A broad spectrum of electronic commerce applications is currently available on the Web, providing services in almost any area one can think of. As the number and variety of such applications grow, more business opportunities emerge for providing new services based on the integration and customization of existing applications. (Web shopping malls and support for comparative shopping are just a couple of examples.) Unfortunately, the diversity of applications in each specific domain and the disparity of interfaces, application flows, actor roles in the business transaction, and data formats, renders the integration and manipulation of applications a rather difficult task. In this paper we present the Application Manifold system, aimed at simplifying the intricate task of integration and customization of e-commerce applications. The scope of the work in this paper is limited to web-enabled e-commerce applications. We do not support the integration/customization of proprietary/legacy applications. The wrapping of such applications as web services is complementary to our work. Based on the emerging Web data standard, XML, and application modeling standard, UML, the system offers a novel declarative specification language for describing the integration/customization task, supporting a modular approach where new applications can be added and integrated at will with minimal effort. Then, acting as an application generator, the system generates a full integrated/customized e-commerce application, with the declarativity of the specification allowing for the optimization and verification of the generated application. The integration here deals with the full profile of the given e-commerce applications: the various services offered by the applications, the activities and roles of the different actors participating in the application (e.g., customers, vendors), the application flow, as well as with the data involved in the process. This is in contrast to previous works on Web data integration that focused primarily on querying the data available in the applications, mostly ignoring the additional aspects mentioned above.
The VLDB Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2001
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