Monday, November 10, 2008

PHP Shopping Cart

Purchasing a good shopping cart solution could be an overwhelming task. ASP, PHP, Cold Fusion or Flash? There are so many acronyms flying around that it is fairly impossible for those who are not in the thick of it to decide what shopping cart to choose. Of course, as far as business owners are concerned, options, features and ease of use are the main criteria for choosing the software platform. They are only bothered by concerns like inventory control, discount coupons, secure transactions and custom product options. It is true that most buyers are supremely unaware of the stuff that their cart is made of; yet, it is this that makes their cart work!

The backbone of any shopping cart solution is the scripting language in which it is written. The most common languages used are PHP and ASP. Using different scripting languages has definite implications on the power of your shopping cart software.

ASP or Active Server Pages is from Microsoft’s treasure trove of programming languages. It is used in conjunction with IIS (Internet Information Server) which runs only on Microsoft servers. ASP is popular because it fits in snugly with Windows based servers and other Microsoft programs. But, one of its greatest limitations is its exclusivity; it is supported only on Microsoft servers. Of course, there are 3rd party applications that can force compatibility with other servers; but these are workarounds. ASP is also rather hard for newcomers to pick up from scratch.

PHP or Personal Home Page was originally developed by three independent programmers who wanted to create a programming language that was easy to understand, flexible and highly versatile. Before long, PHP’s powerful scripting engine had hundreds of programmers working with it and developing it. Ultimately, PHP became one of the largest and most versatile open source scripting languages to be used on the web.

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