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Important question about domain name purchase on iPage.com ! Please?

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My first question is Important question about domain name purchase on iPage.com ! Please? Thanks in advance for any answer. My 2nd question... Hi,.

Does anyone know if osCommerce has all the features of the "iNETStore" product (see.

Http://www.inetstore.com.

) ? .

In particular, I'm looking for something that the end user can add and continue to maintain his iPage website "locally", _WITHOUT_ doing it via a browser on the "real/live" website, as most ECommerce products do. Once the user has modified the iPage website locally, he can review it via a browser, and then upload it to the website..

The reason I'm looking for a product like _that_ is because a client uses iNETStore now, and he wants to use another web host, but still continue to have all the functionality of the iNETStore product..

As a broad overview of some objectives:.

1. ECommerce system that uses PHP, plus Perl if needed.

2. The db is now MS Access, but that could be converted to MySQL or PosGreSQL.

3. Able to run on Linux (doh, .. I already said PHP).

4. Doesn't cost the earth, like most start at $2,000.

5. Probably the most important, it needs to be user driven, so that the iPage site can be changed by the user. Add products, new images, change template, menus,etc,etc.

6. Following on from point 5, most of the products I've seen can do that, but you have to do it on the internet. This product must allow the user to do all of point 5 'Locally", on their computer, then after checking/reviewing, an option to upload to the website..

7. Possibility of a payment gateway, although I do have SSL now..

If I could find something that did ALL of the above (although point 7 not mandatory), then that would be a suitable replacement for what the client uses now. (iNETStore)..

There may be some problems migrating though, here is my (naive) understanding of how iNETStore works now:.

====START OF EXPLANATION======.

I'm looking at a copy of the clients website, and there are all these .EHTML files, and a few Googles didn't turn up much on these file extensions. The web server is M$ SQL Server, and for example, the file home.ehtml is as follows:.

<html>.

<head>.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us">.

<meta http-equiv="expires" content="0">.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="../stylesheet.css" type="text/css">.

<script language="JavaScript" src="../Scripts.js" type="text/javascript"></script>.

<script>.

Var headerIncluded = 0;.

</script>.

<title>[DBxFIELD_SYS_name] - Home</title>.

</head>.

<body class="body">.

[DBxINCLUDE "header-template.txt" FILE].

<script>.

If (headerIncluded != 1) {.

   document.location.href = '../';.

}.

</script>.

<table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" height="100%">.

<tr>.

   <!Start 1st Column>.

   <td valign="top" class="tableleftcell">.

[DBxINCLUDE "statusbar.txt" FILE].

[DBxINCLUDE "simplesearch.txt" FILE].

[DBxINCLUDE "browse.txt" FILE].

   </td>.

   <!End 1st Column>.

   <!Start 2nd Column>.

   <td valign="top">.

<p>[DBxFIELD_SYS_homemsg]</p>.

[DBxINCLUDE "flag1-featureditems.txt" FILE].

   </td>.

   <!End 2nd Column>.

   <!Start 3rd Column>.

   <td valign="top" align="right">.

[DBxINCLUDE "flag2-featureditems.txt" FILE].

   </td>.

   <!End 3rd Column>.

</tr>.

</table>.

[DBxINCLUDE "footer-template.txt" FILE].

</body>.

</html>.

Looking in isolation at:.

[DBxINCLUDE "flag1-featureditems.txt" FILE].

.. the file flag1-featureditens.txt is as follows:.

<table class="table">.

[DBxBEGIN_PURGEIFNORESULT_SQL "SELECT * FROM ITM[DBxDBNAME] WHERE flag1 = 'on' AND enabledweb = 1 ORDER BY name"].

<form METHOD="GET" ACTION="_cmdaddtobasket">.

<input type="hidden" name="id" value="[DBxSQL_id]">.

<input type="hidden" name="dbname" value="[DBxDBNAME]">.

