Ect 250 survey of e commerce technology
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ECT 250: Survey of e-commerce technology E-commerce hardware and software Web servers The components of a web server are: Hardware Software When determining what sort of server hardware and software to use you have to consider: Size of the site Purpose of the site

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Ect 250 survey of e commerce technology l.jpg

ECT 250: Survey of e-commerce technology

E-commerce hardware and software

Web servers l.jpg
Web servers

  • The components of a web server are:

    • Hardware

    • Software

  • When determining what sort of server hardware

    • and software to use you have to consider:

    • Size of the site

    • Purpose of the site

    • Traffic on the site

  • A small, noncommercial Web site will require

    • less resources than a large, commercial site.

The role of a web server l.jpg
The role of a web server

  • Facilitates business

    • Business to business transactions

    • Business to customer transactions

  • Hosts company applications

  • Part of the communications infrastructure

  • Poor decisions about web server platforms can

  • have a negative impact on a company. This is

  • particularly true for purely online (“click and

  • mortar”) companies.

Hosting considerations l.jpg
Hosting considerations

  • Will the site be hosted in-house or by a provider?

  • Factors to consider:

  • The bandwidth and availability needed for the

    • expected size, traffic, and sales of the site

  • Scalability: If the Web site needs to grow or has

    • a sudden increase in traffic, can the provider

    • still handle it?

  • Personnel requirements or restraints

  • Budget and cost effectiveness of the solution

  • Target audience: Business-to-customer (B2C) or

    • business-to-business (B2B)

Types of web sites l.jpg
Types of Web sites

  • Development sites: A test site; low-cost

  • Intranets: Available internally only

  • B2B and B2C commerce sites

  • Content delivery site

  • Each type of site has a different purpose,

  • requires different hardware and software,

  • and incurs varying costs.

Commerce sites l.jpg
Commerce sites

  • Commerce sites must be available 24 hours a day,

  • 7 days a week. Requirements include:

  • Reliable servers

  • Backup servers for high availablity

  • Efficient and easily upgraded software

  • Security software

  • Database connectivity

  • B2B sites also require certificate servers to issue

  • and analyze electronic authentication information.

Content delivery site l.jpg
Content delivery site

  • Examples:

    • USA Today

    • New York Times

    • ZDNet

  • Sell and deliver content: news, summaries,

    • histories, other digital information.

  • Hardware requirements are similar to the

    • commerce sites.

  • Database access must be efficient.

What is web hosting l.jpg
What is Web hosting?

  • Web hosts are Internet service providers who also

  • allow access to:

  • E-commerce software

  • Storage space

  • E-commerce expertise

  • You can choose:

  • Managed hosting: the service provider manages

    • the operation and oversight of all servers

  • Unmanaged hosting: the customer must maintain

    • and oversee all servers

Benefits l.jpg

  • Cost effective for small companies or those without

    • in-house technical staff.

  • May require less investment in hardware/software.

  • Can eliminate the need to hire and oversee technical

    • personnel.

  • Make sure that the site is scalable.

  • If you need help in choosing a Web host, contact

    • the Web Host Guild. Formed in 1998, it is a sort

    • of Better Business Bureau of the Internet.

Services provided l.jpg
Services provided

  • Access to hardware, software, personnel

  • Domain name, IP address

  • Disk storage

  • Template pages to use for designing the site

  • E-mail service

  • Use of FTP to upload and download information

  • Shopping cart software

  • Multimedia extensions (sound, animation, movies)

  • Secure credit card processing

Summary l.jpg

  • ISPs have Web hosting expertise that small or

    • medium-sized companies may not.

  • Creating and maintaining a Web site using an

    • existing network can be difficult.

  • With the exception of large companies with large

    • Web sites and in-house computer experts, it is

    • almost always cheaper to use outside Web

    • hosting services.

