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Basic Step-by-step Instructions


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#1 LisaA

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:57 PM

I have spent the entire day searching this forum, reading the docs and Cart Manual trying to understand how to integrate this shopping cart into an existing site. This shopping cart is promoted as being designer friendly and easy to integrate into existing sites but I am having an extremely difficult time understanding even where to begin... so I must be missing something. I have a basic site with header, navigation, left column, center column for content, right column and footer. I have experience with HTML, CSS and PHP but just can't grasp the concept of how to integrate this shopping cart into my existing design and have not been able to locate any detailed instructions as to how to do this. Again, yes, I have read the docs and the Cart Manual by nothing gives step-by- step instructions, only discussions about the tags and blocks. Is it better to take an existing layout and then add the different tags or rework the existing default theme? Are there any detailed (step-by-step) instructions on how to do this for the current version? I realize there is recommended designers forum to contract things out but I really want to understand how to do it myself. So... if a step-by-step on how to integrate the cart into an exisitng site and/or step-by-step on how to modify the exisitng templates does not exist and an experienced user has the time to put one together, I'd be willing to pay for it.

#2 Technology Ideas

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 09:34 PM

It is actually all in the manual, however, a few key points if you want to integrate into existing pages rather than use the Avactis core and modify that as your new site:

The first line of any php page where Avactis tags are present must contain the following call to the shopping cart software initializer specifying the absolute software installation path:

<?php include('init.php'); ?>

CSS can be fully customised or add the Avactis set that does CSS combining:

global $application;
echo $application->combineCSS(array(
	'css/common.default.css',
	'css/common.box.css',
	'css/layout.css',
	'css/style.menu.css',
	'css/style.search.css',
	'css/style.buttons.css',
	'css/style.navigation_bar.css',
	'css/style.product_list.css',
	'css/style.product_list_sorter.css',
	'css/style.product_info.css',
	'css/style.shoppingcart.css',
	'css/style.checkout.css',
	'css/style.myaccount.css',
	'css/style.subscribe.css',
	'css/style.shipping_calculator.css',
	'css/style.subcategories.css',
	'css/style.product_type_filter.css',
	'js/carousel/css/jquery.jcarousel.css',
	'js/carousel/css/jquery.jcarousel.skin.css',
	'js/dynatree/css/ui.dynatree.css',
));

In your existing pages, you can then add any tag from the Avactis system you want to display. Tags can be large blocks of common things you'd want grouped together or broken down into individual tags - see manual http://docs.avactis....ags_library.htm.

See the manual for all of this, from this page onwards: http://docs.avactis....d_templates.htm

Core Avactis pages can be found in the folder avactis-themes/system/pages/templates and will give you a clue as to how to add the tags. All pages are grouped in logical form in avactis-themes/system

The rest is really whether you have a good understanding of PHP, HTML and CSS. If you don't, perhaps you should look for someone to assist you. It won't be easy if you don't have these skills.

#3 Ilya Vassilevsky

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 11:27 AM

Dear Lisa, We'd like to write a really good guide on integration, but we face two problems here: 1) We cannot imagine which questions arise in webmaster's heads when they just start. We know the system inside out and all this is trivial to us, so it's really hard, if not impossible, to understand what is unknown to you initially and what is the first, second, etc question you have. 2) Webmasters' needs differ. They do. A super-helpful guide for one webmaster would be totally useless for other webmaster with different site and different intended level of integration. Please help us overcome these problems: tell us which questions you initially had (or have) in your head. Thanks!