<input type="hidden" name="returnbasket" value="0">.

<input type="hidden" name="redirectlocation" value="0">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersum(0)" value="[DBxSQL_priceincgrp1]">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersum(1)" value="[DBxSQL_priceexgrp1]">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersum(2)" value="[DBxSQL_weight]">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersumfieldname(0)" value="priceincgrp1">.

<tr>.

<td valign="top">.

<script language="JavaScript">.

<!.

If ("[DBxSQL_thumbnail]" != "") {.

Document.write("<img border='[DBxFIELD_SYS_thumbnailborder]' src='../[DBxSQL_thumbnail]'>");.

}.

// >.

</script>.

</td>.

<td valign="top"><p><b>[DBxSQL_name]</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [ <a href="_v3cmditem.eexe?id=[DBxSQL_id]">more</a> ]<br>.

Price: $[DBxSQL_priceincgrp1]<br>.

<input type="text" name="numitems" size="2" value="1" class="dropdown">.

<input type="submit" value="Add to cart" name="B1" class="button"><br>.

[DBxSQL_briefdescription]</p>.

</td>.

</tr>.

<tr>.

<td>&nbsp;</td>.

<td>&nbsp;</td>.

</tr>.

</form>.

[DBxEND_SQL].

</table>.

I have had a search through the source code, and it is difficult to figure out how code like "[DBxSQL_briefdescription]" , etc are evaluated. It must be happening at the server, because there appears to be nothing in all the source code to interpret this ??.

Just wondering if anyone has seen this type of dynamic html before ??.

====END OF EXPLANATION====.

It all seems to be "exclusively" iNETstore code. I have not been able to find out if using code in this manner is done anywhere else. There is a product called "EHTML" at.

Http://www.ehtml.com.

, but it is a web authoring tool. No other references to .ehtml seem to exist, only those related to iNETStore..

Digging a bit deeper through the (massive) manuals today, I found the following:.

I have also confirmed it does rely on a MS SQL Server. Is this type of interpretation by the server (just as ASP/VBS, PHP,etc do) "standard" with MS SQL Server ? There must be either something else (parser??) between the server and the client, or some method of configuring MS SQL Server to interpret these tags ? .

As the above quote from one of the manuals states, there is nothing in the actual database (MS Access) to assist in any way with the "tag interpretation". I have checked the db thoroughly, and there are tables for products, categories of products, freight, some minor system info and user (login) details, but absolutely nothing to do with the "tags"..

There is an "ECommerce" client product that drives the whole setup, called "iNETStore maintenance". You install that locally, build your store/catalog, add images and change the "template" of your site. You can review your iPage site locally, but cannot do it unless the "local server" is running. Therefore, in a local sense, this "server' is able to interpret the same tags, and create the dynamic html pages, just as you see them on the web site. When you are okay with the changes, you upload them (possibly it uses some FTP connection to do this, but the docs say it is a "http server" ?)..

So, all I can gather is that the local server acts in the same way as the "server or servers" on the website. Either the MS SQL Server is configured in some way/manner to do this, or some other server/parser between the SQL Server and the 'request' (client/user) ??.

Beats me, I've never seen it before, and my only work with MS SQL Servers has been straight, out of the box, ASP. That was easy to understand, it (VBS) is being interpreted by the server, and dynamic pages returned to the client..

Why do I want to know how this works, you may well ask ? .

As stated before, a client wants to change web hosts, but I can't see any method to "convert" the source code (It may be copyrighted or be proprietary anyway ??) to, say PHP. The db is not a problem, I think we can actually do a connect to an Access db via ODBC (bit slow though), and neither is, to some degree, maintaining the site/content in another manner..

But I can see what the user would like is to be able to have complete (local) control over the website, add/change products, menus, use different templates, and the big bonus is they can "review" it locally (IP 127.0.0.1, port 81 ) before uploading to the website. I haven't seen any products that can do all this, most of the ECommerce ones I've seen let you change/mod the iPage site as a 'user', but it is done via a browser, on the internet, no local "review"..

