An e-commerce website is a big deal and can make or lose a company a lot of money. It really is something you want to get right. So, how do you go about it. “Django 1.2 e-commerce” guides you through the entire process, in more detail than I first expected.

The second chapter of the book gives a quick example to implement a product database, basic layout & handling payments using “Buy Now” buttons for Google Checkout. There are plenty of examples and explanations for the basics of Django, so this is still suitable for those new to Django.

Although this may not be the most useful thing for the more complex sites which huge product databases, this does allow very quick access to get your first e-commerce website online and start making some money.

Going further than your basement

For those who are looking to create the next amazon, chapters 3 to 10 are exactly what you need. Even now, at this level, there are no assumptions made that you have used Django beyond the very basics…great for the first timer.

Chapter 3 starts by explaining the Django auth module, profiles, sessions, managing a basket, the entire checkout process and more. One thing I really liked in these chapters was the reference & explanations to additional, popular 3rd party applications like django-registration and a little later django-haystack, to further develop your site.

Getting paid

What really surprised me was the level of detail on payment processors & handling. Full examples using 2 separate payment gateways and guiding you through implementing other payment gateways in the future. Not only receiving payments but continues onto security SSL and receiving payment notifications from the payment providers. Now you’ve received the payment, how about automating the distribution of digital goods mp3, ebooks, games … your covered, its there.

What now?

I might suggest reading the closing chapter first, or at least a quick skim through first. Deployment almost never goes smoothly. Take a look at some of the tools that are offered early on, see what they do and how they work. For a few gifted individuals who have worked on e-commerce sites before, the final chapter could be the most useful.

Well, now you’ve got a working e-commerce website, lets make it fancy.

This book is not just Django. There is an entire chapter on user experience and implementing Javascript AJAX examples using the Yahoo YUI, although not the Javascript framework I would have chosen, using Javascript to make the site function more fluidly is likely to please customers.

One thing I thought was very strange, considering this is an e-commerce site, I did not see anything referring to e-mails a user would receive to confirm the order or any status changes. I personally have never ordered something from a website and not received an e-mail, even when I walk into the local Apple store and pay by card, an e-mail is automatically sent to me before I even get a chance to walk out of the store. It is quite a crucial part of the shopping process.

This really is a superb read. Prior to reading this book I had developed my own e-commerce solution in Django and 2 previously in PHP and 1 in ASP each evolving from the experience of the previous, yet this has still taught me something new.

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