Friday, July 12, 2024

Building a Shopping Cart with CodeIgniter and AJAX

Last Updated on October 10, 2023


In this blog post, we will explore how to build a shopping cart using CodeIgniter and AJAX.

Importance of shopping carts in e-commerce websites

Shopping carts play a crucial role in e-commerce websites as they allow users to collect and manage their desired products before making a purchase.

They provide a convenient way for customers to browse, compare, and add items to their cart for later checkout.

Overview of CodeIgniter framework and AJAX

CodeIgniter is a popular PHP framework known for its simplicity and flexibility in building web applications.

It follows the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectural pattern, making it easy to organize code and maintain a structured development workflow.

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a technology that enables real-time interaction between web browsers and servers without requiring a page refresh.

It allows for dynamic and seamless updates to web pages, making it a valuable tool for creating interactive and responsive shopping cart systems.

By combining CodeIgniter and AJAX, we can create a powerful and user-friendly shopping cart with features like product listing, adding/removing items, quantity management, and updating the cart total in real-time.

In the coming sections, we will dive deep into the implementation details and step-by-step guide on how to build a shopping cart using CodeIgniter and leverage AJAX to enhance the user experience.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, this section will provide you with the necessary knowledge and hands-on examples to get started with building your own shopping cart using these technologies.

Getting Started

Installation and Setup of CodeIgniter and AJAX

  1. Download the latest version of CodeIgniter from the official website and unzip the package.

  2. Move the CodeIgniter files to your web server’s document root directory.

  3. Open the config.php file located in the “application/config” folder and set up your base URL.

  4. Create a new database and configure the database settings in the database.php file.

  5. Set up the routing rules in the routes.php file to define the URL structure of your shopping cart.

Overview of Basic Concepts and Terminologies

  1. Product: Items that are available for purchase in the shopping cart.

  2. Shopping Cart: The container where customers can add, remove, and view their selected products.

  3. Session: A temporary storage that keeps track of the customer’s selected products during their visit.

  4. AJAX: Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, a technique used to update parts of a web page without reloading the entire page.

  5. Add to Cart: The action of adding a product to the shopping cart.

  6. Remove from Cart: The action of removing a product from the shopping cart.

  7. Update Cart: The action of modifying the quantity or other details of a product in the shopping cart.

  8. Checkout: The process of finalizing the selected products and proceeding to the payment.

Creating the Shopping Cart

  1. Set up the database tables to store the products, customer information, and order details.

  2. Create a model in CodeIgniter to handle the database interactions for the shopping cart.

  3. Implement the necessary controllers and views to display the products, add them to the cart, and update the cart.

  4. Use AJAX to handle the dynamic updates of the shopping cart without refreshing the page.

  5. Implement the checkout process, including validation and processing of the customer’s information.

  6. Integrate a payment gateway to securely handle the payment transactions.

Enhancing the Shopping Cart

  1. Implement features such as product categorization, sorting, and searching for a better user experience.

  2. Add the ability for customers to save their shopping cart and continue shopping at a later time.

  3. Implement a login system to allow registered users to view their past orders and save their shipping information.

  4. Use CSS and JavaScript to enhance the visual appearance of the shopping cart and make it more user-friendly.

  5. Implement security measures to protect the shopping cart from unauthorized access and data breaches.

Building a shopping cart with CodeIgniter and AJAX allows you to create a robust and user-friendly e-commerce solution.

With the flexibility of CodeIgniter and the dynamic updates of AJAX, you can provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

By understanding the basic concepts and terminologies, you can effectively build and enhance your shopping cart to meet the specific needs of your business.

Read: Integrate Python with Databases: SQL, NoSQL Explained

Creating the Database

  1. This section covers creating a shopping cart database in CodeIgniter.

  2. Design the schema, identifying entities, attributes, and relationships.

  3. Set up tables for entities like products, customers, and orders.

  4. Define fields based on shopping cart requirements.

  5. Establish relationships, e.g., orders linked to customer IDs.

  6. Link products and orders to show which products are in each order.

  7. Implement constraints like unique emails for customers.

  8. Ensure data accuracy and prevent inconsistencies in the shopping cart.

  9. A well-structured database is essential for a robust shopping cart system in CodeIgniter.

Read: Top 10 Coding Software for Beginners in 2023

Creating Models

In this section, we will focus on creating models for handling products, users, and the shopping cart in our CodeIgniter-based application.

Models serve as the backbone of the application, responsible for interacting with the database and handling data operations.

  • Begin by creating a new file for each model, following the naming convention of “Model_name.php”.

  • Inside each model file, define the class and extend the CI_Model class provided by CodeIgniter.

  • Implement necessary properties and methods within the model class to handle specific functionalities.