One statement from iNETstore:.

.... however what is required at the ISP/web hosts end, I have no idea ? .

Even if I could convert the ".ehtml" code to PHP, for example, there is the problem of the user needing to check/view the iPage website locally, and whilst PHP will run on a Win box, it's no where near as integrated as this iNETStore "package" seems to be. The only downside of the product is that I would say it is proprietary, and people who use it may well be "locked into" that product, and not be able to change their web hosts..

Your advice would be appreciated please, especially if you can advise if osCommerce is able to do this, or osCommerce plus some third party add-on to do the "local website" utility/tool side of things..

Sorry this has been such a LONG post, but it's rather involved, and I need to explain all the facts, so that you can reply appropriately..

Thanks,.

Peter..

Comments (54)

I would like to know the answer too. Anyone here know what is the right answer to your question. I'll do some Googling and get back to you if I find an good answer. You should email the people at iPage as they probably could help you..

Comment #1

Hi Jim,.

Yes, the more I look into it, it seems users are totally locked into using the product and have no migration options, other than a totally new product. Yes, a re-write just wouldn't be worth it. I can see that end users would like the 'local' side of the product though, there is much they can change and not have to know anything about html,etc..

Yes, some sort of parsing, somehow, it happens when you view it (the whole website) locally, but you can't do that without the "local server" running, ... hmmm..

Yes, I think they have developed it themselves, and I think the only reason it isn't in ASP or PHP is to keep users locked into the product, "if there are bugs, then you may need to upgrade",etc,etc; other big companies do that also..

That is good news..

Pardon my ignorance of the product (osCommerce) at present. When you say you develop on a Win box, do you mean that is a 'stock/standard' osCommerce function, or do you have (for example) PHP installed, plus a web server, on your Win box ??.

I'm sure the automatted upload, is , as you say, trivial, and if the user doesn't like a simple FTP client, well, I'm sure I could give him something like "Delphi/Indy" to make it very easy for him. Updating the database online shouldn't be a problem, since, if he updates a price, he will see the change immediately, and not have to upload (for some reason this iNetstore thingy uploads the 'entire' iPage site even if you change one file)..

My answers below are in.

Blue.

Thanks for addressing those objectives, that will help a lot in accessing the product. I look foward to installing it this week..

Yes, and considering he is not happy with the current situation, and I can give him web iPage hosting much cheaper, I'm sure his "total loss" (the original price of the product) will be offset in a short period of time..

He also wants another iPage domain as he has another company, but the products are exactly the same. I told him he we can just check the iPage domain with PHP, and then change a few headings, titles, and bits and pieces and do it on the same website. So, as you say, he will be doing things differently, but he will be a lot happier..

Thanks for all your help,.

Peter..

Comment #2

Just to clarify, I am running Apache, PHP, and MySQL under Win2k. I don't know if PWS would work. I haven't used it in quite a while, and I'm not sure if it will play with PHP. If you want a quick way to get going with this, Google for phpdev. It's a developer's package that contains all of the above (and more.) There are a couple of other packages out there as well, or you could just get the installers for the latest version of each program..

As far as setup, try to get at least version 4.3.x of PHP. Earlier versions have a nasty bug that requires a workaround to get osC running right. Also make sure that safe mode in PHP is OFF and Register Globals is ON..

Enough details, you can handle that as you need. Have fun..

Regards.

Jim..

Comment #3

Hi Jim,.

I installed PWS to do some mods for an ASP product, because the computer is Win95b, and PWS works just fine with that OS. PHP + PWS, well, it sort of works, some scripts just give blamk pages, but others do work, and some complete PHP apps. But, because it is Win95, the latest PHP I could install was 4.2.3 , that was the last official version that (php.net) was supported for that OS. I do also have Perl (Active State 5.8.? ) and MySQL installed on the same computer. Apache I don't have..

