E-Business and E-Commerce

E-business is the process of using electronic technology to do business. Since e-business occurs anytime a company uses electronic technology in the course of conducting business, e-business can be anything from a sales pitch on a web site to an electronic exchange of data.

E-commerce is defined as the subset of e-business that focuses specifically on e-commerce. Commerce is the exchange of goods and services for other form of payment. Thus e-commerce is simply a company conducting commerce using electronic technology. Since commerce is a type of business and e-commerce is about conducting that business electronically, e-commerce is clearly a type of e-business. This implies that all the same keys to success for e-business also apply for e-commerce.

The emergence of e-commerce had lead to the creation of many different applications that are typically grouped into several categories of e-commerce.

1. Business to Consumer (B2C)

B2C applications are applications that provide an interface from businesses directly to their consumers.

Common examples of B2C applications include selling goods such as books, electronic devices, and even computers on the Internet direct to consumers, or selling services such as a credit check on the Internet direct to consumers.

B2C is beneficial for consumers because it gives them access to a world of stores instead of the local stores. It also provides a more competitive market giving consumers access to a wide variety of choices and lower prices. Finally, B2C applications open up a new world for companies that are not already well known throughout their country or world. The extended visibility that the Internet provides can allow local or regional businesses to reach out to markets they never would have been able to reach in the physical world.

2. Business to Business (B2B)

B2B applications provide new opportunities for businesses to leverage emerging technologies to build their businesses.

Examples of B2B applications include facilitating transactions for goods/services between companies, selling goods/services on the Internet to businesses, and supply chain integration. Another interesting example is online procurement of goods from one company to another.

B2B is beneficial to businesses because it has the potential to dramatically lower costs. By making communication easier and faster, using new technologies and standards such as XML, the quicker the inventory can move, the more efficient the process. Also, B2B applications help automate communication between companies. Apart from streamlining the process, B2B application helps reduce the potential for errors and helps provide better goods and services.

Designing E-Commerce (B2C) Web Site
  • Microsoft Technologies and Tools
  • We use Microsoft Visual InterDev as the development environment for building e-commece web sites. It helps to write both Active Server Pages (ASPs) and normal HTML pages.

    We use Microsoft Visual Basic (VB) Script as the scripting language and ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) to access databases such as Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server from ASPs. Also ADOs can be used with any Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) or any OLE DB compliant database.

    The Web server is Internet Information Server (IIS) with Windows 2000 Advanced Server Machine.

  • Java-based Technologies and Tools
  • The Java programming language is a good choice for development of e-commerce applications as Java has many good feature sets that allow it to be an effective platform for e-commerce. There are several features of Java that make it a good choice for e-commerce development. Java is platform independent, multi-threaded, network-aware, object-oriented, and has new APIs.

    Another important reason is the support for Java in a variety of Application servers, such as BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere etc. These various servers are often chosen for their various features and Java has become the development tool.

    Also the arrival of Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) has revolutionized the e-commerce arena. J2EE presents a solid and robust solution for building strong server side applications that include the critical pieces needed. There are J2EE technologies that stand out in their ability to support the benefits of Java as an e-commerce development tool. They are Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSPs), Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI), Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), Java Message Service (JMS), Java Transaction API (JTA) and Java Mail. It is clear that J2EE is and will continue to be a huge success story of e-commerce.

    E-commerce requires many different types of communications and an unprecedented amount of data changes hands. The many different platforms and systems interacting require a platform neutral standard for data exchange. One interesting technology that can fill up this requirement is eXtensible Markup Language (XML). XML plays a very critical role in e-commerce as XML combines well with Java programming language.

    As XML is standardized and platform-neutral, XML provides an excellent framework for exchanging data.

    Java-based Technologies and Tools for developing B2C E-commerce Site
    Client - XHTML, DHTML and Javascript
    Presentation Logic - XML, Java Server Pages (JSPs)
    Business Logic - Java Beans, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs)
    Data Access - Java Database Connectivity (JDBC)
    Database - Cloudscape, Oracle, DB2, Sybase
    Web Server - Apache 1.3, Microsoft IIS
    Application Server - BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere
    Database Server - Oracle 8i
    Operating System - Solaris 8, Linux