Implementing CRUD operations for the models

  1. For each model, define methods to handle CRUD operations – Create, Read, Update, and Delete.

  2. To create a new record, define a method that accepts necessary parameters and inserts the data into the corresponding database table.

  3. For reading records, create methods that retrieve data based on specific conditions like user ID or product ID.

  4. To update records, define methods that accept the updated data and appropriate conditions to identify the record to be updated.

  5. Lastly, for deleting records, create methods that accept parameters to identify the record and delete it from the table.

By following these steps, we can ensure our models are properly set up and have the necessary operations to interact with our application’s database.

Advantages of using models

  1. Separation of concerns: Models allow us to separate the database interactions and data manipulation from other parts of the application, enhancing code organization and maintainability.

  2. Reusability: Once models are implemented, they can be reused in different parts of the application to interact with the same data entities.

  3. Security: By using models, we can implement input validation, data sanitization, and proper database interactions, minimizing the risk of SQL injection attacks or data corruption.

  4. Testing: Models can be easily unit tested, as they represent a distinct component of the application, allowing for better software quality control.

In fact conclusion, creating models is an essential part of building a shopping cart application with CodeIgniter and AJAX.

By defining models for handling products, users, and the shopping cart and implementing CRUD operations, we can ensure proper data handling and manipulation.

Models provide separation of concerns, reusability, security, and ease of testing, making them a crucial component of any CodeIgniter application.

Read: Integrating Bootstrap with CodeIgniter: A Simple Tutorial

Creating Controllers

In order to build a shopping cart with CodeIgniter and AJAX, we need to start by creating controllers.

Controllers handle the logic and processing of data for different parts of our application.

Creating a controller for handling product listings

  • Start by creating a new file called “Products.php” in the “controllers” folder.

  • Inside the file, define a class called “Products” that extends the CI_Controller class.

  • Within the class, create a function called “index” to handle the default product listing page.

  • Load the necessary model and view files to display the product data on the page.

Developing a user management controller

  • Create another file called “Users.php” in the “controllers” folder.

  • Define a class called “Users” that extends the CI_Controller class.

  • Add functions for handling user registration, login, and logout.

  • Implement validation and authentication processes within these functions.

  • Load the model and view files needed to process user data.

Creating a controller for cart operations

  • Lastly, create a file named “Cart.php” in the “controllers” folder.

  • Define a class called “Cart” that extends the CI_Controller class.

  • Add functions for adding items to the cart, updating quantities, and removing items.

  • Implement necessary validation and calculation methods to ensure accurate cart operations.

  • Load model and view files required for processing cart data.

By creating separate controllers for different parts of the application, we can ensure a clear and organized structure.

Each controller will handle specific tasks related to product listings, user management, and cart operations.

Implementing necessary functions and methods within the controllers will allow us to perform various operations. For example:

  • Within the “Products” controller, we can create functions like “viewProduct” to display details of a specific product.

  • The “Users” controller can have functions like “editProfile” to allow users to modify their personal information.

  • The “Cart” controller can include methods like “calculateTotal” to calculate the total price of items in the cart.

These functions and methods will be responsible for manipulating data and interacting with the corresponding models and views.

In short, creating controllers is an essential step in building a shopping cart with CodeIgniter and AJAX.

By creating separate controllers for different functionalities, we can structure our application in a logical and organized manner.

The functions and methods within these controllers enable us to handle product listings, user management, and cart operations efficiently.

Read: Best Coding Software for Web Development Projects

Building a Shopping Cart with CodeIgniter and AJAX

Implementing AJAX

In this section, we will explore the basics of AJAX and its role in building a dynamic shopping cart.

We will also learn how to implement AJAX requests to handle add to cart, remove from cart, and update cart functionalities.

Understanding the basics of AJAX

AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript And XML, is a technique used to update parts of a web page without reloading the entire page.

It allows for dynamic and interactive user experiences.

The role of AJAX in building a dynamic shopping cart

With AJAX, we can enhance the shopping cart by making it update in real-time without refreshing the page.

This provides a smoother and more user-friendly shopping experience.

Implementing AJAX requests for add to cart functionality

To implement the add to cart functionality using AJAX, we will send a request to the server to add the selected item to the cart.

Upon receiving a response, we will update the cart section on the page dynamically.

Implementing AJAX requests for remove from cart functionality

Similarly, when a user wants to remove an item from the cart, we will use AJAX to send a request to the server.

The server will then remove the item from the cart and send a response back to update the cart section on the page.

Implementing AJAX requests for update cart functionality

To allow users to update the quantity of items in the cart, we can use AJAX to send a request to the server with the updated quantity.

The server will process the request and send back a response to update the cart section on the page.

Using AJAX to provide a seamless shopping experience

By implementing AJAX in our shopping cart, we can make the entire process seamless and efficient.

Users can add, remove, and update items in their cart without any page reloads, providing a smoother and faster experience.

