order form for a courier service

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an order form for a courier service that a customer could see an estimate for delivery from a city to another or a state to another? I thought of the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea how to put everything like different zip codes and prices together.

Thanks, Marcus


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Not easy, not by any stretch. You’re well into the realm of business
logic and application programming.

First of all, unless you have a list of all zip codes, and a way to
determine the distance between them (the Great Circle calculation) and
you have a good way to take the distance and turn it into cost, this
idea is pretty well not going anywhere.

http://pluto.walterdavisstudio.com/zip/

I made this in the late 90’s as an experiment. It does something
similar to what you’re talking about. It’s not complete, as I used a
then-current copy of the USPS Zip Code database to load it up, and
haven’t touched it since.

But even with a new set of data, there’s some flaws with this
approach. Zip codes are described in the database as a latitude/
longitude point roughly central within an often jagged shape (the
bounds of that code). Two addresses in adjacent zip codes could be
noted as being 1 mile apart, when they are actually across the street
from one another. Conversely, a point on one edge of a Zip code could
be N miles further away from a point on the opposite side of another
Zip code. It gets even worse in sparsely-populated areas, where Zip
codes are usually a lot physically larger in order to draw a ring
around a similar number of households. And then, just to add insult to
injury, you’re computing a point-to-point (as the crow flies) distance
with this method, and not taking into account the topography and
street map in any way.

What you really need is a way to hook into a decent mapping system
like Google Maps, and use their routing algorithms to plot a driving
distance between two points. I don’t know of any off the top of my
head, but believe me when I tell you this: once you start working with
the Google Maps API, you will need your propeller-beanie screwed on
tight, and your can of Jolt nearby.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:37 PM, Marcus Do Carmo wrote:

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an order
form for a courier service that a customer could see an estimate for
delivery from a city to another or a state to another? I thought of
the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea how to put everything like
different zip codes and prices together.

Thanks, Marcus


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Hello Walter, thanks for your prompt reply. I was afraid it wouldn’t be easy…

You have a nice form there with the zip codes and I can imagine how complexed was making this.

Maybe, I could suggest the client to use fixed prices from one place in the city to another and from one state to another not considering the zip codes, etc. or from They are a local courier service and will mainly, attend this area. What do you think?

Best, Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:56 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

Not easy, not by any stretch. You’re well into the realm of business logic and application programming.

First of all, unless you have a list of all zip codes, and a way to determine the distance between them (the Great Circle calculation) and you have a good way to take the distance and turn it into cost, this idea is pretty well not going anywhere.

http://pluto.walterdavisstudio.com/zip/

I made this in the late 90’s as an experiment. It does something similar to what you’re talking about. It’s not complete, as I used a then-current copy of the USPS Zip Code database to load it up, and haven’t touched it since.

But even with a new set of data, there’s some flaws with this approach. Zip codes are described in the database as a latitude/longitude point roughly central within an often jagged shape (the bounds of that code). Two addresses in adjacent zip codes could be noted as being 1 mile apart, when they are actually across the street from one another. Conversely, a point on one edge of a Zip code could be N miles further away from a point on the opposite side of another Zip code. It gets even worse in sparsely-populated areas, where Zip codes are usually a lot physically larger in order to draw a ring around a similar number of households. And then, just to add insult to injury, you’re computing a point-to-point (as the crow flies) distance with this method, and not taking into account the topography and street map in any way.

What you really need is a way to hook into a decent mapping system like Google Maps, and use their routing algorithms to plot a driving distance between two points. I don’t know of any off the top of my head, but believe me when I tell you this: once you start working with the Google Maps API, you will need your propeller-beanie screwed on tight, and your can of Jolt nearby.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:37 PM, Marcus Do Carmo wrote:

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an order form for a courier service that a customer could see an estimate for delivery from a city to another or a state to another? I thought of the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea how to put everything like different zip codes and prices together.

Thanks, Marcus


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If they have a limited delivery area, one method is to set up “zones”,
and charge a certain amount to pick up from one zone and a certain
amount to deliver to another zone, and add the two together.

If each zone has its own list of Zip codes, and these don’t change a
lot, you wouldn’t need much in the way of a back-end database for this
calculation. Two pickers on the customer-facing page: pick up from Zip
code, and deliver to Zip code. These would not be fill-in fields, but
rather pickers so the customer can see if the delivery is even
possible with your service. Then just take the input from those two
pickers, look up the resulting zones for pickup and delivery, and then
return the costs added together.

