Beginning E-Commerce

Beginning E-Commerce
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An interesting guide for the SME developing in a Microsoft-based e-commerce marketplace, but let down by relying on building custom objects in VB.

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This is another one of those doorstop Wrox titles in the Programmer to Programmer series. Its no surprise then that its not just another overview of the Internet business revolution, nor a business school primer for the would-be e-entrepreneur.

This is another one of those doorstop Wrox titles in the Programmer to Programmer series. Its no surprise then that its not just another overview of the Internet business revolution, nor a business school primer for the would-be e-entrepreneur. The full title reads Beginning E-Commerce with Visual Basic, ASP, SQL Server 7.0 and MTS, and once inside you soon learn that it delivers exactly this - a real-world, hands-on guide to building distributed apps with a Microsoft-powered solution.

The book centres round the development of Jos Coffee, a fictional company scenario allowing the authors to take the reader through the project. This covers everything from the underlying concepts behind designing software solutions for the Internet such as the benefits of three-tier development - separating business logic from presentation and data logic, for example. The book then goes through the designing of the object model and the coding of the ActiveX DLL that will power the site, and finishes off with the marketing mechanisms required to make it a success. In between theres advice on the aesthetics of Web site design, from using files to produce re-usable code to creating a consistent style and structure for ease of navigation. The mixing of programming know-how with a commercial understanding of how things work in the real world gives this book a unique selling point.

To get the best from this book, youll need a decent knowledge of Visual Basic programming, hands-on experience with ASP, and familiarity with Microsofts e-commerce family. Youll also need access to the software used within. Rather than being a beginners guide to the products involved, its a beginners guide to producing a successful e-commerce site with them. Having said that, its not for the larger corporates that have access to high-end Microsoft Site Server Web solutions.

The only factor that lets down an otherwise excellent book, is that many of the practical exercises anchor around the authors homegrown VB components. Such custom-built objects may do the job well, but this is largely hypothetical when many of the hosting services the typical SME approaches wouldnt touch such a site with a bargepole.

This Review appeared in the November, 2000 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

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