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Simple commerce tutorial

June 30, 2007 2:53pm

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  • #1 / Jun 30, 2007 2:53pm

    I have searched the Forum, KB and Wiki and read what seems like every item and I am still in the dark.

    I can’t find a straightforward explanation of how to implement the Simple Commerce module from start to finish.

    I have patched together bits and pieces after hours of searching and got something working but not properly.

    I have set up a template with an item to sell and a success template and got a developers account in the PayPal sandbox.

    If I click the “Add to cart” link it opens a new tab and re-sizes the window (why?). If you click the “Continue shopping” button nothing happens.

    If I click “View cart” it opens a new tab and asks me to log in to my account.

    I don’t know if this is just because it’s a sandbox test. I have looked around for settings to change but can’t find any.

    This lack of guidance in setting basic things up keeps making me question if EE is the right horse to back. I go through times when it all seems worth it and the support is brilliant, then I spend hours trying to get simple things working and can’t find any answers. The introductory video tutorials are perfect, can’t we have a few more covering things like this.

  • #2 / Jul 02, 2007 10:59pm


    5 posts

    I’ll second that - does a straight forward tutorial exist and I am just missing it?

  • #3 / Aug 02, 2007 3:24am

    joann22's avatar


    176 posts

    Did you find your answer?

    Here’s what I have:

    In EE:
    1. CP > Modules > enable Simple Commerce
    2. Go into the Simple Commerce module and in the middle of the page, see the URL? copy that

    At Paypal:
    3. Get a paypal account.
    4. In the paypal account, enable Instant Payment Notification (IPN), it will ask you for the URL. Paste the one from step 2 into here.

    In EE:
    5. Put into the Simple Commerce email account field your PayPal email account
    6. Create a weblog and call it something, like forsale. All store items are actually in a weblog.
    7. Create custom fields like item description or size or whatever you need for all the fields you need to describe the items you are selling
    8. Once your weblog is setup, go create an item in Control Panel > Publish > Store
    9. Now that you have an item, go to Simple Commerce module and Add Item.

    10. Now it shows you a big list of entries! (This is where I got really confused before because I didn’t realize…) check off your store items on the right-hand side > scroll to the bottom > Add Item is selected > Submit! That’s how you get the item into your Simple Commerce module.
    11. It’ll take you back to the module where you add the price and other details.

    12. Now review the EE docs on the module parameters, etc. and build yourself a template.

    That’s all I have for now. There is more… someone else want to add to this?
    Also, let me know, is this accurate? is this helpful?
    What other options are there?


    keywords: Simple commerce ecommerce howto how to step by step tutorial basic start

  • #4 / Apr 07, 2008 4:41pm

    smartpill's avatar


    456 posts

    The instructions for SC setup could be a bit more clear. I just wasted a bit of time because:

    1. The default paths that are there are basically filler but nothing tells you they are meaningless and should probably be blank or noted that they are just suggestions since you might (I know I did)  assume those links were real paths to real files.

    2. The docs page does not clearly point out that if you don’t get your certificate from an “established certificate authority” you will need to create the necessary files and could be a little more detailed on exactly how. There is mention that

    “You can also create your own private key and public certificate using the open source software OpenSSL. Most *nix based operating systems (including Macintosh OS X) will already have this software compiled and ready to use.”

      but never says to launch “Terminal” application.

    Maybe if it said you can:
    a - get your certificate from and established certificate authority such as VeriSign or whomever
    b - create your own using a terminal application on your Unix-based system with the following instructions.Most *nix based operating systems (including Macintosh OS X) will already have this software compiled (such as OS X’s Terminal Application) and ready to use. Note: If created locally, the generated files will be output into your user directory.
    c - create your own private key and public certificate using the open source software OpenSSL.

    ...instead of that continuous paragraph.

    3.  It’s also important that you are aware that if you create the file in your terminal application the file will be created when you type (or paste) in those commands (and hit return) and that the file will be output in your users directory.

    Hope that helps someone save a little time, and I’m sure with all the documentation that needed to be written for EE, some small details may occasionally get overlooked and most often they really do an excellent job.  😉

  • #5 / Jan 10, 2009 10:25pm

    Sean C. Smith's avatar

    Sean C. Smith

    3818 posts

    I typed this into the command prompt on windows after going here and getting it set up, but no key generated.

    I get the following error in command:

    C:\Users\username\Desktop>openssl genrsa -out private_key.pem 1024 ‘openssl’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operaable program or batch file.

    I don’t know how to proceed at this point.

  • #6 / Jan 10, 2009 10:57pm

    Sean C. Smith's avatar

    Sean C. Smith

    3818 posts

    I got it to work after a little more finangling - I’ve added user notes to the user guide detailing what I did.

    It took me a bit to get this worked out on windows but I did.

    go here and download Win32 OpenSSL v0.9.8j and run the installer.

    Once you do that open up the command prompt by typing “command” into the windows start menu.

    then navigate to C:OpenSSL\bin

    once there type in openssl.exe and enter
    now type the commands above but leave out the first “openssl” i.e.

    genrsa -out private_key.pem 1024
    req -new -key private_key.pem -x509 -days 730 -out public_certificate.pem

    Your files will now be in the bin file.

  • #7 / Mar 02, 2015 2:23pm


    260 posts

    A note to others: the instructions in this thread are no longer matching up with PayPal.

    A note to ExpressionEngine: the lack of a tutorial on setting up Simple Commerce makes you look like platforms that are free. If you’re charging for a product then some of that money has to be directed to documenting it, including a simple step by step guide to using it, not a parts explosion explaining its functions.

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