The Technical Components of an E-Commerce System (continued)

E-Commerce standards for both general and specific e-commerce applications.

Messaging Option

  • E-Commerce standards for both general and specific e-commerce applications.

Fax Metaphor

  • Email
  • Value Added Networks - VANs
  • X.400
  • Electronic Faxes
  • Voice Messaging
  • Network Telephony (NCC: page. 49 - 50)

Internet Option

  • A Brief History of the Internet
  • The Internet began with ARPANET – a WAN started by the US Department of Defense for research into networking in 1969. One of the aims was to provide a way of connecting communications and intelligence centres in a robust way, so that if one was destroyed in war, or simply suffered machine failure, information could be automatically routed around the hole in the network.

  • Many people contributed to the standards for communications protocols which made the network function. Researchers wrote their proposals in a paper called a ‘Request for Comments’ (RFC), and published it on the new medium itself. The first RFC (RFC0001) was written on 7 April 1969 and there are now well over 2000 RFCs.

  • ARPANET was opened to non-military users later in the 1970s, primarily big universities – although at this stage it was still a research tool also used for file transfer and primitive email. The network started to expand internationally around 1972.

  • It was not until the early to mid-1980s that the services we use most now started appearing on the Internet. Prior to 1984, all Internet addresses were strings of numbers (IP addresses). The mechanism by which servers are given names (e.g. was then introduced and email and other protocols followed. For example, RFC-822 describes the format for email headers.

  • HTTP (Hyper-Text-Transfer-Protocol), the underlying mechanism of the World Wide Web was not invented until 1989, by Tim Berners-Lee. He was a physicist working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, and wanted a way for physicists to share information about their research. Initially the web was text only, and web browsers were also editors, so people could work on each other’s documents.

      • Graphics came later with a browser called NCSA Mosaic. The start-up company Netscape improved on this and the number of users grew dramatically with their free trial versions of their browser. Over 80% of web users were using Netscape’s product.

      • The graphical interface, combined with advances in modem technology and growth in the number of ISPs opened up the Internet to vast numbers of novice users. Prior to this, home computer users were largely limited to using ‘bulletin boards’ which has their own proprietary interface. Companies like AOL and Compuserve, impressed with the rapid growth of the web, and fearful of being left behind, connected their networks to the Internet and offered their existing users access.

      • Microsoft all but abandoned its own content network MSN and rapidly embraced the Internet, incorporating its own browser (Internet Explorer) into its Windows operating system



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