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  1. #1
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    Ok here's the rundown, I really hope you can help me out on this forum and I hope I have came to the right place, support would be greatly appreciated.

    I've been accepted as a job at an Electrical Wholesaler, a small business that had no IT department. So that's my job as an apprentice. When I went for the job interview he asked me whether I had any experience in Web Design/Development and I said none whatsoever, so my boss knows my limitations but I guess he wants to train me as I am only young and eventually have the skills to run and maintain this website.

    Basically what he wants me to do is to create an ecommerce site, that we can sell Wholesale on and for me to learn how to build this website on the job. The website he wants to have needs to be made completely by scratch. So far I have made a logo for the website (something I have never done before) and have put together a plan for building this site.
    I need to know what languages I will need to learn and what's the best way to go about learning them? (Have started learning HTML and CSS already) How long it will roughly take?
    Should I create my own shopping cart or use a third party application?
    Basically any tips that could help me out?

    I realise this is going to be hard (especially when my boss knows nothing to do with computers), but it's an opportunity that I couldn't miss.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Dude, I'd love to give you advice on this but the only advice I can give is that you're both in way over your head...you and your boss. I mostly blame your boss, though.

    I'm going to put this to you bluntly: you wouldn't attempt to build a brick-and-mortar store of any sort without some knowledge of foundation, of flooring, of lighting, of where to put cash registers, of where to put the aisles, of how to organize content, of how to market, etc. E-commerce is no different, other than the fact that you don't have a large quantity of tangible assets with which to build the store itself. These things take years just to get the basics down, and even people who have built e-commerce sites for several years will tell you that they can't possibly learn or know everything. Chances are your boss wants something built fairly quickly, and with your level of knowledge, that's not going to happen. It just isn't.

    Languages you'll need to learn (besides HTML/CSS):

    Javascript would be useful, ideally jQuery
    One of PHP, ASP, or ASP.net depending on what resources you have to set up the site and what databases you have to interact with
    XML...you'll probably need this to interact with the various payment processing APIs (which is a chore all by itself)

    How you learn them, and how long you learn them, will depend on you. There's no set answer to that question.

    Create your own if you can, and if there are customizations that will need to be done specific to what you're selling. The third-party carts that exist are horrible, including Magento (which for some reason, people tout as the be-all and end-all of carts...it's garbage).

    The best tip I can give you to help you out is to not take this on at all, or at least not all at once. Your boss probably figures that "it's easy enough for me to say what I want, so it should be easy enough for you to do what I want." It doesn't work that way, unfortunately. Reading through the documentation associated with a payment processor alone can take several hours, never mind days. And when you let him down, he'll see it as your fault when it's really his.

    I'm not saying any of this to be negative or to rain on your parade. I'm just trying to give you a realistic set of expectations when it comes to what you've been asked to do. This is not a simple task, and you've never done anything like this before. So you're in a position that you can't succeed. Again, the best thing you can do is walk away from it, or at least significantly temper your boss' expectations.
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 251057, member: 428
    Dude, I'd love to give you advice on this but the only advice I can give is that you're both in way over your head...you and your boss. I mostly blame your boss, though.

    I'm going to put this to you bluntly: you wouldn't attempt to build a brick-and-mortar store of any sort without some knowledge of foundation, of flooring, of lighting, of where to put cash registers, of where to put the aisles, of how to organize content, of how to market, etc. E-commerce is no different, other than the fact that you don't have a large quantity of tangible assets with which to build the store itself. These things take years just to get the basics down, and even people who have built e-commerce sites for several years will tell you that they can't possibly learn or know everything. Chances are your boss wants something built fairly quickly, and with your level of knowledge, that's not going to happen. It just isn't.

    Languages you'll need to learn (besides HTML/CSS):

    Javascript would be useful, ideally jQuery
    One of PHP, ASP, or ASP.net depending on what resources you have to set up the site and what databases you have to interact with
    XML...you'll probably need this to interact with the various payment processing APIs (which is a chore all by itself)

    How you learn them, and how long you learn them, will depend on you. There's no set answer to that question.

    Create your own if you can, and if there are customizations that will need to be done specific to what you're selling. The third-party carts that exist are horrible, including Magento (which for some reason, people tout as the be-all and end-all of carts...it's garbage).

