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Name:

(002) A reconfigurable E- commerce site

Skills:

WWW page design, HTML, Dreamweaver/ FrontPage, ASP/PHP, JavaScript, Graphic design

Aim:

The main aim of the project is to create a reconfigurable website with dynamic content. It involves research into different methods of creating reconfigurable media components, such as Macromedia Flash, XML, PHP, Microsoft ASP and so on, and allows content to be dynamically delivered.

Focus:

Research also includes an investigation of database-driven and e-commerce sites, which integrate both server-side and client-side scripting languages. It also investigates methods of video streaming to WWW clients, such as using Real Video, Microsoft Windows Media or QuickTime.

Student:

CEDRIC THOMAS

Documents:

Project review [Feb 2002]
WWW site [Feb 2002]
Interface design [Feb 2002]
Final report [May 2002]
Source code [May 2002]
Poster [May 2002]

Abstract

E-commerce is typically defined as the commerce that is transacted electronically, as over the Internet. This, unfortunately, it a narrow vision of what electronic commerce really is. Recent studies have revealed that e-commerce is the fastest growing sector on the Internet and many companies make some or all of their money online. The problem is that developing and running an e-commerce system requires not only business and organisational expertise, but also technical skills. Unfortunately, most small or medium companies do not possess these skills or cannot afford them for a dedicated development. This project aims to solve this problem by creating a reconfigurable and reusable e-commerce system that requires a basic knowledge of computer systems, for it create, install and update e-commerce systems.

The report defines the main goals of an e-commerce system and establishes a model based on templates and components. This is then expanded to evaluate currently available technologies used in e-commerce, and especially highlights existing database-driven e-commerce sites.

After the goals have been defined, the report expands this to define the requirements and specification of a reusable and reconfigurable e-commerce system. The design approach uses a model of a customer, and an administrator, where each of the required elements are defines as components for the system. This includes elements such as the graphical user interface, database interface components, and customer/administrator interaction. Each of these elements are then refined into a more detail requirements specification. The requirements are initially define in text, and are then refined into a flow chart approach. This method was used as it can be easily understood by business planners, and software developers.

An on-line video store has been used as a prototype for the system, which will be used to appraise the key parameters of the system, such as ease-of-design, reconfigurability, and reuseability. The report outlines a test where the system is measured against traditional tools, such as using Dreamweaver/Flash. It shows that the traditional technique is actually faster in development time than the reconfigurable system, but it shows that the reconfigurable system actually saves time when modifying the system for another e-commerce application.

The selection occurs among a list of technologies (established in the second section) and is then used to implement an online video shop. This prototype is named "Empire Video" and allows reading the description of a movie or watch its trailer in real-time before proceeding to purchase.

Among the tests accomplished in the last section, one of them evaluate the reusability of the system and, for this purpose, "Empire Video" was duplicated onto another server and then reconfigured to become "Books Online", a bookshop. These tests proved that the system created works correctly and can be used to help small and medium companies.

Screen shots

and:

Initial aims

The main aim of the project is to create a reconfigurable website with dynamic content. It involves research into different methods of creating reconfigurable media components, such as Macromedia Flash, XML, PHP, Microsoft ASP and so on, and allows content to be dynamically delivered.

Research also includes an investigation of database-driven and e-commerce sites, which integrate both server-side and client-side scripting languages. It also investigates methods of video streaming to WWW clients, such as using Real Video, Microsoft Windows Media or QuickTime.

This research is then applied to the creation of an e-commerce system, which is used to sell video content (DVD). Real-time video streaming is used to show movie trailers.

In addition, the interface will be designed to facilitate easy navigation through the different sections and stages of purchase. This will be done by using an intuitive user interface including a logical approach to the process of buying, easy choices and previous user recognition or new user subscription.



 

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