Creating the data file
Creating the rules file
Using the upload form
Q & A
The CSV data format
The Rules file format
The purpose of this feature set is twofold:
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Data files must be in CSV format. The format was chosen because it is available as an output, export, or "save as..." from virtually every database and spreadsheet program. It can also be created and effectively maintained with just a text editor.
Here are a few lines of a simple CSV file:
The above is a simple example of video game part numbers, titles, and prices. Not too hard, is it? Want to see what the page generated from this small file looks like? The full details of the CSV file format are here.2644,CONGOS CAPER,11.99 2647,CONTRA 3,23.99 2650,COOL SPOT,17.99 2653,COOL WORLD,3.99 2656,CRASH DUMMIES,5.99 7395,CRAZY CHASE,3.99 2665,CYBER SPIN,3.99
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The FIELDDEF section maps the fields in your CSV file to what action should be taken with them. The example above works with the simple CSV file example in the section above.START FIELDDEF PARTNUMBER,TITLE,PRICE STOP FIELDDEF START ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE <tr> <td>PARTNUMBER</td> <td>TITLE</td> <td>$PRICE</td> <td>ADDIMG</td> </tr> STOP ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE ADDIMG= http://www.cartserver.com/sc/cartaddsml.gif
The ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE defines how you want to visibly display your data in the table row. This method gives you ultimate control over placement and appearance of your data. The ADDIMG is simply the URL of the "add to cart" graphic on your website.
Everything else in the rules file is optional and is fully defined in the rules file format section. Note that in many cases you will have a different rules file for each CSV file you are working with, although if the fields are all the same, one rules file can cover them all.
Be sure to note the the rules file is CASE SENSITIVE. Having addimg= instead of ADDIMG= will result in things not working.
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What to put into the fields is defined on the upload form itself for your convenience. The only thing that may be unfamiliar to you is the file upload feature. You basically just enter the local path to your rules file and your csv file, and when you hit the GO! button, Netscape will send the files to our server for processing. For instance, your rules and CSV files might be here:
If you use the "Browse..." feature, remember to set All files (*.*) in the "files of type" field of the File upload browse window, or you'll see nothing to choose from but html files.C:\My Documents\rules.txt C:\My Documents\videxam.csv
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There are many possible causes for this. Here are the most common:
Simply put, we take the html code you put in there, substitute actual data in place of the field names, and dump it into the page table. It's sort of our map to how we display the data in your CSV file. You can modify the table cells in the ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE to achieve the width or look you want. Add font tags, or any html tags to it to display your data as you want people to see it. With ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE, you have no boundaries as to how the table row looks (unless you don't know any html codes!).
Yes. The processor won't know if you have an extra row in there. It just makes the substitutions and dumps the code into the table. For instance:
Of course the above structure assumes you defined a field named PROMOTIONAL_TEXT which in your CSV file was a paragraph about your item. If you're clever with ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE, you can achieve any look you wish.START ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE <tr> <td>PARTNUMBER</td> <td>TITLE</td> <td>$PRICE</td> <td>ADDIMG</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan=4>PROMOTIONAL_TEXT</td> </tr> STOP ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE
There are several ways to do it. Let's say that you have a picture of each of your products, and name each after the item partnumber. You've got a REALLY easy way to show the picture now.
In your ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE:
... <td>PARTNUMBER</td> <td><img src=http://www.yoursite.com/yourpix/PARTNUMBER.gif></td> ...The processor will replace the fieldname PARTNUMBER with the actual partnumber of the item. Notice that you can still display the partnumber itself as usual. The processor will substitute any FIELDNAME as many times as it appears in the ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE.
Another way is of course to have the URL of the image in your csv data, and use a method similar to the above, but with another FIELDNAME. That would be handy if you wanted to spec the height/width also, or display a "no picture" image:
line from CSV: "xyz","Wacky Widget","5.00","xyz.gif","50","40" START FIELDDEF PARTNUMBER,TITLE,PRICE,PIX,PHEIGHT,PWIDTH STOP FIELDDEF START ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE <tr> <input type=hidden name=pictureurl value="http://www.yoursite.com/yourpix/PIX"> <td>PARTNUMBER</td> <td><img src=http://www.yoursite.com/yourpix/PIX height=PHEIGHT width=PWIDTH></td> <td>TITLE</td> <td>$PRICE</td> <td>ADDIMG</td> </tr> STOP ITEM_ROW_STRUCTUREDoing a link is about the same thing. It is just an "<a href=..." instead of a "<img src=..."
Note that the hidden variable name=pictureurl tells the cart the URL to use for the "view" function in the cart display. Be sure to use the "skip" mechanism on the picture lines if your csv file doesn't have pictures for all data. See below for more info.
You can use our "skip" feature to handle this. If you were using a field name PIX like the example above, you could change the line in the item row structure to:
<td><!--PIXskipstart--><img src=http://www.yoursite.com/yourpix/PIX height=PHEIGHT width=PWIDTH><!--PIXskipstop--></td>Any time the processor hits an empty (really empty, not just a space or two) value in the CSV for PIX, it strips out all code between the <!--PIXskipstart--> and the <!--PIXskipstop-->. You can have more than one skip construct on a line also, in case you need to skip something, leave something in, then skip something. The skip feature will work with any fieldname. Make sure matching skipstart/skipstop functions are on the same line.
