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Chapter 2: Installing and Using NetStores

Setting up the catalog (gen-cat) interface

Depending on which type of storefront interface you decided to use, you'll perform different steps to set up your product list so NetStores can use it. This section, and the one on "Setting up the search (gen-srch) interface" describe the steps for creating stores with the various NetStores interfaces.

The storefront for the gen-cat interface includes any introductory text and images you want to use followed by a list of all your products. Internally, the catalog interface uses a hierarchy of directories and a series of HTML pages for each item. It also generates forms for ordering.

"Browse a small catalog (gen-cat)" For an online example of this interface, see http://www.netstores.com/dwos-bin/gen-cat?vcp or http://www.netstores.com/dwos-bin/gen-cat?dwts (use "1" for the account number and "captain" for the password.

Directory structure

The gen-cat interface can use the same set of files to keep track of customers, transactions, and orders as the gen-srch interface. However, instead of listing the items in itmfil.asc, you create an item hierarchy in the catalog directory.

Product hierarchy

Before you begin creating files, decide on the hierarchy of products you want to offer. For example, if you are selling pet supplies, your top-level categories might be Food, Toys, Grooming tools, and Training tools. Or, you might start with categories for Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Fish. It's helpful to draw a diagram or make a list of the product hierarchy you plan to create. For example:

  1. Dogs
  2. Cats
  3. Fish

You can have as many category levels in your hierarchy as you want. Also, different branches of the hierarchy can have different numbers of layers. Your hierarchy of categories and products will appear in nested bulleted lists on your storefront page.

Items vs. Styles

Within each category of products, you can choose between two methods of storing prices and item descriptions. You can use different methods for different product categories.

--> To create a catalog product list:

  1. Move to the ./dwos/data/store-abbrev/catalog directory.
  2. Create a directory for each of your top-level categories. For example, you might create directories called "cats" and "dogs".
  3. If you want the storefront page to describe the categories for which you just created directories, create a file called directory.txt in the directory that contains the new subdirectories.

    In the directory.txt file, put your description of this set of categories in HTML format. This file will be included as a bulleted list item and the text will be displayed in bold. Your description can be a single line of text or lots of text with images and any HTML formatting you want to use. (If you want to turn off bolding, put </B> at the beginning of the directory.txt file and <B> at the end of the file.)

  4. Move to one of the category directories you created. In this directory, you can create directories either for subcategories or for products (but not for both subcategories and products).
  5. Create a directory for each product in this category. Use your item codes to name all the directories. For example, you might create directories called "PULL124" and "CHEW246" in the "dogs/toys" directory.

    NetStores creates a page for each item is using the files and parameters shown here:

  6. In each product directory, add an HTML file with the same name as the directory. For example, in the "PULL124" directory, create a file named "PULL124.html".

    This HTML file begins the page, so it should include <HEAD>, <TITLE>, and <BODY> tags. However, other files come after it, so don't include any </BODY> or </HTML> tags to end the page.

    If you want to include the same image in many pages, put that image in the ./dwos/data/store-abbrev/images directory and reference the image in the HTML file as if it were located in the /store-abbrev/images directory. (You created a link between these two directories in the section on "Creating directories and files for a store".)

    If you want to include an image for this product only, put the image in the ./dwos/store-abbrev/catalog/category-path/item_# directory and reference the image in the HTML file as if it were actually located in the /store-abbrev/catalog/category-path/item_# directory.

  7. If you do not create an HTML page for a product, NetStores will create a default page that includes your store logo, the "Welcome to our presence in cyberspace..." message, and the image.jpg or image.gif file in this product directory if you place one there. NetStores uses the $CNAME, $BBGD, and $LOGO parameters you defined to do this.
  8. NetStores will also use a description file called desc.txt if you place it in the product directory. This file can contain any HTML you like. For example, you may want to copy standard headers to the item_#.html files and put product descriptions extracted from your catalog in the desc.txt files.
  9. If you want to use the "items" method for this product category (see "Items vs. Styles"), create a file called items (in the category directory) with the following format:
        Item_#|Item Name|Price

    For example:

        10003|Large Dog House|79.95
        10004|Cat Bed|29.95
        20001|Dog Training for Dummies|19.95
  10. If you want to use the "styles" method for this product category (see "Items vs. Styles"), create the following files:
        Option description|#

    where # is a number that will match the number in the prices file you will create in the next step. Your file might look like one of these examples:
        100 orders/month|1
        150 orders/month|2
        250 orders/month|3
        500 orders/month|4
        6" tall|1
        9" tall|2
        12" tall|3
        15" tall|4


    where # matches the number in the sizes file. Your file might look like this:

--> To customize the "look" of your store:

  1. Set the following parameters in ./dwos/data/store-abbrev/params.sh to control what the links to the next and previous page say:
  2. Set the following parameters in ./dwos/data/store-abbrev/params.sh to control what the buttons on the order form say:
  3. Set the following parameters in ./dwos/data/store-abbrev/params.sh to control the length of the fields in the order form and order acceptance form for customers using browsers that may not support tables:

NetStores Administrator's Guide
1: About NetStores
2: Installing and Using NetStores
3: Troubleshooting
4: Technical Reference

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