comments from the peanut gallery

Today we have another post from the programming blah-g.  I am excited though.  Rumor has it that the comments are being turned on for our blog.  I just hope there’s some sort of captcha (and not one of those stupid ones where real people can’t read the letters) to keep out the bots.  I’d love to hear from my fellow ColdFusion programmers, or even just the outside world in general.  Then again, my posts going back sometimes even feel incoherent to me, so, I’m not sure I should be excited.  The only thing I don’t want to hear about is how much better other programming languages are. Blah blah blah.  Yeah, I know, your light-saber is bigger than mine.    Go ask Yoda if size matters.  But anyway, on to the blog.

Yesterday I was working with PayPal and Google Checkout.  Now I haven’t gone in to the whole cart and payment gateway system, but I did set up a sandbox for each of them to play in, and added some ‘pay now’/'buy now’ forms/buttons to the system I’m working on.  What I was trying to accomplish was an easy way to grab a payment without having to construct a whole huge system behind it.  So within an hour, I had both sandboxes set up (for those of you who don’t know, the sandbox is basically a safe place to test out your program, in this case the payment gateway, so we can make payments without using real credit cards etc) and I had the buttons on a standard form with the purchase prices thrown in dynamically.  I really have to say that for ease of use, those two systems really have something going.  You don’t have to create this huge system to talk back and forth to the server under secure sockets if you don’t want.  If you just want a simple way for your users to purchase a few items, this is the way to go.  Most ecommerce packages come with several gateway connections already, so if you’re looking for a full out shopping cart, I wouldn’t go the individual form route, especially since you’ve already got the code to do the processing.  It would be a pain to create more than a handful of ‘buy now’ buttons one by one, nor is it best if you want to keep track of who’s purchasing what and whether or not it’s paid (unless you go manual), but it works for something simple and quick, where you’re going to be manually adding in the payments made.

So, that was my task yesterday.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve implemented more than our share of ColdFusion and php based ecommerce sites, with varying payment gateways, but normally our clients are not looking for a PayPal solution, nor have they probably even heard of Google Checkout, so this was a fun change of pace.  I enjoy having a testbed to play with, where I can see payments actually being processed on the back end, rather than having very little feedback because your test request doesn’t actually go in to the system, it just validates and moves on.