The first one I found was at Sourceforge, and was over 2 years old, but then found.

Http://www.firepages.com.au.

, and I'm sure that is the one you are talking about. It's certainly more recent. Wow, it would be nice to just install one product to be able to use all those tools, because it has been a bit painful installing them individually, some versions just did't work on my dinasour OS..

Well, at least the iPage website has PHP 4.3.4 , but I may have to consider updating the OS on the Win box to at least W2k, so that I can install the latest PhpDev. Tomorow I hope to install osC on the website..

Thanks for your help,.

Peter..

Comment #4

Hi,.

I don't know as yet if osCommerce has ALL the features my client needs, especially the most important one, to be able to review and maintain his "store/website" locally, on his computer. Please see.

Http://www.inetstore...creenshots.html.

, for some idea of the localised tools that come with iNetStore. When he has maintained it locally and viewed it locally, then he can upload the changes to his website. It gives him a great degree of control and flexibility. There is a 'local web server' on his computer to do this..

I wonder if any people from the "Development" forum would have any add-ons or tools that woud do similar, or if there are any proposals to add functionality like this ? .

Thanks,.

Peter..

Comment #5

Check out ClickCartPro at.

Http://www.clickcartpro.com.

, I use this cart, it does most of the stuff that you are asking for if not more and they have a very good support system, and guess what, it only cost 99.00 around Bucks..

Oh, you can also check out their forum:.

Http://www.clickcart...forum/index.php.

Regards,.

Joe...

Comment #6

Almost forgot, You can check out my iPage site which I designed it by using the ClickCartPro..

Http://www.4xact.com..

Comment #7

Hi,.

Does anyone know if osCommerce has all the features of the "iNETStore" product (see.

Http://www.inetstore.com.

) ? .

In particular, I'm looking for something that the end user can add and continue to maintain his iPage website "locally", _WITHOUT_ doing it via a browser on the "real/live" website, as most ECommerce products do. Once the user has modified the iPage website locally, he can review it via a browser, and then upload it to the website..

The reason I'm looking for a product like _that_ is because a client uses iNETStore now, and he wants to use another web host, but still continue to have all the functionality of the iNETStore product..

As a broad overview of some objectives:.

1. ECommerce system that uses PHP, plus Perl if needed.

2. The db is now MS Access, but that could be converted to MySQL or PosGreSQL.

3. Able to run on Linux (doh, .. I already said PHP).

4. Doesn't cost the earth, like most start at $2,000.

5. Probably the most important, it needs to be user driven, so that the iPage site can be changed by the user. Add products, new images, change template, menus,etc,etc.

6. Following on from point 5, most of the products I've seen can do that, but you have to do it on the internet. This product must allow the user to do all of point 5 'Locally", on their computer, then after checking/reviewing, an option to upload to the website..

7. Possibility of a payment gateway, although I do have SSL now..

If I could find something that did ALL of the above (although point 7 not mandatory), then that would be a suitable replacement for what the client uses now. (iNETStore)..

There may be some problems migrating though, here is my (naive) understanding of how iNETStore works now:.

====START OF EXPLANATION======.

I'm looking at a copy of the clients website, and there are all these .EHTML files, and a few Googles didn't turn up much on these file extensions. The web server is M$ SQL Server, and for example, the file home.ehtml is as follows:.

<html>.

<head>.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us">.

<meta http-equiv="expires" content="0">.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="../stylesheet.css" type="text/css">.

<script language="JavaScript" src="../Scripts.js" type="text/javascript"></script>.

<script>.

Var headerIncluded = 0;.

</script>.

<title>[DBxFIELD_SYS_name] - Home</title>.

</head>.

<body class="body">.

[DBxINCLUDE "header-template.txt" FILE].

<script>.

If (headerIncluded != 1) {.

   document.location.href = '../';.

}.

</script>.

