THE LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING, ARE YOU READY?Written by Miguel Fiol
As if Nasdaq news weren't bad enough, Forrester Research (FORR) said most Internet retailers would be out of business by 2001. Retailers find themselves being forced from market by depleting bank accounts and saturated markets. The story quoted Mark Doll, a consultant for startup companies at Ernst & Young, who said, "There are 30,000 e-tailers out there, and probably 25,000 will have to go away."
While alarming to many, this consolidation serves as a fundamental benchmark to change. Or a wake-up call for your company. The scope of countryside is changing, not only in focus but in infrastructure and applications. So how are companies who find themselves pinched in saturated landscape suppose to survive, much less thrive? A look at future of Internet should provide some insight.
VoIP - Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a simple idea: utilize inexpensive infrastructure of Internet to create a convergence of voice and data. Already, you can make free long distance phone calls on web via freephone.com or visitalk.com. Soon, you'll actually be able to call Internet from any telephone and ask for website information, stocks, weather, make reservations, etc. The system searches Net for information you seek and reads it back to you in a calm, friendly voice. While both fast emerging industries, VoIP will not achieve critical mass until a few kinks are worked out.
For long distance, unreliability of Internet and instability of browsers and applications are concerns. Consumers will likely still be willing to pay 5 cents a minute for something they KNOW always works way they need it to. We've used telephones all our lives and that will be difficult to change especially if it sacrifices reliability. For voice portals, question is not only who wants to surf net on a phone but of security issues involved. V-commerce or Voice commerce will likely replace e-commerce but, again, bugs are in need of innovation but implications are tremendous. Imagine asking your database a question while conferencing with a partner on your mobile phone. Or visitng a website and asking product questions or ordering.
WAP - Wirless Application Protocol (WAP) is standard language developed by WAP Forum (a consortium of major telecommunications, Internet and software companies) to bring Internet onto wireless devices such as smart phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). WAP is language used to convert HTML websites into sites that are viewable on small, text-only screens now available on most mobile phones. While still in its infancy, great strides are being made in infrastructure, quality, security and applications. International Data Corporation has even predicted that there will be more wireless web subcriptions than PC Internet subscriptions by 2003. It is further believed that at some point after that, PC will simply become a peripheral to PDA or phone.
Introduction To Web TechnologiesWritten by Richard Lowe
There are literally hundreds of difficult technologies available to webmaster. Making proper use of these technologies allows creation of maintainable, efficient and useful web sites. For example, using SSI (server side includes) or CSS (cascading style sheets) a webmaster can change every page on his web site by editing one file.
A few of more common technologies are listed below.
ASP is useful for tasks such as maintaining a database, creating dynamic pages and respond to user queries (and many other things as well).
CGI - Common Gateway Interface is one of older standards on internet for moving data between a web page and a web server. CGI is by far and away most commonly used method of handling things like guestbooks, email forms, message boards and so on. CGI is actually a standard for passing data back and forth and not a scripting language at all. In fact, CGI routines are commonly written in interpreted languages such as PERL or compiled languages like C.
CSS - You use Cascading Style Sheets to format your web pages anyway that you want. CSS is complicated, but complication pays off by being able to create web pages that look much better than otherwise. One very nice feature is ability to define formatting commands in a single file, which is then included in all of your web pages. This let's you make one change to modify look of your entire site.
HTACCESS - The .htaccess file allows you to set parameters for your web site and folders (directories). The most common use is to protect directories by defining usernames and passwords. Htaccess can be used for many other things as well, including denying access to specific addresses, keeping out hostile spiders and redirecting traffic transparently to user. The downside of htaccess is language used is often extremely obscure, difficult to understand and extraordinarily precise. A small error in your htaccess file can disable your entire web site until error is fixed.
Java - Java is a client-side (meaning it's executed by browser not server) language. It is efficient and very powerful. The primary advantage of Java over ActiveX is Java has a sane security model (called Sandbox Model), while ActiveX model is so imbecilic as to defy imagination. Java is also much less likely to crash systems. On other hand, Java is substantially slower than ActiveX, and there are many tasks that simply cannot be performed in Java because it is denied access to operating system and disk itself.