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Thread: Price comparison website using manual entry

  1. #1
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    Price comparison website using manual entry

    Hello,
    I would like to create a price comparison website, but it won't depend on price updates from other websites, I'll manually add the items, and update the prices.
    Here's what I need:
    - A lot of layout customization with a minimal amount of coding.
    - The ability to add categorized items, a brief description including some specifications, and their prices.
    - The ability to add multiple prices, each linked to a different seller, and add a comparison table to each item with all of the available sellers.
    - Seller profiles and ratings.
    - Ease of use.
    Can I use CMS software to achieve this (Drupal, WordPress, etc)? Which ones do you recommend?
    I know the website will be hard to maintain, but there's not enough active online local merchants for proper price comparison. I'd like to do this manually, getting the prices and adding them myself to the website. It needs to be fast and easy to use, while maintaining a good layout. I would like to do this with the least amount of coding necessary, since I'm not much of a web developer. I am however tech-savvy, and I'm willing to learn what is necessary to maintain my website.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I cannot answer the question about WordPress etc. as I have never used them, but the key point is that I suspect that you need a development environment that links to an SQL back-end. You can avoid that if you are dealing with a small number of high priced items, like houses or cars, but for everyday purchases, you need volume, and volume means a database. So if the development tool does no have that, it is no use for the app you are thinking of.

    Database design is a task not to be taken lightly. And I suspect that your manual input idea is wholly unrealistic. Do you realize how many thousands of different items the average general store sells? So I suggest that you need to progress in stages, as I am doing:

    a) Learn HTML and CSS (or whatever front-end development package will fit the bill).

    b) Start to integrate PHP, without SQL, to learn how to handle variables and to make the web pages more flexible, and easier to maintain.

    c) Integrate an SQL back-end to handle the volume of items you need.

    I'm four years down the line, and I currently at stage b). I have yet to implement an SQL back-end, even though my background as a programmer is in 3GL database design! In my experience, there is that much to learn about the front-end before you worry about the back end! Of course, a web design package like WordPress will speed up the initial sage by shielding you from much of the complexity, but if it does not have the ability to integrate with SQL, then it could be a blind alley for you.
    Last edited by jedaisoul; 03-26-2012 at 03:03 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedaisoul View Post
    I cannot answer the question about WordPress etc. as I have never used them, but the key point is that I suspect that you need a development environment that links to an SQL back-end. You can avoid that if you are dealing with a small number of high priced items, like houses or cars, but for everyday purchases, you need volume, and volume means a database. So if the development tool does no have that, it is no use for the app you are thinking of.

    Database design is a task not to be taken lightly. And I suspect that your manual input idea is wholly unrealistic. Do you realize how many thousands of different items the average general store sells? So I suggest that you need to progress in stages, as I am doing:

    a) Learn HTML and CSS (or whatever front-end development package will fit the bill).

    b) Start to integrate PHP, without SQL, to learn how to handle variables and to make the web pages more flexible, and easier to maintain.

    c) Integrate an SQL back-end to handle the volume of items you need.

    I'm four years down the line, and I currently at stage b). I have yet to implement an SQL back-end, even though my background as a programmer is in 3GL database design! In my experience, there is that much to learn about the front-end before you worry about the back end! Of course, a web design package like WordPress will speed up the initial sage by shielding you from much of the complexity, but if it does not have the ability to integrate with SQL, then it could be a blind alley for you.
    I'm only going to add items from local stores, so it won't be thousands of items per store, more like a few hundreds. I would like to do this to provide price comparison neatly and efficiently, through a well-designed interface. The plan is to make enough money to cover the costs of the website itself within a reasonable amount of time, through ads (Maybe partnerships). Not all of the stores I would like to cover have an online shopping option, so I can't use spiders to collect data automatically from all of the stores that I would like to add. Here is an example of what I would like to create (but with a much better interface): http://www.egprices.com/
    Another example, created using Drupal (but the interface is still crap imo): http://www.priceplow.com/

  4. #4
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    The first example you gave looks like it is generated from a database back-end, and the second is, as you said, naff. Have you asked your local stores how many different items they stock? It could surprise you!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedaisoul View Post
    The first example you gave looks like it is generated from a database back-end, and the second is, as you said, naff. Have you asked your local stores how many different items they stock? It could surprise you!
    I get your point. I'm also thinking about setting up an e-Commerce script with buying disabled, since there's a lot of open-source scripts available for e-Commerce websites. Some scripts allow disabling the checkout options while still showing the prices as a way to close the store. I'll have to find a solution that supports multiple sellers though. Will this work (in theory)?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Elkhawaga View Post
    I get your point. I'm also thinking about setting up an e-Commerce script with buying disabled, since there's a lot of open-source scripts available for e-Commerce websites. Some scripts allow disabling the checkout options while still showing the prices as a way to close the store. I'll have to find a solution that supports multiple sellers though. Will this work (in theory)?
    Sorry, I do not do e-commerce, so I cannot advise on that.

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