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Task 1 – Assignment 4 Journal

In this task you are required to maintain a journal of the activities and research associated with Assignment 4 and to submit the completed journal with this assignment.

Task 2 – Prototype E-commerce website

Develop and populate the prototype e-commerce website for which you prepared a strategic analysis and preliminary prototype e-commerce website using Joomla in Assignment 2.

Your e-commerce website should contain, at a minimum, the following functionality:

• An aesthetically pleasing, easy- to-use interface
• A product catalogue
• A shopping cart
• An order form and payment interface
• Customer registration
• Discussion forum

• Business policy statements on security, privacy, confidentiality and refunds and returns

Task 2 will be assessed for completeness and working functionality based on an inspection of your e-commerce website (you are required to provide the URL of the Joomla! website that was assigned to you for Assignment 2 in Assignment 4).

Task 3 – Business Case Report for your e-commerce strategy

You are required to provide a business case for the e-commerce strategy you have adopted for your organization and reflect on your experiences and insight arising from the development of the accompanying e-commerce website in terms of the following:
1. Describe the e-commerce website features and functionality that have been implemented in Task 2.

2. List any additional features incorporated in your website over and above the specified requirements.

3. Provide a site map of your e-commerce website in the form of a tree diagram that shows hierarchical structure of your e-commerce website.

4. List any essential features not implemented in your e-commerce website and describe any major deviations from your original plans outlined in Assignment 2.

5. Describe the features that are likely to be implemented in your e-commerce website in the next phase of the development process to further enhance the usability and functionality of your e-commerce site, and how you would use the Joomla CMS to facilitate this.

6. Briefly describe and reflect on the challenges encountered in using Joomla! as the development environment for your e-commerce website.

7. Describe how you will address security and privacy issues in your e-commerce website?

8. Describe how you will address backend integration and legacy system issues associated with your e-commerce website?

9. List and briefly describe the hardware and software required to establish your e-commerce website as a live and fully functional entity, and provide a table of the estimated costs (hardware, software, human resources, ongoing maintenance, etc.)?

10. Provide and justify a plan for a live implementation of your proposed e-commerce web site including a prioritised timeline in a table?

11. Identify and describe the expected benefits that will arise from implementing your e-commerce website?

12. List and briefly describe how you used any links and resources to research and build your e-commerce site for this assignment.

Task 1



Time Taken


After perceiving the workings of Joomla 2.5, I log-in using the Joomla backend.
I began to relate the fundamentals of the Joomla backend with the concepts that I garnered form the eBook. Some concepts were easy to take in while some concepts were a bit difficult and required some modifications. Relating to some of the concepts helped me in understanding some of the finer details of a few elements. This perception of Joomla helped in creating a basic platform for me. I also tweaked a few details in the settings of the control panel. In order to understand the front end, I also modified some existing articles, modules and menu. I noticed that some changes took place while some did not.

8 hours


In the earlier task, the preparation of the homepage was done without facing any hassles. Now the problem arises when I try to extend the existing template. Figuring out which modules to keep and which to delete was quite complicated. So, I thought that I should delete all the present modules like menus, articles, media files, etc. This will provide a clear backend where changes can be made and they will reflect at the frontend. After this, I started to prepare the menu for the website. To do this, I studied several online articles, books and even viewed some YouTube videos. After that, I prepared and finalized the menu components for the site. To do this, I took reference from various parallel e-commerce websites and found that there were several common menu items like About US, FAQs, Contact, etc.

