E-commerce Application Solutions Utilizing Microsoft’s .NET

Preface

According to Forrester Research, as cited in Kessler, 2003, electronic commerce generated sales worth US $12.2 billion in 2003(Forester). Electronic commerce, e-commerce or ecommerce consists primarily of the distributing, buying, selling, marketing, and servicing of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. .NET provides solutions in creating a better environment with in which the ecommerce applications exist.

.NET is the Microsoft Web services strategy to connect information, people, systems, and devices through software. Integrated across the Microsoft platform, .NET technology provides the ability to quickly build, deploy, manage, and use connected, security-enhanced solutions with Web services. .NET-connected solutions enable businesses to integrate their systems more rapidly and in a more agile manner and help them realize the promise of information anytime, anywhere, on any device (Microsoft).

The information technology industry sees ecommerce as an electronic business application aimed at commercial transactions. It can involve electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, e-marketing, online marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange, automated inventory management systems, and automated data-collection systems. It typically uses electronic communications technology such as the Internet, extranets, e-mail, E-books, databases, and mobile phones. Through the use of .NET programming languages and environments, ecommerce will evolve itself from web pages into dynamic web applications.

Contents
Page 3 Ecommerce
Page 3 .NET
Page 5 Web Services
Page 6 Example – Inventory System
Page 6 .Net Remoting & XML WebServices
Page 7 ASP.NET & ADO.NET
Page 8 C#
Page 8 VB.NET
Page 9 Conclusion
Page 10 Works Cited

Ecommerce

The meaning of the term “electronic commerce” has changed over time. Originally, “electronic commerce” meant the facilitation of commercial transactions electronically, usually using technology like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI, introduced in the late 1970s) to send commercial documents like purchase orders or invoices electronically.

Later it came to include activities more precisely termed “Web commerce” – the purchase of goods and services over the World Wide Web via secure servers with e-shopping carts and with electronic pay services, like credit card payment authorizations.

As of 2005, e-commerce has become well-established in major cities across much of North America, Western Europe, and certain East Asian countries like South Korea. However, e-commerce is still emerging slowly in some industrialized countries like Australia, and is practically nonexistent in many Third World countries.

Although a large number of “pure e-commerce” companies disappeared during the dot-com collapse in 2000 and 2001, many “brick-and-mortar” retailers recognized that such companies had identified valuable niche markets and began to add e-commerce capabilities to their Web sites. For example, after the collapse of online grocer Webvan, two traditional supermarket chains, Albertsons and Safeway, both started e-commerce subsidiaries through which consumers could order groceries online.

.NET

.NET is a general-purpose software development platform, similar to Java. At its core is a virtual machine that turns intermediate language (IL) into machine code. High-level language compilers for C#, VB.NET and C++ are provided to turn source code into IL. C# is a new programming language, very similar to Java. An extensive class library is included, featuring all the functionality one might expect from a contempory development platform – windows GUI development (Windows Forms), database access (ADO.NET), web development (ASP.NET), web services, XML etc.

The Microsoft platform includes everything a business needs to develop and deploy a Web service-connected IT architecture: servers to host Web services, development tools to create them, applications to use them, and a worldwide network of more than 35,000 Microsoft Certified Partner organizations to provide any help you need. “The .NET platform offers an extensive array of services that, combined with development tools, can lower the total cost of developing distributed multi-tier applications (developers).”

There is a collection of development tools specifically developed for use with the .NET platform. The principal example is Visual Studio .NET, an integrated development environment from Microsoft. Microsoft defines the platform as an “environment for building, deploying and running Web services and other applications. It consists of three main parts: the Common Language Runtime, the Framework classes, and ASP.NET.” (Microsoft).

Some technologies used in .NET were originally developed by Microsoft as their version of Java. When Microsoft decided to end their future use of Sun’s Java technologies in 1998, the existing Microsoft J++ (Java) product was transformed into the beginnings of the .NET project. Code from the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) was said to have come from Colusa Software’s OmniVM, which Microsoft acquired on March 12, 1996. .NET as a software platform was released in 2002.
.NET presents a platform-independent target for software development, with many built-in features including Internet integration and features intended to enhance security. It relies fully on software componentry and the component-oriented programming paradigm. “Not only must data remain consistent across different database platforms, but it must remain consistent across multiple, independently created business objects (MSDN).” In this respect it largely replaces the former Component Object Model (COM).

.NET has its own security mechanism, with two general features: code access security, and validation and verification. With .NET you can interact with different Web services using SOAP. (Short for Simple Object Access Protocol).

Web Services

If you ask a developer what Web services are, you’ll hear something like, “self-describing software modules, semantically encapsulating discrete functionality, wrapped in and accessible via standard Internet communication protocols like XML and SOAP.”

But if you ask a business leader who has implemented Web service-based solutions, you’ll get a different kind of answer. You’ll hear that Web services are an approach that helps the business connect with its customers, partners, and employees. They enable the business to extend existing services to new customers. They help the business work more efficiently with its partners and suppliers. They unlock information so it can flow to every employee who needs it. They reduce development time and expense for new projects. You’ll hear less about what Web services are and more about what they enable the business to do.

