IS 2730: E-Business


Spring 2012 (212-4)
Class Number: 25191
Tuesdays 3:00-5:50 Room 411
Michael B. Spring
Information Science and Technology
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
701B SIS Building
Personal Email:
Class Email:
Office Hours:  Monday-Friday 8:00-6:00
Phone: 412-624-9429


The World Wide Web (WWW) and more generally the Internet are providing new ways of communicating and of doing business.  There are many facets to the developments and many technologies appearing and disappearing in the rush to develop this new area.  E-business provides a mix of both conceptual and technological theory.


This course is an advanced course in the Web and Networked Information Systems Track.  Students taking this course should have already taken IS 2710 Database, IS2560 Web Technologies and Standards, and at least one analysis and design course (e.g. IS2511 or IS2470.)  Students who do not have these prerequisites must consult with the instructor before registering.  The course assumes familiarity with procedural and object oriented programming languages, operating systems, and development tools.

Organization of the Course

The course will cover both the conceptualization of E-Business in the context of markets, business practices, and information theoretic contexts and the implementation of E-Business in the context of programming, telecommunications, biometrics, and security technologies.

Conceptualization of E-Business will cover a variety of topics that provide an overview of the opportunities present.

·         Approaches to E-Business will address E-Business in the context of workflow automation, reengineering, and cooperative processing.

·         Web Site Conceptualization will address the process by which a business comes to determine what a web site can do for them and how the basic design of the system is set up in the context of competitive analysis and benchmarking.

·         B2C and P2P Commerce will address the various approaches taken in consumer oriented web sites.

·         Document Issues will address developments in document technology including the basic structure of web transactions and the development of XML and the XML suite of standards

·         Monetary Issues the nature of electronic money and the cost of efficient transactions, auctions and bid based web applications.  The notion of aggregating demand and services will be explored with particular attention to electronic currency and wallets. 

·         Transaction Issues will explore how the need for efficient transactions will be managed in light of the demand for user privacy and data confidentiality.

How web managers for medium to large size organizations should monitor network traffic for system violations, develop policy for internal employee use of the web.  It will also address how to link order data and credit information in a secure way.  The course will also address problems of data security and integrity for organizations engaged in enterprise wide computing applications.

o   Encryption standards such as Cookies, DES, RSA, and Certificates.

o   Directory Services such as X.500 and LDAP

·         B2B Commerce: Customer and Supply Chain will address how Businesses can develop better control of their internal processes and of customer assets. This lecture will provide an overview of the important concepts and standards for business to business e-commerce, and enterprise computing -- e.g. supply chain models.  It will also address the standards that are of import to this task:

o   Access to Database Systems via SQL, ODBC, JDBC and other standardized interfaces

o   Communications standards such as enhanced email, IMAP, POP, B-Boards/IRC

o   Component technologies such as CORBA, RPC

o   Data Representation technologies such as EDI, XML, and RDF

·         B2B Commerce: Publishing and Collaboration will address a variety of topics in the areas of information dissemination and collaboration as it related to network environments.  The lecture will address the notion of organizational capital -- physical, financial, intellectual, social, and knowledge.  How research in each of these areas is moving forward to support collaboration will be addressed.  Interactive system design, embedded computing, data capture methods, analog to digital data conversion data analysis and data mining will all be reviewed.  The development of visualizations, visual languages, virtual worlds, social environments, etc. will be reviewed in terms of how they support collaboration in these areas.  Key applications of network based collaboration tools will be presented and explored including conferencing tools, authoring tools, decision making tools, brainstorming tools, help desk environments, instructional tools, etc


The technical topics covered in the course will cover the gamet of technologies being used to build e-business sites.

·         Basic HTML and Web Design will address issues pertaining to the analysis, design, and management of websites.  It would introduce web authoring languages and web authoring tools.  It would cover HTML as a language and XML as a system of languages.  Cascading Style Sheets and the XML link language would also be introduced.

·         JavaScript and Applets will examine client side coding via scripting languages as well as the use of applet technology to offload server workload.

·         Advanced HTML, CGI scripts (PERL), and Servlets will cover simple active pages -- web scripted pages, and simple server applications -- CGI programs.

·         SSL, Authentication and Cookies  will examine the infrastructure protocols such as LDAP, DES, and Digital Certificate standards.  Web security issues pertaining to e-commerce that will focus on server side vulnerabilities, servlet/CGI precautions, general applications of secure communications including the use of passwords, cookies, secure socket layer communication, and certificates.

·         JDBC and Java will treat Web-Database interfaces, especially tools and languages for making data stored in relational databases (such as product catalogs) available on the Web. It will cover in detail the use of forms in HTML pages.

·         AJAX and Web Services will cover advanced approaches to improving the efficiency and reliability of web based systems.

·         Web Design and Evaluation will examine the technical issues in the design and evaluation of Web sites.


The objectives of a student taking this course will be to:

·         Understand the pressures that are moving e-business forward as a new mode of doing business

·         Appreciate the impact of bit businesses versus atom business, national versus global markets, and customer driven manufacturing on the conduct of business

·         Describe the various technologies that are being used to develop e-business

·         Discuss the technologies that are emerging to facilitate ebusiness

·         Analyze the trend in the application of technologies to e-business

·         Design a small prototype e-business site

·         Develop and defend a position on one or more factors that will guide the development of e-commerce

This course looks at E-business in a broad perspective weaving in issues of information theory (how information commodities differ from physical commodities, cryptography, authentication, etc.), business practice (just in time systems, value chain management, etc.), sociology (social capital, technology and alienation, etc.), and advanced concepts in information technology (structured documents, agents, multi-platform systems, etc.).  Students will be challenged to come to grips both with the fundamental changes that have taken place historically when technological revolutions occurred and to examine whether or not the current revolution is on a par with other “wave” magnitude technological changes.  In addition, the technologies and systems are of such a nature that it will be possible, maybe for just another few years, for bright and inquisitive students to come to grips with the full scope of the technology before expansion of the technology and specialization of expertise make full comprehension difficult if not impossible.