7 hours


After the preparation of the Menu was complete, the next step was managing the articles. I created some articles and linked them to their respective menu-items. However, this was a very messy way for creating and listing products. I searched for alternatives. First, I encountered the VirtueMart plug-in, an e-commerce plug-in for Joomla. It offers features like management of catalogues, management for inventory, etc. I found it quite complicated and on top of that, it was difficult to implement as I proceeded further. Then, I made the switch to Hike-A-Shop which is an e-commerce solution that helps in store management. So, I uninstalled the VirtueMart plug-in and installed Hike-A-Shop. I learnt about it from YouTube and the documentations provided at Thus, I was able to configure the Menu items properly and I was able to prepare different products, such as thriller, crime, horror, etc.
The whole time was dedicated to filling up the site with various products. The Hike-A-Shop link to a virtual shopping cart was attached at the top right hand side corner of the website. Then, I created a discussion board by installing the Kunena Forum extension. It was quite easy to configure and some minimal changes were made in the settings. After this, I did some additional tweaking until the complete website was created.

8 hours

1.  In the task 2, the website has been taken to a new level where following key features have been accommodated:

  • Customer registration – A customer can register by logging in or signing up, refer to the Login/Sign-Up menu. All an individual has to provide are name, email address, username and password. Once the registration is successful, a confirmation mail is immediately dropped in the registered mail-ID for purposes of account validation.

  • User interface –A user friendly interface has been undertaken as per the design of the grocery website. The design of this shopping site is absolutely easy to read, easy to use and easy to navigate also. The menu at the top-level grabs the attention of almost all users. Quality content and information has been placed with care and there is a clear distinction between content and the elements.

  • Discussion forum - A discussion forum is much needed in today’s world to help with further development of the site, first and then the community. For optimizing the community, the community it serves as a medium for solving most of the queries and complainants themselves. For optimizing further, the moderators may be assigned by a company dedicated and active 24x7solving and helping one another. The feature can be located on the top of the page on the menu. But users have to be registered users. A registered user has no limitations in searching recent topics or a particular thread, or checking the users who are online at that moment.

  • Shopping cart - As a user selects a package; it is likely that the individual would prefer to add more to the package before the final checkout. Thus, the shopping cart feature has been added. It asks the user to first login in his/her account and then gives a summary of selected products i.e. Name of the product, SKU, price, quantity, tax/discount and the total amount to be paid. Policies regarding the payment and tax are presented as URL at the bottom of the page.

  • Product catalogue - A separate category has been inserted to display different baby care, beverages, cereal, confectionery, festive products, and laundry items and so on. Different sub category pages have been designed and one can choose their preferred brands too. The page is going to offer details about a product like the base price, the Sales price, and discounts and taxes along with the snap of the chosen item. It shall also put on display the present stock level of a product.

  • Order Form - It is displayed in the shopping cart once an individual adds a grocery item(s) to the cart.

2.  I did not implemented any specific feature apart from the ones already implemented. Although there was a breadcrumbs feature implemented in order to make navigating within the website comfortable with new visitors. This is because breadcrumbs provides them with superior control and positioning and makes them aware of where they exactly are within the website. 


3. Website structure

4. There are many undeniable features that have not been implemented on the website yet.

The answer to why, is because the website has been designed for demonstration purpose strictly.

Yes, it might have magically worked for the sites meant for other purposes; it will definitely not work with any particular site that is meant to be exclusively an eCommerce site. The reason is because; first and foremost the capability of any eCommerce website indicates that it should be able to accept payments from the customers.

At present there isn't even one payment processor. And the reason is that to be capable of accepting payments, one must implement the payment gateway option, which is basically a paid service along with the merchant account. On top of that, to make retain the security and safety of the consumers the site must be able to allow what is known as the SSL security to encrypt communication end to end with the site.

Among the list of things that remained unimplemented and is related to payment integration is the website certificate validating the genuineness of the site.
This has been provided by the companies like VeriSign and it instantly permits their customers to learn that the website is truly what it has claimed to be. Not only that, it helps to resolve problems associated with phishing or spear phishing. Thus it's the single greatest thing which entrusts the customers with loyalty and trust that they're purchasing products from a popular online firm. Another essential feature which has not been implemented is the help desk.

The helpdesk feature makes way for tracking feedbacks, queries and complaints within a convenient system. This feature provides an auto-feedback to the customers and gifts them the unique ticket. Consumers can use it later to identify their queries or feedbacks. What is worth mentioning is the much needed escalation features.

