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Book Review: Beginning ASP.NET E-Commerce In C#: From Novice to Professional by Cristian Darie and Karli Watson

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You feel that you have the skills to build ASP.NET applications, but the thought of creating a full blown e-commerce site intimidates you. Because of the complexities, you are afraid you will get lost in the details. Not to fear, this is the reason that Beginning ASP.NET E-Commerce In C# was written. To give you a practical step-by-step approach that will teach you real-world development practices to building your site.

The goal is that throughout the course of the book, you will gain the necessary skills to design, implement, test, and deploy an e-commerce site. The skills you learn will be based off of the development of a site presented as a case study. This case study is done in three phases.

Phase I will get the site developed and up and running at a minimal cost. Phase II looks at increasing revenue by improving the shopping experience. Phase III will look at increasing profit margins by reducing costs through automation and streamlining order processing. Beginning ASP.NET E-Commerce In C# is 736 pages divided into 22 chapters and 3 phases. I will break down by the phases.

Phase I, "Getting a Web Store Up and Running, Fast," encompasses the first 12 chapters and focuses on the basics of getting your site up and running. You will first begin with some principles of e-commerce in the real world, followed by laying out the foundations by deciding what technologies to use and how to use them.

After installing and configuring the necessary software on your development machine, begin by creating the product catalog. This includes building product attributes such as different colors, sizes, etc. The next step is to begin looking at search engine optimization (SEO) to help increase the number of visitors to the site.

Implement the capability to search the catalog. It is implemented by using keywords and the result set is ranked so the user gets a better feel for quality of the results. With the basics in place, you will work at improving performance, adding PayPal to receive payments, and adding administration functionality to better run your online business.

Phase II, "Selling More and Increasing Profits," now takes the next step in development where you begin to improve your functioning site. The first thing is to create a shopping cart for your users to collect the items they want to purchase. This will give you more flexibility than the PayPal basket.

You also want to enhance the ability to accept and process customer orders into your new shopping cart. This is done in two steps. The first is on the customer side where they place the order, and the second is on the administration side where the order can be managed internally.

Finally, you will see how to customize the site toward each customer's preferences. This is done based either on return visits, or on other customers who have purchased similar items. This way you can persuade your customers to purchase more items and increase sales.

Phase III, "Advanced E-Commerce," moves you away from relying on PayPal in taking payments and confirming orders and will give you more control as well as reduce overhead. First you will begin by creating a customer accounting system. To do this you will need to also look into the security aspects of exchanging and storing customer and credit card information.

Now that you have the customer information stored, you now need to take the customer order and associate it with the customer. This will allow you to track the orders placed by any particular customer. This will also give you the basis for both the order tracking and the credit card transaction.

Now that you have the foundation poured, you can now begin laying the order pipeline. This pipeline will contain not only the customer and credit card authorization, but it includes functionalities like stock checking, shipping, email notification, and the other parts of order fulfillment. Finally you will see how to get hooked up with credit card processors, set up product reviews, and how to work with Amazon Web Services.

Beginning ASP.NET E-Commerce In C# is a very well thought-out and well executed book. What sets it apart from many other books is that it takes you through the process of creating a large-scale Web application. By using a step-by-step approach, you will see just how to build an online store.

Another point for the book is that the authors do not assume anything. Each step is explained in easy to understand language, and as you progress, you will find the book to become a well-worn reference. The work done with PayPal and Amazon Web Services are amazing as well.

I understand that this is a book on e-commerce Web development and not about database development. The database design within the system is not all that strong. It does not prevent duplication of items, and the use of integers as keys is not something that you would want to do on a live production site. This in no way reflects on the true focus of the book and that is the Web development of an online store.

If you are looking to get up to speed in developing an e-commerce site, if you want to learn the concepts of building the architecture for an online store, then you need to look no further than Beginning ASP.NET E-Commerce In C#. I very highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • Gökçer GÜR

    This book is useless. After page 500, there are only modifications. In Project, even user cannot see hers/his orders; cannot login. There is no stock check. First youe create order table then user table in another database. Then all the time change this, change that.. You use paypal at start of the book then datacash then amazon. There is no business layer, Presentation layer sucks! The book will give you start but then you have to fix everything else. try to solve on your own. Stupid scam writers.

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