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Purdy (2383)

AOL IM: EmeraldWarp (Add Buddy, Send Message)
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Bleh - not feeling creative right now. You can check me out on PerlMonks [].

Journal of Purdy (2383)

Monday October 11, 2004
07:14 PM

My ApacheCon Tutorial...

[ #21298 ]

Like geoff, my tutorial (#T05 on this page) is also in danger of being cancelled. I talked with one of the organizers this afternoon and I only have two people signed up!

Description: Building an e-Commerce Web site can be a lot of fun and very promising, but proper caution and forethought should be given before its deployment. This class will walk you through fundamentals, examples and best practices, culminating over 5 years of Jason's work of administering and developing independent e-Commerce sites, such as and as well as revenue-generating Web applications for We'll talk about server preparations, security, database designs, checksums, revenue models and how to implement them, customer service and more. We'll be using Perl for our examples and Verisign Payflow Pro as our e-Commerce gateway, though these concepts can be applied to other languages and gateways.

And here's a rough outline of how the talk will go:


  • Purpose: I want to give you the tools where you can create your own e-Commerce site.
  • I am not going to help you with scalability or going big (like eBay)

Why Not zenCart or osCommerce?

  • Business tends to be very customized
  • There's a LOT of opportunities outside of the products/cart/checkout routine


  • Be sure to do due diligence! e-Commerce sites aren't something that can be slapped together and unleashed to the public overnight. There are a LOT of mistakes that could be made (some that could ruin your company!).
  • Security
  • Did I mention Security?
  • Designer
  • Database
  • Web Server (3 of 'em, actually)
    • non-SSL
    • SSL
    • Development Server
  • Programmer (you, right?)
  • SSL Certificate
  • Merchant Account
  • Credit Card Gateway (may come w/ the Merchant Account)
  • An understanding of how credit cards work
  • Oh, a Business Plan (and understanding how your product/service will be sold, serviced and fulfilled)

Business Plan

Check out SBA (free plan advice)

Survey potential users

Work out the plan (follow SBA's outline)

If you're independent, think about incubator space


  • Reputable Co-location provider (KEY: Uptime/Reliability/Redundancy)
    • 99.9% uptime means less than 9 hours per year.
    • 99.99% uptime means less than 1 hour a year downtime!
    • If your customers can't get to your site...
  • Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Server (Control vs. Expense w/ a Dash of Admin Headaches)

The Interface

  • Usability Matters!
  • KISS!

Database Schema/Design

  • Understand normalization
  • Keep in mind that retaining sensitive information is a liability
  • Flexibility: Your needs will change


  • Big fan of Perl - built-in security with tons of features and with CPAN, add-on modules
  • Program error-checking! Will save you a LOT of time!
  • Phase out the entire application for rapid deployment


  • The Golden Rule Applies (He Who Has the Gold ... Rules): You don't want to fulfill an order without getting the Gold.

Customer Support

  • Get to know your gateway.
  • Automate as much as possible
  • One ID to rule them all (make sure ID #'s are consistent, from the admin side, automated e-mails and the public)

Suggestions always welcome!



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  • I am just finishing an ecommerce website for a member of my family, and it looks like something I would have been interested if I had the chance.

    Of course it costs waaaay too much to go to a conference in the states. Maybe you would get a better response at a smaller european conference.


    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
    • Thanks, TeeJay! I actually had the chance to present this (albeit a rushed 45 minute version []) at OSCOM [], over in Switzerland, but it would have cost me money to present. Looking back, I should have paid the money anyway, as it reduced the expense of learning from others at the conference as well. Oh well ... next time. :) I am thinking about coming over to the's [] Perl Workshop [] ... maybe I can coordinate with them and do a tutorial over there.

      What's your site? I'd love to check it out.


      • it will be pukka plants [] once I sort the dns out (been with wife in hospital for major operation for a week).

        It uses Maypole for the backend (makes it very easy to enter data and prototype), and the same underlying Class::DBI classes for front and back. All mod_perl on a tiny bytemark virtual server.


        @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
        print reverse @JAPH;