Category Archives: Ecommerce

Latest client project: Shop for Sanna Annukka

I’m delighted to have launched a new site for Brighton-based print and textile artist Sanna Annukka, allowing her to sell her art and promote her work.

I had worked on the previous version of her site, which was based on the Cubecart e-commerce platform, with help from Alex Farran. Unfortunately the upgrade from v3 of Cubecart to v5 has not gone smoothly and our polite summary of the experience was that Cubecart v5 isn’t ready for prime time yet.

Having lived with a website for a year where the public side looked great, but the admin side was a even more of a pain to use than previous versions, Sanna saw the admin area I’d made for her partner’s website and asked if she could move on to a version of it for her site. I was happy to agree, having also become fed up with trying to develop with Cubecart’s foibles.

Usually if a client wants to sell through their website, I recommend using an off the shelf piece of e-commerce software. However, having built a few websites for artists and their particular needs for exacting layouts and interactivity, it can often be easier to have a small, bespoke system without the flexibility a larger shop brings, but also without an admin interface that tries to take account of every way a trader may ever use a shop. Sanna now has a  relatively small, simple shop which does very little, but does exactly what she needs. It is built using PHP & MySQL, and uses her existing payment gateway to take customer’s card details so she didn’t need to switch provider.

She’s happy with the new site, I’m happy with the new site, and her customers are too, which is of course the most important part. Future updates and amends should be easier than they were, and we can keep it looking exactly how Sanna wants with much less effort and expense than before.

If you are interested in art, or are looking for an interesting present, please check out her site.

Rebranding Paypoint payment pages – gotchas

One of my clients is using Paypoint (AKA SECPay) as the payment gateway for their online store. Their documentation on integrating the shopping basket part of the site with Paypoint is not too bad, but I came unstuck when trying to rebrand the gateway pages to look like the main website.

Before starting – I believe you need to be a ‘Gateway Freedom’ customer to be able to rebrand the page that takes the credit card details on Paypoint.

If you’re a Gateway Freedom customer, you can follow the Gateway Hosted PDF from their  integration guides page, then make some changes based on the Gateway Freedom PDF, downloadable from the same page.

Part of the Gateway Freedom guide says you make a branded page, they give you a template to save and amend to your design, then upload it in to your Paypoint account and reference it in a hidden variable of the form you send to Paypoint with the various customer and product details. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the File Manager talked about in any part of my client’s account, either where the documentation says it is or anywhere else.

The thing you actually have to do is make the rebranded template, save it on your site, then reference that in the hidden field. Paypoint then pull that off your server, replace all their placeholder tags with relevant information (i.e. the credit card field labels), and display it to the customer.

The hidden HTML field is ‘template’, so you add to the other hidden fields you send through to them something like this:

<input type=”hidden” name=”template” value=””>

When you rebrand a page in this way, you need to make sure all references to images are absolute – so they have the whole path to them including the domain. Potentially you’ll need an SSL certificate on your site so you can reference them through https rather than http. This means you won’t get a mixed secure/non-secure warning on the credit card page. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, test that first as my client already had one so I just used it.

Also, if you copy the Paypoint template, the images don’t have absolute URLs and didn’t work for me, I had to put in front of them – so small_logo.gif became

All rather frustrating, but once you know how it works, it’s easy to set up. I also discovered if you need to amend the HTML when you’re testing, you can just upload a change to your server and refresh the page you’re seeing on Paypoint/SECPay, no need to back out and re-submit your form, which I’ve had with some other payment gateways. That makes testing how changes look very easy.

If you’re doing a Paypoint/SECPay integration – good luck!