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Related Topics: ColdFusion on Ulitzer, Online Shopping

CFDJ: Article

December 31, 1999

December 31, 1999

IN THIS ISSUE:

DEVELOPER NEWS

GOVERNMENT NEWS E-COMMERCE UPDATE ALLAIRE ANNOUNCEMENTS DEVELOPER NEWS

Internet Forum Announces Initiatives

The ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) Forum announced a major initiative aimed at delivering value-added services that leverage the Internet's infrastructure, increasing the intelligence and flexibility of networks. The goal of the forum is the cooperative review and consideration of ideas and concepts to create an open standards-based protocol -- ICAP -- which is expected to be presented to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in early 2000. The proposal will allow enterprises, content providers, and ISPs to seamlessly conduct e-services such as targeted Web advertising, virus scanning, content filtering, data compression, and language translation on any Internet access device. Allaire Corp. is a member of the forum and supporter of the initiative.

"We've seen demand from our customers for an open standard of integrating enterprise Web applications with a new generation of Internet content delivery technologies," said Jeremy Allaire, chief technology office of Allaire. "With the ICAP initiative, our customers will use the Allaire e-business platform to build large-scale solutions while leveraging the latest Web caching technologies."

Web Editor Adds Upload Capability

Ektron Inc. announced several product enhancements to for its eWebEditPro online WYSIWYG HTML editor, a midrange dynamic Web authoring application that enables easy and cost-effective Web content management. Version 1.3 offers new features for Microsoft ASP including HTTP port image transfer/uploading to Microsoft IIS Web server. The editor transfers an image file using an Ektron-provided ASP file and COM object as unformatted binary data over HTTP. The feature is added to eWebEditPro's existing capability to support HTTP image uploading for Allaire's ColdFusion, as well as FTP image uploading for other dynamic Web servers. Bookmark and ISO character support has also been added.

A free download for full-featured evaluation of eWebEditPro is available at: http://www.ektron.com/ewebeditpro.cfm

Able Solutions Announces New Subsidiary and Product Upgrade

Two days after Able Solutions Corp. announced that its e-commerce operations would be handled by its new subsidiary AbleCommerce, named for the company's award-winning online store building and management software, it announced an upgrade of the software. AbleCommerce 2.9 is a fully customizable software that lets all system-level and merchant-level administration to run from any standard Web browser. AbleCommerce allows merchants with limited HTML skills through Web designers and ColdFusion programmers to generate secure, full-feature stores in just a few hours.

Features in the new release include: custom product information, customer service automation, automatic reorder, shipment tracking, a new bank code option, improved wizards and bookstore template, real-time payment processors, SQL 7.0 compatibility, and enhanced user interface.

GOVERNMENT NEWS

President Calls for Study on Online Voting

President Clinton recently ordered a one-year study of the potential of online voting to see if voting via the Internet will increase turnout without creating fraud and privacy problems. The study is part of an initiative to expand the uses of the Internet. The initiative is also set to create a single Internet portal that can access any government Web site. The portal should be available in several months and have the 500 most-used government forms available for downloading.

Panel to Recommend Halt on Taxes

The 19-member Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce is recommending the repeal of the 3% federal excise tax on telecommunications services, a ban on transaction taxes on Internet service providers, and prohibition of taxes that discriminate against Internet users.

The panel which is made up of state governors as well as executives from large corporations stated among its reasons that: eliminating the federal excise tax would save consumers $3.3 billion annually; repealing the telephone excise tax would relieve phone companies from having to collect the taxes; and ISPs wouldn't have to add an additional tax to their bills, allowing them to keep the costs of their services affordable.

That the infrastructure of electronic commerce is not taxed seems to be a point of agreement for the committee, while the larger issue of taxing Internet sales is a point of contention. Many local governments are concerned that online sales will bite into state, city, and county sales tax bases, which fund police and emergency and other services.

The committee is expected to continue studying taxation issues through the end of 2000.

E-COMMERCE UPDATE

Purchases Peak this Holiday Season

Fourth-quarter online sales jumped 64% over last year, according to IDC. The Framingham, MA-based research company stated that 83% of shopping sites reported higher revenues than last year, and over half of them are reporting growth of more than 61%. IDC forecasts that total online purchases for the fourth quarter of 1999 will total $7.1 billion in the U.S., up 64% from the fourth quarter of 1998.

