Friday, June 30, 2006

The Big Move - part 1

After many months of preparation and planning, I left Florida and moved back West. I had not been looking forward to hauling a trailer 2400 miles. The idea of driving cross country, alone with no one but myself, to get me out of a jam, intimidated me. I had never towed anything before, and my trailer was loaded to the top. But the day arrived when there was nothing left to do, but load the pets into the truck and start driving.

The scarriest part of the trip was leaving South Florida. I left at 5am and the traffic was still horrendous. I was told to keep my speed down to around 55mph, and everyone else was flying past me at the usual South Florida pace. (They made the movie "The Fast and the Furious" in Miami for a good reason.) At least Florida has nicely paved highways.

Florida did not want to let go of me that easy. I blew out a tire on my trailer and had engine trouble with my truck before I got out of that state. Thankfully, both problems were easily fixed, and I was quickly back on the road again, headed west.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New E-Commerce Website in Progress

I have been looking for an alternative to the steep eBay fees involved in having a store, and listing auctions. Many of my fellow eBay Artists will relate to this situation. What to do? Hummm...maybe my own e-commerce website.

I had no idea how much work was required to create a full-blown shopping cart website, especially if you are picky about things like I am. I checked into the ready made stores, where you just up-load your products, but I didn't like the looks of any of the less expensive ones. The expensive ones were way out of my budget. So off I went to research "e-commerce" on Google.

What I found was that I needed a database driven website. SQL is the database part and PHP is the code that manipulates the data in your database. Lovely.

Html, like I use on eBay, is simple compared to this new language. A steep learning curve is involved. After many weeks, I am starting to get the hang of it. It is a scarry thing, though. I have been dreaming about php code!

Well, my new e-commerce website is starting to look pretty good. And as of tonight, everything is working properly. But, I'm not done, every time I make a change, I hold my breath and hope I don't get the white screen with the FATAL_ERROR message. Of couse, I've learned the the Fatal _Error message is no big deal, it just means I have one too many commas or I'm missing a parenthesis. An hour of digging through code and every thing is fixed.

It's still a work in progress, but I'd be pleased if you would take a look and let me know what you think. You can't buy anything yet, as the credit card module is switched off, untill I'm done tinkering. But I have a shopping cart that remembers what you put into it, even after you leave and come back; a customer Wishlist, customers can keep multiple addresses, write product reviews, and many more niceties.

So exciting!