Web services allow different applications from different sources to communicate with each other without time-consuming custom coding, and because all communication is in XML, Web services are not tied to any one operating system or programming language. For example, Java can talk with Perl, Windows applications can talk with UNIX applications. Each Web service is a discrete unit of code that handles a limited set of tasks. However, although Web services remain independent of each other, they can loosely link themselves into a collaborating group that performs a particular task (internet.com).

Example: Inventory System

Say you have a stand-alone inventory system. If you don’t connect it to anything else, it’s not as valuable as it could be. The system can track inventory, but not much more. You may have to enter inventory information twice-once in your accounting system and once in your customer relationship management system. The inventory system may be unable to automatically place orders to suppliers. The benefits of such an inventory system are diminished by high overhead costs.

However, if you connect your inventory system to your accounting system, it gets more interesting. Now, whenever you buy or sell something, the implications for your inventory and your cash flow can be tracked in one step. If you go further, and connect your warehouse management system, customer ordering system, supplier ordering systems, and your shipping company, suddenly that inventory management system is worth a lot. You can do end-to-end management of your business while dealing with each transaction only once, instead of once for every system it affects. That’s a lot less work-and a lot less opportunity for errors.

These connections can be made easily using Web services. Web services allow the applications to share information through the Internet, regardless of the operating system or back-end software that the application is using. .NET makes creating, maintaining and utilizing these web services simple, universal and more secure.

.Net Remoting & XML WebServices

The .NET remoting infrastructure is an abstract approach to interprocess communication. Microsoft .NET Remoting provides a rich and extensible framework for objects living in different AppDomains, in different processes, and in different machines to communicate with each other seamlessly. .NET Remoting offers a powerful yet simple programming model and runtime support for making these interactions transparent.

XML Web services are the fundamental building blocks in the move to distributed computing on the Internet. Open standards and the focus on communication and collaboration among people and applications have created an environment where XML Web services are becoming the platform for application integration. Applications are constructed using multiple XML Web services from various sources that work together regardless of where they reside or how they were implemented.

ASP.NET & ADO.NET

“It would be hard to find a web developer who doesn’t need to use a DataGrid. This control is ideal for data presentation. Besides the visualization, it provides a powerful set of possibilities to edit, delete, add and update data. ASP.NET includes a well designed, powerful DataGrid Web Server Control which makes the life of web developers easier. “(Devcity)

ASP.NET is ideal for login features, as well as shopping carts on a web site. “The Asp.net session is great for moving small amounts of data around your entire application for a certain length of time. (Webreference)” ASP.NET also creates safer web access points, “Hacker-Proofing ASP.Net Applications (enterprise-security)”

ASP.NET, is an update to the classic Active Server Pages (ASP) web programming technology, implements .NET and has a .NET class library, but is not itself a language as it may be written in any .NET language. ASP.NET is used to create Web pages and Web services and is an integral part of Microsoft’s .NET vision (Webopedia).

ADO.NET is a new version of ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) for the .NET framework. Extensible Markup Language (XML) plays an important role as procedures are provided to serialize data objects as XML data.

C#

“C# is a simple, modern, object oriented, and type-safe programming language derived from C and C++. C# (pronounced “C sharp”) is firmly planted in the C and C++ family tree of languages, and will immediately be familiar to C and C++ programmers. C# aims to combine the high productivity of Visual Basic and the raw power of C++.”

VB.NET

Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET) is an object-oriented computer language that can be viewed as an evolution of Microsoft’s Visual Basic (VB) implemented on the Microsoft .NET framework (Wikipedia). Its introduction has been controversial, as significant changes were made that broke backward compatibility with VB and caused a rift within the developer community that may or may not be resolved with the introduction of Visual Studio 2005.

The vast majority of VB.NET developers use Visual Studio .NET. The creation of open-source tools for VB.NET development have been slow compared to C#, although the Mono development platform provides an implementation of VB.NET-specific libraries and is working on a compiler, as well as the Windows Forms GUI library.

Visual Basic is sometimes called a Rapid Application Development (RAD) system because it enables programmers to quickly build prototype applications.

Conclusion

.NET offers a fully integrated system for ecommerce solutions. With a growing demand there is also a greater threat to the business infrastructure. .NET provides safe transactions utilizing ASP.NET, as well as high integrity enterprise solutions in databases, and inventory control utilizing C# (Pronounced C Sharp). For rapid development of software to integrate into current systems, there is Visual Studio .NET. The most beneficial feature for .NET is its ability to communicate with all forms and mediums of programs. .NET will transform ecommerce from a webpage, into a product that is purchased online.

Works Cited
Devcity, vbCity, LLC, 2005

Developers, Tapestry.Net, 2004

Enterprise-security, NewsFactor Network, 2005

Forrester, Forrester Research, Inc, 2005

Internet, Jupitermedia Corporation, 2005

Microsoft, Microsoft, 2005

Microsoft, Microsoft, 2005

Web reference, Jupitermedia Corporation, 2005

Webopedia, Jupitermedia Corporation, 2005

Wikipedia, Wikipedia 2005

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


eight + = 12