely worthwhile for novice and experienced osCommerce users alike, although many of you will find the information a bit terse or even sparse in places.

Bug and Progress Reports

Another worthwhile exercise is to look at the bug reports at http://www.oscommerce.com/ community/bugs/, which are nicely categorized, and are assigned to various experienced members of the community to either verify and act upon or dismiss as bogus. At the very least, browsing the bug lists provides a good method of seeing whether any problems you may have been experiencing could be the result of a bug. If you do suspect a bug in your installation of osCommerce, you should report it, but only after you have made certain it is not simply inexplicable behavior. Obviously, every bug report needs to be looked at, so it consumes someone’s time and effort to investigate a report—make reports only after some deliberation.

Progress reports can be found ahttp://www.oscommerce.com/community/reports and are very useful in terms of keeping abreast of the latest news within the osCommerce community. For example, the latest update at the time of writing (http://www.oscommerce.com/community/reports,115) contained information on the following and more:

  • Team Reorganization: The osCommerce team has been reorganized to optimize the amount of resources available, and to spread responsibilities throughout the team.

  • New Support Site Navigation Menu: A new navigation menu has been added to the support site, which now offers drop-down menu entries to the pages in each section of the support site.

  • Forum Structure Updates: The forum structure has been updated to improve the usability of which postings should be made in which forum channels.

  • Daylight Saving Time On The Forum: To correctly set the time on the forums to reflect daylight saving time, please go to your Control Panel | Options | Board Settings and select the "Is daylight saving time in effect?" option.

  • Daylight Saving Time On The Forum: To correctly set the time on the forums to reflect daylight saving time, please go to your Control Panel | Options | Board Settings and select the "Is daylight saving time in effect?" option.

  • Knowledge Base Update: A Table of Contents has been added to the knowledge base site to provide an overview of all knowledge base articles currently available.

  • Most Downloaded Contributions: The Contributions section has been updated to allow browsing the contribution packages ordered by the most downloaded.

Obviously, this is all pretty pertinent information for the active osCommerce community member. Talking of being an active community member, a pretty fair statement about the community, of which you are now a member, is that you get out what you put in. The online community is a great resource, and with your help it will only improve.

 

Summary


Hopefully, at this stage, you have practiced using the osCommerce community, registered on the site, and learned a bit about the forums. Being able to use this resource efficiently will be a great help in the time to come. Consequently, this chapter focused predominantly on what is available from the osCommerce community and how you can make use of it to find news, learn about new developments, or share and discuss ideas and problems.

It is a well known fact that many new users run into a couple of problems and end up becoming disillusioned with their e-commerce software (this applies to all e-commerce software and not just osCommerce), dismissing it as difficult to use. The unfortunate thing here is that often their problems are readily solved and it is their lack of ability to use the significant osCommerce resources to do so that is their undoing.

It’s not all doom and gloom! At least 70,000 people are happily chugging along with their online osCommerce stores, and with a little help you will be joining them shortly. So, for better or for worse, you have decided to join the fray and from here on, you will find new things to learn and put to work for you and your business. Let’s get cracking...

About the Author
  • 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. He also maintains SME Pals, a blog dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and startups thrive online. SME Pals has become a recommended entreperneurial resource with many leading educational institutions because it has a strong focus on innovative business ideas and how to convert them into profitable startups. 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.

    Browse publications by this author