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Question for developers: Can I do this?

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ProcessPro

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Apr 26, 2018
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Good day fastlaners, I'm currently working on a wordpress website for a small e-commerce store I plan to operate from my home. The local shipping company I plan to use offers an API that I can integrate into my website so that the customers can access shipping rates based on their area of residence etc. The problem is that I don't know code and don't know how to do the integration. My question is, is this something I can quickly figure out (watching a few YouTube vids etc)? Or is it a really advanced operation and things can go really wrong if I make a mistake?

Here are the API integration notes from the shipping website:
Universal Package Systems Limited - Developers

*If integrated correctly, it should create something like the attached photo on my website in the checkout area. That's taken from the shipping company's website.

Notes:
-The integration is optional, so the shipping company doesn't offer tutorials/step by step support. They simply recommend getting a developer.
-My funds are really limited, so I'd like to do it myself it possible, hence the reason I'm shying away from hiring.

Thanks!
-Processpro.

P.S. Wasn't sure where to post this thread, so this was my best judgment.
 
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jon.M

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You need to learn the basics of HTTP requests, dealing with Json and programming in general. If I were you, and if I didn't know anything about that from start, I'd just look for a developer. It would just take you too much time for such a small thing. Not a wise investment.
 

ProcessPro

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Apr 26, 2018
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You need to learn the basics of HTTP requests, dealing with Json and programming in general. If I were you, and if I didn't know anything about that from start, I'd just look for a developer. It would just take you too much time for such a small thing. Not a wise investment.

Thanks for the feedback jon.M!
 
D

Deleted50669

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Echoing the HTTP request knowledge, that API is REST which means Representational State Transfer. You can read about what this is here.

Based on what your described goal is, you would be "consuming" a third party API through HTTP GET actions and loading the received data to your site with HTTP POST actions.

Out of my own curiosity for how in the world WP would consume JSON, I hunted down this guide. Hope it helps.
 
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ProcessPro

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Apr 26, 2018
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Echoing the HTTP request knowledge, that API is REST which means Representational State Transfer. You can read about what this is here.

Based on what your described goal is, you would be "consuming" a third party API through HTTP GET actions and loading the received data to your site with HTTP POST actions.

Out of my own curiosity for how in the world WP would consume JSON, I hunted down this guide. Hope it helps.
Echoing the HTTP request knowledge, that API is REST which means Representational State Transfer. You can read about what this is here.

Based on what your described goal is, you would be "consuming" a third party API through HTTP GET actions and loading the received data to your site with HTTP POST actions.

Out of my own curiosity for how in the world WP would consume JSON, I hunted down this guide. Hope it helps.


Thanks for taking the time to reply 404profound! Will do my homework and read the links you posted. Do you second jon.M's suggestion to get a developer? Or do you think I can attempt it myself after reading your links and other resources? Thanks.
 

rwhyan

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If you have no coding/developing experience I would recommend hiring a developer. Otherwise you will be spending hours learning to implement one function for your website.

You can find a developer on Fiverr or another freelancing site to implement the API for very cheap (think $20). Completely worth it.
 

ProcessPro

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Apr 26, 2018
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If you have no coding/developing experience I would recommend hiring a developer. Otherwise you will be spending hours learning to implement one function for your website.

You can find a developer on Fiverr or another freelancing site to implement the API for very cheap (think $20). Completely worth it.

Okay, that's affordable! :D Will look into it. Thanks rwhyan!
 
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TreyAllDay

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Look for a dev on upwork or fiver - it'll prevent a lot of pain.

This stuff can be a big pain if you don't know anything, but for a dev it will be maybe a couple hours of work.
 
D

Deleted50669

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Thanks for taking the time to reply 404profound! Will do my homework and read the links you posted. Do you second jon.M's suggestion to get a developer? Or do you think I can attempt it myself after reading your links and other resources? Thanks.

The decision depends on a few factors.

1. If you foresee the potential for continuous growth of features, learning some of those skills yourself may be sensible, as you won't have to hire a developer every time you'd like to make changes / restructure functionality (and once you get user feedback, that is a likely outcome).

2. If you can afford a developer each time one is needed, that would be better for time-efficiency. A good dev can read a codebase and make changes with a lot less risk than someone just dipping into programming. From a finance perspective, you'd be paying for speed and reduced risk of breaking changes.

3. If you'd like to equip yourself with skills for future projects, learning programming makes sense. If your first business fails, having an understanding of APIs, rendering HTML and CSS, writing scripts with JavaScript, structuring a database, so on and so on, the more you know the sooner you can get the next idea live.

- Just my two cents
 

rpeck90

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The simple answer with an API is that you are using your application to create a programmatic request to an Internet resource - person clicks onto "checkout.php", "checkout.php" automatically requests shipping rates by sending an HTTP request via cURL to one of the API endpoints you've mentioned.