#4 LisaA

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 10:30 AM

Thank you both for your responses. I am finding that Avactis is very powerful and configurable but I would not consider it "designer friendly" at least to the "visual designer" as it is touted to be simply because everything is configured within the code not visually. Fortunately, I don't mind getting my hands dirty and getting into the code. It is said that you can use Dreamweaver or Expression Web to open the templates but that is misleading because all you really see is the code anyway so you might as well open it in notepad and edit the code from there... unless of course I've missed something. That being said, I have decided to take an existing template and modify it to look like my site rather than taking pieces or blocks of code and inserting it into my existing site for fear of missing needed blocks of code. I found that besides having to add <codebox><?php include('/home/user/public_html/store/init.php'); ?></codebox> to the top of my pre-existing php pages :Pyou also have to add <codebox><?php include(getTemplateFileAbsolutePath('/pages/templates/part.header.tpl.html')); ?></codebox> to the header so that the css files will work correctly. I don't believe this was in the manual, after much frustration I found this little tidbit in the forums. Now for a few questions. 1) Cache - After modifing, uploading, using the admin to clear cache, I have several style.combined.00fa0738903e...css files in my css directory. I realize these are the combined css files, why do they continue to add up? Is there a setting that clears the css cache after a certain period of time? Can these be deleted? Also, speaking of cache, I read some place about the store/avactis-styem/cache directory... do we need to do anything with this? 2) CSS - Within the CSS files, in several instances I have seen the same exact css formatting repeated within the the same css file. I realize that the formatting can be in other files depending upon what is used but why duplicate formatting in the same file? What is the purpose for this? 3) Top Menu - Within the admin control panel under Content > Links & Menus there is the top_menu. I have created a new menu called top_menu_left but can't seem to figure out how to get this to display. I have tried adding <div class="top_user2">#top_menu_left#</div> but it doesn't work. How would I go about adding the new menu to my template? 4) Left Categories Menu - In the left column there is the tabbed categories/products menu and then the list of categories under that. If I want to display all of my categories as well as the products underneath those categories without having to click on the category name, is there a setting for this? If I would like to have multiple tabbed boxes, a new box for each category with it's products displayed underneath, instead of one tabbed box, with categories and then subcategories, is this possible? Many more to follow, I'm sure :P

#5 DonH

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:45 PM

Thank you both for your responses. I am finding that Avactis is very powerful and configurable but I would not consider it "designer friendly" at least to the "visual designer" as it is touted to be simply because everything is configured within the code not visually. Fortunately, I don't mind getting my hands dirty and getting into the code. It is said that you can use Dreamweaver or Expression Web to open the templates but that is misleading because all you really see is the code anyway so you might as well open it in notepad and edit the code from there... unless of course I've missed something.


I remember the frustration that came from having to re-learn how to best use Dreamweaver to edit the cart. The first thing I had to realize was that going directly to a template would not initiate the program, so even in Live view, there is no way to render the page. Dreamweaver CS4 will faithfully render all of the pages in the root in Live View. I've used it to track down the CSS cascade to make edits. CS5 is a big leap beyond CS4 in that it does a good job of identifying ALL of the related files used to render the page. A quick click opens the related file in split view. So, you can make edits and immediately see the impact in the live view rendering. Clicking on any navigation in live view opens that page with its related files, so you can continue with edits.

That being said, I have decided to take an existing template and modify it to look like my site rather than taking pieces or blocks of code and inserting it into my existing site for fear of missing needed blocks of code. I found that besides having to add <codebox><?php include('/home/user/public_html/store/init.php'); ?></codebox> to the top of my pre-existing php pages :Pyou also have to add <codebox><?php include(getTemplateFileAbsolutePath('/pages/templates/part.header.tpl.html')); ?></codebox> to the header so that the css files will work correctly. I don't believe this was in the manual, after much frustration I found this little tidbit in the forums.


If your existing pages are outside of the store's installation directory, you do have to tell the browser where to find init.php. The manual assumes that your pages will be in the store's root. In that case <?php include('init.php');?> is correct. The path that you gave may not be accurate for all server and hosting setups.

The part.header.tpl.html is used to combine all of the individual css into an array. It creates the style.combined.uniqueidentifier.css that you'll find in the css folder. The purpose is to increase the speed of page loads. Depending upon how your existing pages are structured and styled, you may choose to include only some of the theme's css files.

I don't have time right now to address your questions. I'll stop back when I have time.

Now for a few questions.

1) Cache - After modifing, uploading, using the admin to clear cache, I have several style.combined.00fa0738903e...css files in my css directory. I realize these are the combined css files, why do they continue to add up? Is there a setting that clears the css cache after a certain period of time? Can these be deleted? Also, speaking of cache, I read some place about the store/avactis-styem/cache directory... do we need to do anything with this?

2) CSS - Within the CSS files, in several instances I have seen the same exact css formatting repeated within the the same css file. I realize that the formatting can be in other files depending upon what is used but why duplicate formatting in the same file? What is the purpose for this?

3) Top Menu - Within the admin control panel under Content > Links & Menus there is the top_menu. I have created a new menu called top_menu_left but can't seem to figure out how to get this to display. I have tried adding <div class="top_user2">#top_menu_left#</div> but it doesn't work. How would I go about adding the new menu to my template?

4) Left Categories Menu - In the left column there is the tabbed categories/products menu and then the list of categories under that. If I want to display all of my categories as well as the products underneath those categories without having to click on the category name, is there a setting for this? If I would like to have multiple tabbed boxes, a new box for each category with it's products displayed underneath, instead of one tabbed box, with categories and then subcategories, is this possible?

Many more to follow, I'm sure :P