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Author Topic: Web building help (again)!  (Read 1572 times)
Thesaly
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« Topic Start: May 05, 2008, 08:24:15 am »

I desperately need to be able to pick the brain of someone who has a really good understanding of web development/programming.  I'm not an idiot, and I learn quite well from books, but I'm finding that all the books I look at are assuming a base level of knowledge I don't yet have.

I need someone who is willing to answer quick questions for me, define terms that I don't think I understand, and be able to tell me "It just doesn't work that way" when necessary.  I'm not expecting a tutorial, but I am hoping that once I can explain what I do and don't need, I can get pointed to a book or website that's at the right level for where I am.

Any takers?  Please?? Grin
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RandallS
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« Reply #1: May 05, 2008, 08:36:56 am »

I need someone who is willing to answer quick questions for me, define terms that I don't think I understand, and be able to tell me "It just doesn't work that way" when necessary.  I'm not expecting a tutorial, but I am hoping that once I can explain what I do and don't need, I can get pointed to a book or website that's at the right level for where I am.

Why not just ask here?
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Randall
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Thesaly
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« Reply #2: May 06, 2008, 08:26:14 am »

Why not just ask here?

You're right - I probably should have just asked straight out.

Here's where I'm at and what I need.  I've been trying to put together a website w/shopping for my jewelry business.  I have Adobe GoLive, Photoshop, and Illustrator, and I'm running on Windows XP.  I know enough about HTML that I have a very general idea of what I'm looking at if I look at a site's source code, but that's about it.  I don't know CGI, or PERL.  I'm not planning to build sites for other people, so I don't want to learn any more than is absolutely necessary for what I'm doing (maybe in the future, but not now!).  I've got the basics of my website pretty much set up, now I'm trying to deal with the shopping cart.  I'm hoping to use one of the free open-source carts, and am looking at Zen-Cart and Agora Cart right now.

I want to be able to get the entire site, including cart, set up on my computer at home so I can check it out and make sure it's what I want before I publish it to the web.  I want to avoid having the site up with parts of it still "under construction."  I'm starting with Agora Cart because it's one I see referenced a lot, and it's compatible with my CC processor.  Unfortunately for me, Agora Cart is only the CGI script, and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  When I look at their installation instructions on their web site, everything seems to relate to putting the cart script on the server that is hosting your site. 

I think I'm defining certain words in a different way than they are.  When the instructions say "Use your FTP program to upload the CGI script to your server" to me, that means "Use your FTP program to send the CGI script to the computer that is hosting/serving your website."  This makes it sound to me like they're saying that in order to install and set up my cart, I have to publish my site to the web first, and then set everything up.  Does "server" maybe have a broader meaning, or can it be applied to the computer you're actually using if the conditions are right?

Another part of the Agora Cart site mentions that if you want to develop your site/cart offline, you need to have PERL running on your computer.  I now have IndigoPERL and Apache, but I don't know what I'm supposed to do with them to get the cart to show up/run so that I can set it up.  Everything I find starts by trying to teach me how to write CGI and PERL.  I don't want to learn how to write scripts, I want to know how to use and modify existing scripts.

So - in a nutshell - how do I use PERL to use/modify a CGI script, and what books or websites can anyone recommend that are truly for a novice, and don't assume I already have a background in HTML and building websites?


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RandallS
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« Reply #3: May 06, 2008, 08:44:17 am »

I want to be able to get the entire site, including cart, set up on my computer at home so I can check it out and make sure it's what I want before I publish it to the web.

You need to set up a local server on your machine. Then you copy your web site files to the server's "HTML" directory (what it tells you to ftp to the server) and when the server is running, you can see what the site looks like (with the cgi running) by viewing http://localhost/ on your computer.

The easiest and most complete automatically setup so it just works server package is XAMPP at:

http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html

Quote
This makes it sound to me like they're saying that in order to install and set up my cart, I have to publish my site to the web first, and then set everything up


Scripts like shopping carts are server-side scripts -- that is, they are programs that run on a server, so to see them in actual use they have to be on a server -- either on your web host or one you've set up on your local machine.

Quote
I don't want to learn how to write scripts, I want to know how to use and modify existing scripts.

Chances are you will not even need to modify the script's code (except perhaps for some settings in the config file).
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Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog - Forum] -- Out Of Print & Out Of Style Tabletop Roleplaying Games
Software Gadgets Blog -- Interesting Software, Mostly Free
Cheap Web Hosting -- Find an Affordable Web Host
Thesaly
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« Reply #4: May 06, 2008, 08:48:07 am »

You need to set up a local server on your machine. Then you copy your web site files to the server's "HTML" directory (what it tells you to ftp to the server) and when the server is running, you can see what the site looks like (with the cgi running) by viewing http://localhost/ on your computer.


Thank you!  This helps a lot!
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