Required Texts

Professional Web 2.0 Programming(Paperback), by Eric van der Vlist, Wrox Professional Guides, 2006
ISBN-10: 0470087889;  ISBN-13: 978-0470087886

e-Business 2.0:  Roadmap for Success by Ravi Kalakota and Marcia Robinson, Addison Wesley, 2001
ISBN-10: 0201721651; ISBN-13: 978-0201721652

Recommended Text

Using XHTML 4 - XML - Java 2 - Platinum by Eric Ladd, Jim O'Donnell,
Que, December 1, 2001, ISBN: 07897-2473-1 (The Que Book – Using XHTML 4.0 has gone out of print.  It is still highly recommended if you can find a used copy.)


Regarding Homework Submissions

Assignments emailed to the instructor should be sent to unless you have been specifically instructed to send them to my personal mail account.

There is nothing more frustrating to a student than to have homework not be graded.  There is nothing more frustrating to an instructor than to have homework submitted incorrectly or with insufficient information.  Before you mail an assignment to me, please make sure that it meets the specific requirements for how it is to be submitted.  While there may be additional specific requirements set up in class, the following guidelines should be of help:

·         Papers:

o   Any paper that is submitted should be submitted in duplicate.  It should be carefully proofread and formatted professionally.  The paper should identify you, your email address, your social security number, the course, the term, the CRN, and the assignment for which the paper is submitted.

·         Projects:

o   Any project that is submitted should be thoroughly tested to insure that I will be able to run it on my machine.  The project source code and executable files should both be included.  The material, if it is extensive, should be zipped up in a zip or jar file.  Care should be taken to make sure that all necessary supporting DBMS and lib or jar files are included.  A readme file should be included that explains any particular constraints or steps that need to be taken.

o   All code that comes from any source other than your head needs to be fully and carefully marked.  This includes code which you have adapted from some source but which is essentially someone else’s work.  Failure to note such use is cause for a grade of 0 on the assignment and an F in the course.  All of your code should be carefully and professionally commented and explained.

o   In both the mail note to which the project is attached and in the main file of the project, you should include:

§ The names of all participants

§ Email addresses and social security numbers

§ The course, the term, the CRN

§ The assignment for which the paper is submitted.


Academic Integrity

You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted as in the course group project. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.

Special Considerations

If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, please, notify both the instructor and Disability Resources and Services by the second week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify Disability Resources and Services, call 64807890 (voice or TDD) to schedule and appointment. The office is located in the William Pitt Union, Room 216.

Course Requirements and Grading

The grade for the course will be based on the number of points earned by the student out of 100 as shown below.  The instructor reserves the right to modify the course requirements by administering surprise quizzes for up to 10 points or announced exams for up to 50 points if he feels that students are not pursuing a reasonable amount of course related reading and coding. Should this option be exercised, the point distribution for grades will be changed accordingly.

To give you a sense of what to expect, imagine that every point awarded for an assignment equates to between .5 and 2 hours of work/point. If you are a good writer or coder(not great, just good), you should be able to finish a 10 point assignment in 5 hours.  If you are a weak programmer or don’t research and write well, that same ten point assignment might take you 20 hours – or more if you lack skills completely.  I define assignments that should take an average person about 1 hour/point.  That says that you should expect to spend 100 hours over the term on course assignments.  You will spend another 50 hours reading the books and another 50 hours in lectures.

Required Activities



Grades for the course would then be as follows:

A = 90-100 points,   B = 80-89 points,   C = 65-79 points,   F = 0-64 points

Course Schedule, Readings and Due Dates for Assignments

Class Meetings are on Tuesdays, 6:00pm -9:00pm, in Room 404


The course will be equally divided between lecture, discussion, and in class development of sample systems.   The specific schedule of lectures and the dues dates for assignments will be determined during the term.  The following outline is tentative.

N.B.  All reading assignments are to be completed before class

Week 1 Course Overview/State of E-Business

            Read the Syllabus

Week 2 E-Business Framework and Update on Web 2.0

            Kalakota, Chapters 1-3

Week 3 Evolution of models/ Web 2.0

            Web 2.0, Chapters 1, 4, 7 and 16

Week 4 Intro to AJAX

            Web 2.0, Chapters 2-3 and 5-6

Week 5 XML/RSS/Servlet

            Web 2.0, Chapters 8-10

Week 6 B2B Infrastructure

            Kalakota, Chapters 4-5

Week 7 Transition to E-Business-- CRM

            Kalakota, Chapters 6-7

Week 8 Supply Chain and E-Procurement

            Kalakota, Chapters 9-10

Week 9 Databases and Syndication

            Web 2.0, Chapters 11-14

Week 10 Knowledge Management and Business Intelligence

            Kalakota, Chapters 11-12

Week 11 Other Technologies

            Web 2.0, Chapters 15 and 17

Week 12-14 Discussion and Makeup