    The best tip I can give you to help you out is to not take this on at all, or at least not all at once. Your boss probably figures that "it's easy enough for me to say what I want, so it should be easy enough for you to do what I want." It doesn't work that way, unfortunately. Reading through the documentation associated with a payment processor alone can take several hours, never mind days. And when you let him down, he'll see it as your fault when it's really his.

    I'm not saying any of this to be negative or to rain on your parade. I'm just trying to give you a realistic set of expectations when it comes to what you've been asked to do. This is not a simple task, and you've never done anything like this before. So you're in a position that you can't succeed. Again, the best thing you can do is walk away from it, or at least significantly temper your boss' expectations.
    Hello, thank you very much for your reply. I couldn't agree with you anymore, it is ridiculous to think that I could create a site without hardly any knowledge on the subject. When I was given the details about the job, I didn't lie or say that I could do it, I just told him of my qualifications (all IT related Microsoft, Comptia etc.) and said I would be able to help with your IT systems which I can. The web design however I would need serious research and help.
    The matter of the fact is though, that this is better than being unemployed (jobs are very hard to come by for students in the U.K) so I can not walk away from the job and I am also gaining a lot of experience. If I get blamed for not doing the job correctly too, its hardly my fault as I know he is in over his head. That's just the way I'm viewing it.

    Where would be the best place to start learning these languages? I have signed up for Lynda.com and also bought various books to help me out, is that the best way do you feel?

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Me, personally? "Just do it." There's no excuse for experience.

    But that's me. You may learn differently than I do. Some people learn best from books. Some learn best from doing. Some learn best from a combination. That's why I said there's no set answer.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  6. #5
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    Hey there, good day to you. First off, I'm no expert. But if I share my experience with you maybe it'll help you.

    You are in a bind, my friend

    Hopefully you have some previous programming experience in other languages, as it will cut the time needed to learn web-design/development. If not, then don't expect anything done overnight. and even if you do have programming experience, there's still syntax of the code. (jQuery framework I found very daunting at first.) dont expect anything done in a few weeks.

    You could try YouTube, although some people bash on watching videos when trying to learn new things, I find it very helpful (but it takes a longer time than just reading), do a quick search for html tutorials, css tutorials, javascript tutorials, PHP tutorials. I'm in a continuous learning process while trying to find a job. Before I started looking for a job id already practiced Programming, (VB, C++, Java, MSACCESS) so it came easy to understand languages like Java-script, PHP, etc. I also tried to create a few websites to get a better feel of things. I occasionally do google searches when coding (if im stuck in a bind it would take me 5-10 mins searching then another 5-10 trying to implement it)

    HTML may look different from what normal code would like but it's actually pretty simple. Css is just the layout, there are some standards that you may have to learn (W3C standards).

    Overall, just.. Good luck. Maybe tell your boss to give you some time. In your situation, distractions are a bad thing as of the moment, so stop playing WoW. (Considering you do play games. :P) but dont forget to take breaks too ^_^ aight.

  7. #6
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    I sympathize - in a job (not a web job) where I after I was hired I was expected to do more than I knew how - it ended badly.

    I work now as a web designer and developer, and I was in business for a bit over two years before I felt able to take on an e-commerce website for pay.

    Many people who don't have a good idea about what goes into an e-commerce site think it's pretty easy - that's because the good suites make it easy for the user - the hard work goes on in the design and development so that the visitor to the site has a good experience. It sounds like your boss could be one of these folks. I sometimes explain to people who think throwing together a site is easy, that it's like a car; the easier and more enjoyable it is to drive, with more fancy optional packages, the more engineering goes into it and the higher the price.

    At the very least you will have to know HTML, CSS and be able to write some kind of database interactivity such as PHP/MySQL. Starting from scratch, if you were to set about learning all four of those languages, without having to spend time at a day job at all, I'd say you've still got months of work ahead of you.

    Has your boss got any idea of what a good e-commerce site costs? It might be an idea to suggest he get some estimates - that will at least let him see the size of the task he is setting you.

    Perhaps you could steer your employer towards one of the online e-commerce solutions like Shopify, or Bigcommerce and give you the time during working hours to set up and manage the shop.

    If this is something you'd actually like to learn how to do, you could learn the coding you'd need to eventually take over - and by eventually I mean pretty far down the road.

    I wish you luck, and I hope you keep us up to date on what's happening.
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    It should say "Look at this." ~ David Craib


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    If you feel that someone's post helped you fix your problem, answered your question, or just made you feel better, feel free to "Like" their post. The "Like" link is at the bottom right of each post, along side the "reply" link. And if you are being helped here, try to help someone else - pass it on!