On the back end, the helpdesk is there to provide aid to a company for the management, allocation and queries, complaintsof the referred people, then track only to see if these queries were unresolved or resolved.

Again, since this website isn't what is known to be a live one, this feature has been left out but is totally essential for any live website. Excepting those mentioned, what was left out was Google Analytics. Google Analytics efficiently user tracks visitors on a website and concludes various statistics regarding it which helps in shaping a website for its betterment.
Google Analytics demands a live website for its implementation and it was left out too, however, it is an essential feature definitely as it comes to any production live website. 

Other specific eCommerce features include the capability to track, refund or cancel orders, add the products to the wish list, notifications for exciting new products have been missed.

5. The most obvious change that calls to be implemented within the website is those involving tracking and then collecting website statistics. These include the bounce rate, visitor hits, time on the website, Heatmaps of visitors and so on. 
Such reliable statistics could be used for enhancing the user ability as well as the functionality of the website for providing a standard service to customers and driving sales on the other hand.           

Time Taken

This could be possible with the help of analytical tools like that of Google Analytics. Google Analytics and similar services may be easily used on a website irrespective of it being CMS or Non-CMS platforms;Joomla provides other such functionalities to broaden the scope of using analytical services. 
With add-ons available for the Joomla analytics, one can view some of the most viewed statistics within Joomla in the control panel. Any eCommerce site additionally needs a powerfully efficient help desk (web-based) to help a company manage feedbacks, customer queries and complaints.

Rather than purchasing any off the shelf solution or developing a help desk right from scratch and then integrating or implementing it in the website, using Joomla one may simply integrate the powerful helpdesk system. Don't forget the gems, the Add-ons. As a Joomla arrives with all types of Add-ons, it gets easier for all, even a kid to integrate a complex system in a website smoothly and begin using it effectively in just a short span. 

Next, generally eCommerce websites have a tendency of bending towards quality content. Or in other words content plays a significant role. Hence, the editors, content managers and article writers have to be recruited. Recruitment will result in producing and managing the content for a website ideally.

Joomla provides an ability of defining different user responsibilities so that the person who is meant to write articles only, bears nil control over say management issues of the content and vice versa. Since several websites, particularly the eCommerce sites have remained crowded; the ability to discover is a major reason of concern. Still now a majority of users keeps visiting the website on searching for particular products on different search engines. This problem must be immediately tapped so that the search engines can fetch a noticeable traffic to the website.

There are numerous add-ons that may be easily installed, whichfacilitate the search engine optimization. The other issue is that each article possesses its own keywords and Meta tags within the Joomla interface that may be keyed-in in such a way that the articles turn out to be simple to index within any search engine.

6. The quite obvious challenge that had been ignored was the one which questioned what would happen if Joomla was pre-installed. Else it would become a challenge given how tough it is to start-up with that. Again, the real next obvious challenge faced is that of understanding how the Joomla works. On logging in, no Menu managers, media managers or article managers could be spotted, but how they had been working simultaneously, in sync were the most mysterious question ever. Moreover again, it was challenging to figure out how each template worked. Templates have their personal way of highlighting the content as they possess their individual grid systems, which are unique, varying in all. While touring the website, yet another challenge has beenabout coming up with articles and having them displayed on the right hand section of the right hand page. It is easily understood that it did consume much time in understanding, especially because whenever an article was created; it would not simply turn up on the particular page it had been aimed at. To add to the existing difficulties, the modules were highly confusing. These modules, which were kind of an extension and kind of the mere means of flaunting the content which was coupled with their placement as they would just show up when aligned in a grid on the right hand template turned out to be the most confusing. Another task was to recognize the difference among the plug-ins, modules and components. Some extensions were found to be only to have taken the form of modules, while some of extensions took the forms of plug-ins and the components. And there were other extensions that would take the form of all the three. Installing such extensions and figuring out how they work and making them work together again was another big challenge. What was not mentioned earlier is the challenge of understanding the menu management system operation. Under Menu several different options were displayed, since the main intention was to begin with a homepage first, there was a difficultly as to what type of menu would be suitable for the purpose. The menus turn become very much a section of that website, and the section would then need to be populated by the content that would come from the articles, media, modules and functions that would come from the components, modules and the plugins. Many a times, few menus would be incompatible thereby being difficult to populate it with the demanded content. Yet another major challenge was about getting the existing product catalogue working as it was figured out finally that it was be possible for a plug-in (third party) like say VirtueMart which  itself was pretty much challenging to be understood.

