The Mom and Paw Shop is an online store that sells dog and cat supplies. The website was built using the Yahoo Store Editor framework and the store was already up and running when I was hired to work with this business. It has been quite an adventure so far working with this framework.
Yahoo developed the Store Editor to make it easy for aspiring entrepreneurs to get an online store up and running quickly, and without the need for programming skills. The interface is very rigid, and designed to help prevent site designers from destroying their own websites and possibly themselves. You make a change to your website by navigating through a group of screens and modifying the values of the variables on those screens. You can add snippets of HTML and inline CSS code to these variables and add a little more customization to your website, if you so desire.
The upside to this framework is that it is easy to put an online store together with many features already built in, including your choice of store templates, a shopping cart, checkout form, and shipping and payment options. The downside is that it is difficult to extend or make major modifications to their pre-built templates. Major modifications requires programming in RTML, a proprietary language that Yahoo developed just for their stores, but their Tech Support will not offer any assistance in RTML. Don’t even get me started about RTML. But back to the basic framework.
An example of a standard template feature is that every Yahoo Store site has a top and bottom navigation bar and the pages in that navigation bar are standard. You can remove the pages from the bar, but you cannot add more than what you’re allowed, and you cannot re-write the pages to do other things.
For example, the “email” link in the nav bar, which was removed from the website, was designed so that when you clicked on it, it opened up your default email application to send an email to the owners of the website. Since this feature is annoying to some web users, it was removed and in its place a new contact page was added, with a link to it added to the left navigation bar. But I will reserve how to add pages to the left navigation bar for another post.
Despite not being able to change the template of the website very much, we were still able to add many new features to the website, which I’m quite proud of. Using third-party tools like Google Friend Connect and WordPress, we were able to add a blog, an events page, product reviews, and a forum, among other things. By working with what we have, my client and I have been able to add more functionality to the website, which will help grow their business.