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Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Hi guys I have a website and I would like to add the feature where customers can "build their own system" kinda like "DELL's Build your own computer" where you can pick parts and add them and built it the way you want it...I have never done anything like this...what would be the best way to do this? is a databases needed?. Thanks guys any advice that you can give me is greatly appreciated!


RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

The first question would be how many items can the visitor choose from.
Picking from a list would then depend on which components are compatible with others.
Working out all the permutations could be a complicated task.
If on the other hand, if all the components are compatible, highly unlikely in the world of computers but possible then the project could be quite simple.
Whether a database is required is up to you, I would always go down the database route for anything like this as they are easy to set up, easy to administer and can be scaled up should the need arise.
A graphic interface built in something like Flash, with all the options on shelves could be a user friendly option if you have the required skills.
It all boils down to how many components you make available.


RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

thanks a lot for your response. They would be able to select from 5 to 10 components...and all components would  be compatible by others. I would be using Dreamweaver to create it

RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

You MIGHT want to go the route of using a CMS that handles all or most of the coding for you.  That way you could focus solely on style, etc.  One such feature of at least some CMSes is being able to add in a web store.  So you could use a web store module or plug-in to handle all the "dirty" work for you behind the scenes, where someone else has already done the hard work there.

My personal favorite in this area is Drupal.

Of course there are others.  If you want to go that route, you can have a look at http://www.cmsmatrix.org/ for one source that lists different ones, their pros, cons, reviews, etc.

And you can look at http://drupal.org for the user forms to search various discussions on setting up online web storefronts, etc.  Also, there's the http://groups.drupal.org for additional forums and groups specifically relating to certain areas.  For isntance, I THINK there's a group there regarding store fronts, but I don't remember for sure - that's not a type of site I've been involved in - yet.

RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Thanks alot for the great info, drupal sounds great!

RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Just be forewarned about Drupal:

1. It's a steeper learning curve than say Joomla and some others, from what I've read.  The reason is that you can be as basic or as deep, technically, in it as you want.  You can even use other tools, such as Dreamweaver in the design of such a site.

2. Since it's a steeper learning curve than you might expect, be prepared to excercise patience in the early goings.  Once you get the hang of it, though, things work pretty smoothly.  There have been times when I'd get a little frustrated, but in the end, all works out.

3. There's lots of user support in the forums there, so be sure to check there when you have issues, much like you would here in general.

The flexibility is what drew me to Drupal, and what has kept me there.  The possibilities are almost limitless.

Oh, and for looking for additional modules (some might think of as plug-ins), have a look at www.drupalmodules.com - the site is designed VERY well, and has the modules laid out better than the default site, actually.  Well, just take a look, and you'll see what I mean.

RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

wow great info, the learning curve does not scare me, I will learn as I go. Thanks again!

RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Oh yeah, something else you can consider if you want - customizeable themes.  In Drupal, and probably most any CMS, you can set it up so that users can change their themes to their own liking.  So, if your main them is Blue and Gray, you can let them change it to a theme that's say Brown and Yellow... or whatever you have installed.

Just thinking about that from the phrase in your first post:
"build their own system"

But then again, I know it was having to do with picking parts to go into a computer system.

Once you have whatever up and running, feel free to post a link here, asking people here to give it a test run.  I know I'd sure be glad to test it out and see what it's like.

RE: Allow Visitors to "Build their Own System"

Thanks kvj1611, my plans is to use it on a test site and get everything going there before i move it to the real live site. Looking forward to work on this project!

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