ebusiness Concepts - Glossary


A business architecture is a part of an enterprise architecture related to architectural organization of business, and the documents and diagrams that describe that architectural organization. People who help build business architecture are known as Business Architects. Business architecture bridges between the enterprise business model of an enterprise or a business unit on one side and the business operations that implement the business architecture on another side.
A priori
Relating to or derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions. Latin for "from what comes before."
Access control list
This stores the access privileges of individual users. For example, Windows NT holds a profile for each individual on its network.
A mnemonic for the properties a transaction should have to satisfy the object management group (OMG) service specifications. A transaction should be Atomic. The transaction results should be Consistent, Isolated (independent of other transactions), and Durable (its effect should be permanent).
Looking at the particular case at hand, without consideration of the wider application. This is in contrast to prevention, planning, or thinking ahead.
Adobe PDF
Portable Document Format. Developed by Adobe Systems, PDF captures formatting information from a variety of document sources (file types) and converts them into astandard format for electronic delivery. PDF files are viewable across multiple platforms.
The aggregator brings together digital products, physical products, and services from multiple brokers, companies, and dealers, to deliver solutions to complex consumer needs.
The Application Program Interface. It provides programmers and developers with access to the code of an application. The API provides access to those functions that the original core programmers have provided with hooks.
This is a pre-graphical interface software program that helps one find files available through ftp. Tell Archie what you want, and Archie tells you the location of the directory that contains the file.
Artificial intelligence
A branch of computer science dedicated to making computers mimic human intelligence. Examples include robotics, language processing, and learning systems.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Pronounced ask-ee, ASCII is a code for representing English characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number from 0 to 127. For example, the ASCII code for uppercase M is 77. Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text, which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode is network technology based on transferring data in cells or packets of a fixed size. The small, constant cell size allows ATM equipment to transmit video, audio, and computer data over the same network, and assure that no single type of data hogs the line.
Refers to the indivisibility of data transmission that cannot be split up. For example, an instruction may be said to do several things ""atomically." In this case, all the things are done immediately, and there is no chance of the instruction being half-completed or of another being interspersed. Used especially to convey that an operation cannot be interrupted, and is reliable.
Authenticated cookie [509] certificate
Secures site viewing and data transmission from a public hacker, or undesirable. For example, when a request to make a credit card transaction is made, a Web surfer receives an authenticated certificate.
The width of a communications channel. Greater bandwidth means quicker download times. Bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps). For example, a 28.8kbs modem has less bandwidth than a 56kbs modem. High bandwidth allows fast transmission or high-volume transmission.
Begin Transaction
The significance of the Begin Transaction request is that the application server requests the transaction service to begin a new transaction. The transaction service returns a transaction ID (TX-ID). The TX-ID is then passed to every request made on the Persistence Service for the remainder of Sally's payment processing. As the TX-ID moves through Sally's processing, it picks up database updates from each discreet event that occurs throughout the transaction process.
Brick and mortar
A traditional storefront that includes physical retail space. This is in contrast to a "virtual storefront" or a "click and mortar." Both of which refer to an e-Business with no physical retail space.
A software application used to display HTML code as a web page that includes graphicsand text. Examples include Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

A temporary storage area for frequently-accessed or recently-accessed data. Having certain data stored in cache speeds up the operation of the computer. When a request is called, a computer or server, first checks its cache to see if it has been recently accessed. If so, it quickly retrieves and presents the data. If not, it will look toward the slower storage devices to retrieve the information. Cache is like a chipmunk's cheek; it holds data for later recall and use.
Common Gateway Interface. CGI programs are the most common way for Web servers to interact dynamically with users. For example, many HTML pages that contain forms use a CGI program to process the form's data once it is submitted.
A computer on a local network from which you can request information or an application. The idea is that the desktop is the client, and server is the slave. In this scenario, the client is generally fat with logic and the server is a dumb slave. In recent years, this client/server relationship has changed to a relationship where the server is "fat" and the client is "thin."
The Common Object Request Broker architecture enables pieces of programs, called objects, to communicate with one another regardless of what operating system they are running on or in what programming language they were written. CORBA is designed for distributed computing environments. CORBA is a trademark of the Object Management Group, Inc. in the USA and other countries.
A piece of a message transmitted over a packet-switching network. One of the key features of a packet is that it contains the destination address in addition to the data. In IP networks, packets are often called datagrams.
