Looking for some help


#1

Hi,

I am not a fantastic html/coding or anythng like that person. I mainly design. But I would like to hae a form wizard on my site for customers. I undestand you need a database for this and I have designed a form I would like to use but have no idea on how to intergrate it into a web page let alone work out how customer will fill it out and it will work.

The form needs to generate a code for the customers to just copy and paste to their auction. Basically they buy a template I have made I give them login details and they fill in the blanks (ie their auction description etc) then click on preview to see what the template will look like and then submit.

Can any one help me get something like this up and running knowing that I hae no idea about php and all that stuff.

Melissa
melissa @ozcratdesign .com (no spaces)


#2

Hi Melissa,

There are actually several issues involved with your description of what you want to do and the help you need :wink: .

Unfortunately, the kind of help you are seeking is not trivial - there are back-end programming/scripting considerations that have to be addressed, and you should not attempt embarking on this until you have thought it through a lot more thoroughly (“how it will work” is all important).

Some things you need to address before proceeding:

  1. How are you going to accept the “payment” for and arrange for the delivery of the template. (Pay Pal, Merchant account, ssl required, etc,)

  2. How are you going to implement the “log-in” system? Do you really have need for customers to “log-in”?

  3. What are the components of the template? If there are graphics involved, how will they be delivered, where will they be hosted (so they can be reached when the customer “pastes” the provided code “into their auction”?, etc.

  4. What programming language are you going to use to process the input received from the form?

  5. What do you want to happen when the user “previews” and hits “Submit”? Do you then email them a package of files, do you display code (and, possibly, the urls of downloadable graphics?) for them to cut and paste?

These are just the “beginning” of the kinds of design decisions that need to be made before beginning to write any code for such an application. While all of this stuff is “doable” with standard web technologies, it is a great deal different than coding/serving pages and graphics.

While I don’t want to be discouraging to you, you should know that here are those who can address this stuff, but you are not likely to find “casual help” on the forum for such an ambitious project. Generally, unless you have a good understanding of the way the internet works on the “back-end”, are reasonably well versed in at least one “web” programming/scripting language, or have a lot of time to invest in gaining these skills, you are going to need a professional developer to help put this together.

There are lots of “freelancers” out there who could help you with this, but the challenge will be finding one who can and will do what is needed within your budget.

Putting a “form” on the web to collect the data is easy; processing it the way you are describing, and arranging for payment, security, delivery, code-generation, etc is not. Do you know any web professional that you would describe as more of a “developer” or “programmer” then a designer? If so, that is where I would start the conversation.

Possibly, after having done that and being able to precisely specify what you want to do, some of us here on the forum can help you over some of the rough spots.

–rlparker


#3

Payment is made either through the auction site itself or through the shopping cart I have yet to add to the site. Delivery of the template is done by them just copying the html code generated by the form into their auction.

I would prefer for them to log in so other can not steal my work as easily as they could if it wasnt a login in page and just free for all to see.

The template itself has graphics which are either hosted through me or through the upload part of the customers auction site.

This is where I come unstuck with the whole thing as I have no idea about any of this. My html knowledge is little but enough to put my designs together. My knowledge of other language is none.

When hitting the preview button I would like the customer to see what their template looks like with their additions to it as well as which secondary template they have choosen to use. secondary template optional which intergrates with the first Once the customer is happy with everything and they hit submit I would like them to see the code for the whole thing so they can just copy and paste the code into the auction description area which uses html.

Any help on this matter would be appreciated. I am only use to using programs such as photoshop and front page. An example of what I would like to do is on this page http://www.ambassadorboard.net/hosting/free-form.php
What he has on his site is what I would like to get going on mine, But a little more graphic. I will see if I can find a programmer, but any other help is more than appreciated.

Thankyou for replying.
Melissa


#4

Melissa,

You have a good start toward “specifying” what you want to do (the additional information helps a lot!), and I know you spent some time on that reply, so I will try to see if I can help at least point you in the right direction.

