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Lesson 7 Push or pull
Objective Define the differences between push and pull technologies.

Push and Pull Technologies in eBusiness: A Technical Overview

  1. Introduction: In the realm of eBusiness, effective communication and data interchange between parties play a pivotal role in ensuring streamlined operations, improved customer experiences, and robust data-driven decision-making. At the heart of these interactions are two primary technologies, namely 'push' and 'pull', that dictate how data and information are transmitted between entities. This document provides an authoritative and technical overview of these two communication methodologies.
  2. Definition:
    1. Push Technology: In push-based systems, the server takes the initiative to send data to the client without a specific request from the client. This proactive delivery ensures that clients receive timely updates and notifications.
    2. Pull Technology: Contrarily, pull-based systems require the client to initiate a request to retrieve or check for data. The server responds to this request, delivering the data only when solicited by the client.
  3. Core Differences:
    1. Initiation: Push: Server-initiated, Pull: Client-initiated.
    2. Data Transmission Frequency:
      1. Push: Data can be transmitted whenever the server deems it necessary, leading to real-time or near-real-time updates.
      2. Pull: Data transmission occurs only when the client makes a request, potentially leading to latency in data updates.
    3. Bandwidth Utilization: Push: May consume more bandwidth, especially if the data is pushed frequently or in large volumes, even when not immediately necessary for the client. Pull: Generally more bandwidth efficient as data is transmitted only upon request.
    4. Server Load:
      1. Push: Server needs to track client states and maintain information on what needs to be sent to whom.
      2. Pull: Server responds to client requests as they come, without maintaining stateful knowledge of each client.
    5. Complexity:
      1. Push: Often requires more complex infrastructures to manage timely data distribution and to determine which clients need which data.
      2. Pull: Simpler from an infrastructure standpoint, as clients determine when and what data they need.
  4. Application in eBusiness
    1. Push Technology:
      1) Use Cases: Stock market updates, real-time alerts, news feeds, and targeted advertisements. 2) Advantages: Enables real-time interaction, improves user engagement, and can provide personalized user experiences. 3) Drawbacks: Can lead to higher server loads, potential overuse of bandwidth, and may become intrusive if not implemented thoughtfully.
    2. Pull Technology:
      1) Use Cases: Web browsing, email retrieval, and on-demand video streaming. 2) Advantages: Efficient bandwidth use, reduced server load, and a client-driven model which provides data only when desired by the user. 3) Drawbacks: Potential for data latency, relies on the client to initiate requests, and may not provide real-time updates.
  5. Conclusion: In the evolving landscape of eBusiness, both push and pull technologies have distinct roles, advantages, and challenges. While push technology ensures users receive timely information, making them more engaged and informed, pull technology provides control to users, serving data on-demand and ensuring efficient utilization of resources. A strategic blend of these technologies, tailored to the specific needs of an eBusiness, can result in optimal performance, user experience, and operational efficiency.

Push or Pull Technologies

There are two prime methods of communicating data and information between two or more parties in the context of eBusiness. They are the pull or client pull technologies, and the push, or server push technologies. The table below compares the two.

Methods of communicating data and informationPull or client pull technologiesPush or server push technologies
DescriptionThe user may be an individual or a corporate system Data is retrieved from another source Content may be variable and dynamic or static The userrequests or "pulls" the data from another sourceThe user may be an individual or a corporate system The user may have initially requested the information Content is typically variable and oftendynamic Content is sent or "pushed" automatically at periodic intervals from one or more central sources to one or more users
For exampleUser accessing and retrieving individual pages of information from a Web siteShared price updates Auction bid updates Regular news updates

Hybrid and push-pull Approaches

Hybrid approaches to this area can combine both techniques.
The hybrid approach combines both pull and push techniques, and occurs most typically during a two-way online transaction where the server system responds to the client/user-entered data with specific responses according to the data entered. The hybrid approach can also be applied to deliver linked sequences of information quickly. For example, when one page of information is retrieved, additional pages of subsequent information can be downloaded to the client in anticipation of their subsequent viewing. Should the client user wish to view those pages, they are stored in the client's "cache" of pages held on the client access device (for example, a P.C.) for instant local retrieval without the need for the user to request and wait for subsequent telecommunications network transmission.

Hybrid push/pull approach to communication and information exchange.
Hybrid push/pull approach to communication and information exchange.

Early innovative examples of this server push approach were pioneered by such as pointcast and marimba. In the next lesson you will learn about intranets, extranets, and VPNs.

ecommerce Business Model