On average, if they’re busy, it will even out. But still there will be
some long hauls that end up being cheap for the customer.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:21 PM, Valerio Do Carmo wrote:

Hello Walter, thanks for your prompt reply. I was afraid it wouldn’t
be easy…

You have a nice form there with the zip codes and I can imagine how
complexed was making this.

Maybe, I could suggest the client to use fixed prices from one place
in the city to another and from one state to another not considering
the zip codes, etc. or from They are a local courier service and
will mainly, attend this area. What do you think?

Best, Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:56 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

Not easy, not by any stretch. You’re well into the realm of
business logic and application programming.

First of all, unless you have a list of all zip codes, and a way to
determine the distance between them (the Great Circle calculation)
and you have a good way to take the distance and turn it into cost,
this idea is pretty well not going anywhere.

http://pluto.walterdavisstudio.com/zip/

I made this in the late 90’s as an experiment. It does something
similar to what you’re talking about. It’s not complete, as I used
a then-current copy of the USPS Zip Code database to load it up,
and haven’t touched it since.

But even with a new set of data, there’s some flaws with this
approach. Zip codes are described in the database as a latitude/
longitude point roughly central within an often jagged shape (the
bounds of that code). Two addresses in adjacent zip codes could be
noted as being 1 mile apart, when they are actually across the
street from one another. Conversely, a point on one edge of a Zip
code could be N miles further away from a point on the opposite
side of another Zip code. It gets even worse in sparsely-populated
areas, where Zip codes are usually a lot physically larger in order
to draw a ring around a similar number of households. And then,
just to add insult to injury, you’re computing a point-to-point (as
the crow flies) distance with this method, and not taking into
account the topography and street map in any way.

What you really need is a way to hook into a decent mapping system
like Google Maps, and use their routing algorithms to plot a
driving distance between two points. I don’t know of any off the
top of my head, but believe me when I tell you this: once you start
working with the Google Maps API, you will need your propeller-
beanie screwed on tight, and your can of Jolt nearby.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:37 PM, Marcus Do Carmo wrote:

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an
order form for a courier service that a customer could see an
estimate for delivery from a city to another or a state to
another? I thought of the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea
how to put everything like different zip codes and prices together.

Thanks, Marcus


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Thank you Walter!
Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…
Should I use the PHP Feedback form for this?

Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:53 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

If they have a limited delivery area, one method is to set up “zones”, and charge a certain amount to pick up from one zone and a certain amount to deliver to another zone, and add the two together.

If each zone has its own list of Zip codes, and these don’t change a lot, you wouldn’t need much in the way of a back-end database for this calculation. Two pickers on the customer-facing page: pick up from Zip code, and deliver to Zip code. These would not be fill-in fields, but rather pickers so the customer can see if the delivery is even possible with your service. Then just take the input from those two pickers, look up the resulting zones for pickup and delivery, and then return the costs added together.

On average, if they’re busy, it will even out. But still there will be some long hauls that end up being cheap for the customer.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:21 PM, Valerio Do Carmo wrote:

Hello Walter, thanks for your prompt reply. I was afraid it wouldn’t be easy…

You have a nice form there with the zip codes and I can imagine how complexed was making this.

Maybe, I could suggest the client to use fixed prices from one place in the city to another and from one state to another not considering the zip codes, etc. or from They are a local courier service and will mainly, attend this area. What do you think?

Best, Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:56 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

Not easy, not by any stretch. You’re well into the realm of business logic and application programming.

First of all, unless you have a list of all zip codes, and a way to determine the distance between them (the Great Circle calculation) and you have a good way to take the distance and turn it into cost, this idea is pretty well not going anywhere.

http://pluto.walterdavisstudio.com/zip/

I made this in the late 90’s as an experiment. It does something similar to what you’re talking about. It’s not complete, as I used a then-current copy of the USPS Zip Code database to load it up, and haven’t touched it since.

But even with a new set of data, there’s some flaws with this approach. Zip codes are described in the database as a latitude/longitude point roughly central within an often jagged shape (the bounds of that code). Two addresses in adjacent zip codes could be noted as being 1 mile apart, when they are actually across the street from one another. Conversely, a point on one edge of a Zip code could be N miles further away from a point on the opposite side of another Zip code. It gets even worse in sparsely-populated areas, where Zip codes are usually a lot physically larger in order to draw a ring around a similar number of households. And then, just to add insult to injury, you’re computing a point-to-point (as the crow flies) distance with this method, and not taking into account the topography and street map in any way.