Examples l.jpg

  • EZ Webhost

  • Interland

  • HostPro

  • HostIndex

    • Managed hosting

    • Other hosting options


B2c e commerce l.jpg
B2C e-commerce

  • Requirements:

    • A catalog display

    • Shopping cart capabilities

    • Transaction processing

    • Tools to populate the store catalog and to

      • facilitate storefront display choices

  • Any e-commerce software must be integrated

  • with existing systems:

    • Database

    • Transaction processing software

Catalog display l.jpg
Catalog display

  • Small storefront (fewer than 35 items)

    • Simple listing of products

    • No particular organization

    • Example: Quebec maple syrup

  • Larger catalog

    • Store product information in database

    • More sophisticated navigation aids

    • Better product organization

    • Search engine

    • Example: LL Bean

Shopping carts l.jpg
Shopping carts

  • Early e-commerce shopping used forms-based

    • check out methods. Required writing down

    • product codes, unit prices, etc.

  • A shopping cart:

    • Keeps track of items selected

    • Allows you to view the items in a cart

    • Allows you to change quantities of items

  • Because the Web is stateless, information must

    • be stored for retrieval. One way to do this is

    • to use cookies, bits of information stored on

    • the client’s computer.

Transaction processing l.jpg
Transaction processing

  • Usually performed with a secure connection.

  • May require the calculation of:

    • Sales tax

    • Shipping costs

    • Volume discounts

    • Tax-free sales

    • Special promotions

    • Time sensitive offers

  • Details about transactions must be tracked for

    • accounting, sales reports.

B2b e commerce l.jpg
B2B e-commerce

  • Business-to-business e-commerce requires tools and

  • capabilities different from those required for business-

  • to-customer systems.

  • Encryption

  • Authentication

  • Digital signatures

  • Signed receipt notices

  • The ability to connect to existing legacy systems,

    • including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

    • software. ERP integrates all facets of a business

    • including planning, sales, and marketing.

Levels of packages l.jpg
Levels of packages

  • Three levels of e-commerce packages:

  • Basic: Requires a few hundred dollars in fees

    • and less than an hour to set up. Typically

    • hosted by an ISP.

  • Middle-tier: Ranges in price from $1K to $5K+,

    • and can take from one day to several days to

    • set up. Can connect with a database server.

    • Requires hardware purchase and some skills.

  • Enterprise-class: For large companies with high

    • traffic and transaction volumes. Hardware and

    • in-house specialists needed.

Basic packages l.jpg
Basic packages

  • Basic packages are free or low-cost e-commerce

  • software supplied by a Web host for building sites

  • to be placed on the Web host’s system.

    • Fundamental services

    • Banner advertising exchanges

    • Full-service mall-style hosting

Fundamental services l.jpg
Fundamental services

  • Available for businesses selling less than 50 items with

  • a low rate of transactions.

  • These services offer:

    • Space for the store

    • Forms-based shopping

  • The Web host makes money from advertising banners

    • placed on the site. Each business has some control

    • over which banners are placed on its site.

  • Examples:, HyperMart

  • Drawbacks: E-mail transaction processing, banners.

Banner exchange sites l.jpg
Banner exchange sites

  • Banner exchange sites aid online store promotion.

  • Banner exchange agreements are made between

    • sites that sign up for the service.

  • The BES organizes the exchanges, enforces banner

    • exchange rules, collects statistics about customers,

    • and rotates ads on the sites.

  • A click through count is the number of visitors that

    • a banner produces at a site.