Website Features Accommodated

7.  There are various requirements of security that needs to be accomplished so that a secure website is created. This includes shell access, SSL server, cron access, etc. The choice of a correct and proper service provider is of utmost importance while securing a website. There are certain factors that need to be considered while the choice for a host is made. These factors are-

  • Language Support – An application of Joomla requires a UNIX or Linux server. So, the host must have these servers.

  • Secure FTP – The host should provide SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) for file transfers so that hackers cannot steal passwords from data packets while these packets travel over the Internet.

  • Keep Globals OFF – The host is required to keep the ‘Register Global Directives’ option OFF by default and the host that requires this option to be kept ON while a site is running should be avoided.

  • Proactive Server Management – The hosts are required to provide information about breaches in security instead of just shutting off the servers at the time of the attacks.

  • Access to raw logs – The hosts are required to provide access to raw logs since these are required for security and recovery of data.

Some of the other security measures for maintaining security for a Joomla based website are-

  • Usage of proper file permissions – A user can be granted access to a folder or file for reading, writing and/or executing and these permissions can be granted to wither users or groups or the public. The best combination of these can be used to set the file permission.

  • The permission for the Joomla folder should be set to the ‘755’ combination, the files to ‘644’ combination and configuration.php should be set to the ‘444’ combination as it is recommended by Site Ground Inc. Full access/permission that is the ‘777’ combination should never be used.

  • The security of a Joomla website can be increased with the addition of extensions like jomDefender, jSecure and the Akeeba Admin Tools.

  • Frequent backups are quite helpful in case the website suffers any form damage or the web files are penetrated.

  • Strong password must be used for administrative pages and folders.

The Joomla organization provides various explanations for the practice of information for Joomla websites which provides details of the choices that can be made by the administrators so as to maintain privacy settings. For example, when one is registering for a Joomla forum, he/she can choose whether they have an issue with other members of the forum connecting with them. When projects or extensions are registered on, users have to choice of agreement/disagreement for the separate terms of services that grants permission to Joomla organizations to connect with the website administrators. Wiki pages are created by Joomla where the identity of the website is recorded and any abuse, if detected, on the IP can lead to the blocking of the webpage.

8.  Any e-commerce website is generally expected to be communicated at its best with its backing and the legacy systems. However the process of integration involves distinct issues that are mitigated through various techniques. 

First of all, the e-commerce website ought to have its access to the real-time data of a particular product, the customer and the information supply chain. This indicates that the chosen technologies must be scalable and has to be perfectly compatible with the platforms. To make the technologies perfectly compatible, the site architecture must be understood thoroughly before integrating in order to avoid any sort of data loss or disruption. Then, that data needs to be synchronized and again, understood thoroughly before the integration. Because the companies tend to focus on the automatic existing processes, it is compulsory for bringing about improvements in the present workflows in a phased manner. Along with such genuine approaches, there are few internal factors that can also take part in the  success of the site. It is essential to receive support from the executives and maintain the consensus among all the stakeholders. Apart from these, an undeniable commitment is also required prior to signing up for the funding. A 'Team' is at the core of any successful venture. In the initial stages only, the stakeholders ought to be involved in the integration beyond the IT support. It may include other business units or departments too. Whenever a change is noticed in the e-commerce integration, it seems that the employees are affected in the current workflow. Thus, it is nearly mandatory for the employees to have knowledge regarding the project and be fully trained in making use of new resources that result from the integration. Now, before further  integration, what is required is that all broken codes (written) must be fixed like that of fuzzy processes. Within integration, any broken code may end up costing a huge amount, surprisingly. Backend integration has a huge potential and also provides lucrative opportunities for the applications and of course business processes. In order to make this happen, a realistic approach is taken for fruitful backend integration.

