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Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking at improving the eCommerce facilities on the BMTG website.

Up until now I’ve handled the handled the ticket availability via a combination of PHP and MySQL. The shopping basket and checkout has then been handled by PayPal. To add some more flexibility, though, I’ve been taking over the shopping basket. The coding was a little complicated but it’s done. I can now track multiple tickets in a basket, with options to change quantities and delete items from the basket. All well and good.

The next bit is to pass the basket entries to PayPal for final payment.

Oh lord.

The main PayPal site has “walk through” screens on how to add the code. But stuff is missing – but can be found in a 100+ downloadable PDF manual. Add to that the code they give you includes a broken link to a PayPal image.

So, now, I need to find a replacement “Checkout” graphic from PayPal. Could I find one. Could I heck. However, there was a news story about PayPal updating their graphics so I followed that and found a list of “before” and “after” images. That told me that PayPal generated images – such as the ones provided in the example code – would update automatically. The other option was to download replacement images and host them yourself. This wasn’t my preferred option, but I went for it anyway. Guess what? Yes, clicking on the link to download the image showed me the code that was required to host it from the PayPal site – exactly what I was after. But in no way obvious.

And that’s what I’ve found about the PayPal site in general – nothing is where you’d expect it to be and everything needs a good deal of searching to find.

Which is why most of the help can be found at the PayPal Developer Community – a group of official PayPal forums that I only came across via a Google search.

These forums mentioned that I could use the PayPal Sandbox for testing purposes. But could I find a link? No. A search on Google naturally lead me to a completely different site – PayPal Developer Central. And don’t even get me started on how complicated the Sandbox is to use…

So right now I’m frustrated to hell. My coding of the PayPal interface has barely started as I’ve spent all my time desperately trying to find answers to what I think are basic questions.

And after that… I’ve going to add Google Checkout as a second payment option. God help me.