Wow...is that all ... :-)
What you are asking for is a full blown classifieds program, which
yes, takes a great deal create. I'm afraid that what you know of HTML
and design is not going to help very much. You will need an extensive
knowledge of PHP (or Perl) and understand how to create and maintain a
database like MySQL.
There are of course several pre-made packages out there which would
serve your needs. Some are better than others, and the prices can
range from $200 - $1400. To have a program made for you from scratch
would probably start at $5k and go up from there with the tweaks and
changes that inevitably come with such projects.
A place to find someone to help you with this would be Guru.com
From the myriad of hacked and dashed projects out there for classified
ad programs, these two appear to be fairly good, and have some good
You are probably going to need someones help to get these installed
for you. PHP Classifieds allows you to download the complete system
and install it, to make sure it is what you are after. The price for
commercial use is $179, which is very reasonable considering the
quality of the work.
68 Classifieds has a live demo of on their website so that you can
take an in-depth tour before you buy.
The way the programs look is driven by Templates, so you can change or
alter the way the programs are designed, but with templates these
design changes are going to be a bit different than what you are use
too. The 68 Classifieds uses a template engine called Smarty
(http://smarty.php.net) which is a very good template system, and
allows for much greater control over the look and feel of the program.
While this is something I would look for in the program, and a very
valuable find, your experience is going to need some upgrading to take
advantage of the Smarty Template, or you are going to need someone
that can help you.
PHP Classifieds as a system that is a bit more user friendly, and
easier to figure out, though perhaps not quite as powerful (nothing
says you need the extra power so this may be a better answer for you).
Doing a bit of further checking, PHP Classifieds currently has a
Security Advisory out, which doesn't appear to be addressed yet;
Which brings up something else when thinking about creating/owning
programs of this type; security is always a problem, and you will want
to keep up with any advisories that come out regarding the package you
choose. The problems will probably be fixed in short order, and having
these problems is not necessarily a sign of poor or inexperienced
The fixes for the security and bug problems will come out
(traditionally) as code snipits which will require the editing of the
existing files, or the re-installing of the program. Sooner or later
you are going to need to know something about the code and the
Internet programming can look simple on the skin, take for example
Google Answers. This system looks very simple, a few forms, a simple
account system, a bit of security and a rather simple looking payment
area. People ask a question, Researchers answer the question, the
question is marked "Answered" and then it is billed ... very simple ..
:-) I know for a fact that it took several years to get all the code
done, and some very clever minds to put it together, and there was
nothing "cheap" about it.
The packages I've listed here for you are good ones. It would probably
be wise to download the PHP Classifieds project, and even if you can't
install it yourself, to go through the files and code to see what such
a program requires to be created.
If you need clarification on any of this, please let me know using the
Request for Answer Clarification by
20 May 2006 10:52 PDT
I have looked into 68 Classifieds and PHP Classifieds, I went through
the demos, and they seem very good. However, will my website be
restricted to looking like those do there, and will I have to use the
templates provided? I don't quite understand Smarty either. So
pretty much what I am asking is, if I want my website to look exactly
how I want it, am I going to have to learn PHP or hire someone? I
will learn the language if it is necessary to get my website looking
how I want it to.