Website Structure

As it comes to the legacy system, generally a technical approach is undertaken. It is only possible by developing a layer of custom integration popular as the wrappers between the modern systems and the legacy system i.e. The e-commerce application. Such a layeroffers the intermediary communication interface on exposing the web service to the application. For instance: in the case of an e-commerce application,  a legacy application has been running on the mainframe. A custom layer shall not expose the details of the main frame and that of legacy systems. And in that case, the web services of APIs communicate with a third-party application. The custom layer helps to integrate the data from the legacy sources. In the world of e-commerce application, the system is allowed to talk to the system of payment processing, CMS, and so on. 

This indicates that the integration between the e-commerce solution and that of the back systems can be done with the workaround. It will make sure that the e-commerce solution continues its performance without major disruptions and allows the smooth transition to an integrated system with time. As a matter of fact, it turns out to be helping in mitigating the risks

9. Following are the required hardware and software tools for establishing an e-commerce website:

  • Oracle : With the new improvements made almost daily, Oracle brings about easier management and deployment of the database. In the field of ecommerce this site will address a large number of users which will eventually turn out to be a larger amount of data. Thus Oracle is the ideal choice of database. It helps to maximize data safety and its availability.

  • Toad for Oracle - It is the exclusive praise worthy software application coming from DELL, which offers a far better GUI for administration and development of Oracle using the SQL.

  • Platform tools - Joomla 2.5 is the open sourced, free content management frame for publishing the web content. It has been based on Model-View-Controller application framework. Thereby it makes the use of the templates and has been already developed in PHP. There are several versions of Joomla right since it had been introduced. This site is created in Joomla 2.5. The default template is selected to carry on work with.

  • Payment gateway - The payment gateway is the e-commerce provider which provides authentic services like the credit card payments for online businesses and e-commerce. The option protects the details of credit cards to encrypt sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers to make sure that they have been passed on safely between the merchants and the customers. A payment gateway helps to transfer information between a payment portal and the front end processor.

  • Web browsers or Device test – As soon as the application has been finished, it needs to be tested for the functioning and the quality. E-commerce site has been tested using the AppLause. It tests apps on real devices by real users. Moreover, it provides the option of instant testing on the 360-degree dashboard of the app. With the results and user reviews, the quality of the app can thereby be improved.

  • Coding tools - Aptana is the WYSIWYG tool only for developers to build a site. It has a pretty easy usable interface which makes a perfect choice for the novice users and developers. Moreover, it can work with new technologies: HTML, CSS, PHP flash and even JQuery. It supports file transfers and supports subversions.


Cost ($)





Toad for Oracle


Joomla 2.5


Payment Gateway


Once the project estimate has been broken down into high-level phases, it is time for getting further granular and breaking a particular phase into tasks. Thus, from here the estimate starts being tailored to specific projects, including common tasks which you can use over and over again. 

Phase 1- Requirement Mapping or Gathering-The most essential requirements ought to be recognized and analyzed prior to making the final vendor decision. The implementation team members must be acquainted with the most fruitful practice recommendations, and map them to the unique processes.

Phase Two: Design-Once the requirements have been gathered and mapped, the next stage involves building the functional specifications, which may be accomplished by any implementation partner. The step also involves documentation of the complex data flow, planning all that can be achieved on simple configuration, and determining the elements for development and integration. The design can be high level and low level. High level design explains the relation between the multiple functions and the modules. High Level Design is again covered up in Low Level Designs which define the logic for the entire component in an e - commerce system.

