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CHAPTER - 4. Architectural Framework. Framework of E-Commerce. Requires reliable network infrastructure to move the information and execute a transaction in a distributed environment. 2 key component technologies: Publishing Technology: Creation of digital content Distribution Technology:

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Architectural Framework

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Architectural Framework

Framework of E-Commerce

  • Requires reliable network infrastructure to move the information and execute a transaction in a distributed environment.

  • 2 key component technologies:

    • Publishing Technology:

      Creation of digital content

    • Distribution Technology:

      Universally move the digital contents & transactions information

      Publication & Distribution are 2 pillars that support the creation of distributed EC Applications.

  • Business Service Infrastructure comprises of directory services; location & search services & a trust mechanism for private, secure, reliable & non-repudiable transactions along with an online financial settlement mechanism.

Network Infrastructure

  • Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) changed as ARPANET.

    • ARPANET interconnected several universities & research organizations.

    • This leads to several other experimental WAN’s such as BITNET,CSNET,SPAN(Space Physics Analysis Network) & HEPNET(High Energy Physics Network)

  • The ISO’s 7 Layer OSI(Opens System Interconnect) model attempted to standardize various networks.

  • The adoption of TCP/IP as a network communication Protocol by the Defense Department of the US Govt. provided the much needed interconnectivity among heterogeneous networks.

Network Infrastructure

  • TCP/IP, named after its two primary protocols, viz.,

  • Transmission Control Protocol(TCP) and

  • Internet Protocol(IP),

  • Has emerged as a de facto standard of connectivity.

  • In TCP/IP networks, it is the internet protocol layer that holds the architecture together by delivering the IP packets from end to end in a connectionless format.

  • The IP layers behave much like a postal services where each packet is delivered independent of all other packets, thus in the process it may deliver packets out of the sequence in which they were sent.

Network Infrastructure

  • The transmission control protocol (TCP) provides a connection-oriented reliable delivery mechanism.

  • It insures that a byte-stream, emanating at one machine destined for the other machine, is delivered without any errors, duplication and in the original sequence.

  • UDP is an unreliable connectionless protocol. It is often used in applications, such as video and audio streaming, where prompt and constant delivery of data is more important than the in sequence and reliable delivery offered by TCP.

Network Infrastructure

  • The construction of a reliable network infrastructure requires two types of hardware transmission media and components such as routers, switches, hubs, and bridges.

  • The network bandwidth is usually dependent upon the quality of transmission media.

  • The coaxial cables, copper wire, fiber optical cables, radio, microwave, and satellite based transmission mechanisms are some modes utilized for the physical transmission of data.

Network Infrastructure

  • Data transmission or the bandwidth has been provided by telecom companies operating telephone lines, cable TV systems with coaxial cables, direct broadcast systems(DBS), wireless network providers, computer networking providers, satellite transponders, and fiber optical infrastructure providers.

  • Access to the network requires devices that are referred to as Data Terminal Equipment (DTE). These DTE devices, such as set-top boxes and personal computers along with interfacing software for various networking options and interconnectivity, let users get on to the network.

Network Infrastructure

  • The network infrastructure forms the very basis of the electronic commerce, playing the role, in many ways, analogous to road/transport highways in the traditional commerce. Information, goods and transactions move between the clients and commerce provider, through network highways.

Information Distribution Technology

  • Information distribution and messaging technologies provide a transparent mechanism for transferring information content over a network infrastructure layer. It is accomplished through software systems that implement File Transfer Protocol(FTP), Hypertext Transfer Protocol(HTTP), and Simple Message Transfer Protocol(SMTP) for exchanging multimedia contents consistingof text, graphics, video, and audio data.

  • For electronic commerce, challenges exit in providing a secure, reliable, and portable, workstations, palmtops, set-top boxes, and wireless communicators.

  • The messaging service offered by SMTP servers have been implemented by the various software programs that ensure a message composed and dispatched for a specified destination address is delivered reliably.

  • Corporate information lies in heterogeneous systems, ranging from file systems, relational database management systems and object database management systems. The capability of HTTP to deliver static as well as dynamic information content including multimedia information in an easy and transparent manner makes it amenable to create information sources that can be delivered and rendered on a distributed geographic area over a wide variety of client machines.

Networked Multimedia Content Publishing Technology

  • The information distribution protocol, HTTP, delivers the documents written in the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), to the client program. The language offers an easy way for integrating multimedia content, residing in a variety of computers connected on the internet. HTML makes it possible to integrate the multimedia content in a document form and the integrated content then can be published using the HTTP servers. Clients can make requests, for the published information residing on HTTP servers. Clients submit requests to servers using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

Networked Multimedia Content Publishing Technology

  • All published documents on the internet can be uniquely identified and located by a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address. The URL address effectively serves as a unique name of the published document, worldwide.

  • The URL is made up of three parts:

    • the protocol name,

    • machine name, and

    • the name of document on the machine.

Networked Multimedia Content Publishing Technology

  • The machine name part of URL identifies the machine and protocol name determines the distribution server that will serve the document and the rules and format in which the document will be served. The document name of the URL points to a specific document on the machine. Thus, a URL is capable of addressing as well as locating documents in the entire universe of internet.

  • In addition to HTML, the Extensible Markup Language (XML) has also emerged as a language for developing pages for the web, HTML is more concerned about how a page is formatted and displayed, while XML describes the actual content of a page. It simplifies the task of describing and delivering structured data from any application, thus, providing users with the ability to share and search the data in XML documents, in much the same way as we share and search data from database and files.