Discussion and reasoning by dialogue or a method of investigation; specifically: the Socratic technique of exposing false beliefs and eliciting truth. The process of reasoning by argument and counter-argument (question and answer).
A system that a computer uses to organize files on the basis of specific information. Directories can be organized hierarchically so that files appear in a number of different ways. For example, files can be organized by creation date, alphabetically, or file type.
Disk Operating System. The term DOS can refer to any operating system, but is most often used as a shorthand for MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system). Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM, MS-DOS was the standard operating system for IBM-compatible personal computers.
Dynamic extensibility
As a service is used, new uses for the service can be added to the system, or modified while in use.
Electronic Data Interchange. The purpose of EDI is the transfer of data between different companies using networks such as the Internet. As more and more companies get connected to the Internet, EDI is becoming increasingly important as an easy mechanism for companies to buy, sell, and trade information.
Electronic bulletin boards
These are electronic message databases that allow people to log in and leave messages. Messages are typically split into topic groups called news groups. Like email, electronic bulletin boards are asynchronous.
Those atomic parts of a solution that when put together, derive a solution. The problem might be, "I need to hang a painting." In this situation, the hammer, nail, and the human action of swinging the hammer are elements of the solution (a nicely hung picture).
Provides the ability to send and receive messages via a network connection. Each person and institution on the network has an electronic address. As long as you know the person's address you can send and receive files. Email is asynchronous.
Emergent patterns
Those patterns which naturally emerge from the ongoing processes and practices of a system. For example, a business might find that customers aren't using their online banking service because they find it easier to walk into the brick and mortar bank.
A popular type of local area network (LAN), which sends data through radio frequency signals carried by a coaxial cable. Each computer on the LAN checks to see if another computer is transmitting and waits its turn to transmit. If two computers accidentally transmit at the same time and their messages collide, they wait and send again in turn.
Event driven
Responding to offers or requests as they occur, not as a result of a pre-specified sequence.
The process of putting an object into a stream for transportation to another process, component, ORB, or hardware device.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) are common practice to include on Web sites. They provide customers with self-service answers to common questions.
Fat client
The client (PC) doing most, or all of the processing in a client/server environment.
Fiber Distributed Data Interface. An industry standard covering the transmission of data, as pulses of light, over fiber optic links. Fiber optics allow data to flow at very high speeds, for example 100Mbps.
The layout (map) of how the problem space is organized. For example, a blueprint of a kitchen's layout.
File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows the quick transfer of files (text, images, and sound) to and from a remote host computer.
The activities (function) that occur within a defined problem space (form). For example, the kitchen (form) is laid out in particular way that supports cooking (function).
FX ticker
A vendor feed for foreign exchange currency rates. Basically, the FX ticker is a 24x7 update of current exchange rates.
The entry point into a server. A tiny electronic switch. These switches, when linked together can perform logical functions. There are both physical and virtual gates.
Graphical Interface Format. A format for encoding images (pictures, drawings, etc.) so that a computer can read the file and display the picture on the computer screen. The GIF format contains 256 colors. Photo-realistic graphic formats such as JPEG contain thousands of colors. The more color, the more realistic, but larger file size.

A document retrieval system from the University of Minnesota. Through Gopher, a user can access files from many different computers by looking through hierarchical menus to find specific topics. Gopher sites can now be accessed through the World Wide Web.
Hypertext Markup Language. A programming language used to create Web sites that are not platform-specific.
HyperText Ttransfer Protocol, the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web to transfer information from servers to browsers.
Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol. A version of HTTP developed by Netscape for the purpose of providing a secure transmission of information through the WWW. HTTPS transactions are generally run through port 443 and not port 80. Port 443 is reserved for HTTPS transactions.
Provides links to other files in a non-sequential order created by the designer. A hypertext link is generally highlighted in a specific color on screen. When clicked, the hypertext link takes the user to a new page with more information.
Interface Definition Language. A standard interface language that is used to communicate between objects.
`Instantiating an object is to either create a new empty object, or to read from the database and reconstitute the object. In object-oriented programming, producing a particular object from its class template. This involves allocation of a structure with the types specified by the template.
Insulated functionality
Clean definitions of the business service itself with little dependence on other services.
The process of pulling an object out of its transmission stream for the purpose of bringing it to life for use in its new location.
