Several days ago I decided to use PayPal’s Website Payments Pro system for the Stronico credit card processing system. At the time, I thought PayPal was the obvious choice. It had relatively low fees (about $60 per month), no setup fee, and it seemed to be the 800 pound gorilla in the space, so how bad coudl it behard could the setup be?
As it turned out, I was very, very wrong. I spent part of the day Sunday and all day Monday wading through non-working sample code, looking at near duplicate setup guides for the 56 (how it is 56 I don’t know) versions of their Website Payments Pro system, installing all of the add-ons needed to get the sample apps going and so on and so forth. All of that merely to make a Get request with the proper query string (which is all the Website Payments Pro System really is).
At the end of Monday I reasoned that if it started out this bad there would no redeeming features down the road and signed up for Authorize.net. I was approved and got their sample code working (with test data, but working) in about 45 minutes!
Lessons learned from the experience:
- Quick start guides are mandatory
- Descriptive URLs are more helpful than I previously thought
- If something is obsolete, be it a help file, or a download, keep it available, but mark every page as obsolete.
- Call different things with different names. For instance, Website Payments Pro is easily confused with Website Payments Pro, PayFlow Edition (which predates Website Payments Pro actually)
- Do not require third party software in sample code, even if it is free open source software
- Use the bare minimum amount of code as sample code
- If you have a knowledge base, answer the actual questions, do not refer people to guides, help files or similar questions.
- Do not require special permissions to run sample code
- Provide sample code in snippets, not solution files
This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog
Written By Steve French