What you really need is a way to hook into a decent mapping system like Google Maps, and use their routing algorithms to plot a driving distance between two points. I don’t know of any off the top of my head, but believe me when I tell you this: once you start working with the Google Maps API, you will need your propeller-beanie screwed on tight, and your can of Jolt nearby.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:37 PM, Marcus Do Carmo wrote:

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an order form for a courier service that a customer could see an estimate for delivery from a city to another or a state to another? I thought of the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea how to put everything like different zip codes and prices together.

Thanks, Marcus


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The PHP Feedback Form Action can send the form inputs by e-mail. But
that’s all it does. If you want to set a value based on a calculation,
and display that value back to the customer, you’re going to have to
use a different system. You might use PHP, you could use JavaScript if
the calculation doesn’t matter (if it’s a sort of “convenience”
feature – to give the customer an idea what their delivery would cost
– but not the actual invoicing system) and both would work in pretty
much the same manner:

  1. Gather the form input values, and sanitize them so they don’t
    contain anything harmful.
  2. Use those values (if they are within the expected range) to perform
    a lookup against a data source.
  3. Use the result of that lookup to perform some trivial arithmetic,
    and display the result.

There aren’t any Actions that will write these functions for you,
you’re either going to have to do that yourself or hire someone to do
it for you.

I can help you with either of those paths.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 5:46 PM, Valerio Do Carmo wrote:

Thank you Walter!
Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…
Should I use the PHP Feedback form for this?

Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:53 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

If they have a limited delivery area, one method is to set up
“zones”, and charge a certain amount to pick up from one zone and a
certain amount to deliver to another zone, and add the two together.

If each zone has its own list of Zip codes, and these don’t change
a lot, you wouldn’t need much in the way of a back-end database for
this calculation. Two pickers on the customer-facing page: pick up
from Zip code, and deliver to Zip code. These would not be fill-in
fields, but rather pickers so the customer can see if the delivery
is even possible with your service. Then just take the input from
those two pickers, look up the resulting zones for pickup and
delivery, and then return the costs added together.

On average, if they’re busy, it will even out. But still there will
be some long hauls that end up being cheap for the customer.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:21 PM, Valerio Do Carmo wrote:

Hello Walter, thanks for your prompt reply. I was afraid it
wouldn’t be easy…

You have a nice form there with the zip codes and I can imagine
how complexed was making this.

Maybe, I could suggest the client to use fixed prices from one
place in the city to another and from one state to another not
considering the zip codes, etc. or from They are a local courier
service and will mainly, attend this area. What do you think?

Best, Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:56 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

Not easy, not by any stretch. You’re well into the realm of
business logic and application programming.

First of all, unless you have a list of all zip codes, and a way
to determine the distance between them (the Great Circle
calculation) and you have a good way to take the distance and
turn it into cost, this idea is pretty well not going anywhere.

http://pluto.walterdavisstudio.com/zip/

I made this in the late 90’s as an experiment. It does something
similar to what you’re talking about. It’s not complete, as I
used a then-current copy of the USPS Zip Code database to load it
up, and haven’t touched it since.

But even with a new set of data, there’s some flaws with this
approach. Zip codes are described in the database as a latitude/
longitude point roughly central within an often jagged shape (the
bounds of that code). Two addresses in adjacent zip codes could
be noted as being 1 mile apart, when they are actually across the
street from one another. Conversely, a point on one edge of a Zip
code could be N miles further away from a point on the opposite
side of another Zip code. It gets even worse in sparsely-
populated areas, where Zip codes are usually a lot physically
larger in order to draw a ring around a similar number of
households. And then, just to add insult to injury, you’re
computing a point-to-point (as the crow flies) distance with this
method, and not taking into account the topography and street map
in any way.

What you really need is a way to hook into a decent mapping
system like Google Maps, and use their routing algorithms to plot
a driving distance between two points. I don’t know of any off
the top of my head, but believe me when I tell you this: once you
start working with the Google Maps API, you will need your
propeller-beanie screwed on tight, and your can of Jolt nearby.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:37 PM, Marcus Do Carmo wrote:

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an
order form for a courier service that a customer could see an
estimate for delivery from a city to another or a state to
another? I thought of the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea
how to put everything like different zip codes and prices
together.