  • Microsoft FrontPage, Netscape composer, Hotdog are few of the several HTML editors that can be used for writing and composing HTML documents.

  • The actual multimedia content, i.e., the graphics, video clips, audio clips, and animated content can be developed by tools and editors available in the respective areas.

Security and Encryption

  • Distributed interactive applications that can showcase the information sources can be created using information distribution and publication technology. Electronic commerce applications require that the information sources to be made available online to geographically dispersed clients and facilitation of the transactional environment.

  • For electronic commerce to be viable, the two important issues need to be addressed:

    • protection of the source of information that is being made available online, and

    • protection of the transaction that travels over the network.

  • Participating business in electronic commerce have to publish the information and make it widely available in a network connected world.

  • The second issue of securing the transaction, carried out over the network, requires addressing several security and confidently related issues. The confidentiality or privacy of the transaction data can be addressed by using various encryption techniques.

  • The shared key as well as the public/private key pair based encryption techniques can be used for the purpose.

  • In electronic commerce, the transacting parties are software process acting on behalf of trading parties, who may not even be familiar with each other. Thus, the infrastructure for identifying and authentication transacting parties is essential in such an environment.

  • The issue of protecting the information available on the electronic commerce site; privacy; secrecy and tamper-proofing of information flowing on the wire and non-repudiation of transactions executed are all essential for building confidence among trading parties to take the plunge in executing electronic commerce transaction. Encryption technologies based on shared key mechanisms such as Data Encryption Standard (DES) or public-private keys such as RSA algorithms have been utilized for addressing the issues of authentication, authorization, privacy and non-repudiation.

  • Security and encryption technologies available today have been deployed to develop a public key infrastructure in the form of certification authorities, to serve the purpose of authentication and non-repudiation.

  • The validity or trust in digital certificates depends upon the credentials and legal standing of the certification authority.

  • Security requires various toolkits, firewalls and encryption products. Certification authorities, based on the legal framework of the country, have emerged as the required role players in building confidence for the growth of electronic commerce.

Payment services

  • Online payment is fundamental to the acceptance of electronic commerce as a viable alternative to traditional commerce. It is the mechanism that facilitates an online financial exchange between concerned parties.

  • Electronic data interchanges (EDI) for transactions, banks have been supporting the electronic payment mechanism through the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) channel.

  • The electronic payment mechanism evolved can be classified into three major categories--pre-paid, instant-paid and post-paid.

  • The instant-paid mechanism requires equivalence to govt/central bank backed cash transactions. None of the electronic payment systems that have been developed so far offer the equivalence to or carry a govt/central bank guarantee like cash. Debit cards come closest to instant-paid electronic payment systems.

  • The various electronic/digital cash mechanism that have been in vogue are in fact prepaid payment system.

  • In these systems the physical currency is used for acquiring digital cash that in turn can be spent in an electronic payment paid mechanism are equivalent to credit card and cheque based transactions.

  • E-cash, digicash, netbill, micromint, netfare and mondex are some examples of payment systems that fall in the pre-paid category.

  • The FSTC electronic cheque, netcheque, and cyberchque systems are examples of post-paid electronic payment systems.

  • Traditional credit card majors have come up with Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol. The protocol provides a secure mechanism for using standard credit cards, over the network, for electronic payment Purposes. Despite the development of secure transaction mechanism for credit cards, for reasons of anonymity, privacy, and in case of small purchases electronic cash payment mechanisms will remain essential.


  • Business service infrastructure includes directories and catalogues. These are essential for identifying and locating businesses that meet customer requirements. The directories and catalogs are akin to Business Directories and yellow pages used by customers to identify and locate businesses that are likely to provide the service or fulfill product demand in traditional commerce. Search engines and directory service providers like AltaVista, Google, and Yahoo! Info space, Lycos, and capitalized on the need by providing the service.

  • Search engines are textual database of web pages that are usually assembled. Automatically by the machines. This search engines can be classified in two categories:

  • Those who compile their own searchable database about the information available on the in internet; and

  • Engines, which search the database of multiple search engines of the former type and then reorganize the result based on the meta-data and guiding rules maintained by them

  • Search engine return the relevant URLs for the keywords or search terms entered by users. With millions of web pages on the internet, a simple search for any term or phrase may result in thousands of URLs, in general, a user is not likely to visit more the first few pages of the returned results. Thus, and it is important for web site designers that their URL should be ranked amongst the top few for the relevant terms and keywords. The ranking methodology differentiates search engines.


  • The digital economy riding on the internet has a global reach. Companies use the World Wide Web for brand building, promoting sales of products, offering merchandise for sale, conducting auction, or for providing product information are operating in a global environment.

  • The access to network infrastructure and legal framework, for the protection of transactions conducted over the network, play important role in the viability and the growth of electronic commerce.

  • To provide a legal framework for electronic commerce transactions, the general assembly of the United Nations adopted a Model Law on Electronic Commerce in 1997.

  • The Information Technology Act 2000, based on the Model Law, forms the legal framework electronic commerce in India. The IT Act holds the office of the Controller of Certification Authorities (CCA) responsible for issuing licenses to and for regulating the Certification Authorities in India.

  • The internet based electronic commerce pervades national boundaries and legal jurisdiction, thus the enactment of national laws alone in isolation is not sufficient. Instead, global frameworks that can interoperate with transnational certificate authorities is a requirement.

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