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Javascript Shopping Cart Tutorial: Javascript Explained

Table of Contents

In this tutorial, we will cover the basics and importance of using Javascript to create a shopping cart system. We will discuss what Javascript and its benefits are, how to create a shopping cart with Javascript, adding items to the shopping cart, calculating discounts and tax rates, storing shopping cart data with local storage, building an interactive checkout process, making the shopping cart mobile-friendly, and common challenges when using Javascript for shopping cart systems. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the mechanics of creating a shopping cart with Javascript. Let’s get started!

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language. It is primarily used in web development to create interactive websites and web applications. JavaScript is often used with HTML and CSS, which are two other programming languages. Together, these three languages form the backbone of websites.

JavaScript is defined by two main characteristics: dynamic and weakly typed. This means that when creating a script, you don’t need to define which data type it will store beforehand. JavaScript is also an asynchronous language which means that code is executed as soon as it’s written, without waiting for something else to happen first. This allows for quicker loading and execution times.

Benefits of Using a JavaScript Shopping Cart

Using JavaScript for creating a shopping cart provides several benefits. The usage of this language makes it easier to build interactive e-commerce websites, allowing customers to add products they would like to purchase and track their own shopping cart. Additionally, since it is easy to create complex, customized user experiences with Javascript, it can be used to create unique shopping experiences tailored to end users.

In addition to convenience and customization, using Javascript also makes the entire process faster. JavaScript allows developers to directly manipulate the HTML of web pages in order to quickly update information like product availability and total price. Furthermore, Javascript is cross-browser compatible, meaning there’s no need to create separate versions of a shopping cart for different browsers.

How to Create a Shopping Cart with JavaScript

When beginning the creation of a shopping cart in JavaScript, developers should first consider the goals and desired functions of the cart. What kind of content needs to be stored? What types of calculations need to be performed? What types of user interactions will the cart need? Developers should also consider which frameworks or libraries might be useful for quickly creating certain functionalities.

Starting with a simple structure is recommended. Create an empty product object in which you can store data related to products that have been added to the cart. Product data should include information such as product name, price, unit count, etc. This object should also keep track of variables such as the total number of items in the cart and their total cost.

After declaring the product object, you should create functions which handle the different interactions with the shopping cart. These could include functions that handle adding items to the cart, manipulating the count of items within the cart, or deleting items from the cart. Additionally, you should write updating functions that keeps track of certain variables like total cost, sales tax, and other modifiers.

Adding Items to the Shopping Cart

Once the basic structure of your shopping cart is set up, you can begin creating functions that facilitate adding items. Adding items typically involves taking input from the user through search bars or drop-down menus and then displaying the results for them to select from. Once an item has been selected, the item’s data should be stored in the product object with a unique identifier so that it can easily be retrieved.

If desired, you can also add features like quantity selectors to provide users with additional control over how much an item they would like to purchase. It’s important to test out any functions that bound these values as users can’t add an infinite amount of items.

Calculating Discounts and Tax Rates

Depending on the region or country where your store is located, it might be necessary or desirable to add discounts and tax rates on a product-by-product basis or on all purchases collectively. Calculating discounts and tax rates requires you to use basic math operations such as addition, multiplication and division.

Typically, developers should use constants for any discounts or tax rates in order to make sure that there are no inconsistent values and so that you can easily reference them from different parts of the code base. Additionally, you should create helper functions which calculate these values at specific points in the user’s journey.

Storing Shopping Cart Data with Local Storage

Using local storage is an effective way to ensure that users’ shopping carts persist even when they close out their browser window or switch devices. With local storage, you can store any relevant data in key-value pairs so that once a user has logged into a site, they don’t have start over from scratch with filling out their cart information.

Local storage is relatively straightforward since all you need to do is save certain data as strings within key-value pairs as JSON objects. When retrieving these strings from local storage, you must remember to parse them back into JavaScript objects so that they can be manipulated and updated on the client’s end.

Building an Interactive Checkout Process

Once customers have added all the items they wish to purchase and completed their payment information, you’ll need to build an interactive checkout process. During this step your code should perform multiple operations such as updating inventory numbers, displaying order totals including taxes and shipping costs, and sending out automated notifications to customers.

In order to make sure that each order is unique, you should create unique identifiers for each order by combining data points such as month and year of purchase along with a randomly generated string. Combining these elements allows you to create order numbers that are easily searchable in the future.

Making the Shopping Cart Mobile-Friendly

Since many shoppers use their mobile devices when browsing online stores it’s important to make sure your shopping cart is optimized for mobile devices. Mobile optimization usually involves using media queries and other responsive design principles so that your app or website can be viewed clearly on different screen sizes without compromising its usability.

Optimizing for mobile also means making sure your mobile site loads quickly as users often won’t wait around for slow pages to finish loading. Instead make sure your code is efficient and optimized so that users receive feedback quickly while navigating through their shopping cart.

Common Challenges When Working with JavaScript Shopping Carts

Working with JavaScript shopping carts can be difficult at times due to some of its quirks. One common challenge is understanding the differences between client-side and server-side validation. Client-side validation applies when customers are filling out a form or adding items to their cart while server-side validation applies when payment gateway companies are verifying transactions.

Additionally, since Javascript is asynchronous by nature, it can sometimes cause issues where JavaScript code executes before expected or due to incorrect ordering of operations. It’s important to take extra caution when debugging code related to orders as any mistakes can cause costly issues down the line.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we have discussed what Javascript is and its unique features, why developers should use Javascript for creating a shopping cart system, how to create a shopping cart with Javascript, adding items to the shopping cart, calculating discounts and tax rates, storing shopping cart data with local storage, building an interactive checkout process, making the shopping cart mobile-friendly, and common challenges when using Javascript for shopping carts. We hope this article has given you an understanding of how Javascript can be used effectively for creating a powerful shopping cart.

Sarang Sharma

Sarang Sharma

Sarang Sharma is Software Engineer at Bito with a robust background in distributed systems, chatbots, large language models (LLMs), and SaaS technologies. With over six years of experience, Sarang has demonstrated expertise as a lead software engineer and backend engineer, primarily focusing on software infrastructure and design. Before joining Bito, he significantly contributed to Engati, where he played a pivotal role in enhancing and developing advanced software solutions. His career began with foundational experiences as an intern, including a notable project at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, to develop an assistive website for the visually challenged.

Written by developers for developers

This article was handcrafted with by the Bito team.

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