Benefits of implementing AJAX in a shopping cart

Implementing AJAX in a shopping cart not only enhances the user experience but also reduces server load.

With AJAX, only the necessary data is sent and received, minimizing the amount of data transmitted between the client and server.

Challenges of implementing AJAX in a shopping cart

While AJAX offers numerous benefits, there are also challenges to consider.

These include handling errors, ensuring data security, and maintaining proper validation and error handling on the server-side.

In this section, we explored the basics of AJAX and its significance in building a dynamic shopping cart.

We learned how to implement AJAX requests for add to cart, remove from cart, and update cart functionalities.

By using AJAX, we can create a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience for our users.

Building the Views

In this section, we will focus on building the views for our shopping cart application.

The views will include product listings, user login/registration, and the shopping cart itself.

Designing and Coding the Front-end Views

The first step in building our shopping cart is to design and code the front-end views.

We need to create the user interface that will allow users to interact with our application.

For the product listings view, we will display a list of products with their names, prices, and add to cart buttons.

We can use HTML and CSS to create an appealing layout for this view.

Next, we need to design and code the user login/registration view.

This view should include input fields for the user’s email, password, and any other required information.

We can style this view using CSS to make it user-friendly.

The last view we need to build is the shopping cart view.

This view should display the items that the user has added to their cart, along with the quantities and the total cost.

We can use HTML tables and CSS to create a visually appealing cart view.

Integrating the Views with CodeIgniter and AJAX Functionalities

Once we have designed and coded the front-end views, we need to integrate them with CodeIgniter and AJAX functionalities.

These technologies will allow us to handle user interactions and update the views dynamically.

In CodeIgniter, we can create controllers and methods to handle user requests and load the appropriate views.

For example, when a user adds an item to their cart, we can call a method in the controller that updates the cart view and stores the item in the session.

Additionally, we can use AJAX to make our application more responsive.

For example, when a user clicks on the add to cart button, we can use AJAX to send a request to the server and update the cart view without refreshing the entire page.

To integrate the views with CodeIgniter and AJAX functionalities, we need to add the necessary JavaScript and PHP code to our views and controllers.

This code will handle the communication between the front-end and back-end of our application.

In this section, we have covered the process of building the views for our shopping cart application.

We have discussed how to design and code the front-end views for product listings, user login/registration, and the shopping cart.

We have also explored how to integrate these views with CodeIgniter and AJAX functionalities to create a dynamic and responsive user experience.

In the next section, we will focus on building the backend functionality of our shopping cart application, including adding and removing items from the cart and processing payments.

Testing and Debugging

  1. Comprehensive testing of the shopping cart is vital to ensure functionality.

  2. Examine all aspects, like adding, updating, and removing items.

  3. Include positive and negative scenarios to find potential issues.

  4. Test different cases, e.g., multiple products, discounts, and attributes.

  5. Ensure accurate handling of user interactions.

  6. Use automated testing tools to save time and maintain consistency.

  7. Document and prioritize discovered bugs for fixing.

  8. Debug systematically, identifying root causes and making necessary changes.

  9. Focus on code related to adding/removing items, updating quantities, and applying discounts.

  10. Debugging tools assist in error identification and resolution.

  11. Re-test after bug fixes to prevent new issues.

  12. Conduct regression testing to verify existing functionalities.

  13. User acceptance testing gathers feedback for usability improvements.

  14. Continuous testing and debugging ensure reliability and a seamless user experience.

  15. Regular maintenance and updates should include testing for new bugs and issues.

  16. Testing and debugging are critical for building a robust shopping cart application.


We have explored the process of building a shopping cart using CodeIgniter and AJAX.

We started by setting up the CodeIgniter framework and creating the necessary database tables.

Then, we implemented the functionality to add and remove items from the cart using AJAX requests.

We also discussed the importance of properly sanitizing user input to prevent security vulnerabilities.

By using CodeIgniter’s built-in form validation library, we can ensure that the data submitted by users is safe and valid.

Throughout the development process, we emphasized the significance of testing and debugging to ensure that our shopping cart functions correctly in different scenarios.

By continuously testing and refining our code, we can deliver a high-quality and reliable e-commerce solution.

As developers, we are encouraged to further explore and customize the shopping cart according to the specific needs of our projects.

CodeIgniter’s modular design allows us to easily extend the functionality of our application by adding custom libraries, helpers, and models.

In review, building a shopping cart with CodeIgniter and AJAX has numerous benefits for e-commerce development.

The combination of CodeIgniter’s powerful framework and AJAX’s asynchronous communication enhances user experience and improves overall performance.

The structured approach offered by CodeIgniter allows for organized and efficient development, while AJAX enables seamless updates without page reloads.

By leveraging these technologies, developers can create robust and dynamic e-commerce platforms that provide a smooth and interactive shopping experience for customers.

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