  • Examples: Banner Exchange, Exchange-it,

    • SmartClicks

Full service mall style hosting l.jpg
Full-service mall-style hosting

  • Full-service hosting sites provide:

    • High-quality tools

    • Storefront templates

    • An easy-to-use interface

    • Quick Web page creation and maintenance

    • No required banner advertising

  • In exchange these sites may charge:

    • One-time set up fees

    • Monthly fees

    • A percentage of each transaction

    • A fixed amount per each transaction

Differences from basic services l.jpg
Differences from basic services

  • Shopping cart software

  • Comprehensive customer transaction processing

    • Choice of purchase options (credit card,

      • electronic cash or other forms)

    • Acceptance and authorization of credit cards

  • No required (and distracting) Web banner ads

  • Higher quality Web store building/maintenance

    • tools (saving time and energy)

  • Examples: Yahoo!Store,

Midrange packages l.jpg
Midrange packages

  • Distinction from basic e-commerce packages:

  • The merchant has explicit control over

    • Merchandising choices

    • Site layout

    • Internal architecture

    • Remote and local management options

  • Other differences include price, capability,

    • database connectivity, software portability,

    • software customization tools, computer

    • expertise required of the merchant.

Features l.jpg

  • Prices range from $2000 to $9000.

  • Hosted on the merchant’s server.

  • Typically has connectivity with complex database

    • systems and stores catalog information.

  • Several provide connections (“hooks”) into existing

    • inventory and ERP systems.

  • Highly customizable

  • Requires part-time or full-time programming talent.

  • Examples: INTERSHOP efinity, WebSphere Commerce

    • Suite

Enterprise solutions l.jpg
Enterprise solutions

  • Distinguishing features:

  • Price ($25,000 - $1 million)

  • Extensive support for B2B e-commerce

  • Interacts with a variety of back office systems,

    • such as database, accounting, and ERP.

  • Requires one or more dedicated computers, a

    • Web front-end, firewall(s), a DNS server, an

    • SMTP system, an HTTP server, an FTP server,

    • and a database server.

Features27 l.jpg

  • Good tools for linking supply and purchasing.

  • Can interact with the inventory system to make

    • the proper adjustments to stock, issue purchase

    • orders, and generate accounting entries.

  • Example: Wal-Mart

    • Allows several suppliers to make decisions

      • about resupplying

    • Results in cost savings in inventory

  • Examples: WebSphere Commerce Suite, Netscape

    • CommerceXpert

Web platform choices l.jpg
Web platform choices

  • Hardware, operating system, and application server

    • software must be considered together since each

    • affects the other.

  • Whatever your choice you must ensure that the

    • server hardware is scalable, meaning that it can be

    • upgraded or a new server added as necessary.

  • Other needs, such as a database server, should be

    • handled by separate hardware. Database products

    • have large processing needs.

Factors in performance l.jpg
Factors in performance

  • Hardware and operating system choice

  • Speed of connection to the Internet

  • User capacity

    • Throughput: The number of HTTP requests

      • that can be processed in a given time period.

    • Response time: The amount of time a server

      • requires to process one request.

  • The mix and type of Web pages

    • Static pages

    • Dynamic pages: Shaped in response to users.

Benchmarking l.jpg

  • Benchmarking is testing used to compare the

    • performance of hardware and software.

  • Results measure the performance of aspects such

    • as the OS, software, network speed, CPU speed.

  • There are several Web benchmarking programs.

    • For examples see Figure 3-4 on page 87.

  • Anyone considering buying a server for a heavy

    • traffic situation or wanting to make changes to

    • an existing system should consider benchmarks.

Web server features l.jpg
Web server features

  • Web server features range from basic to extensive

    • depending on the software package being used.

  • Web server features fall into groups based on their

    • purpose:

    • Core capabilities

    • Site management

    • Application construction

    • Dynamic content

    • Electronic commerce

Core capabilities l.jpg
Core capabilities

  • Process and respond to Web client requests

    • Static pages, dynamic pages, domain name

    • translation.

  • Security

    • Name/passwords, processing certificates and

    • public/private key pairs.

  • FTP, Gopher

  • Searching, indexing

  • Data analysis

    • Who, what, when, how long? May involve the

    • use of Web log analysis software.

Site management l.jpg
Site management

  • Features found in site management tools:

  • Link checking

  • Script checking

  • HTML validation

  • Web server log file analysis

  • Remote server administration

Application construction l.jpg
Application construction

  • Uses Web editors and extensions to produce Web

    • pages, both static and dynamic.