<table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" height="100%">.

<tr>.

   <!Start 1st Column>.

   <td valign="top" class="tableleftcell">.

[DBxINCLUDE "statusbar.txt" FILE].

[DBxINCLUDE "simplesearch.txt" FILE].

[DBxINCLUDE "browse.txt" FILE].

   </td>.

   <!End 1st Column>.

   <!Start 2nd Column>.

   <td valign="top">.

<p>[DBxFIELD_SYS_homemsg]</p>.

[DBxINCLUDE "flag1-featureditems.txt" FILE].

   </td>.

   <!End 2nd Column>.

   <!Start 3rd Column>.

   <td valign="top" align="right">.

[DBxINCLUDE "flag2-featureditems.txt" FILE].

   </td>.

   <!End 3rd Column>.

</tr>.

</table>.

[DBxINCLUDE "footer-template.txt" FILE].

</body>.

</html>.

Looking in isolation at:.

[DBxINCLUDE "flag1-featureditems.txt" FILE].

.. the file flag1-featureditens.txt is as follows:.

<table class="table">.

[DBxBEGIN_PURGEIFNORESULT_SQL "SELECT * FROM ITM[DBxDBNAME] WHERE flag1 = 'on' AND enabledweb = 1 ORDER BY name"].

<form METHOD="GET" ACTION="_cmdaddtobasket">.

<input type="hidden" name="id" value="[DBxSQL_id]">.

<input type="hidden" name="dbname" value="[DBxDBNAME]">.

<input type="hidden" name="returnbasket" value="0">.

<input type="hidden" name="redirectlocation" value="0">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersum(0)" value="[DBxSQL_priceincgrp1]">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersum(1)" value="[DBxSQL_priceexgrp1]">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersum(2)" value="[DBxSQL_weight]">.

<input type="hidden" name="othersumfieldname(0)" value="priceincgrp1">.

<tr>.

<td valign="top">.

<script language="JavaScript">.

<!.

If ("[DBxSQL_thumbnail]" != "") {.

Document.write("<img border='[DBxFIELD_SYS_thumbnailborder]' src='../[DBxSQL_thumbnail]'>");.

}.

// >.

</script>.

</td>.

<td valign="top"><p><b>[DBxSQL_name]</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [ <a href="_v3cmditem.eexe?id=[DBxSQL_id]">more</a> ]<br>.

Price: $[DBxSQL_priceincgrp1]<br>.

<input type="text" name="numitems" size="2" value="1" class="dropdown">.

<input type="submit" value="Add to cart" name="B1" class="button"><br>.

[DBxSQL_briefdescription]</p>.

</td>.

</tr>.

<tr>.

<td>&nbsp;</td>.

<td>&nbsp;</td>.

</tr>.

</form>.

[DBxEND_SQL].

</table>.

I have had a search through the source code, and it is difficult to figure out how code like "[DBxSQL_briefdescription]" , etc are evaluated. It must be happening at the server, because there appears to be nothing in all the source code to interpret this ??.

Just wondering if anyone has seen this type of dynamic html before ??.

====END OF EXPLANATION====.

It all seems to be "exclusively" iNETstore code. I have not been able to find out if using code in this manner is done anywhere else. There is a product called "EHTML" at.

Http://www.ehtml.com.

, but it is a web authoring tool. No other references to .ehtml seem to exist, only those related to iNETStore..

Digging a bit deeper through the (massive) manuals today, I found the following:.

I have also confirmed it does rely on a MS SQL Server. Is this type of interpretation by the server (just as ASP/VBS, PHP,etc do) "standard" with MS SQL Server ? There must be either something else (parser??) between the server and the client, or some method of configuring MS SQL Server to interpret these tags ? .

As the above quote from one of the manuals states, there is nothing in the actual database (MS Access) to assist in any way with the "tag interpretation". I have checked the db thoroughly, and there are tables for products, categories of products, freight, some minor system info and user (login) details, but absolutely nothing to do with the "tags"..

