Open Source (Free) Web to Print Solution
How interested would you be in a completely open source (see free, and completely customizable) web to print solution.
For the sake of clarity I want to define what I mean when I say "web to print".
1. A shopping cart system (I like PrestaShop)
2. A Layout Application (I like Scribus)
3. Connecting the two so that a user fills out a form in the browser and can see a preview and place the order, you (the printer) is notified and provided with a print ready file for the order.
Please give me your opinions, is the problem already solved? would you even want to host your own site? what would your concerns be?
Anything at all, please comment
P.S. Would anybody be interested in helping with the project as well?
Last edited by memonservices; 10-04-2011 at 04:15 PM.
I would be very interested in such a system. I know there is zetaprints, but I found that a little too complicated to implement. As a small printers (3 staff), all the other options are far too expensive. I would even be interested in some sort of online ordering system with a file upload and management system, hence no online layout needed, just a system where users could log in, place an order, upload the artwork, and then see those orders and files next time they log in. Cannot find this at a reasonable price either.
You are a brave person, good luck!
We currently have 2 full time developers writing code for our existing in house wtp app and that makes us minnows in this horribly complex area.
One tip to get you started. Unfortunately, you can't use a standard shopping cart app for a custom manufacturing business like printing. The options quickly increase the number of "products" that you would have (and the way they are presented) to an unmanageable level. Instead you need to build a pricing engine, which is a lot of code. Then unfortunately you need to build a second pricing engine, as if you price all products in a logical and consistent manner in the printing industry, you will go bust very fast. We call the second engine "market based pricing" and you must be able to switch between the two according to the product UI you are building.
There's definately a demand for you! We get asked all the time to white label our wtp app, but the man hours required to recode so that it could be used as SaaS is huge and I can't really see the ROI, or frankly SME printers having the skill sets to drive a complex app like this without a lot of training and ongoing support.
I think that you would need to break it down to individual stand alone modules in order to get anywhere. Each is a huge time investment and convincing enough people to write code FOC for a specific industry application like this is going to be a challenge.
easiprint and lfelton, great responses, thank you. I love that these 2 responses tell us what is the minimum functionality required and what might be unrealistic to expect.
I do want to give credit where credit is due, I used to own a printshop and ZetaPrints was the only web to print system that made any sense to us, great pricing, great features. We used it ever since we heard about it and the people I sold my shop to, use it to this day. They (Zetaprints) can obviously improve certain things (maybe documentation is where they should start) but overall I think they have a great solution.
easiprint I am curious what else you came across in your search, did you look at any open source shopping cart systems?
lfelton I agree that we can't build a system which does everything but my approach is: Can I help fix 50% or 60% of the problem? At the end of the day even if you can only sell business cards in quantities of 500, 1000, and 2,000 but not 2,500 it's still better than not being able to sell them online at all.
I think people like yourself and your team members are the best resource for open source projects, you have already faced some of the problems and probably solved them. You can help out with your advice and expertise.
I have heard a rumor that Zetaprints is about to go opensource