In terms of your specific use-case, I doubt you would need to utilize the Wordpress API because that's only for inbound requests. You're sending outbound requests to the shipping API, so all you need is to be able to authenticate the request (which is done with the API key), and then handle the response.

In terms of what you're looking at, that's basic level programming. You'll basically set up an HTML form in your checkout page. The form will then likely be bound to some Javascript which will use Ajax to send the HTTP request to the external endpoint. From here, you'll receive a response depending on the data you sent via the form.

Here's the code you'd use for the JS (I've done this 100's of times):

Code:
// some_file.js
$(document).on("submit", "form#shipping", function(e) {
  e.preventDefault(); // stops form submit
  $.get("http://url.to.endpoint/", $(this).serialize() ).done(function(data){ $("#results").text(data); });
});

This would only be valid for gaining shipping rates. If you wanted to integrate the returned data into other parts of the application, that's where things get complicated. You'd also need to handle errors etc
 
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ProcessPro

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Apr 26, 2018
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The simple answer with an API is that you are using your application to create a programmatic request to an Internet resource - person clicks onto "checkout.php", "checkout.php" automatically requests shipping rates by sending an HTTP request via cURL to one of the API endpoints you've mentioned.

In terms of your specific use-case, I doubt you would need to utilize the Wordpress API because that's only for inbound requests. You're sending outbound requests to the shipping API, so all you need is to be able to authenticate the request (which is done with the API key), and then handle the response.

In terms of what you're looking at, that's basic level programming. You'll basically set up an HTML form in your checkout page. The form will then likely be bound to some Javascript which will use Ajax to send the HTTP request to the external endpoint. From here, you'll receive a response depending on the data you sent via the form.

Here's the code you'd use for the JS (I've done this 100's of times):

Code:
// some_file.js
$(document).on("submit", "form#shipping", function(e) {
  e.preventDefault(); // stops form submit
  $.get("http://url.to.endpoint/", $(this).serialize() ).done(function(data){ $("#results").text(data); });
});

This would only be valid for gaining shipping rates. If you wanted to integrate the returned data into other parts of the application, that's where things get complicated. You'd also need to handle errors etc

Think I need a programmer.
 

Jello

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Learning some basic coding skills isn't a waste of time when dealing with programmers. You'll have some understanding what you're asking for and what they're billing you for.

Also it will give you some perspective about the direction you're heading.

You have to ask yourself is this a one time thing or are you going to get involved with coding more often in the future when working on your project or site.
 

ProcessPro

Bronze Contributor
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Apr 26, 2018
364
416
Learning some basic coding skills isn't a waste of time when dealing with programmers. You'll have some understanding what you're asking for and what they're billing you for.

Also it will give you some perspective about the direction you're heading.

You have to ask yourself is this a one time thing or are you going to get involved with coding more often in the future when working on your project or site.

True. Will take that into consideration.
 
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lejus

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I am ok with html, css and wordpress I've tried API but I think my knowledge wasn't sufficient for it. Again is anything worth learning as an entrepreneur ? Well most of the time it is, even if you outsource it eventually, knowing basic will help you with decision of who to hire. If I have intermediate level knowledge of google advertising I was very close to hiring someone to do google ads for me till I asked few questions that they went blank on which made me realize they have no clue and plan to learn using my money it is better if I learn using my money or if I pay I want someone professional.
So this is how I see solutions you have:
1. Learn it - if you have 8 hours a day to code you can probably be good in 6 months or so, if you have 16 hours a day probably 2-3 months,is that worth it? Well if you don't have money it might be but you probably should work on your company more than in your company, but at the beginning it is often 90% of time in company 10% on company. Overtime it changes but without money it will force your hand.
2. Hire someone - as guys mention, upwork, peopleperhour, fiverr - all valid options, you will get someone cheaply they will do it. There are downsides to it: you will need to hire someone every time you need to do it, api occasionally failed on magento I had to pay for fixing it (wordpress seems more stable), occasionally I went with the same guys that done 2-3 jobs for me and they suddenly started overcharging for example they asked £275 for installing facebook pixel, saying that there is few extra steps they need to do, I've done it myself in short time, showed them it took me 30 minutes and never used them again, but bad tastes stayed in my mouth for a while. Basically you get what you pay for, I had some great experience with those websites and some horrible.
3. There are magento API ready solutions, which have usually multiple dropshippers integrated, it is the same for wordpress, it is worth asking those guys will they integrate it in their solution, if they say no, you can offer to pay them for integrating it. It will be more expensive than option 2 but : you will get good successful programmers, you will get constant support, you will get products from other dropshippers and it is very unlikely that their solutions starts failing, which is not that unlikely with option 2 from my experience. Some of those solutions are paid monthly or have high initial cost, so just for gaining another regular customers and improving offer for their current customers they might add it free, unlikely but it might happen.
 

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