The dot-com bust may have soured people on e-commerce, but growth in online sales continues to soar. This all-new edition of the best-selling Visual Basic Developer's Guide to E-Commerce with ASP and SQL Server has been completely updated for the .NET technologies, including ASP.NET, ADO.NET (for database connectivity), and Visual Basic .NET. The book offers real-world solutions for programming an online store. You get comprehensive coverage of designing an e-commerce solution, creating the user interface, building the shopping cart, checking order status, and creating promotional features for the store. The companion CD-ROM includes all the sample code and applications from the book.
The new edition also has a brand-new chapter on localization and internationalization issues. You learn to create a web page that meets specific requirements, such as the correct language and currency, for a user accessing the page from a particular country.
As I write this in May 2002, the dot-com world is still in a state of shock. Young millionaires are frantically selling their expensive toys at garage sales, behemoths like Amazon.com are still promising profitability any day now, and former Top-100 IT executives are standing in bread lines. Well, maybe the last one is a stretch, but times really are tough all over.
Does this mean that e-commerce is dead? Of course not. Now that many websites are maturing and the borderline sites are history, the Web and the commerce on it are poised to become better than ever. The Web is becoming even more pervasive, reaching into more and more homes and businesses in most countries—developed or developing. The Web is here to stay, and it continues to spawn more and better ways to conduct commerce. You shouldn’t shy away from e-commerce just because the market is correcting. If anything, there are more real opportunities now than ever before.
This state of turmoil, however, does mean that you have to be smarter about investing in e-commerce technology. An e-commerce investment should become more like any other business investment: It should meet projected return-on-income targets, integrate sensibly into the organization’s overall line of business, use the right technologies for the job, and not overtax resources. Certainly, gone are the days when a single Super Bowl ad represented the entire marketing strategy of a dot-com. Pure dot -com companies are still possible—witness Amazon.com’s continuing flirtation with profitability—but we’re going to see more brick-and-mortar companies expand to clicks and mortar. And they’ll be much stronger for it. Many people won’t consider doing business with organizations that don’t have at least a minimal Web presence, even the mom-and-pop shop around the corner.