Thanks, Marcus


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Hi Walter thank you! I think I could include it on the price for my client. Let me talk to him to have a better idea and them I’ll let you know, so you could give me your price for this. We will be in touch.

Thanks again
Marcus

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 13, 2011, at 6:31 PM, Walter Davis email@hidden wrote:

The PHP Feedback Form Action can send the form inputs by e-mail. But that’s all it does. If you want to set a value based on a calculation, and display that value back to the customer, you’re going to have to use a different system. You might use PHP, you could use JavaScript if the calculation doesn’t matter (if it’s a sort of “convenience” feature – to give the customer an idea what their delivery would cost – but not the actual invoicing system) and both would work in pretty much the same manner:

  1. Gather the form input values, and sanitize them so they don’t contain anything harmful.
  2. Use those values (if they are within the expected range) to perform a lookup against a data source.
  3. Use the result of that lookup to perform some trivial arithmetic, and display the result.

There aren’t any Actions that will write these functions for you, you’re either going to have to do that yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

I can help you with either of those paths.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 5:46 PM, Valerio Do Carmo wrote:

Thank you Walter!
Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…
Should I use the PHP Feedback form for this?

Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:53 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

If they have a limited delivery area, one method is to set up “zones”, and charge a certain amount to pick up from one zone and a certain amount to deliver to another zone, and add the two together.

If each zone has its own list of Zip codes, and these don’t change a lot, you wouldn’t need much in the way of a back-end database for this calculation. Two pickers on the customer-facing page: pick up from Zip code, and deliver to Zip code. These would not be fill-in fields, but rather pickers so the customer can see if the delivery is even possible with your service. Then just take the input from those two pickers, look up the resulting zones for pickup and delivery, and then return the costs added together.

On average, if they’re busy, it will even out. But still there will be some long hauls that end up being cheap for the customer.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 4:21 PM, Valerio Do Carmo wrote:

Hello Walter, thanks for your prompt reply. I was afraid it wouldn’t be easy…

You have a nice form there with the zip codes and I can imagine how complexed was making this.

Maybe, I could suggest the client to use fixed prices from one place in the city to another and from one state to another not considering the zip codes, etc. or from They are a local courier service and will mainly, attend this area. What do you think?

Best, Marcus

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:56 PM, Walter Davis wrote:

Not easy, not by any stretch. You’re well into the realm of business logic and application programming.

First of all, unless you have a list of all zip codes, and a way to determine the distance between them (the Great Circle calculation) and you have a good way to take the distance and turn it into cost, this idea is pretty well not going anywhere.

http://pluto.walterdavisstudio.com/zip/

I made this in the late 90’s as an experiment. It does something similar to what you’re talking about. It’s not complete, as I used a then-current copy of the USPS Zip Code database to load it up, and haven’t touched it since.

But even with a new set of data, there’s some flaws with this approach. Zip codes are described in the database as a latitude/longitude point roughly central within an often jagged shape (the bounds of that code). Two addresses in adjacent zip codes could be noted as being 1 mile apart, when they are actually across the street from one another. Conversely, a point on one edge of a Zip code could be N miles further away from a point on the opposite side of another Zip code. It gets even worse in sparsely-populated areas, where Zip codes are usually a lot physically larger in order to draw a ring around a similar number of households. And then, just to add insult to injury, you’re computing a point-to-point (as the crow flies) distance with this method, and not taking into account the topography and street map in any way.

What you really need is a way to hook into a decent mapping system like Google Maps, and use their routing algorithms to plot a driving distance between two points. I don’t know of any off the top of my head, but believe me when I tell you this: once you start working with the Google Maps API, you will need your propeller-beanie screwed on tight, and your can of Jolt nearby.

Walter

On Jun 13, 2011, at 3:37 PM, Marcus Do Carmo wrote:

Hello! Any suggestion on an easy way to create and maintain an order form for a courier service that a customer could see an estimate for delivery from a city to another or a state to another? I thought of the PHP Feedback form, but I have no idea how to put everything like different zip codes and prices together.

Thanks, Marcus


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Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 13, 2011, at 6:31 PM, Walter Davis email@hidden wrote:

You might use PHP, you could use JavaScript if the calculation doesn’t matter (if it’s a sort of “convenience” feature – to give the customer an idea what their delivery would cost

Hi Walter. I think that would be the case. They will not accept payments over the internet with services such as paypal or Mals


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