Shield them from Front Page using their html markup tag:
START ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE <!--webbot bot="HTMLMarkup" startspan --> <tr> <input type=hidden name=pictureurl value="http://www.yoursite.com/yourpix/PIX"> <td>PARTNUMBER</td> <td><img src=http://www.yoursite.com/yourpix/PIX height=PHEIGHT width=PWIDTH></td> <td>TITLE</td> <td>$PRICE</td> <td>ADDIMG</td> </tr> <!--webbot bot="HTMLMarkup" endspan --> STOP ITEM_ROW_STRUCTUREFront Page 2000 does not exhibit this problem, so upgrading your FP is an option as well.
The Mac uses a slightly different line ending character sequence. If you have trouble saving CSV so it will work, look for something like ( CSV Windows ) in your program's export options.
Yes, and the options can either be simple descriptive options or they can affect the price of the product. Look for SELECT1, SELECT2 & SELECT3 fieldnames as detailed in the Rules File format below.
When you use SELECT1, SELECT2, or SELECT3, don't forget to set the field separator in the rules file. An example command is:
Sure. Just don't do the "download zip" step or upload any of the generated pages to your site. Simply get the preview mode working right and then perform the "build search database" operation.
When you build a search database, you'll get the URL of a page which contains the html code of the search interface. You can then paste the box anywhere on your site you wish. Here is an example.
Sure. Just make the maxhits and category be hidden variables with the appropriate data.
Add a field to your CSV data, and put keywords in it. Set the field name to anything you wish, and it won't interfere or be displayed in the search results as long as you don't map it into the table row with ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE.
If your data upload for a given category contains, for instance, multiple brand names, and you want people to be able to select a certain brand in a category, the default search box won't allow that level of refinement. The good news is that you can add one. Just make a <select name=keywords_1>, and have the options be the various brand names in your CSV file. The engine will still return matches based on what they enter in the search box, but since it's also looking for that brand name, it will return those with the matching brand name first. You can have up to three of them, keywords_1, keywords_2, & keywords_3. In theory, you could dispense with a text box altogether, and have only select pull downs which would supply the keyword choices you want people to have.
Yes. Define a FIELDNAME called STOCK (only the name STOCK will work). STOCK is special in that if it is zero, you get a message: "out of stock" instead of an add to cart button.
That is currently the only inventory control available, and for it to work effectively, you would need to update pages/reload the search with updated stock amounts when needed. You can either display or not display the actual stock quantity by including STOCK into the ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE. It is less "update intensive" just to use STOCK as a "zero" trigger. Note: There is currently a bug in the code that if the field contains a 0 (zero) alone, it must be in quotes "0" to show the "out of stock" message. Using 0.0 works also.
Just export from Access to Excel and from there to .csv. It works to your advantage anyway since when exporting from an Access query, the fields that you use to determine the query output are not necessarily needed in the .csv file, but get exported also. When you've got it in MS Excel, just delete the unwanted fields/columns, then save as csv.
We recommend the freeware editor Notespad. (NOT MS Notepad which won't edit large files). Note that you typically won't be editing the CSV file if you are exporting from a database. That would add an extra step you'd have to repeat each time you updated your site. The Notespad editor is great for editing CSV's if you are making them by hand though. Any good "true" text editor should work.
We plan to keep adding properties to the rules file as time goes on. Feel free to send in your requests, but make them specific, concise and well thought out. Sending an actual property along with what it should do is a good idea.
It is included with your shopping cart at no extra cost. There is no limit to the number of products you can upload for search capability, but we reserve the right in the future to limit someone's usage if it gets WAY out of control, or traffic becomes a burden on the server. We don't see that happening, but it COULD happen. For instance, amazon.com could in theory upload their entire book database to cartserver and the whole thing, along with the million+ hits/day would cost them $249/year. Obviously that wouldn't work out too well for us, and we would limit or meter their usage.
Yes. Just turn GENERATEINDEX= ON in your rules file, and set which of your data fields will be the "index" field. Ex: INDEXFIELD= TITLE See the rules file documentation below for more information.
Visit www.biondoracing.com for an example. Enter chrome in the Find: box and click GO! Drop us a note if you don't mind us listing your site here.
No. If you're having problems with a large CSV either timing out, or just being too slow to upload as you tweak things out, you can put your CSV file up on the web. Once there, you put the URL of where to find the CSV data inside the CSV file on your computer. For instance, on your local computer, you'd have a file named: csvpointer.txt which contains the single line: http://www.----.com/data/data.csv (url of your csv file)
Put the filename csvpointer.txt in the "CSV file" box of the upload form. Since your website has more bandwidth than your local system, things will go much faster, and you can still keep your rules file locally for easier adjustments.
