4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 5, 2010 8:54 AM by cheftimo

    Advice on creation of an online catalog/store, please.

    cheftimo Level 2

      I want to create an online store of food products using a  format similar to the Flexstore Sample application. If you are not familiar  with that application, you can see it here: http://examples.adobe.com/flex2/inproduct/sdk/flexstore/flexstore.html.


      The sample, of course, works fine, but it's a catalog  with a total of 18 products, not likely found in real life. The project I am considering  would have about 1200 products; there would be 24 categories, each containing a  number of products rangin from 2 to 460. Of course, I know better that to start  out loading all the products as the little sample application does.


      I envision initially loading one of the categories that  has between 50 and 100 products (I did one version with 220 products and it  worked OK). But I have not yet even come close to figuring out how to go about  this.


      Here are some thoughts/questions:


      • Initially load one category? – not one with a  lot of products, then keep adding to the total catalog as users check new  categories.
      • I see the checkout portion of the program as a Flex  module, to be loaded only when a visitor get to the point of checking out.
      • How do I handle a collection that keeps growing?  – after 250 or so products, things really start slowing down.
      • How do I handle that one category that has over  400 products? A separate module? Break it down into subcategories?


      And there are many more issues, I'm sure some I have not  even thought about.


      I would love to hear any comments/ideas/suggestions about  this. When the store is ready, you'll be invited to the opening.


      If anyone knows of a real-life catalog/store application made in Flex, please point me to it.


      Success to all on this new year,



        • 1. Re: Advice on creation of an online catalog/store, please.
          alex-86 Level 1

          hi carlos,


          I would suggest to obtain all the data from a database.


          Make a http service to call the php and obtain the data, and then just display a couple of items,


          and make a next button  and obtain the next items.

          • 2. Re: Advice on creation of an online catalog/store, please.
            aktell2007 Level 1


            I think a great idea and even more so a great project to be involved in!


            I have a question I like to ask ”Are you working with modules or is the project a single Application” ? I’m asking this because I assume you will have a lot of Image content to be displayed as well.

            I agree with ‘alex-86’ to get your data predominately from a database (but would suggest also if the site is operated by a customer to use external Xml as this would be easier to be changed by them personally), and then obtain that data through a Http Service (if your data is not to bulky) and some Php. Definitely Php it could save you a lot of unnecessary Mxml and/orAS3 code and using Dom type Xml through Php works like magic.


            In any case all the best of luck aktell

            • 3. Re: Advice on creation of an online catalog/store, please.
              archemedia Level 4

              Hi, I have been working on al large school managing system.Of course, there's a pupil section, a course section etc. On startup, I'm loading all the lists which are crucial, but not all of it's data, just the data which have to be displayed in a list.

              Example: In the pupil section, I send an remote request (I'm using remote objects with amfphp) like get_pupils which then triggers a mysql statement like:


              $q = "SELECT name, surname, id FROM pupils";

              $r = mysql_query($q);

              return $r;


              This simple statement returns an arrayCollection of all the pupils. At this moment, we have about 10000 pupils in the database! The request takes about 1 second to finish. When clicking a pupil in the list, I send a new request to get all the information about that pupil.


              We're working with databases which exceed 200.000 records (like the table which holds the information of which courses are followed by which pupils and so on.)


              A few tips:

              - Don't work with XML data transfer or HTTP requests. They take (much) longer! Use remote objects or webservices instead. Serialized data streams are much smaller.

              - Make intelligent sql statements which return complete datasets instead of looping through them on the server side. A good query might take 0.04 seconds to finish, a bad one several seconds!

              - Use MVC patterns to keep good overview of your application.


              Hope this helps,



              • 4. Re: Advice on creation of an online catalog/store, please.
                cheftimo Level 2

                From the replies so far, I can see that a little more information about my project is in order:


                For this project, I am working from a merchant datafeed, so I already have database tables with all the product and food category data – I also have the URLs to all the images – and actually the images on my server. So archemedia, I have no problems bringing the data from my ColdFusion server into Flex – a recordset of 1200 rows is nothing.


                My concern and the bottleneck here is creating and displaying many thumbnails at one time. I have to rule out creating and displaying "All Categories" the equivalent of "All Series" in the Flexstore sample (see mi original post on this thread) – that works fine in the sample with its total of 18 products, not so well when you have 1100+ items to display. That is really the part of this project about which I need advice.


                Here is what I am thinking: starting out selecting and displaying X category (one with no more than 75-100 products). Then, bringing in one category at a time, as the user selects them in the ComboBox. I guess I will have to split categories containing over, say 100 products into smaller subcategories.


                It helps to just hear feedback, so I want to thank all of you who have already replied. And y'all please keep those ideas coming, ya hear?.