An applet is a Java program that is loaded, executed and displayed by a Web browser application. Applets are often of modest size and complexity, to minimize the download times for users with low-bandwidth connections. However, when Web browsers are enhanced with the support of a Java plug-in, larger and more complex applications may be developed. This is possible because the Java plug-in makes it possible to cache the applet class files on the client machine – thus minimizing load times for the applet subsequent to the initial load. The Java plug-in also makes it possible for applets to execute outside of the low-headroom memory constraints imposed by the browser applications. This allows the applet designer to develop larger and more fully featured applets.
Application Distribution and Management is based on an infrastructure which allows application data or executables to be automatically installed and/or updated across the Enterprise network. OMIX was an early adopter in integrating technologies from our partners Marimba and BEA Systems (originally WebLogic) to embed Application Distribution and Management infrastructures within our e-Business solutions.
Application Servers are the heart of modern industrial-grade Internet, intranet and extranet architectures. Standards-compliant Application Servers support the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard and serve as containers that support the construction of software architectures in which the presentation layer (implemented as Java Server Pages --JSP) is separated from the business logic (implemented with Enterprise JavaBeans – EJB). This layered approach to the design of complex transaction systems is essential in creating systems that are scalable, reliable and relatively easy to maintain. This approach also makes it possible to develop reusable software components, and supports the creation of systems that are capable of sharing business logic while delivering different presentations to different devices or points of access. Modern Application Servers also support connectivity services to Legacy systems, databases and, through XML interchange, to the broader diversity of network based transaction peers. An application written to run on an Application Server can be easily ported between hosting environments. In this way, as the application transaction volume grows, the baseline code can be migrated to higher performance systems. OMIX was a very early adopter of Application Servers, and has been integrating BEA’s industry-leading WebLogic™ Application Server longer than any other integrator. OMIX has selected the WebLogic™ server as our preferred app server environment because of BEA's ongoing commitment to being first to market in supporting emerging standards, and because the clustering abilities of this server make it possible to create solutions that scale gracefully.
Business logic is comprised of the rules and algorithms used to create the behavior of a business application. For example, in the case of an auction site, each auction has specific rules about what constitutes a legal bid, the order in which bids are processed, and the timing of how the auction is opened and closed. All of these rules would be implemented as the business logic for the auction application.
These features allow a company to communicate effectively with users, and can be used to promote user involvement on the Web site. Chat functionality allows users to execute a real-time typed conversation with other users or site administrators. In order to enhance and streamline customer service, some sites have integrated Chat functionality into the "Help Desk" portion of their presence. Bulletin Boards allow users to post their input about a particular topic of discussion, which can later be reviewed by another user. This feature is similar to Chat functionality in that it allows users to converse with and advise one another. However, because Bulletin Board conversations do not occur real-time, they are easier to monitor and less expensive to develop than Chat functionality. The award-winning Doonesbury site, which OMIX built in 1995, marked the beginning of OMIX’s experience in working with these community-boosting technologies.
When an application requires a highly interactive user interface, it may be appropriate to deliver the application outside of the browser environment, on the client side. In these circumstances, we work with our clients to develop a fully featured, network-aware client-side application. It is often appropriate to install and deliver these applications using an Application Distribution and Management infrastructure. For each project that we undertake, we assist our clients in selecting the most appropriate technology set.
The term "Content Management System" (CMS) describes the software that allows businesses to manage and update their business documents. Industrial-strength CMS systems integrate workflow management with a document repository. OMIX has acquired extensive experience in integrating these systems with our Web-based solutions, having developed particular capabilities for integrating solutions from our partners Documentum (CMS) and BEA Systems (WebLogic™ App Server). In Content Management Systems, managed content can include text regions, graphic elements and multimedia elements such as streaming media. We use these technologies to create solutions that provide end-users with a seamless transition experience in moving between content that is under CMS control to content that is managed by the Commerce system.
A Database is a software application that saves information so that it can be retrieved in the future. Given our strong emphasis on building transaction systems, virtually every system that we create involves one or more embedded databases. Databases are used whenever it is necessary to save transaction or user state information. OMIX has traditionally turned to our technology partners – Oracle, Informix, Sybase and PointBase – for the third-party database servers that we embed into the solutions that we create.
Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs) are generally used to implement the business logic within a J2EE-compliant application. The EJB application layer is responsible for maintaining transactional integrity, and may also provide ancillary services such as communications with remote systems. OMIX has been building J2EE-compliant applications since the WebLogic™ Application Server first supported these services in 1998.
An extranet is a network connection between two or more organizations or geographically separate parts of the same organization. Extranets are often established between business partners through private networks or VPNs.
A firewall is a security device used to control access between at least two connected networks. Firewalls are most commonly used by businesses to allow their internal staff to access resources out on the public Internet, while preventing access by outside intruders from the Internet to their internal protected network assets.
May refer to a set of technologies or a class of applications that are associated with the public Internet. Internet technologies are technologies that were originally developed for the public Internet, but may be used in other environments – for example, a Web server used inside a corporation is an Internet technology being applied to an intranet.
An intranet is a network that is accessible primarily within an organization. Intranets are generally private internal networks that are protected (usually by firewalls) from access by others outside the organization.
Sun Microsystems defined the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard as a software architecture used to construct multi-tiered transaction systems. J2EE systems generally run in an Application Server environment that is compliant with the J2EE standard specification.
The Java Foundation Classes were released by Sun to extend the original Java Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) graphical user interface architecture. The Swing component set was core to the JFC release.
A Java Plug-in is a Web browser extension developed by Sun Microsystems that may be painlessly downloaded and installed to enhance the performance of Java applets when used by the browser. A Java Plug-in supports the use of a Java Runtime Environment that exists outside the confines of the built-in browser Java environment. This makes it possible to run applets that are significantly larger than those that must be run within the browser address space. It also allows browser owners to take advantage of advances in Java runtime technology as they occur, without waiting for the browser manufacturers to release a new browser version.
Java Server Pages are generally used to implement the presentation logic within a J2EE-compliant application. The JSP layer is responsible for creating the dynamic HTML that is delivered to the Web browser. It accomplishes this by making method calls to the business logic EJB Beans. By using this approach, it is possible to produce parallel JSP bundles that offer a different presentation depending upon the accessing device or site point of entry. Also, this approach permits localized changes to either the presentation or business logic – resulting in code that is much easier to understand and maintain.
The Java Swing set is a collection of graphical user interface (GUI) components used to build modern application user interfaces. The Swing component set features a pluggable look and feel – meaning that the look and feel of the application interface can be altered through a simple configuration setting to emulate the look and feel of different operating system platforms (e.g. Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris, Apple Macintosh). The Swing set consists of a collection of low-level user interface components (buttons, scrollbars, labels, etc.), plus a rich set of higher-level components (such as tree views, list boxes, and tabbed panes).
A Legacy system refers to the existing mainframe, minicomputer, client/server or PC applications that are used to manage business functions, but were deployed before Internet-based architectures became the prevailing paradigm. Most Internet, intranet, and extranet applications have been developed to run in today's Windows NT or UNIX environments. However, it is becoming increasingly necessary to transport data between the new breed of applications based on Internet technologies and existing Legacy systems. For example, it is often necessary to interconnect a B2B system with the client's existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. OMIX has significant experience in providing Legacy system integration services for our e-Business clients.
Newsletters are usually sent via email to a site’s targeted audience. Newsletters can be automated to present personalized information that matches predetermined user preferences, which has been identified through previous interactions with the user. Many of the systems that we have created incorporate this capability. Our clients have discovered that sending targeted Newsletters is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to encourage repeat business on a site.
In recent years, OMIX has developed a series of auction systems for our clients. These systems have been used to conduct a wide variety of types of auctions – selling everything from merchandise items with complex attribute sets (e.g., used cars) to commodities delivered over time (e.g., a year’s supply of natural gas to Ford Motor Company assembly plants). To facilitate the development of these systems, OMIX has developed a set of reusable OMIX Auction Components™ based on the J2EE architecture. Using this component set, our design engineers can create auctions that support arbitrarily complex item definitions and auction rules. Utilizing this framework vastly reduces the time (and associated costs) required to design and develop these systems.

OMIX has been building e-Commerce systems since our inception in 1994. Over the years, we have adopted emerging technologies to make our systems more scalable and standards compliant. The current OMIX e-Commerce Infrastructure™ is our fourth generation in this evolutionary series. It is based upon a J2EE component set, and effectively separates the business logic from the site presentation logic. This allows us to construct sites that differ in content presentation, but retain a similar underlying business logic, thereby significantly reducing development costs and time to market. This infrastructure includes the following capabilities:

  • dynamically extensible product catalog
  • dynamically extensible set of product attributes
  • support for product collections
  • multiple language and currency representation
  • support for persistent shopping cart
  • membership or anonymous user accounts
  • automated order confirmation e-mail
  • user account order status with shipper tracking links
  • support for multiple shipping addresses in a single order
  • automated credit card validation and transaction clearing
  • dynamic product availability based on fulfillment inventory levels
  • order processing to fulfillment center
The OMIX Proximity Engine™ is a software component that supports a set of methods relating to ZIP codes and geography. For example, this component may be used to determine a list of ZIP codes that are within a given radius (in miles) of a single specified ZIP code (e.g., give me a list of all ZIP codes that are within 50 miles of 94025). It also may be used to determine the distance between a pair of ZIP codes, or to return the name of the city and state associated with a specific ZIP code.
Personalization refers to functionality that allows systems to speak directly to their users by identifying the user upon site arrival. Personalization functionality enables a site to present information specifically targeted toward the user’s predetermined preferences, based on past interactions with that user. For example, an industrial buyer that has previously purchased energy on a Web site can be presented with relevant energy market indices upon re-entry to the site. A customer who has previously purchased children’s items can be presented with the latest children’s product promotion. Because Personalization targets site visitors’ purchasing preferences, it often pays for itself many times over by increasing sales. OMIX has implemented Personalization features on a multitude of its e-Commerce and Business-to-Business sites.
Internet firewalls and encryption systems support the protection of sensitive data while it is in transit on the public Internet and while it resides on private corporate networks. Security is a primary concern for any Internet, intranet, or extranet application. The experience that OMIX engineers bring from their work in the financial industry is of vital importance in creating world class security systems to protect the assets of OMIX clients.
Software Standards emerge from the cooperation of many vendors to create a common definition for an emerging technology. Standards can be used as building blocks to design solid, industrial-grade application architectures. By using Software Standards, companies can leverage technologies from multiple suppliers, rather than being single-sourced. By utilizing standards that are widely embraced (such as Java), companies are also assured that they will be able to find technical resources to support and extend the implementation. OMIX has been a long-time advocate of Software Standards, benefiting many clients by designing architectures that endure and serve as platforms for future growth.
Streaming Media Servers are the software systems that enable end-users to view video and hear audio content across networks. When businesses plan to include Streaming Media Video Servers in the system architecture of their Web systems, they must consider many trade-offs in order to maximize video quality while avoiding network bottlenecks. Integrating a Streaming Audio Server requires less expensive multimedia production, and is less bandwidth intensive than video. OMIX creative staff has extensive experience in the television industry and is consequently quite familiar with the production issues involved in producing professional quality multimedia presentations.
Supply Chain Management coordinates purchasing and supply functions between two or more companies. As the Business-to-Business marketplace has evolved,Supply Chain Management integration is now often at the heart of B2B applications. Although Supply Chain Management software receives a great deal of attention, the greatest challenge in the Supply Chain Management integration process usually involves the integration of the pre-existing Legacy systems maintained by the various companies, each retaining its own order and inventory processing system. For example, when a large company dictates a supply chain process to its vendors, each vendor must perform the required Legacy integration. Some vendors accomplish this by hiring additional internal resources with the necessary skill sets, while others outsource the integration task to an experienced Internet professional service firm such as OMIX.
Third party software refers to any application or set of software components that derive from an outside source. Many e-Business systems require the incorporation of third party packages. OMIX has extensive experience integrating a wide variety of third party software.
User interface describes that part of a software application that the user sees and with which the user interacts. Conventional modern user interfaces for a window-based operating system include menus, toolbars, radio buttons, checkboxes, list boxes, etc. An application's user interface is comprised of a mix of these elements.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an encrypted point-to-point channel that is set up between two network endpoints. VPNs are commonly established between corporate firewalls to construct private, encrypted channels across the public Internet. VPNs allow users to transparently access computers on the remote network segment as though they were on the user's local network.
Web applications run inside a browser application. The primary advantage of Web applications is that browsers are ubiquitous delivery containers. The disadvantage of Web applications is that user interactivity is limited by the HTML-based "present a form / submit a form" paradigm. OMIX works with each of our clients to determine the delivery approach that best addresses the specific requirements of their application.
Web servers and servlet engines are at the heart of many Internet/intranet/extranet applications, serving Web pages to the accessing networks. In designing a Web delivery system, we partition our architectures such that servers are optimized for their specific functions. Web servers typically deliver static content, while passing dynamic content requests to servlet engines that support the JSP presentation logic. The JSP layer, in turn, may make method calls to the EJB business logic layer. This software layering approach facilitates efficient modification of a single layer, while retaining the other layers, thus simplifying application maintenance.
eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a language used to store structured data and to pass it between network hosts. The syntax of XML is similar to HTML, in that it contains matching sets of tags, but - unlike HTML - it includes provisions for an extensible set of tags. The specific tag definitions that will be used by an application set are determined in advance and are utilized by both of the communicating applications. XML is an ideal way to enable efficient communication between commerce sites, fulfillment houses, extranet partners, and other systems based on modern Internet architectures. OMIX has extensive experience in utilizing XML for inter-application data exchange.
The Zero Administration Client (ZAC) is a part of the BEA Systems Weblogic™ Application Server that is used for client-side application delivery and management. The ZAC allows applications to automatically update themselves whenever a new version is placed on the server for distribution.
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