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osCommerce is one of the most popular and fastest growing ecommerce packages available today. There are many, many clones of it but none can match the simplicity and ease of use of the original. To learn more about using the wonderful osCommerce package as an eCommerce Solution, just click here!
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osCommerce can:

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Oscommerce Beginners Guide

A very short beginning guide to modifying osCommerce

These are the minimal changes to start customizing your site from the base installation. If you are using an editor that automatically wraps lines, either turn off the wrap, or get an editor that does. Ideally your editor should also number lines, especially if you intend to install any contributions, and believe me, you are very likely to do so. There are many fine editors out there that will do these things; I use AnyEdit. Note on syntax: anything in braces {} should be entered without the braces.

You will need to edit or at least check the following files:

File Name What you'll be changing

admin/includes/configure.php, includes/configure.php Ensure that all constants those things that say define('SOMETHING','Something else'); point to the correct names for your website, and that the DB_SERVER user name and password (near the bottom of the file) are correct

includes/header.php, and optionally admin/includes/header.php If you have put your store logo in your images directory, reference it at that first TEP_IMAGE call, replacing oscommerce.gif. The 3 parameters in quotes following the logo name are a mouseover text, the image width, and height. Do correct the width and height to match the size or meet the proportions of your logo.

You may also want to change the background color behind your logo at the top of the screen. This is before the tep_image call but on the same line. Change the bgcolor = #{hex color number}.

includes/languages/english.php or appropriate language define('PAGE_TITLE' - this is what will appear in the title bar of all screens, and on the last line: define('FOOTER_TEXT_BODY' you may want to include your own copyright information.

includes/languages/english/conditions.php This contains your Terms of Use statement

includes/languages/english/privacy.php This contains your website's Privacy Policy

includes/languages/english/shipping.php This contains your Shipping and Returns policy

includes/languages/english/index.php TEXT_MAIN defines the text on the first page your customers see. The default installation has a very long line starting with 'This is a default setup of the osCommerce... This line ends with '); and the next line begins with define('TABLE_HEADING_NEW_PRODUCTS. Remove everything starting from This is a default setup and ending before the '); and replace it with your own welcome text.

Includes/column_left.php and column_right.php These define which boxes appear to the left and right of the main screen. Moving boxes from one file to the other will put the box on the other side. You may want to do this to balance out the left and right - play around with the shopping cart, the products, the reviews. Note which boxes are too big and, if you want them at all, how to fit them with other boxes so the screen looks good. To remove a box completely you can just comment it out by placing a // at the beginning of the line.

stylesheet.css If you have a background image, copy it to the images directory, and reference it here at BODY { background #{hex_color number} url(images/{background_image_name})

Less crucial customizations: includes/languages/english/create_account.php Customize the text that gets emailed to your customers when they create an account.

Stylesheet.css Change the font, font size, font colors, and colors of the horizontal bars.

includes/languages/english/create_account_success.php Customize the text displayed when your customer creates an account

includes/languages/english/login.php Customize the text displayed when your customer logs in

includes/languages/english/specials.php Text for the screen showing products on sale

Basic store setup

Go into the Admin module and go to Configuration.

My Store comes up first. Here is where you would enter some basics about your store under Store Name, Store Owner, E-Mail Address, E-Mail From, Country, Zone, and Store Address and Phone. Click on Customer Details. Here you will check what is or is not required information when a customer creates and account with your store. Click Shipping/Packaging, enter your Postal Code. This will be used later if you hook up to UPS or USPS shipping. Click Product Listing and check which qualities you want displayed in your product list.

Go to Modules in the left column. Payment comes up first. Here is where you choose your payment gateway(s) and other forms of payment you will accept. Click Shipping. Here is where you define how much you charge for shipping and which carriers you will use. Click Order Total. Here you define in what order totals are calculated.

Click Locations/Taxes in the left column and click Tax Zones. Here is where you tell osC where taxes should be applied. I don't know enough to make a long discussion of taxes in each country. However, if you are in the US, sell taxable items, and want to tax only customers in your state: Add a tax zone called USA/{your state} Double-click it. Add here your country and state. Now click Tax classes and add an entry which indicates you have Taxable items. Now click Tax Rates. Select "Taxable" in Tax Class Title, select USA/{your state} for the zone, enter the tax rate you are charging e.g. 7.25 for 7.25%, and give it all a description.

Click Catalog in the left column. If you want your customers to be able to search for items by manufacturer, click Manufacturers first and add them. Then click on Categories / Products. Here is where you organize all your different products and enter them. However I don't recommend entering them all until you have installed any osC contributions you might want to add. There are a bunch of products included with the base installation so you can play around with the system. Out of the box, osC, though feature-rich, is somewhat minimal on the customer end. Look for things customers might expect to see or abilities you think your customers would like to have, then search the osC forum and contributions website if you find something lacking. Some contributions will involve adding columns to the database, and if you have a long product listing, it may mean editing each product *yet again.*

Finally, click on Tools in the left column and the Database Backup will appear. Be sure to BACK UP your database REGULARLY!!! It's far more important than all-caps can imply! Also in Tools is something called Server Info. This lists your version numbers of osC, MySQL, and PHP, which may affect your choice of which contribution to install.

NOTE: the database backup only backs up your database. It does not back up any of your PHP files. Always back up your PHP files before you install any contributions or make modifications to the code.

osC's general structure for the beginning customization programmer: The sheer morass of files with identical names can be overwhelming at first, and trying to figure out which files do what is challenging. After tweaking around with osC for several weeks I have some conclusions about the general structure:

Everything in /catalog are PHP files that your customers may execute at some point. They will not directly see the name of any other file in the URL box. The only other file here is stylesheet.css. Changes to files here are often layout changes: resizing table cells and text-entry boxes, moving things up and down. Most of these files have a chunk of PHP code at the top and html at the bottom.

Everything in /catalog/images are, predictably, image files: All the little icons, arrows, and your product images are here, but there are no language-specific buttons. In /catalog/images/infobox are the chips for the rounded corners you see on the boxes. If you change the color of the horizontal bars or the background color in stylesheet.css, you will want to edit the color of these chips to match

/catalog/includes: these are mostly, for lack of a better word, layout files for what your users see: where catalog/index.php defines the center of the screen, the files here define the top, left, right and bottom of the screen. Also in here are basic definitions about your fileserver and the names of your database tables.

/catalog/includes/boxes: these define the little boxes that go inside the left and right of your screen, such as the category list, the search box, the product review box, etc.

/catalog/includes/classes: these files, for the most part, define the structure of objects that get created during the course of the customer browsing your site and purchasing items. It is most often here that the most significant changes to the functionality of osC gets changed. These are the files that do the read and writes to your database. Most of these files are purely PHP code.

/catalog/includes/functions: these is osc's custom function library. Here they redefine many SQL and HTML functions, and build shopping-cart-specific functions.

/catalog/includes/languages: files here define text of the more global constants in the appropriate language.

/catalog/includes/languages/{language name]: files here define the text of constants used in specific screens in the /catalog directory.

/catalog/includes/languages/{language name]/images/buttons: these are buttons that have language-specific words in them.

/catalog/admin has a corresponding structure to /catalog, however, these files define the functioning of the administration portion of the application, rather than the shopping cart.

The above is from a partial thread on the oscommerce forums. You can see the thead in full by using this link.

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