For the last 2.5 years, I have been threatening to use Tinderbox, from Eastgate Systems, to manage a PHP database-driven website. This site will be the first example. If my client chooses to use the Tinderbox solution, he will be able to manage the regular site's content -- blogs, information, etc...-- and the online store from the same easy interface.
How does it work? Simple. I created a template which allows Tinderbox to export the product lists to a PHP hash of objects. This is my database. To display the store, the site just loads the hash and builds the pages. A hack? Sure. But this is a read-only database. I don't need anything fancy. By using Tinderbox, I saved time and made my web app more reliable:
- I didn't have to write an administration tool. Tinderbox works fine.
- Without an RDMS, I have one less point of failure.
- Since I talk to Paypal, I didn't need code to process credit cards.
This whole solution took about 10 hours to develop. Since I used Tinderbox, most of my work went into user interface design rather than backend code.