Unfortunately I’ve been really busy ATM with work and haven’t had a time to write a post about my automated veggie patch! 😀 but we’ll get to that eventually….
What I have been working on is how to improve the postal system on Pro-Tecc.co.za since we are using a really inefficient ‘Table’ method where the total weight of all the items combined is converted to a price depending on the method of shipping (door to door/overnight/economy etc..) unfortunately this system is very inaccurate for different sized orders going to different areas close and far, and results in under recovering on some orders and over recovering on others… not very fair for the customers. What we want to do is move to a system that sends the dimensions/weight/customers postal code to the web interface of our shipping company and calculate an accurate price on the fly… A much more advanced/professional service along the lines of some of the big names like kalahari.net.
Initially this didn’t sound to difficult until I delve into the problem of dimensions and volume. Basically I need to come up with a formula/procedure that the server can run that takes how ever many items are in the customers order and their dimensions (length x breadth x height) and decide what the smallest box of a standard set of boxes(which we’ll will have to decide on and specify) that they will fit into is and send that off to the shippers. Not an easy feat, and just to complicate the matter further, if the items don’t all fit inside the largest specified box then the order must be split between two or more boxes… + we have to keep weights in mind! if the weight of the container box reaches a certain point the order must also be broken into 2 or more boxes… so afaik I need to write a program to simulate Tetris in 3D with different sized boxes! xD I suddenly have a much greater respect for the automated shipping calculators on some sites!
I think the solution is going to have to be quite creative… I’m open to suggestion!
-on a side note I’m looking for a graphic designer to give me a hand with aesthetics/layout/graphics… contact me if your interested robthepyro-at-rambo.co.za