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Discussion Starter #1
I'm on the cusp of constructing my online store. I've got zencart installed (thanks to the wonderful guidance of this forum!) and now I'm ready to create a template. I understand that zencart requires php, something that I do not have a good grasp of, but I am led to believe that dreamweaver cs4 has php capabilities which would mean I'd be in with a sporting chance.

Can anyone confirm this for me? If I am correct, does anyone know any good tutorials that cover creating zencart templates in dreamweaver cs4? I googled it but came up empty-handed.

Failing this, I might just have to bite the bullet and put an ad out on guru.com :p
 

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I'm on the cusp of constructing my online store. I've got zencart installed (thanks to the wonderful guidance of this forum!) and now I'm ready to create a template. I understand that zencart requires php, something that I do not have a good grasp of, but I am led to believe that dreamweaver cs4 has php capabilities which would mean I'd be in with a sporting chance.

Can anyone confirm this for me? If I am correct, does anyone know any good tutorials that cover creating zencart templates in dreamweaver cs4? I googled it but came up empty-handed.

Failing this, I might just have to bite the bullet and put an ad out on guru.com :p
I would recommend against trying to do it yourself. Although Dreamweaver with assist with help you with writing php, it won't stop you from writing incorrect or insecure code.

I would recommend that you find a ZenCart free template/skin that has all the functionality and the basic layout that you want.... and then have someone strip out the images and replace them with yours. This would probably be the cheapest way to do it.

ZenCart FAQs for template customization:
Zen Cart(tm) Tutorials and FAQs - Template Customization/ Building Overrides

ZenCart Wiki for template customization:
Customisation - Templates - Zen Cart(tm) Wiki

ZenCart Forum for template customization:
Customizing the Look of Your Shop - Zen Cart Support

I was going to use ZenCart for a while and my plan was to alter the "Simple Zen template" to my needs because most ZenCart templates are so da** busy. Here is the support thread for that one. (You can download it and view a sample page from the first post.)
Simple Zen Template - Support Thread - Zen Cart Support

Hopefully that gives you some information to go from.
 

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Dreamweaver has the capability to work with php files. But, like most web development all you really need is a simple text editor. If you can do it with dreamweaver you can do it with wordpad on a PC or simpletext on a Mac. If you can't do it those programs then Dreamweaver won't help you. Dreamweaver does make it easier ... code coloring, autoblock indenting, etc but the real work requires you to know the language. The only tool that will help you with that is the one between your ears. Its kinda like playing guitar ... you can have the nicest Les Paul, but you probably won't play like Slash unless you know what you're doing. On the other hand Slash could pick up an ax with 2 broken strings at a yard sale and still sound pretty good.

I agree with the previous post ... finding a free template thats very close to what you need and modifying it is a good approach. Even if you have the knowledge, why reinvent the wheel? If you don't have the knowledge this will at least get your feet wet by letting you get to know what is PHP, what is html, what is CSS and how moving things around within a document - even if they are very minor changes - can affect how the document displays.

If you're really interested in php and learning to program websites in the long haul visit php.net or pick up a book on the subject at your local bookstore. I find most of the title from O'reilly (the ones with the animals on the cover) to be well written and helpful.
 

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Zencart can not be styled in a WYSIWYG editor is what I have learned (still learning) you might look at the Zencart.com forum for help or follow the good advise you have been given already.

A good FTP program, a text editor, and help from the forum would be a way to go and to learn.
 

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You can use dreamweaver or any text editor, even your ftp editor would do the job -- but if you dont know php - you'll end up going through a lot of trial and errors, which isnt bad if youre trying to learn it but from experience, it probably wont look great and conversion rates may suffer :).

If you hire a pro - coding an existing design will take 3-5 days to do it and it will be done properly if you know someone reliable(add another week to this if you need a custom design as well) - do it yourself -- it might take you a month or two ;) Depends how much you value your time.
 

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I am on a mac and I use Espresso for editing my files, and Cyberduck for uploading them. They actually work hand in hand with eachother, meaning you can right click on a file in Cyberduck, go to edit with Espresso and it downloads and opens up the file locally. You can even set it up so as you save it, it auto-uploads (not advised if your site is live and active, cuz you are editing live code) but it is a nice feature. Dreamweaver is OK, but it really tends to add a lot of bloat. There are good free alternatives for the PC as well, like notepad ++ which allows a better way to view code than traditional notepad.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the responses everyone! It's given me heaps to mull over :)

I'm a bit of a coding/web-developing n00b, so this could be a great opportinity to learn something new
 

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Thanks for the responses everyone! It's given me heaps to mull over :)

I'm a bit of a coding/web-developing n00b, so this could be a great opportinity to learn something new
One word of advice, learn about web development from an SEO standard first. It will save your but in the long run. Everything should be developed with search engines in mind. Here are some links that should help get you started...

  1. Search Engine Journal | Latest Search Engine News
  2. SEO Basics - a knol by aaron wall
When I started designing and building web pages I didn't know anything about SEO and it hurt my business. If you start from that perspective you should be fine. Good luck and happy coding!
 

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One word of advice, learn about web development from an SEO standard first. It will save your but in the long run. Everything should be developed with search engines in mind. Here are some links that should help get you started...

  1. Search Engine Journal | Latest Search Engine News
  2. SEO Basics - a knol by aaron wall
When I started designing and building web pages I didn't know anything about SEO and it hurt my business. If you start from that perspective you should be fine. Good luck and happy coding!
And I thought SEO was something you did after the fact! Thanks for the tip!
 
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