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
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 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040613/ 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.
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
(likely one of the libraries) And way more images swapping in/out and
lines of code than you ever imagined.
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
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.