April 20th, 2010
Chapter 9 dives into the <sarcasm>wonderful</sarcasm> world of eCommerce. The chapter wisely begins by explaining that for a site which is mostly eCommerce with only a few other pages, CMSMS is not the solution. Even with this little preface though, I think the merits of CMSMS as an eCommerce platform were not addressed in full enough detail. Also notably underrepresented in the opening pages of the chapter were an overview of the myriad eCommerce solutions available for CMSMS and the fact that they are incredibly incompatible with each other – as in they will actually destroy your entire website.
So, after the far too sparse overview and warnings the book dives into the Products module which sadly needs a custom field added for image. Creating templates and categories is covered and detail and the CMSMS eCommerce solutions start to look acceptable.
The next module to integrate is the Cart module which thankfully is easy to connect to Products. After Cart comes Orders which has tons of dependencies and templates to worry about and also needs to be integrated with Self Registration. This is where the eCommerce solutions begin to get very annoying to work on as there are so many forms to style – login, billing info, shipping info, etc.
The last step discussed in detail is setting a Paypal gateway. The book makes sure to explain the work one must do outside of CMSMS, setting up dev PayPal account, connects the CMSMS Shop to PayPal using IPN.
Optional modules for taxes, shipping, promotions, and gift baskets are also mentioned but not really explained. If you’re looking to use features like these, it’s better to just use a dedicated eCommerce platform as getting all of these independent modules to communicated with each other can be misery.
Overall the chapter does a good job introducing and explaining the eCommerce setup in CMSMS but it really glosses over the more important aspects such as choosing the right eCommerce platform, building a secure environment, fulfilling orders, and more.