General DBM and PHP Database Management Systems

Database Management has become a critical component for any eCommerce Web Site that is managed by the store operators or owners. The ability to create, edit and delete inventory can be an everyday operation. Managing product photographs, prices, and descriptions can be a time consuming task and is best left in the hands of the people who normally handle that inventory. Rather than pass regular update requests to the webmaster or database programmer, PHP Database Management Systems provide the necessary tools to handle every aspect of inventory management through intuitive and simple PHP web interfaces. More programming and back end development offers a simpler and more effective experience for the PHP web site administrator. Less programming leads to frustrating experiences with confusing and buggy systems.

The many routine tasks for managing PHP eCommerce Website Inventory include
· Changing Retail and Sale Prices
· Changing Names and Description
· Adding and Changing Product Photographs
· Configuring Tax, Shipping & Handling, and Other Rates
· Configuring Admin and Member Permissions
· Managing Administrators
· Managing Website Members
· Analyzing Sales and Generating Reports
· Analyzing Traffic and Generating Reports
· Tracking Deliveries and Generating Reports

Combinations of Javascript, AJAX, PHP, and MySQL may be employed to enhance all PHP programs to provide a more efficient admin and user experience. Form validation with standard Javascript can prevent incomplete form submissions. AJAX can make form validation and page manipulation real time. Client-side validation and content manipulation can be applied to much more than form validation, and should be used in all systems where the long term time savings for the admin warrants additional programming time. Economic feasibility must be considered before any system enhancement.

PHP and MySQL programming should perform server-side data cleansing and data validation regardless of client-side form validation. Error messaging should be concise and informative. Data handling and backup redundancies are more important as the product value and business cash flow increase. For example, the web server may store requests in the database, but should additionally write flat file backups and/or deliver data sets via email to the store manager. Scheduled database and file system backups should be performed both locally and remotely.

Product photo uploads should be handled and manipulated such that the store admin need nothing more than the original photo. Although file sizes can be a limiting factor on different PHP web servers, the INI file can be modified to accommodate or th admin can simply shoot lower resolution digital photos. The photo upload should recognize the dimensions and aspect ratio so that new sizes can be created on the fly. The original upload should be stored for update systems to work with at a later date. Large, medium, small, and thumb sized web-ready images should all be generated at the time of upload. They should be tagged and tracked by the database in association with the product record. Textual overlays (name and domain) and graphical watermarking (company logo) should be applied to some or all of the generated photos. Image storage should be managed by the PHP server and correct file system permissions handling should be configured correctly.

Data manipulation by PHP can save a lot of time for the admin. Percentages and other calculations of data entry can be defined and configured by and through PHP. For example, each product record may have a Wholesale Price, Retail Price, Sale Price, and Liquidation Price. Rather than requiring the admin to select which price is to be applied, a series of PHP checks can be programmed into the system. Wholesale Prices are obviously kept private and used only for reporting systems. Retail Prices are the default value displayed to the shopper. If the Sale Price is given a value, it may cause the Retail Price to be “lined through” to indicate it has been “slashed” for the Sale Price. If the Liquidation Price is given a value, the Sale Price may also be lined through. Additionally, the presence of these values may provide modified search results, allowing the shopper to search for all Sale Items or limit results to Liquidation Items. Reporting systems can calculate the value of the inventory on hand, and calculate the potential return based on current pricing configurations. Going a step beyond this, PHP can calculate the quantities on hand for all items and compare against the age of that inventory and the potential returns based on Retail, Sale and Liquidation prices. The generated report could create a suggested target list of items to consider for Sale and Liquidation from Best Picks down to the items that should be left at Retail.

Regardless of which systems are utilized in the PHP Web Site or eCommerce Web Site, they should use good PHP Programming and be restricted to cost efficient use of the PHP Programmer’s time. A healthy balance between aesthetic administration interfaces and the efficiency of usage is very important. The multi-variable multi-dimensional dynamics of database management systems should be crafted to meet the needs of the business, to create positive cash flow, and provide an easy and efficient experience for the site administrator.