This part is “getting there”… so the first step is to “sell” them an “intangible” - probably “access” to the “wizard” you are going to build (user/password)- or, alternatively, a “template” package (which will have to contain a user/password to get to the “protected” area of the site where your “wizard” lives) To do this you will need:

  1. A payment gateway to collect your money - will have to allow the sale of “intangibles” (special considerations there - as not all payment processors will allow that!)
  2. A delivery mechanism (email? protected download link - for a template? access to your protected “wizard”?, etc) so you can “deliver” what they bought.

Got it! This becomes a bit redundant if you “sell” the " “access” to the wizard - at it’s simplest, you could “deliver” the user/pass combination to an apache authentication (.htaccess) protected area so they can reach your “wizard” - At it’s more “complex” level, you may elect to build a full user management system where users could maintain , “accounts” - considerably more complicated, and maybe not necessary for what you are trying to accomplish. The degree of difficulty/cost involved here depends on how “automated” you want this to be. - Your programmer can explain more fully.

Ok. Probably the easiest way to do this is to provide the graphics as files, accompanied by a “readme” or other implementation instructions, that are downloadable from a link, or emailed, to the customer when they have completed the customization wizard (so you know “which” files they need.

Ok. Since you will be learning something new to work on this, you can pick whatever you want. I think the project is well suited for either perl or PHP. Most find that PHP is easier to work with than perl, and it works vey well in conjunction with MySQL databases - so that is my recommendation. Also the site you used as a reference is done in php, and there are lots of php code snippets and classes out there to make your/your programmers’ work easier. PHP has good mechanisms for “passing form variables back to itself” (your programmer will understand), making it arguably easier to process your “wizard” inputs. You will have a lot more success finding “affordable” PHP programmers than you will perl programmers - there are several developers on this forum that can surely tackle this.

Building on what we have discussed above, now you have a set of programming parameters to code this functionality into the needed PHP script(s). They will have to :

  1. collect the inputs,
  2. build and display “preview” pages, (this can include “secondary” templates)
  3. repeat as necessary till client is happy with preview,
  4. then display (or package for download) the code and/or graphics.

I suspect that the sucess of this project will depend greatly upon how well it is implemented, as well as the quallity of the “template”/ “graphics” as it will have to compete with several “free” offerings that are out there. You might want to consider using a “subscription” model vs a “template purchase” model because of this - but I digress - it’s your business model :wink:

In summary:

  1. Setup your payment system *
  2. Setup your access method - easiest/cheapest is apache authentication via .htaccess - it might be reasonable to investigate existing PHP code for managing this.
  3. Gather, prep, and organize your assets - code snippets, graphics, etc. - these will need to be available (at least one full “set” at first) for you/your programmer to use when “assembling” the “pages” from the “wizard” script in the next step.
  4. Prepare your “wizard” form(s) for collecting your customers’ inputs - work with your programmer on determing what these need to include, as it will becopme important in next step.
  5. Code the php script(s) needed to collect the appropriate form data, validate it, gather the assets, generate the code, assemble into a “preview” page for display, branch to editing the input values till statisfied, when satisfied, package the resultant code/graphics/instruction for delivery via screen display (links for graphics), email, or downloadable archive.
  6. Put the whole thing “online” and get rich!
  • This can be the first or the last step, as long as all the other steps are completed with the target payment gateway in mind!

I hope this discussion has been of some help to you, though I understand it might be discouraging. If you plan thoroughly, working out the processes and methodologies you are going to use before you start “building” it, you can break the project into smaller pieces and work on it a piece at a time - it helps to keep it from becoming so overwhelming. Also understand that another developer might approach this differently; this is just an overview as to how I would approach it (and points out things that will have to be addressed whatever approach is taken). YMMV!

–rlparker


#5

Thank you.

That explains a hell of a lot and I am glad you understood what I was trying to say :).

Thankyou very much for the help and point in the right direction.

Melissa