1. Initial catalogue load – The initial catalogue load extracts data in the .csv format for easy uploading. The data, in this stage is made ready for loading via Map catalog model of data, WCS data model, style sheets and deign XML. Data is customized when needed and the loader utilities generally are used to load resolved data to commerce data models.

2. The Express Payment Configuration Credit Card Authorization, payment reservation, deposit, approval and system and application level other than handling, with google checkout.

3. Store Locator is integrated with Google Maps for Proximity Search and Directions includes:

Undeniable features left unimplemented

4. The new store locator wouldn’t just let an individual get lost. Real time directions to drive with reverse directions shall be provided. Proximity search facilities has been gifted with configurable distance scale. The store locator is compatible with WebSphere commerce version 7 Elite, Madison, and even an advanced B2B store.

5. Real Time Shipping Rates Calculator for tracking shipped goods through UPS, FEDEX or any other preferred carrier includes:

6. The owners can easily configure the shipping codes, carriers, etc. The configuration for real time shipping charges from FEDEX, UPS, etc., Shipment tracking is going on and shall be implemented soon enough.

7. Training- Websphere commerce shall be using activity builders along with other promotions s and price related laws to offer specific features.

8. Training for Business users - Activity builders and other promotions through campaigns as well as a price related rules would be used by the WebSphere Commerce in order to provide certain features.

11.  E-commerce websites are known to be presenting an impressive view of the operation by highlighting the key features. Needless to mention again, eCommerce, as a retail channel plays a prominent role for sale as well, through retailers. X (change the name) has also witnessed commerce as its viable alternative to the physical store and it considers that an E-commerce website could also benefit riptide in other ways. It would serve as an ideal marketing medium for the company and the store would be open 24X7 for customers to shop. Moreover, customers need not visit the store to explore merchandize. It has additional benefits for Riptide as this company would cater to customer needs from their distant locations. Furthermore, the availability of the analytical tools on the website shall help to seek valuable insights about the customers, including information regarding their interest and purchase; in return it will facilitate Business Analytics. The decision of running the E-commerce store would, however throw some challenges at Riptide. Yet one must not forget that, this particular way of reaching out to the audience has benefits such as:

  • Good shopping experience - The first and foremost thing that comes to mind is that an E-commerce website creates a wonderful shopping on eliminating the hassles of shopping involved in physical stores. Shoppers will not have to wait in a line, can avail safe delivery with barely any damage to the goods, and thereby saving time.

  • Cost-effective marketing - marketing tools available online may be used for reaching out to a wider audience and that would save the costs involved otherwise in the old marketing methods.

  • Profit Maximizing - E-commerce website rejects or at least reduces a large extent the costs which are involved in the operation of physical stores like that of employee hiring, rent of the store, employee hiring, and management and so on. This may increase the overall profit of the company since the cost of manufacturing a product available to the consumers is greatly reduced.

  • Availability - E-commerce sites are not only available but also accessible 24x7 throughout the year and that is so not the case when it comes to physical retail stores making them not so feasible.

12. While creating the homepage, several modules has been while those required have been enabled. For this reason, the official documentation of Joomla had been from for getting a better grasp of Joomla and about how to start working on it. Apart from this Joomla’s plug-in directory was also used, the site link is as follows:

This was done for checking out all the available plugins, which were beneficial and would be or could be used for the site. The basic intention was to have a simple minimalistic layout for the website. So, accordingly, then, the modules had been positioned and each module had been inspected then positioned for figuring out the exclusive website layout.  There was a desire for altering the footer, but an edit was essential in a file for which the backend access was mandatory, hence the process of changing the footer was left incomplete.

The implementation of shopping cart has been done using Hikashop as I was unable to implement VirtueMart. I installed the plug-in and in order to implement it I referred

Hikashop was a straightforward implementation and was installed as a built-in module. In addition to this, I also referred video tutorial for configuring Hikashop.

Kunena forum

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