Home > Articles > Certification > CompTIA

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book


Another important aspect of the system architecture is the set of components that comprise the system. For Internet commerce, we frequently try to take advantage of general-purpose Internet applications, for three reasons.

  1. If general-purpose applications can be used, we need not build them again.

  2. General-purpose applications are widely distributed, so we need not create the distribution channels to put a specialized tool in the hands of customers.

  3. Customers are already familiar with the application, so they do not need to learn how to use a specialized tool.

In the next two subsections, we introduce the basic components used for Internet commerce systems. We will present a more detailed technical discussion of these components in Parts Two and Three of this book. Although our focus is on using general-purpose tools, such as the browsers and servers of the World Wide Web, there are, of course, times when it is appropriate to create and distribute a specialized tool for commerce. Even so, we think the components described here are a good starting point for designing such tools.

Customer Components and Clients

For customers, the primary tool for using the World Wide Web is a browser, sometimes called a Web client. We discuss browsers and other Web clients in Chapter 8. The system architecture is clearly influenced by the basic structure of the Web, and in particular by the capabilities of browsers. As we shall see, one of the important questions in deciding exactly how to structure a system is "What browsers do the customers have, and what are their capabilities?"

Some companies have also designed specialized client applications for commerce, particularly for payment. These applications, often called client wallets, are designed to implement one or more payment methods that require additional processing, such as cryptographic operations, on the client computer. Client wallets may also be used to keep track of what transactions have been made, to check on order status, or to manage other information related to transactions. The main problem with client wallets is that hardly any customers have them. Over the past several years, companies have not succeeded in distributing them on a large scale, so they are essentially irrelevant for most Internet commerce systems. An important lesson from these attempts is that new client software is a barrier for customers, and they will likely look for alternatives rather than proceed with installing new software. We look at different payment systems, including their requirements for client software, in Chapter 15.

Sometimes customer components can reside on third-party systems. For example, server-side wallets are Web sites at which consumers can register payment credentials and release them to sellers without having any special client software. Another example is a buyer home community system that provides authentication and customer service facilities in a federated commerce system, as we shall see later in this chapter. Such systems are not yet common, but many companies continue to build them.

Seller Components and Servers

On the other side of a transaction is the seller, whom we might also call the merchant or vendor. The seller provides all of the components of the commerce value chain, from content to customer service. In practice, a seller may provide some of the stages in the value chain directly and contract with others to provide the rest. Different sellers may make different decisions about which stages to provide directly, and these decisions may even change over time. Again, therefore, we separate the stages of the value chain in the general architecture so that different components can be handled differently.

Some components of the value chain are more easily outsourced than others. Content, for example, is a presentation of the actual products or services offered for sale by a business. Although a company may look outside for creative presentation ideas or development of the actual content, what the products are and how they are sold are the foundation of the business. Payment services, on the other hand, are very important to the business, but the details of the processing can be hidden as long as the results are correct. Here are some of the components.

  • Content management system

    This can refer to the seller's catalog or to the entire corporate Web presence. Content management systems permit the creation and management of dynamic and continually updated content.

  • Transaction processing system

    The seller's transaction processing system keeps track of all information related to transactions: what was ordered, who ordered it, how much it cost, the status of payment, the status of fulfillment, and so on.

  • Payment processors

    Payment processors manage the movement of money or other payment instruments in the system. For example, when a consumer pays with a credit card, the seller connects to a credit card payment processor to authorize the transaction (by checking for sufficient available credit) and, later, to settle the transaction.

  • Fulfillment systems

    Companies operating mail-order businesses often contract with a fulfillment company to handle packing and shipping orders. A business taking orders over the Internet for tangible goods might do the same. Indeed, a business selling digital goods over the Internet might even work with a fulfillment company to operate the servers used to deliver the online products. Or, in both cases, a business might choose to manage the fulfillment process in-house.

    One logical grouping of these functions results in what we will call the front office and the back office. The front office is concerned with marketing and selling goods and services. Content and presentation are very important, and the focus is on attracting the customer to buy the product or service. The back office is concerned with managing the details of the transaction, from placing the order to payment to fulfillment. Proper handling of the transaction is important, such as ensuring that the relevant information is delivered to the right places and that the payment is collected correctly.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020