  8. #7
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    Hi,

    I guess whatever happened it was your destiny. Web designing is easy. You can learn and by applying it you will learn alot. You can google the codes which ever you want to apply on your website. For example, if you are looking for Cart code, you can search sites using cart. Implement it on your site. I know it is new, but gradually you will get interest in designing. Cheers

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Did you even read what was being asked here, Cyrusseister? Or did you just stick Generic Answer #5 in because you saw a few words that you thought might apply to the topic? Web design isn't easy...it's not supposed to be easy. Building a cart is a complex exercise as well, no matter how you do it.

    By the way, did the world suffer a tectonic plate shift overnight? Did I miss something? I'm trying to figure out how New York detached from the United States and floated all the way to India in less than 9 hours.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  10. #9
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    Hi there

    Thanks for all your messages. I have been spending hours of research each day, doing my own personal projects. The front end development seems to come quite natural to me. I've worked my way through a whole html/css book in 2 days and have implemented it in some designs quite well, obviously nothing spectacular but I would say this is where I am most comfortable with, as I am quite creative.
    However when I have been trying to learn the back end development, I tend to find little information on the subject and anything I do feels foreign.

    I will definitely show my boss when he comes in AlphaMare of the Ecommerce site pricings to show him how big of a task it is. I'm currently setting up an eBay and Amazon store to sell the products that we would be selling on the website. Feeling really stressed now, as he sent me an email with deadlines he would like the website to be setup for and he believes it should take me 1-2 months. I don't think I have a chance on earth of setting up a site in 1-2 months with no knowledge of any back end languages. Please tell me your thoughts?

    I have mentioned these eCommerce solutions before but he believes that he wants the site completely made from scratch, so we have full control. It's very difficult to explain to someone who has no knowledge of web design how hard building a eCommerce site is, any ideas of how I could break it down to him would be really welcome?

    Cheers

  11. #10
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    He wants what? And in what time frame?

    Forget breaking it down for him in this case. Going back to the brick-and-mortar store I mentioned before, would he expect someone to take an open plot of land and build a store from scratch on that open plot of land in 1-2 months and not expect it to be a particle board palace? No. That's utterly, completely insane.

    But to give you an idea of the non-development related tasks you'll have to consider:

    1) The logo and layout (although it sounds like you've gotten that).

    2) Contacting the suppliers (you said it was for a wholesaler, so I'm assuming that you buy this stuff from manufacturers) and associated government agencies to make sure you can sell the products online without violating any vendor agreements or laws, and getting the terms and conditions associated with selling those products online.

    Some manufacturers (e.g. Miele) are very restrictive when it comes to dealer territory and selling online. Some of them also have specific rules as far as how their products can be displayed, logo placements, and other marketing-related things.

    You or your boss may have to go through an application process to be able to sell certain goods online in the first place. Some manufacturers and government agencies (e.g. EnergySTAR) make you fill out a form, tell them who you are and what you plan on selling, how you plan on selling it, and then they give you a several-page PDF outlining what you can place on your site and how you can place it. I don't know if there's an EnergySTAR equivalent in the UK, but chances are there's some sort of safety standard that is adhered to and you'll have to follow their rules as far as logo placement is concerned.

    Just going through the legalities that some manufacturers and agencies throw in your face can take months. The good news is that you'll have a lot more time to build your site because you'll have to wait for Government Agency X to approve your use of their logo on your site.

    (NOTE: EnergySTAR is pretty good that way...their approval process only takes a couple of days. Just in case anyone thought I was slagging them. They're just an example of an agency that utilizes an approval process.)

    3) Applying for a merchant account. Assuming you don't want to just do the "PayPal 15-minutes-or-less button" approach, you'll have to contact merchant account providers (or your bank) and payment processors to be able to process payments on your site. The application process can take days (in the States) or several weeks (in Canada). Again, not sure about the UK.

    4) Gathering up the lists of products that you can put on the website for the initial population of data.

    You'll notice how I avoided any of the programming / development stuff. The reason I did is because a lot of the things I mentioned will require your boss to get involved, and chances are he's not even remotely prepared to do anything other than hand the reins off to you and expect magic at the end. If someone else wants to come up with the development list, they can go ahead. But this should be enough to give your boss cause to pause. If he can't get his end done in 1-2 months (and he probably can't), he can't expect you to either.
    AlphaMare likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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