Canadian House and Home Testimonial
The first thing I think of when dealing withÂ Neo Code SoftwareÂ is that we will achieve something in the making of a project, and that it will always be better than I had originally expected or even intended.
Creatively, Neo Code Software is part IBM Big Blue and part Group of Seven - there's always logic and clarity to their work and always vision and elegance. It is a pleasure working with a group that will listen and learn from my vision of programming functionality, and from whom I can always learn a great deal. Projects are always creative partnerships.
Canadian House & Home's Online shopping was a very modest venture at the beginning. We intended only to showcase specific items that had been featured in our magazine, TV show and as online exclusive.
Our latest venture, however, made it clear to us that the shopping system we were using would not be flexible, scalable and robust enough to do what we wanted. Our goal was to promote our new House & Home branded line of products for the home - lifestyle products, very much in keeping with our magazine. Of course simply putting a bunch of products up and saying "buy this stuff!" wasn't going to work for this so we decided we'd create an entire editorial space through which we'd show - in our very own design expert way - how to use and integrate the "look" of a product line into your home, then get people to buy it.
This would require a new back end.
In comes Publish Button from Neo Code Software. We'd worked with them for more than a year on a Publishing (content management) system which we were happy with. But everyone knew it could be much more; they'd become very PHP focused and had pulled me along. I was quite drawn to the open community PHP had, and the wide variety of tools and power it offered.
So the migration began. Publish Button had been moving to PHP already, all we needed was to find a suitable PHP shopping system that could work with Publish Button - they had to play well together. Eventually we found TEP (The Exchange Project) and started poking and prodding and experimenting.
My main initial job - being new to PHP - was to get TEP customised, figure out the look, structure and make it work. I was quite surprised with how much functionality TEP packed into its sections. This was a mindset I had to get into, but once I did it became quite easy to get everything functional. Working with Dave from HomeBase on the intricate functionality (he's much more a PHP guru than I am!), we customised basic things like taxes and attribute menus to read "absolute totals" instead of additions to a base price.
The particularly great thing I wanted to make work was the true integration to our Publishing system, Publish Button. I needed to create a page that would showcase an entire line of products like a bedding style, and show what was available from that line - all the sheets, duvet covers, and pillow cases; and I wanted a customer to be able to click one button and add the whole lot into their cart at once. We did the editorial part of this in Publish Button and Dave created two functions that tied into TEP.
One would create a list of item we'd pull into the publishing system, by simply listing products by item number. They show according to whatever layout we want.
The second posts to TEP when a customer adds to cart by tying into the functionality of "action=add_update_product" from the publishing system. They are then taken into the Shopping Cart just as though they'd made the selection from within TEP. It works like a charm.
It has also already worked for us commercially, people are using the add-once simplicity. We are quite excited now, because we can create a page with any kind of published content and add any number of items to the cart - it's a very free system and creates a tremendous number of possibilities for the future.
House & Home OnlineÂ