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E-Commerce site development

E-commerce sites represented the second generation of business on the Web. Like brochure sites, they were used to promote corporate identity and advertise goods and services, but their main purpose was to sell merchandise. To achieve this goal, they needed to do considerably more than brochure sites. In particular, they needed to:

  1. Maintain a body of relatively static information (like brochure sites)
  2. Maintain product catalogue and pricing information that would need periodic updates
  3. Provide a shopping cart function
  4. Provide secure transactional processing

The process of developing and maintaining an e-commerce site was more complex than building a brochure site. E-commerce sites needed to be well designed with good navigation to ease viewers through the buying process; they needed dynamic transaction processing capability to handle customer purchases; and they also needed to let Web masters update portions of the content with some regularity. without disrupting the performance of the entire site.

Because the main focus at this stage of the web sites evolution was the addition of transaction capabilities, the development process changed from page-at-a time to a more traditional software development approach. An approach that treated web development as a formal release-based process to create a well designed, QA'd site, tested for usability and including some aspects of Web design and content publishing.

The development model used for these sites was a much more structured approach to Web site development and introduced separation of product catalogue and product pricing information (typically stored in a relational database) from the Web site. s design, content and application logic.

While the system architecture and development processes were adequate to support these sites, their limited purpose. the mere selling of goods or services. soon became non-competitive in the face of the continually growing demands of the e-marketplace. At the same time, the software-development, release-based approach conflicted with the need for rapid-change and daily (if not more frequent) updating of the sites content.


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