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Design your own ring web system


Good evening all,

I am looking for a “design your own ring” system that I can place on
my website. Any help in this area is appreciated.

Benjamin Mark


Hi Benjamin,

I’m going to assume you’re starting with no tech background and also
describe the most elaborate case, since I don’t know which holes to
fill in or what you’re picturing, so please bear with me :slight_smile:

Unless you are spectacularly lucky and what you want is pre-fab
somewhere, what you’re talking about is a SMOP.

A Small Matter Of Programming can cost anywhere from a plane ticket
to a house–occasionally with the same basic specs. And sometimes
it’s the journey that goes awry, AKA Feature Creep. (If you’ve ever
seen Mr. Blandings think of the
leftover stone flooring that was “no problem” to install.)

There are two pieces to what you want: a) Front-end/user interface,
what the customer sees to build the ring. b) Back-end to process the
data, hook to your order/inventory system, etc.

a) Front-end.

Can be as simple as a form with pictures where they select bits and
assemble them. Highly recommend taking this approach as at least a
v1–you can always make it whizzier later if folks love it and
doing so would be profitable.

If instead you were envisioning something where it graphically
assembled a ring with drag/drop mountings and color changes like on
the Mini site where you build your vehicle, then you need to start
talking to your banker. The latter approaches require one or more of
the following:

  • Flash
  • Silverlight
  • JavaScript/Ajax

(likely one of the libraries) And way more images swapping in/out and
lines of code than you ever imagined.

b) Back-end.

Again, if using a form for the front-end there are lots of free/cheap
form and survey tools which can be installed on your server or
hosted, so you’d be covered. Minimal fuss with or without assistance.

Otherwise, more lines of code to script the handling and
database on your Web server (generally SQL on Linux or MS SQL Server
on Windows IIS). Very often this is a different programmer from the
front-end person, or one person may handle all the heavy code lifting
front and back, but you have a designer working the graphical bits of
the front-end.

I work with surveys, so I can provide some more specific
resources/links than my blog if you send me more info, but hopefully
the above will begin to help you zero in on your project. Do keep in
mind that the technologies are just tools, despite the rabidity of
some articles advocating one platform/torch/flux over another–all
you want at the end of the day is a way for customers to fall in love
with your jewelry.

BTW, for anyone working on websites, I highly recommend Steve Krug:

He’s also got a brand new one out for testing and fixing problems,
but haven’t had a chance to scope it yet.


Ann Ray

A Small Matter Of Programming can cost anywhere from a plane
ticket to a house--occasionally with the same basic specs. 

Good reality check by Ann. Blue Nile has a "design your own ring"
feature right on the front page. What it does is let you put
different shapes of stock settings on different kinds of stock rings

  • not really design at all. Truly ~designing~ an original ring online
    would require some sort of CAD or ZBrush system, and then of course
    there’s the learning curve of all that. Certainly it could be
    done… Anything can be done, but is it worthwhile?


Oh yeah, Blue Nile’s builder is tapping a ton of JavaScript and CSS
for the layered image swaps and that’s AJAX for the price and
inventory checks.

Of course most of us didn’t start businesses with Venture Capital
funds during the DotCom boom and aren’t positioned to sell volume
nationwide against Tiffany’s, etc.

Odd thought… I can’t recall which came first: Blue Nile’s launch or
the first Tiffany’s downtown. But, in a relatively short time we’ve
gone from 0-3 blue boxes within 10 miles, kindly helping to keep us
on the brick and mortar side instead of straying into eCommerce land.
I know there’s $$$ here, but really, I have to wonder if Seattle and
Bellevue are that profitable or were simply deemed a highly
vulnerable key market between the geek factor and being Blue Nile’s
home territory.


Ann Ray


Thanks for getting back to me Ann Ray,

I had the thought of doing this myself and installed Apache and
Flash and MySql and FlexBuilder and Cold Fusion and and surely a
myriad of other programs and I then rubbed my hands together and
began the plunge to take the first steps in tackling this thing on my
own. And then–as Fagin once said–and I paraphrase–I thought I’d
better think it out again. And so I am for now in limbo. However…
faint heart never won complex programming… and perhaps if I gather
together my inner resources I’ll give it another go.

All the best,