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Learning E-commerce

Roughly how long do you reckon it could take someone like myself to learn how to build E-commerce websites?

Someone has approached me with the possibility of two e-commerce projects in the near future. Im saving for travelling so the more pennies in my pocket the longer I can stay away for so I dont want to turn it down just yet on the basis that its not something I currently know!

Note: Im a fast learner and everything I know about XHTML, CSS, Javascript has been self taught.

If your wanting to build an e-commerce system from the ground up that you are looking at quite an advanced level of PHP. There are lots off e-commerce systems out there that can be taken and used. One of the better ones is one built buy a guy on these forums (he don't post much) but he has built himself a nice little system, i'd ask him about it or even ask about using his system. His name is Martin Bean.

There is also of course systems such as trading eye (a north east UK developed shopping cart) or you have the options of magento etc.

To answer your question i'd say at least a year, year and a half to get some skills together to build such a system. In my opinion CSS/HTML is a lot easier than PHP. The language is very flexible and you can build pretty much anything with it, there is a lot more to take in.

Hope that helps, Glen
I would suggest taking on the prject and you design the sites and outsource for the coding! I'm sure it would be nice to keep the money inhouse but you don't want to turn away the work because you don't know how to code Ecommerce sites. Or just give it a go!!?!
Really depends on your knowledge of PHP. If not much, then the problem you're going to have is you'll be learning PHP as well as learning how to build a shopping cart.

The problem with building shopping carts is, there beasts. It's not like a blog or brochure where you need to pull a page's title and body content from a database table. Shopping carts are one of the more complicated things you could task yourself with building as you have to consider category and product set-ups (i.e. associated products); product options; stock inventory handling and reporting; and so on. You then also need to make sure your legally compliant as you're handling money and purchases. What happens if an item doesn't arrive? What happens if someone's card details are stolen because someone else was sniffing your connection?

Shopping carts are one of those things you don't attempt to reinvent unless you have a good reason to. Agencies can charge tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands for online stores because they take a lot of time to build and get right. If you're a seasoned PHP developer and no other package out there fits the bill, then go for it. If not, then take an off-the-shelf package, familiarize yourself with it, learn how to customize it to your client's needs, then start writing custom modules if your clients require them. This way you'll familiarize yourself with working with e-commerce sites and platforms and learn the trends and what works and what doesn't work amongst users.

In short, it requires a lot of time, work, and dedication and probably shouldn't be attempted if you're a freelancing one-man-band offering a myriad of services. There are plenty of good platforms out there pre-built ready for you to template and/or customize to let you get on with making more money ;)
Thanks for all the info guys.
With going travelling in October I have a lot going on to organise for that so may not have the time to commit to such a project at the moment :(

Nevermind x
there are plenty out of the box ecommerce systems that woek well. take advice - get the full spec up front right down to what the product screens would be. most out of the box productrs cant handle things like mutiple valriable to select a price - gloss, size, qty, color etc
Nope! Have a google for a plugin called wp-ecommerce I think it's called. It's about £40 for the licence but that also gives you an ssl certificate for secure payments which would cost you maybe £30 min anyway. Deffinately worth considering!!