EZ-CheckOut API
While EZ-NetTools® tries to provide a broad range of integrated tools for building and maintaining an e-commerce web site, we cannot be all things to all people. Over the years we have had some customers that had some special needs that could not be met by our catalog system or they just simply like to control their own servers. Yet, these customers like the security, reliability, and functionality of our check out and order management tools. For these situations we have provided an API that picks up the shopper interface at the checkout step of the shopping experience. We call this the Checkout API.
API is an acronym for Application Program Interface, a special computer program. The program will accept data from any source, be it a custom form in your account or from a program located on some other computer completely separate from EZ-NetTools®. As long as the data is formatted correctly, the program knows what to do with it. Our CheckOut API will accept properly formatted data and treat it exactly as if it came from our catalog system.
Example of uses of the Checkout API
To give you an idea of how this program might be used, here are three samples uses of the Checkout API.
An account not only sells product online using the EZ-NetTools® Catalog tool, but also auctions items on Ebay. The resulting price from an auction could be anything. The prices in EZ-Catalog are preset. Using a custom form, the auction winner enters the item number, the final bid price, and the preset shipping charges. Upon submitting the form all of the information is passed to the check out process which finishes the transaction by requesting name, address and payment information, using the secure and reliable programs of EZ-NetTools®.
A newspaper has their own servers and programmers to develop a system for placing subscriptions and classified ads online. However, they do not want the hassle of programming the secure servers and interfacing with a credit card gateway. Their programs do all the complicated pricing calculations and then pass the data to the Checkout API for the final steps of the purchasing process.
A firm providing a service wants to accept an application and processing fee online. They develop a custom form for the pertinent information required for the service. The form is submitted to the Checkout API to finish the process. This same approach could be used for collection contributions for a non profit organization or a church.
The Checkout API is an advanced feature. While the process if quite straight forward, some basic knowledge and tools are required.
  • Be familiar with HTML code, especially form processing,
  • Understand basic concepts of data exchange techniques.
  • Knowledge of javascript will very likely be required for complex forms.
  • Must have an e-commerce account type.
Detailed support of the Checkout API is NOT included with the free technical support provided with your EZ-NetTools® account. Hopefully this course will provide you the information needed. However, if additional assistance is required, contact EZ-NetTools® technical support to get a bid for the work you need.
Overview of the Data to be Exchanged
The Technical Support web site has a table of the require data field that need to be passed to the Check Out API. These data fields consist of key value pairs. In other words, for every data element, there is a key word followed by the associated value. These data elements can grouped into three groups.
First, there is the data about the order. This includes the account number and an indication of how many items are included in the order. IT IS CRITICAL THAT THE MEMBER ACCOUNT NUMBER BE SPECIFIED CORRECTLY. If you wish to capture affiliate information, you will need to add some javascript code. On the side bar there is a link to a sample of this code.
Second, there is data about each item ordered. This includes the product ID, product description, quantity ordered, price, etc. This data will be repeated for each item ordered. There can be a large number of items included in each order.
Third, there is data about the attributes of each item ordered. This information is optional and can be omitted if there are no attributes for the product. Attributes are values like size and color that pertain to each associated product. Each product can have a large number of attributes.
General Instructions
You may find it helpful to first set up these products using EZ-Catalog. That will give you an idea of how the products and attributes interrelate.
Keep the form as simple as possible. We have found it very easy to keep addition functionality to a form. You can reach a point where the code is almost unmanageable.
Once you have developed the code for the form, you can then copy the HTML into an HTML block in EZ-PageBuilder. That is how I developed the forms for the three samples developed for this course.
Remember that once program control has been passed to the Checkout API, that the program cannot pass your customer back to the original form or program for modifications.
Finally, remember that this process is beyond the scope of all but basic information from the EZ-Nettools® technical support. For a fee, we will be glad to consult with you on in depth issues.
See Sample of Simple Form