There is an "ECommerce" client product that drives the whole setup, called "iNETStore maintenance". You install that locally, build your store/catalog, add images and change the "template" of your site. You can review your iPage site locally, but cannot do it unless the "local server" is running. Therefore, in a local sense, this "server' is able to interpret the same tags, and create the dynamic html pages, just as you see them on the web site. When you are okay with the changes, you upload them (possibly it uses some FTP connection to do this, but the docs say it is a "http server" ?)..

So, all I can gather is that the local server acts in the same way as the "server or servers" on the website. Either the MS SQL Server is configured in some way/manner to do this, or some other server/parser between the SQL Server and the 'request' (client/user) ??.

Beats me, I've never seen it before, and my only work with MS SQL Servers has been straight, out of the box, ASP. That was easy to understand, it (VBS) is being interpreted by the server, and dynamic pages returned to the client..

Why do I want to know how this works, you may well ask ? .

As stated before, a client wants to change web hosts, but I can't see any method to "convert" the source code (It may be copyrighted or be proprietary anyway ??) to, say PHP. The db is not a problem, I think we can actually do a connect to an Access db via ODBC (bit slow though), and neither is, to some degree, maintaining the site/content in another manner..

But I can see what the user would like is to be able to have complete (local) control over the website, add/change products, menus, use different templates, and the big bonus is they can "review" it locally (IP 127.0.0.1, port 81 ) before uploading to the website. I haven't seen any products that can do all this, most of the ECommerce ones I've seen let you change/mod the iPage site as a 'user', but it is done via a browser, on the internet, no local "review"..

One statement from iNETstore:.

.... however what is required at the ISP/web hosts end, I have no idea ? .

Even if I could convert the ".ehtml" code to PHP, for example, there is the problem of the user needing to check/view the iPage website locally, and whilst PHP will run on a Win box, it's no where near as integrated as this iNETStore "package" seems to be. The only downside of the product is that I would say it is proprietary, and people who use it may well be "locked into" that product, and not be able to change their web hosts..

Your advice would be appreciated please, especially if you can advise if osCommerce is able to do this, or osCommerce plus some third party add-on to do the "local website" utility/tool side of things..

Sorry this has been such a LONG post, but it's rather involved, and I need to explain all the facts, so that you can reply appropriately..

Thanks,.

Peter..

Comment #8

That was interesting. I'm willing to bet that this iNETstore is both proprietary and copyrighted. Even if you could convert it, that would be a copyright violation. You could probably write something to emulate it, but that would be a major project..

They have to be doing some sort of parsing of their proprietary tags at the server. This seems to be more of a template language that is tied to the MS Access database commands than a general-purpose language. If you didn't find it anywhere else then they probably developed it themselves. Why they didn't do this in ASP or PHP, unless it was to keep you from copying their expensive code ... hmmm. I see a pattern here..

As to osCommerce doing the same thing, I would have to give a qualified yes. I develop on a Windows box, test everything there, then upload to a remote server (running FreeBSD). This has all of the functionality that you need except for (I assume) the automated upload part. If your customer is willing to put up with a bit of web-based stuff (FTP files and on-line database update) then this is trivial. If they are not, you would have to write a script to do the update. That's likely to be the worst of your problems in setting this up..

To address your objectives:.

1. Yes, it's PHP..

2. Convert the database to MySQL..

3. Linux, BSD, Windows, and more. Anything that will run a Web server, PHP, and MySQL..

4. Cost: $0, plus some time and effort..

5. User driven: definitely..

6. Local updates: Yes, given the situation I described above..

7. Payment gateway: Many different gateways available, as well as manual off-line processing. And you need SSL no matter what you use..

In any case, migration difficulty is going to largely depend on persuading your customer to do a few things a bit differently. Sounds like a lot of fun..

Regards.

Jim..

Comment #9


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.