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PHP Hacks by Jack D. Herrington

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Hack #62. Add a Buy Now Button

Use PayPal to add a Buy Now button to your PHP web application.

PayPal's Buy Now buttons are ideal for e-commerce impulse sales. They are easy for the customer to use, and there's no lengthy checkout procedure. One click and you're on PayPal's secured site.

These buttons are also very easy to install; because of their simplicity, though, web applications often don't put in the extra work required to track and secure sales. This hack shows how to track and secure purchases made using Buy Now buttons. I will take you through the steps of creating a Buy Now button, modifying it to create a database record of the purchase, and I'll show how to secure the purchase using Instant Payment Notification (IPN).

Tip

This hack requires PHP 5 and MySQL Version 4.1.3 or higher, along with the mysqli extension.

Creating a Buy Now Button

You don't need to worry about manually creating the HTML form for a Buy Now button. Just go to your PayPal account, choose Merchant Tools, and click on the Buy Now Buttons link. Within seconds, you'll have the HTML form ready to embed into your web site. The Buy Now button looks like Figure 6-31.

The Buy Now button

Figure 6-31. The Buy Now button

As it stands right now, this form has a couple of shortcomings. It's not geared toward tracking purchases in a database, and like any form on the Internet, it is subject to hijacking. A local copy of the form can be made, ...

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