Need an Order FOrm


I am using the package Crazy Domain Insane for my small business site…I’m still new to web building. How do I create an order form that will automatically add up prices and that is emailed to me once the customer has filled it out?



In order to get it to add up prices, you’ll need a CGI applet that can do that. You might want to try or to see what they have (I doubt you’ll find something you’re enthusiatic about), hire someone to write a script for you, or you might learn Perl or Python.

Since I have written scripts on occasion for others, I oughta try to talk you into doing that, but you really do need to learn to use Perl or Python. Perl may initially be a little more useful - there are tons of scripts out there you can tweak for one purpose or another - but Python is probably a better choice, long-term.

If you’re on a Windows-based PC, you can get a copy of either Perl or Python at for free, and there is online documentation that will teach you what you need to know.

Knowing one or both of these languages is a really good idea for a webmaster, not only for writing CGI applets, but also for the quick-and-dirty chores of daily computer use. About 80% of the scripts I write are not intended to ever see a server - and often they are written to do just one job and be discarded. For instance, it’s nice to be able to write a script and run it in 10 minutes, rather than spend 4-5 hours doing manual edits.

If you are willing to settle for having the results of a form mailed to you, without any arithmetic, you just need a form-to-mail script. Dreamhost already has one of those installed for your use.


If you need something “that will automatically add up prices”, then you’re probably looking for a SHOPPING CART. I have been using for quite a while. It is fairly user-friendly and has a free version.

Alleged Cybersquatter - knows a thing or two about domain names


I’d second the recommendation of the CGI Resource Index, though I do think you’ll probably find plenty there to be enthusiastic about. I love that site, and the PHP Resource Index too. You don’t have to be a programmer to be able to install most of the scripts they list – there are usually complete installation directions so that if you know how to use and FTP program and set permissions, you can pretty much get the job done.

If you’re really knew and even that seems daunting, then yes, using a remotely hosted solution like the one Prufrock mentioned can be a reasonable alternative. You don’t have as much control as you do when you install something on your own server, and it can look kind of unprofessional for your customers to have to go to another server to place an order, but it’s definitely easier to set up.

Now, about Deke’s point that it’s better to learn to program yourself – yes, ideally. But if you don’t have any kind of background in computer science or programming, it’s going to take a long time, and if you’re trying to run a business you probably don’t have time to drop everything and spend a couple of years learning to be a programmer. I’ve been building sites since 1996 and I still couldn’t write a Perl script to save my life – I can do a bit of PHP and I’m reasonably good with Javascript, but Perl makes my brain hurt. I’d like to think that someday I’ll get the hang of it, but the fact is, I’m basically a designer, not a programmer.

If you want to learn to program your own shopping cart, by all means go for it! But if you don’t have some background in it already, it’s not going to happen fast enough to solve your problem right now. You’re better off finding a ready-made solution for now, be it a script you install yourself, or a remotely hosted solution, and then working on building your skills up over the long run.