Building an online car dealership inventory system

Making two separate systems work together to keep an auto dealership's inventory updated online without creating any additional work for the owner? Done.


Shane from Shane Gray's Alamotors in Chireno, Texas contacted me in the spring of 2012 to help him add an inventory listing on his existing website. Initially, we were going to try to setup a freely available inventory system on his site but soon found that it wasn't very customizeable and it didn't really have the features he needed. It looked like some custom development was in order.


Since Shane wasn't looking to rebuild his existing site, a full website content management system wasn't ideal. Also, finding a way to utilize the information contained in the Frazer inventory program on his office computer would save him a huge amount of time. Ideally, this new inventory system would mesh seamlessly into his site so that it appeared to have always been there.

I decided that I would utilize the CodeIgniter PHP Framework to handle this project because CodeIgniter:

  • is very fast
  • is well documented
  • is used by web developers all over the world
  • contains many of the pieces of code that will be needed to make this project successful

After building the system on my testing server and working out the occasional bugs and sticking points, we were ready to move it into its new home. You can take a look at the final product by visiting Alamotors' website. Shane was very happy with the result and confident it would be a big help to his potential customers.

The primary successes of this project were:

  • fully integrated into the look and feel of the existing website
  • automatically updated every hour based on current inventory
  • thumbnail and full-size photos of the automobiles
  • complete details for every vehicle

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project with Shane and learned a good deal in the process. If you'd like me to help you enhance your website, tell me what you need.