Wednesday, 30 January 2008
For over a year, I've been using Price Tapestry (and for nearly 6 months selling templates for it at Price Tapestry Templates). It's a great piece of software that enables you to operate a price comparison website on a PHP server using XML or CSV product feeds.
I've been running a customised (beyond recognition) version of Price Tapestry over at Compare Sat Nav using my own product feeds I create after manually price checking, once a week (usually on a Friday).
The downside to the whole set up is the fact that it takes 2 hours to manually price check. It's exhausting work too. And monotonous. The answer?
The answer to my problems comes in the form of some custom code I've spent 3 days writing. Through some fancy wizardry, the script does all the boring work for me. There are a few advantages to this:
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I am currently working on this very thing myself. you using php & curl to grab prices from site with your own custom feeds?
Written on Wednesday 30 January 2008 at 20:32:20 GMT (Permalink)
@iPod Prices - Not quite but I suppose there would be scope there.
Written on Thursday 31 January 2008 at 11:52:34 GMT (Permalink)
Hi David, I've just bought PT and have been fiddling with it for a day or so...can I ask, when you say you manually price check and produce your own feeds, is this because the merchants feeds aren't up-to-date enough? If so, what is the benefit of PT, surely if you're creating your own feeds you could just as easily manually change the price in your html??
Written on Thursday 31 January 2008 at 16:03:47 GMT (Permalink)
After using free software for years I am a bit cautious on spending £79 on Price Tapestry. How does it perform in SEO terms and is it worth spending the cash?
Written on Thursday 31 January 2008 at 18:42:51 GMT (Permalink)
@Laura - A lot of feeds I get from merchants are out of date. In all fairness, some sectors are up to date. But even those feeds can differ. People in the mobile phone industry will understand how difficult it is getting all the feeds to act the same.
Whilst I could edit the HTML, I tend to use a product feed as I can then manipulate the prices as I see fit. For example, if I want to add delivery into the total price, then sort from cheapest to most expensive, it's a quick bit of code at the start, then it's a case of updating a product feed. If I were editing HTML directly, I would have to do the sums by hand and manually sort the prices. That's not difficult on a small scale but ramp that up to 100 products and you can appreciate the time savings.
@Edward - I was nervous about spending the cash to begin with. As like you, I had been using open source software for a while - why bother paying? Quite frankly, I couldn't find any free software at the time that could rival it. Plus I do believe I made back the cost in either 1 or 2 months.
With Price Tapestry, you get a script called Magic Parser - http://www.magicparser.com - which can parse RSS and XML code into HTML. I'd pay £79 just for Magic Parser as I have used it on nearly every website I've built since buying it.
In terms of SEO, Price Tapestry does need a few mods which you can find on the forums. I build them into all the templates at http://www.pricetapestrytem... . As for search engine visibility, because each product has a page, the more feeds you parse, the larger the site. It's got a Google Sitemap script built into it too so you can submit that to Google and away you go!
On a related note, the code is very easy to work through and David's a great help on the forums if you get stuck. He's always answered my questions, usually with example code I need to use.
Hope that all helps you both.
Written on Friday 01 February 2008 at 10:13:45 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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