  • Like HTML editors, application editors allow the

    • creation dynamic features without knowledge of

    • CGI (Common Gateway Interface) or API

    • (Application Program Interface) programming.

  • Also detects HTML code that differs from the

    • standard or is browser specific.

Dynamic content l.jpg
Dynamic content

  • Non-static information constructed in response to

    • to a Web client’s request.

  • Assembled from backend databases and internal

    • data on the Web site, a successful dynamic page

    • is tailored to the query that generated it.

  • Active Server Pages (ASP) is a server-side scripting

    • mechanism to build dynamic sites and Web

    • applications. It uses a variety of languages such

    • as VBScript, Jscript, and Perl.

    • More information? Take ECT 353!

Electronic commerce l.jpg
Electronic commerce

  • An Web server handles Web pages whereas an

    • e-commerce server deals with the buying and

    • selling of goods and services.

  • A Web server should handle e-commerce software

    • since this simplifies adding e-commerce features

    • to existing sites.

  • Features: Creation of graphics, product information,

    • addition of new products, shopping carts, credit

    • card processing, sales report generation, Web ad

    • rotation and weighting.

Web server software l.jpg
Web server software

  • There is no best package for all cases.

  • The market is divided into intranet servers and

    • public Web servers.

  • Three of the most popular Web server programs:

    • Apache HTTP Server

    • Microsoft Internet Information Server

    • Netscape Enterprise Server

  • See Figure 3-8 for the market share graph.

    • A more recent market share analysis.

Apache http server l.jpg
Apache HTTP Server

  • Developed by Rob McCool while at UI in the

    • NCSA in 1994.

  • The software is available free of charge and is

    • quite efficient.

  • Can be used for intranets and public Web sites.

  • Originally written for Unix, it is now available

    • for many operating systems.

  • For a discussion of its features see the Apache

    • Software Foundation page.

Microsoft iis l.jpg
Microsoft IIS

  • Microsoft’s Internet Information Server comes

    • bundled with Microsoft’s Windows NT/2000.

  • Can be used for intranets and public Web sites.

  • It is suitable for everything from small sites to

    • large enterprise-class sites with high volumes.

  • Currently only runs on Windows NT/2000.

  • See Microsoft’s Web Services page.

Netscape enterprise server l.jpg
Netscape Enterprise Server

  • Costs several thousand dollars and has a 60-day

    • trial period.

  • Can be run on the Internet, intranets and extranets.

  • Some of the busiest sites on the Internet use NES

    • including E*Trade, Excite, and Lycos.

  • Runs on many different operating systems.

  • See Netscape Server Products.

Further information l.jpg
Further information

  • What Web software is running on a site?

  • Web server side-by-side comparisons

Web server tools l.jpg
Web server tools

  • Other Web server tools include:

    • Web portals

    • Search engines

    • Push technologies

    • Intelligent agents

Web portals l.jpg
Web portals

  • Provides a “cyber door” on the Web

  • Serves as a customizable home base

  • Successful portals include:

    • Excite

    • Yahoo!

    • My Netscape

    • Microsoft Passport

Push technologies l.jpg
Push technologies

  • An automated delivery of specific and current

    • information from a Web server to the user’s

    • hard drive

  • May be used to provide information on:

    • Health benefit updates

    • Employee awards

    • Changes in corporate policies

Intelligent agents l.jpg
Intelligent agents

  • A program that performs functions such as

    • information gathering, information filtering,

    • or mediation on behalf of a person or entity

  • Examples:

    • AuctionBot

    • BargainFinder

    • MySimon

    • Kasbah

Example uses l.jpg
Example uses

  • Example uses for intelligent agents:

  • Search for the best price and characteristics

    • of various products

  • Procurement: Deciding what, when, and how

    • much to purchase

  • Stock alert: Monitors stock and notifies when

    • certain conditions are met, e.g. purchase 100

    • shares if the price is below $60 a share.