The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

(Very) New to Web development

Hi Guys,

I'm in the process of building an e-commerce website to sell my products. My website front-end has been written in Flash by a graphic design house and I'm pretty pleased with it.

The next stage is I want to integrate this front-end with the back-end processing necessary to manage users, search and update my stock, handle payment processing, etc. I did consider a templatized e-shop but I wanted my site to have a unique look which required too much customization.

I'm an experienced software engineer but in distributed telecoms rather then web development. Can you tell me the best (or obvious) way to integrate this Flash front-end with the back-end machinery?

Should I use PHP or Perl and would this, at least from a coding level, provide me access to APIs for payment processing, database etc.?

At the moment the back-end is non-existent and I'm trying to work out whether I should try to build it myself and learn on the way or whether this is a job which requires more experience and manpower.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

YMC Send private email
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
This is a big enough job, and one where security matters enough, that I really wouldn't recommend it as a first web development project. If you do it yourself, read up on web application security before you get started and have somebody who knows what they're doing review your work at various points and before you launch. I'd also suggest looking over some existing systems and seeing how they approach tax and shipping. Some of the rules are surprisingly complex.

I would estimate a typical basic e-commerce site including inventory management, payment processing, shipping, etc. to be 3-6 months work for an experienced web developer.

"My website front-end has been written in Flash by a graphic design house and I'm pretty pleased with it."

I'm glad you're happy with it, but be aware that Flash sites have pretty bad usability. The majority of web sites are HTML-based for good reason. The biggest problem you're going to run into is that Flash sites are not bookmarkable or readable by search engines. That's going to kill your sales.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Flash is a client side technology. It will talk with the backend over HTTP. As such, you can use anything, which is capable of talking HTTP. Obvious choices would be loosely coupled platforms, such as LAMP, but it mostly depends on the skillset of the developer. Which languages/technologies, have you used before?
Troels Knak-Nielsen Send private email
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Flash is a BAD IDEA. Flash must be installed in your clients' computers, and sometimes they don't wanted, or the company where they work for, have policies about installing new software.

Anyway, you still need/want to program in PHP. My question is: Why didn't you use an existing open source PHP eCommerce software, like eCommerce, Zen-Cart, and so on ?

You could work with them, and learn PHP by modifying small things like color, font size, and still having a running web site...

Just my 2 cents.
Marco Aurelio Ramirez Carrillo Send private email
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Make sure to work with internet version Its not the most current, but its the most stable build.
Pete Send private email
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I agree w/Marco, Flash is a poor choice for e-commerce, it's slow over dialups, and not everyone has it.  In fact, some Linux users may not be able to install it at all.  But it sounds like it's already completed.  Rethink for your next version, though.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I started developing web applications front-end in Flex. I suggest you to give a try to the free AMFPHP to exchange data with PHP backends or commercial Adobe LiveCycle or upcoming free Adobe BlazeDS to interchange data with Java backends.

Consider that you can also use Ruby, ColdFusion or .NET and more to build up a backend system.

Some links:

Regards, Alessandro Ronchi
Alessandro Ronchi Send private email
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Thanks a lot for your helpful replies everyone!

It looks like I have some research to do on this so I'm going to investigate the Flash/Back-end integration as well as the "Push-to-inflate" eShops solutions as well.

I really want the front-end to be a differentiator in our market since the business we're in is very fashion & style oriented. The graphice designers used Flash presumably because it's a rich tool for graphics. What alternative technologies are out there which offer rich graphics support but without the disadvantages of Flash?
YMC Send private email
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Define "rich graphics support". What do you want that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can't give you?

If you want a highly usable, accessible, and searchable site, you *have* to start with HTML. You can add other things on as enhancements, but you'll never have a good web page if you don't build it as, well, a web page.

Hiring somebody who advertises as a graphic designer to build your website was your main mistake. You need somebody who understands enough about the web to fill in the gaps in the requirements you give them. Until you bring somebody with a good fundamental understanding of the web into the project, it won't matter what technology you throw at the problem.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
>>Until you bring somebody with a good fundamental understanding of the web into the project, it won't matter what technology you throw at the problem.<<

Dotimus Send private email
Thursday, January 17, 2008

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz