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Griff 10-08-2004 08:31 AM

Architecture design question
 
Hi

I'm after some advice about the architecture to employ for a web front-end.

First, I'll describe the system. We host several customers' back-office
systems (which are identical) and which are accessed by our customers'
employees by remote connection. Our customers now wish us to host an
eCommerce front-end to their back-office systems on which *their* customers
will place orders.

By and large, the business rules for all our customers will be identical.
So, my thought was to build a single n-tier system to handle this.

The bottom tier is obviously our customers back-office systems.
The next vertical tier would be a data-services tier that knows which
back-office system to query.
The next would be the business tier.
And then we get to the UI.

It's the UI tier that I'm most confused about.

Each of our customers will require a unique look and feel - some may want a
frames solution, another may want a tabular display, some may want the
navigation buttons along the top whilst another will want them down the
side. Yes, I'm sure that I could program this in to a system, but I'm not
sure the best approach to take. Any/all suggestions most welcome.

Also, I don't know yet whether to employ a single web site with virtual
directories for each of our customers or to employ a separate web site for
each customer. (A single web site seems sensible just in terms of
incorporating SSL security). Either way, my guess is that I'd like all
customers sites to use as much common code as possible. Could anyone talk
me through ideal architectures for this?

Alternatively, if anyone has any great book suggestions that will help me in
this venture, I'd be really glad to hear of them.

Many thanks in advance

Griff




Freddy 10-08-2004 09:52 AM

Re: Architecture design question
 
You can use a single website, custom user controls and css


"Griff" <Howling@The.Moon> wrote in message
news:%23$4IyERrEHA.3868@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl...
> Hi
>
> I'm after some advice about the architecture to employ for a web
> front-end.
>
> First, I'll describe the system. We host several customers' back-office
> systems (which are identical) and which are accessed by our customers'
> employees by remote connection. Our customers now wish us to host an
> eCommerce front-end to their back-office systems on which *their*
> customers
> will place orders.
>
> By and large, the business rules for all our customers will be identical.
> So, my thought was to build a single n-tier system to handle this.
>
> The bottom tier is obviously our customers back-office systems.
> The next vertical tier would be a data-services tier that knows which
> back-office system to query.
> The next would be the business tier.
> And then we get to the UI.
>
> It's the UI tier that I'm most confused about.
>
> Each of our customers will require a unique look and feel - some may want
> a
> frames solution, another may want a tabular display, some may want the
> navigation buttons along the top whilst another will want them down the
> side. Yes, I'm sure that I could program this in to a system, but I'm not
> sure the best approach to take. Any/all suggestions most welcome.
>
> Also, I don't know yet whether to employ a single web site with virtual
> directories for each of our customers or to employ a separate web site for
> each customer. (A single web site seems sensible just in terms of
> incorporating SSL security). Either way, my guess is that I'd like all
> customers sites to use as much common code as possible. Could anyone talk
> me through ideal architectures for this?
>
> Alternatively, if anyone has any great book suggestions that will help me
> in
> this venture, I'd be really glad to hear of them.
>
> Many thanks in advance
>
> Griff
>
>
>




Griff 10-08-2004 10:33 AM

Re: Architecture design question
 
Thanks Freddy

Any suggestions for reading matter, particularly w.r.t. custom user controls
and css.

Presumably, there would be one CSS per customer (of ours). And, if our
customers wanted specific fonts/colours then they'd have their own end-user
style sheets?

Thanks

Griff



Freddy 10-08-2004 11:19 AM

Re: Architecture design question
 
You can use asp.net Wrox press books as well as refer to msdn. For CSS
Google it and you can find many free tutorials.


"Griff" <Howling@The.Moon> wrote in message
news:udv$FJSrEHA.516@TK2MSFTNGP09.phx.gbl...
> Thanks Freddy
>
> Any suggestions for reading matter, particularly w.r.t. custom user
> controls
> and css.
>
> Presumably, there would be one CSS per customer (of ours). And, if our
> customers wanted specific fonts/colours then they'd have their own
> end-user
> style sheets?
>
> Thanks
>
> Griff
>
>




clintonG 10-08-2004 02:34 PM

Re: Architecture design question
 
ASP.NET 2.0 solves the problem but is not targeted for
commercial release until Q2 2005. Regardless, I suggest
you study its membership and theming capabilities.

--
<%= Clinton Gallagher, "Twice the Results -- Half the Cost"
Architectural & e-Business Consulting -- Software Development
NET csgallagher@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com
URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/



"Griff" <Howling@The.Moon> wrote in message
news:%23$4IyERrEHA.3868@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl...
> Hi
>
> I'm after some advice about the architecture to employ for a web

front-end.
>
> First, I'll describe the system. We host several customers' back-office
> systems (which are identical) and which are accessed by our customers'
> employees by remote connection. Our customers now wish us to host an
> eCommerce front-end to their back-office systems on which *their*

customers
> will place orders.
>
> By and large, the business rules for all our customers will be identical.
> So, my thought was to build a single n-tier system to handle this.
>
> The bottom tier is obviously our customers back-office systems.
> The next vertical tier would be a data-services tier that knows which
> back-office system to query.
> The next would be the business tier.
> And then we get to the UI.
>
> It's the UI tier that I'm most confused about.
>
> Each of our customers will require a unique look and feel - some may want

a
> frames solution, another may want a tabular display, some may want the
> navigation buttons along the top whilst another will want them down the
> side. Yes, I'm sure that I could program this in to a system, but I'm not
> sure the best approach to take. Any/all suggestions most welcome.
>
> Also, I don't know yet whether to employ a single web site with virtual
> directories for each of our customers or to employ a separate web site for
> each customer. (A single web site seems sensible just in terms of
> incorporating SSL security). Either way, my guess is that I'd like all
> customers sites to use as much common code as possible. Could anyone talk
> me through ideal architectures for this?
>
> Alternatively, if anyone has any great book suggestions that will help me

in
> this venture, I'd be really glad to hear of them.
>
> Many thanks in advance
>
> Griff
>
>
>




Colin Young 10-08-2004 06:27 PM

Re: Architecture design question
 
In addition to the good suggestions already made, I'd like to add that one
way to reduce complexity in this sort of situation is to limit the options
in changing the site layout. That's actually less restrictive than it sounds
with decent CSS coding skills. As long as all pages have the same components
on them you should be able to use CSS to lay them out almost any way the
customer wants. You don't want to get into providing a frames solution for
some customers and a single page for others. You'll end up with too much
duplicated code.

If you go with the single-site solution, you need a good method to ensure
that the sites don't bleed into each other (e.g. if you are browsing company
A's site, there shouldn't be products or services from company B showing up,
even if they do appear in the style of company A's site). You will also need
a way to distinguish which site the user has requested. Do you want to use
www.hostcompany.com/?custid=A or www.companya.com? Either way, you'll want
to encapsulate all the code to detect which site the user has requested into
one area.

To handle your customers' business rules, if you haven't already done so,
consider using a rules engine to implement them. Inevitably somebody will
need a different rule, and with a good engine you can even let your
customers manage their own rules (if you so desire).

Colin

"Griff" <Howling@The.Moon> wrote in message
news:%23$4IyERrEHA.3868@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl...
> Hi
>
> I'm after some advice about the architecture to employ for a web

front-end.
>
> First, I'll describe the system. We host several customers' back-office
> systems (which are identical) and which are accessed by our customers'
> employees by remote connection. Our customers now wish us to host an
> eCommerce front-end to their back-office systems on which *their*

customers
> will place orders.
>
> By and large, the business rules for all our customers will be identical.
> So, my thought was to build a single n-tier system to handle this.
>
> The bottom tier is obviously our customers back-office systems.
> The next vertical tier would be a data-services tier that knows which
> back-office system to query.
> The next would be the business tier.
> And then we get to the UI.
>
> It's the UI tier that I'm most confused about.
>
> Each of our customers will require a unique look and feel - some may want

a
> frames solution, another may want a tabular display, some may want the
> navigation buttons along the top whilst another will want them down the
> side. Yes, I'm sure that I could program this in to a system, but I'm not
> sure the best approach to take. Any/all suggestions most welcome.
>
> Also, I don't know yet whether to employ a single web site with virtual
> directories for each of our customers or to employ a separate web site for
> each customer. (A single web site seems sensible just in terms of
> incorporating SSL security). Either way, my guess is that I'd like all
> customers sites to use as much common code as possible. Could anyone talk
> me through ideal architectures for this?
>
> Alternatively, if anyone has any great book suggestions that will help me

in
> this venture, I'd be really glad to hear of them.
>
> Many thanks in advance
>
> Griff
>
>
>




Adrian Parker 10-12-2004 07:40 AM

Re: Architecture design question
 
What I've done is to have generic pages in one area and then seperate
directories for each customer, and in there put some html pages that I open
and read and then output them to the screen. Can't do aspx page that way,
but you can


"Colin Young" <x@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:uR%23dJSWrEHA.516@TK2MSFTNGP09.phx.gbl...
> In addition to the good suggestions already made, I'd like to add that one
> way to reduce complexity in this sort of situation is to limit the options
> in changing the site layout. That's actually less restrictive than it
> sounds
> with decent CSS coding skills. As long as all pages have the same
> components
> on them you should be able to use CSS to lay them out almost any way the
> customer wants. You don't want to get into providing a frames solution for
> some customers and a single page for others. You'll end up with too much
> duplicated code.
>
> If you go with the single-site solution, you need a good method to ensure
> that the sites don't bleed into each other (e.g. if you are browsing
> company
> A's site, there shouldn't be products or services from company B showing
> up,
> even if they do appear in the style of company A's site). You will also
> need
> a way to distinguish which site the user has requested. Do you want to use
> www.hostcompany.com/?custid=A or www.companya.com? Either way, you'll want
> to encapsulate all the code to detect which site the user has requested
> into
> one area.
>
> To handle your customers' business rules, if you haven't already done so,
> consider using a rules engine to implement them. Inevitably somebody will
> need a different rule, and with a good engine you can even let your
> customers manage their own rules (if you so desire).
>
> Colin
>
> "Griff" <Howling@The.Moon> wrote in message
> news:%23$4IyERrEHA.3868@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl...
>> Hi
>>
>> I'm after some advice about the architecture to employ for a web

> front-end.
>>
>> First, I'll describe the system. We host several customers' back-office
>> systems (which are identical) and which are accessed by our customers'
>> employees by remote connection. Our customers now wish us to host an
>> eCommerce front-end to their back-office systems on which *their*

> customers
>> will place orders.
>>
>> By and large, the business rules for all our customers will be identical.
>> So, my thought was to build a single n-tier system to handle this.
>>
>> The bottom tier is obviously our customers back-office systems.
>> The next vertical tier would be a data-services tier that knows which
>> back-office system to query.
>> The next would be the business tier.
>> And then we get to the UI.
>>
>> It's the UI tier that I'm most confused about.
>>
>> Each of our customers will require a unique look and feel - some may want

> a
>> frames solution, another may want a tabular display, some may want the
>> navigation buttons along the top whilst another will want them down the
>> side. Yes, I'm sure that I could program this in to a system, but I'm
>> not
>> sure the best approach to take. Any/all suggestions most welcome.
>>
>> Also, I don't know yet whether to employ a single web site with virtual
>> directories for each of our customers or to employ a separate web site
>> for
>> each customer. (A single web site seems sensible just in terms of
>> incorporating SSL security). Either way, my guess is that I'd like all
>> customers sites to use as much common code as possible. Could anyone
>> talk
>> me through ideal architectures for this?
>>
>> Alternatively, if anyone has any great book suggestions that will help me

> in
>> this venture, I'd be really glad to hear of them.
>>
>> Many thanks in advance
>>
>> Griff
>>
>>
>>

>
>




Adrian Parker 10-12-2004 07:43 AM

Re: Architecture design question
 
What I've done is to have generic pages in one area and then seperate
directories for each customer, and in there put some html pages that I open
and read and then output them to the screen. Can't do aspx page that way,
but you can load specific aspx pages from there.

"Colin Young" <x@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:uR%23dJSWrEHA.516@TK2MSFTNGP09.phx.gbl...
> In addition to the good suggestions already made, I'd like to add that one
> way to reduce complexity in this sort of situation is to limit the options
> in changing the site layout. That's actually less restrictive than it
> sounds
> with decent CSS coding skills. As long as all pages have the same
> components
> on them you should be able to use CSS to lay them out almost any way the
> customer wants. You don't want to get into providing a frames solution for
> some customers and a single page for others. You'll end up with too much
> duplicated code.
>
> If you go with the single-site solution, you need a good method to ensure
> that the sites don't bleed into each other (e.g. if you are browsing
> company
> A's site, there shouldn't be products or services from company B showing
> up,
> even if they do appear in the style of company A's site). You will also
> need
> a way to distinguish which site the user has requested. Do you want to use
> www.hostcompany.com/?custid=A or www.companya.com? Either way, you'll want
> to encapsulate all the code to detect which site the user has requested
> into
> one area.
>
> To handle your customers' business rules, if you haven't already done so,
> consider using a rules engine to implement them. Inevitably somebody will
> need a different rule, and with a good engine you can even let your
> customers manage their own rules (if you so desire).
>
> Colin
>
> "Griff" <Howling@The.Moon> wrote in message
> news:%23$4IyERrEHA.3868@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl...
>> Hi
>>
>> I'm after some advice about the architecture to employ for a web

> front-end.
>>
>> First, I'll describe the system. We host several customers' back-office
>> systems (which are identical) and which are accessed by our customers'
>> employees by remote connection. Our customers now wish us to host an
>> eCommerce front-end to their back-office systems on which *their*

> customers
>> will place orders.
>>
>> By and large, the business rules for all our customers will be identical.
>> So, my thought was to build a single n-tier system to handle this.
>>
>> The bottom tier is obviously our customers back-office systems.
>> The next vertical tier would be a data-services tier that knows which
>> back-office system to query.
>> The next would be the business tier.
>> And then we get to the UI.
>>
>> It's the UI tier that I'm most confused about.
>>
>> Each of our customers will require a unique look and feel - some may want

> a
>> frames solution, another may want a tabular display, some may want the
>> navigation buttons along the top whilst another will want them down the
>> side. Yes, I'm sure that I could program this in to a system, but I'm
>> not
>> sure the best approach to take. Any/all suggestions most welcome.
>>
>> Also, I don't know yet whether to employ a single web site with virtual
>> directories for each of our customers or to employ a separate web site
>> for
>> each customer. (A single web site seems sensible just in terms of
>> incorporating SSL security). Either way, my guess is that I'd like all
>> customers sites to use as much common code as possible. Could anyone
>> talk
>> me through ideal architectures for this?
>>
>> Alternatively, if anyone has any great book suggestions that will help me

> in
>> this venture, I'd be really glad to hear of them.
>>
>> Many thanks in advance
>>
>> Griff
>>
>>
>>

>
>




Griff 10-12-2004 01:56 PM

Re: Architecture design question
 

> To handle your customers' business rules, if you haven't already done so,
> consider using a rules engine to implement them.


Could you define a "rules engine" please...




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