While these numbers are impressive, not everyone is experiencing the benefits of the online shopping boom. Ten percent say sales are very much below expectations while another 6% report sales are only slightly below expectations, reports IDC.

There were some downfalls to the shopping boom: 31% of sites reported that their servers couldn't handle the additional traffic and were experiencing performance problems and 11% expected shipping delays.

Study Examines Online Shopping Convenience

Online shoppers may have avoided the hustle and bustle of department stores and shopping malls, however, they still may have experienced some inconveniences from the comfort of their homes.

According to Andersen Consulting, 25% of holiday online purchases failed because sites couldn't handle the orders. The sites either crashed, were blocked, were under construction, or were otherwise inaccessible. In the study 480 orders were placed on 100 different sites but only 350 orders were actually completed.

Internet-only stores provided faster service, cheaper shipping costs, and more accurate information on shipping times. Tradition retailers were the least accurate with delivery times and catalog retailers with Web sites charged 22% more for shipping than Internet-only and traditional retailers.

ALLAIRE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Allaire's Senior Management Team Strengthened by Additions

Allaire Corp. announced the appointments of Larry Rowland to the position of Chief Information Officer and Vikki Kolbe to the position of Vice President of Services. With the addition of Rowland and Kolbe, Allaire hopes to continue its growth strategy and its ability to meet the needs of its large customers in the e-business platform market.

"As proven industry veterans, Larry and Vikki will make major contributions to our dynamic growth in the competitive e-commerce sector," said David Orfao, president and chief executive officer of Allaire. "They will extend our ability to deliver the industry's most effective solutions for large organizations moving their businesses to the Web as well as pure-play Internet start-ups."

Rowland will ensure that Allaire has the appropriate infrastructure to manage its rapid growth, drive the strategic use of information technology and to showcase Allaire's products in the day to day operations of the business. Rowland previously was CIO of Thomson Global Markets -- Thomson Financial Services.

Kolbe will drive the strategy and implementation of support services, focusing on the expanding needs of customers' e-business technical support requirements, value-added consulting, and education to ensure that Allaire services are aligned with customers' needs. Kolbe most recently served as senior vice president of product development at Visibility Inc.

Alliance to Power E-Business on the Wireless Web

Allaire Corp. announced it has formed an alliance with Phone.com, a leading provider of software and services that enable the delivery of Internet-based services to mass-market wireless phones. The alliance will result in the availability of a WAP-enabled e-business platform for the development of innovative applications for Internet-enabled mobile phones, which will be provided by Allaire.

Allaire platform users will now be able to develop and distribute custom Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)-based applications, allowing businesses built on the Allaire platform to be prepared for the growing market of Internet-enabled mobile phones.

The relationship will also provide rich WAP and ColdFusion support in their respective software development tools. Allaire has incorporated Phone.com development tools into its latest release of HomeSite and ColdFusion Studio.

Two New E-Commerce Sites Built with ColdFusion

Lycos Inc. and Williams-Sonoma both recently unveiled new Web sites that were built with ColdFusion.

Lycos Inc. used ColdFusion to develop the recently launched LYCOShop, shop.lycos.com. ColdFusion enabled Lycos to gather a group of best-of-breed merchants into LYCOShop, its new online shopping destination.

"Allaire ColdFusion provides us with the ideal solution to integrate a vast array of content and applications from other leading sites on the Web for LYCOShop," said Jeff Bennett, vice president and general manager of electronic commerce for Lycos. "With this platform, our search engines on Lycos.com and HotBot.com are able to search the LYCOShop commerce database, in addition to searching our extensive catalogs and directories, to help consumers make the right purchasing decisions more quickly than ever before, all conveniently on one site."

The also recently launched www.williams-sonoma.com used ColdFusion to integrate the Williams-Sonoma's catalog and store operations into a new online store with superior customer support. It also provides Williams-Sonoma with a complete platform for building and deploying enterprise Web systems that integrate browser, server, and database technologies.

"ColdFusion's enterprise class functionality and proven ability to scale make it an ideal cross-platform application server for developing large-scale Web projects," said Krishnan Menon, managing partner, global accounts for USWeb/CKS, Williams-Sonoma's Web design consulting firm. "Using ColdFusion, we were able to integrate Williams-Sonoma's brick-and-mortar operations with the new online store quickly and efficiently."

More Stories By Maria Waddy

Maria Waddy is a ColdFusion Advisor editor.

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