I actually need to do this too. I’ve watched the screencast regarding configurable products, however this is limited to pulldown items, such as ‘shirt size’ or ‘color’ or ‘gender’ - predefined lists of variants of the same product.
What the original poster above and what I need to do is allow the customer to enter customized text to include with their order. Example: If I ran a customized stationary company I would want to allow the user to enter the name they want printed on the stationary, or whatever text - specific to them - should be included in the product. The same might go for wedding invitations, engravings of some kind, or vanity license plates.
This is a must have feature for my purposes and when I first saw the screencast (before being that familiar with Magento) I thought that this was a built-in feature, however after getting my feet wet and reviewing the software and rewatching the screencast, it looks like text fields are only for the admin to use in setting up attributes - not to allow the respondent to fill out those fields. I’m fairly well versed in PHP and MySQL but I’m not sure I want to go hacking up a copy of the program. I haven’t begun to look at plugins yet so maybe creating modules for specific tasks such as this are possible.
But I’m getting ahead of myself - does anyone know if the default Magento installation can allow for customers to enter custom information (ie, into a textarea input) either on the product view page or at the time of ordering? If the answer is no, Magento cannot do this by default, how hard would it be to create a plugin that does something like that? Is it worth the time or effort of someone who is a fairly capable PHP programmer but hasn’t laid eyes on the underlying code of Magento?
As a last resort I suppose we could have instructions in the order confirmation email to respond with what text they want, however this is far from ideal and you have the added problem of customer data being split between email/paper and what’s in the magento database.