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The fields are comma separated:
What if your data has a comma in it? That would add an unwanted field to the line. CSV deals with this by enclosing a field with quotes if the field contains a comma:data,other kind of data,yet another kind of data
CSV allows enclosing all fields with " regardless of field content:data,"other kind of data, with comma",yet another kind of data
Now what if your data field had a " in it? CSV deals with this by escaping a quote WITH a quote:"data","other kind of data","yet another kind of data"
The field will now legally contain the word kind in quotes."data","other ""kind"" of data","yet another kind of data"
The last case is if you have carriage returns inside a given data field. That would make your CSV line span more than one line when exported:
Notice that there are still THREE fields above, and the center field spans multiple lines. We can process it because it is enclosed by quotes. This is processed into the <br> code by the page generator and the search engine, taking advantage of the carriage return to get superior readability in the pages and cart display.PN1244,"Dance Tunes 1. Boogie Down 2. Shining Star ... 10. YMCA",13.99
This may have given you the hint that you can embed html code into your data fields. You can, and it can be powerful. For instance, you could use the <i> tag right before the song titles above to get good readability, or maybe shrunk the font size.
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This section contains the complete details of currently supported properties and field names. For your convenience, here is a template rules file which is commented as to what each thing does. Actual rules file commands are shown in blue below.
Item Index Page Properties:ITEMS_PER_TABLE= 50 TABLES_PER_PAGE= 1 (generate 50 items/table and 1 table per page.) TABLEPROPS= width=550 border=0 cellpadding=1 cellspacing=0 (<table> props for the returned table of products) TABLE_HEADER_ROW= <tr bgcolor=#f0aaaa><td>Part#</td><td>Title</td><td> </td><td>Price</td><td> </td></tr> (you can put a header row here that will appear at the top of every generated table) (works for search engine too. be sure to match to # of table cells in ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE) NAV_TABLE_ALIGN= left (aligns the navigation function to left, center, or right) (this is for the next/previous/index links. Defaults to left if not in rules file.) ODDROWPROPS= bgcolor=#ffffff EVENROWPROPS= bgcolor=#f0f0f0 (these are <tr> props. we do even AND odd row so we can alternate color) START ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE <tr> <td>PARTNUMBER</td> <td>TITLE</td> <td>$PRICE</td> <td>ADDIMG</td> </tr> STOP ITEM_ROW_STRUCTURE (the table rows will appear as you lay them out here.)
Field Type Definitions and position mapping:GENERATEINDEX= ON (set to ON if you need an index page generated for better browsing.) (index page info is ignored for search engine since it is irrelevant.) INDEXTABLE_PROPS= border=5 cellpadding=1 cellspacing=0 INDEX_ITEM_MAXLENGTH= 20 (if your index field data is too long and makes the index table ugly, you can truncate) INDEXFIELD= TITLE (sets the data field you're indexing with)
Most of the field names are self explanatory, and map straight into the generated Americart form tags. Some need further explanation:START FIELDDEF PARTNUMBER,TITLE,PRICE,ANYNAME STOP FIELDDEF (map CSV field positions to our field types. Special fieldnames are: PARTNUMBER,TITLE,PRICE,SHIPPING,INSURANCE,UNITMEAS,WEIGHT STOCK,SELECT1,SELECT2,SELECT3) (minimum data fields are: TITLE,PRICE)
SELECT1_SEPARATOR= COLONin the rules file.
If the options affect the price, use our standard format for that: "red - $2.00:green - $3.00:blue - $4.00". You can still have a PRICE field if you wish; in that case the SELECT1, SELECT2 & SELECT3 Values are added to the PRICE.
Select field properties:
SELECT1_SEPARATOR= COLON SELECT2_SEPARATOR= SEMICOLON SELECT3_SEPARATOR= COLON (valid are: COMMA, COLON, SEMICOLON. Sets the separator character for SELECT1, SELECT2, or SELECT3. Example: Use SELECT1_SEPARATOR= COLON when SELECT1 is "red:green:blue")
START HEADER <head><title>Wayne's Video Games</title> <body bgcolor=#ffffff> <center> <h3>Your Logo (or other html) Here</h3> Super Nintendo Video Games STOP HEADER (html/verbiage to insert into top of the generated pages.) START FOOTER <p><a href=http://www.cartserver.com/americart>Americart Home</a> <hr> STOP FOOTER (optional html/verbiage to insert into bottom of the generated pages.)
No entries found message: (displayed when searching returns no entries)
START NOTHING_FOUND<head><title>Wayne's Video Games</title> <body bgcolor=#ffffff> <center> <h3>Your Logo (or other html) Here</h3> Super Nintendo Video Games <p>No matching entries found. <p>Hit "back" to try again. <p> HINT: Can't think what query might find something? A single . (period) alone in the search string box will return ALL entries up to Max hits. STOP NOTHING_FOUND (optional html/verbiage to display if a search finds no matching entries.)
Add to Cart Image URL:
Back to Table of ContentsADDIMG= http://www.cartserver.com/sc/cartaddsml.gif (URL of "add to cart" graphic. Pick one on YOUR site please.)