System Builder plugin V1

I’m returning to an old project in an attempt to make it worthwhile.

Basically, it’s an array driven visual product chooser, with some customization options to help in almost every sector of selling. It started out as a Computer builder, but can be used to make anything.. Camera kits to picnic baskets.

By choosing a parent category, it read what products were in each and presented them in a grid with switchable category buttons. With an ‘add to cart’ button and information panels on each product, the page called ‘minicart’ into the sidebar to show the user what they choose before and keep track of it all.

 

The upcoming version 1

As my first plugin, and a sort of mash-up of a previous plugin, there’s a fair amount of redundant functions and code.  A fresh start with the install script and functions, try to trim everything back to core functions. I’d also like some item restrictions to help users.. like Only choosing 1 case, a limit of 4 sticks of ram etc.. At the moment, a user can choose multiple of every case to add to their system. One fix for this was to adjust the standard Minicart to have a ‘remove item’ button in theme, a fix which will be outdated when WooCommerce updates that file in their core.

The fixed amount solution, when solved will complete V1, updates are being done on Github to tidy up code in preparation for the finished version.

Ideas for Version 2

Currently, it looks like this:

 

systembuilder1

I’m looking at other styles such as a drop down select for each category (choose a name with associated price and it appears beside) or an image button of the product with the meta (price/info) appearing in a layer when the mouse hovers over it.

The drop down selection (or even radio buttons) would be better suited to prebuilt systems which can be customized. This requires a sort of ‘Custom Product Type’ what doesn’t work well with WooCoommerce (unless you like a big yearly subscription for their own solution which I can’t even see works how I want it)

Anyway, brief Work In Progress on this project, and aiming to make something work. In its Current state I will be tidying up code and releasing as V1 on Github. V2 will be a product based solution and not Array (hopefully), as such maybe a paid plugin, or partly free with paid addons. Or the extreme route I thought up the other day of ditching Woo and going with our own cart/inventory system, that would be a long few years.

Upon investigating how Variations and Attributes work, it seems there is no ‘out of the box’ solution at all (unless you want to pay yearly for something what doesn’t look like it’ll do the job, adapt per product rather than have the choices all available when you start..). It’d be nice if we could select categories as attributes to save us importing component information again and have something dynamic.

The Process would be:

  • Call an array of products, tags of whats compatible which each.
  • place products in presentable drop down or button/radio selections.
  • Show user information on products, prices and/or compatibility information.
  • save selected options to an array, calculate the price and update dynamically.. Or automatically move items to cart and update each time user choose something.

As you can see. Not easy with a set of non-focus choices. Still lots to do for it, hoping to solve the amounts issue by end of the month (July) and start the new version early September.