Most customers who purchased the Platinum web application have built their cardshops already using our remotely hosted services like the FREE BASIC or the PRO or third party software. They already have an idea how a cardshop is planned, designed and maintained.
This chapter is intended for those customers who have never built any cardshops before purchasing Platinum.
Let start with short but necessary overview:
The visitor comes to the cardshop, selects some picture (s)he wants to send as card, attaches some message (and optionally more personalized items like music, poetry, horoscopes, background patterns, etc.) to a card, addresses the card using the recipient's email address and their own email address as return address, schedules the date the posty is to be sent, reviews and confirms the selections.
The recipient gets an email notification announcing the fact that the sender had prepared a card for him that can be accessed from the Internet. This notification email contains instruction how to pick up this card (and optionally other information: how long the card will be stored, when it was created exactly, etc.)
The recipient follows the instructions on the notification email and accesses the posty composed for him from the Internet with a web browser. Typically the card can be accessed many times. Optionally the card can be printed, saved or forwarded to other persons.
The sender receives an email notification when the card is picked up first time, unless (s)he chooses during the sending not to get such a notification.
Up to the point where the visitor selects a picture for a card, the HTML pages with the picture selection are served by a webserver (plain HTML pages) or another program (PHP application, database application, the Gallery plugin, etc.) The Platinum program is NOT related to these pages, it does not generate these pages, it does not modify them.
The Platinum program is first invoked when the visitor submits his selections and passes variables via a form to the Platinum engine. ("creates a card").
Th Platinum program then checks his submissions for data validity ( e.g. "had (s)he included an email address?", "does it really look like a valid and usable email address?", etc.). In case of invalid submissions, the Platinum shows an error message with a problem explanation.
In case of valid submissions, the Platinum writes the submitted data to a file on the server and puts an email notification to the recipient to a queue. Email notifications are sent depending on scheduled date and other configurable parameters. Email notification delivery is performed either by the main program or by additional "send-later" scripts invoked by cron daemon.
Pages with card preview, error messages, sent card confirmation are generated by the Platinum program. In case of step-by-step composition all pages but the first one (usually with picture selection) are generated by the Platinum program.
When the recipient accesses his card the program generates a page with the card, as it had been composed for him by the sender, displays it on his browser, and puts an email notification to the sender about the date and time of the card pick-up to a queue.
Additional scripts collect miscellaneous statistical information about the cardshop functionality and generate readable reports that can be accessed from the web by a cardmaster. Other housekeeping scripts delete data files with expired cards from the server.
Once set up and configured properly and left alone, the Platinum software does not need any regular or irregular maintenance. HTML pages, images, other multimedia files used for cards composition can be edited, deleted, changed at any time - that does not affect the program in any way.
Start with a very simple cardshop - this is an advice we have been offering to our clients for many years. All those who listened to this advice have built very successful sites quickly and enjoyed the process. The others... well, we can only hope you are not one of them.
First you should select a few pictures (8-12 for a start will be enough). Create two versions of each picture - a high-resolution bigger picture that will be shown on the actual card and a small thumbnail that will be used for pages with picture selection. The Platinum program does not require pictures to be of any special size, just use common sense and stick to your design preferences.
Upload these pictures to the "/platinum/images" directory. Copy the "/platinum/card1.shtml" to a file, save it as "new.shtml", replace all references to default images with your own image names. ( for example, change "image1.gif" to "sunrise.gif" ) Edit the layout of this page as you like, just make sure you do not rename or translate form element names. Upload "new.shtml" to "/platinum" directory and test your card.
On all pages generated by the program you will see the comments explaining which template controls page output. Edit each template carefully. This way you will have your own design implemented very fast and can test your cardshop completely. Do NOT use the origianl templates. Copy them to new names and keep the originals unchanged for look-up.
Read the rest of this manual before adding more complicated features to your cardshop.
The Program Variables section will give you an overview about the input processed by the program. You can see which card composition elements you can use and the default or allowed values for these.
The Customization section addresses all possible aspects of cardshop customization. You need to study this section on design stage.
The Setup could be useful if you want to change some configurable runtime parameters and add more custom configuration to your cardshop. Most probably you will not need this until your cardshop expands more.
The Administration section addresses maintenance issues and stats. You don't need this until your cardshop is open for visitors and accumulates stats.
If something goes wrong be sure to check the Troubleshooting section. There we have collected our customers questions over many years. Most likely you will find an answer to your questions there.
And finally if nothing helps - check Contact and Support Info. Our staff is ready to help you.
Good luck with your new cardshop! You are entering a new wonderful corner of the Net which can bring you lots of visitors, customers and fun!