October 2001

KNOW YOUR WEB AUDIENCE. When defining a new Web project, it is surprising how often this important element is overlooked. Here are some good questions to ask:

    GOALS - What is your audience trying to accomplish?
    USER TYPES - What kinds of typical users are there?
    SEARCH ENGINES/MARKETING - How do users find your site?
    UPDATES - Do users stop returning if updates are slow?
    INFORMATION - How much info is needed? How is it organized?
    USER INTERFACE - Is the UI consistent, easy to understand?
    PLATFORM - Which browsers & connections are being used?

INDUSTRY IS BUZZING ABOUT WEB SERVICES. Web Services, which are emerging as the new software paradigm, are a way of making data from an application accessible remotely over the Internet. Web Services describe a set of standards that define how an application can be made up of loosely coupled services from various sources, over the Internet. For example your accounts payable application may depend on a Web Service that supplies currency exchange information or your inventory management program may auction excess inventory via a Web Service. Information from an application is transmitted in a form that uses Internet standards (XML is key), so your application is not affected by which hardware, operating system or application server your Web Service is running on. Web Services make it possible to run applications comprised of many small applications, using a collection of Web Services, rather than having to use large, monolithic applications.

WHERE'S THE WEB SERVICES BUSINESS MODEL? Although Microsoft recently announced pricing for its Web Services, and Sun is getting press from its SunONE Web services announcement, it still is not clear how companies will make money on Web Services. While waiting for the Web Services market to develop, many companies are experimenting with offering free Web Services across the Internet or using Web Services internally on their intranets. On intranets, Web Services can help to turn a previously closed legacy application into an application that can easily pass data back and forth to other applications.

E-TAILING GROWING AT 30 to 40%, which is pretty impressive for the year 2001! Industry watchers are predicting substantial growth for online sales this Christmas season:

30% Increase, Gartner
43% Increase, Nielsen/NetRatings
31% Increase, BizRate
Nielsen found that 76% of the sales in September were going to traditional merchants. The remaining sales were going to Internet pure-plays, with the vast majority going through eBay and Amazon.

BLOGS ARE WEBLOGS, in case you were wondering about this term. A weblog is just a list of links to sites the weblog author thinks are interesting, with a few comments mixed in. One of the old-timer weblogs is www.scripting.com. About.com also writes about many interesting subjects using a weblog format.

WWW.CRAIGSLIST.ORG is a booming non-profit service for posting resumes, jobs and other want ads. It has developed a large and loyal following among Silicon Valley job seekers.

FOR QUESTIONS, REMOVALS, OR TO RECEIVE OMIX NEWS contact Kyle Hurlbut at 650-330-8980, kyle@OMIX.com