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Ultimately, the architecture of an Internet commerce system (like the architecture of any complex computer system) has a tremendous effect on the long-term success of a project. It is almost always easier to slap something together quickly to solve a particular problem, but the resulting system won't be able to handle the challenges of tomorrow and will quickly become obsolete, even for its original purpose. By carefully creating an architecture, taking into account the business challenges to be addressed and possibilities for change over time, the system can evolve and adapt to growth, new challenges, and technology changes. Over the long term, the up-front investment can have enormous return. Trading those advantages against "let's get it running now" is an important decision that should be made very carefully. Indeed, one lesson from the dot-com craze of the late 1990s is that moving too quickly is not always an advantage, particularly for established businesses with loyal customers.

Assuming now that there is an architecture—at least a simple one—in place, we can consider some strategies for implementing the commerce system, the subject of the next chapter.

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