The ability of software and hardware on different machines to communicate with each other.
Internet Protocol Address. For example, 209.44.97. Each Web site and user on the Web has an IPA. Nowadays, the IPA is hidden by a ompany name or URL. For example WWW.Amazon.com.
Inter-process communication allows one process to exchange data with another process.The processes can be running on the same computer r on different computers connected through a network. An example is a socket.
Joint photographic experts group. A compression technique used primarily in the editing of still images to be used in graphical arts and Web site development. It reduces the size of the images, allowing the images to load faster on Web sites. JPEG files are generally more photo-realistic than the GIF format, containing thousands of colors rather than GIF's 256.
In general, the period of time that one component in a system is waiting for another component to do its part. This wastes time and reduces performance. Examples include the time lag between the beginning of a request for data and the moment it begins to be received, or the time necessary for a packet of data to travel across a network.
The display of data in an ordered format, or an ordered set of pieces of data. List is also a command that lists files in a specified order.
This is a topical electronic discussion group run through email. Participants can be an active speaker, or a passive listener. Listservs are run on a subscription basis through email.
Loose coupling

SEMrush Software
The business service can be thought of as inputs and outputs, with little concern about how the transformation occurs internally.
Converts disparate data representations into one common readable format by the receiving end (the business object). The application server's job of marshalling and unmarshalling is to make the business object understand the information that hascome over the wire.
A language for defining the rules for other languages. XML is an example of a meta-language designed to define the rules for creating other mark-up languages.
Software that resides between two disparate components/machines for the purpose of translating and distributing messages between the two.
Refers to a class of software that provides managers with tools for organizing, supporting, and evaluating their department. IT or IS refers to the department responsible for computers, networking, and data management. IT and IS are more infrastructure-related domains.
Mnemonics refers to a labeling system that indicates what type of information is located there. Once called, the mnemonic labeling system remembers the location of the original call and establishes a direct connection.
The first graphical Internet browser to provide easy access documents on the WWW. It also provides graphics and multimedia presentation capabilities. It runs on Unix, Windows, and the Mac.
Transmitting a message to a select group of recipients. For example, sending an email message to a mailing list (list-serv). Two-way communication between multiple sites, or recipients. Multicasting differs from broadcasting in that a broadcast is sent to everyone who has the equipment or connection to receive it.
Multiple fat servers
More than one fat server. Fat servers contain all of the logic and data for an application on the server itself. This is in contrast to thin servers. A dumb terminal accesses a fat server. Fat servers contain little application logic, but lots of "dumb" data.
Describes the client/application server architecture that includes N number of application servers. This is identical to having multiple fat servers. In an N-tier architecture, the business logic is distributed across multiple application servers and locations.
A forum, or discussion group in which Internet users can participate through posting and responding to messages. Comparable to posting a message on a bulletin board.
Object-oriented software
A type of programming in which programmers define not only the data type of a data structure, but also the types of operations (functions) that can be applied to the data structure. In this way, the data structure becomes an object that includes both data and functions. In addition, programmers can create relationships between one object and another. An example relationship might be that objects could inherit characteristics from other objects.
Original Equipment Manufacturer. For example, a company that buys computers in bulk and customizes them for a specific application. A software company might make an OEM deal to sell their software bundled with a line of desktop machines.
Object Management Group. An international consortium whose goal is to create a truly open object infrastructure, and set standards for object-oriented programming.
Packet switching
A technology for sending packets of information over a network. Data is broken up into packets for transmission. Each of the packets has a header containing its source and destination, a block of data content, and an error-checking code. Packets in this type of network may take different routes toward the destination. Upon receipt of the packets at the destination, packets are re-assembled into the message.
A pattern is an archetypal interaction, such as stimulus-->response. Natural patterns exist throughout the world, independent but often interconnected to social structures and or business goals.
A file with data used to alter, enhance, or extend the operation of a parent application program; a plug-in adds functionality that might not exist without it.
Designates a property, or relationship between two things. The predicate ascribes a property to the subject. In other words, objects have properties assigned to their subject matter. When A query searches, it returns a collection of objects that have the assigned properties.
Also known as spiders, priceBOTS are search engines used for price comparisons. They actively search specific Web sites for prices on various products.
Problem space
The defined area in which an architect works. For example, a painter's problem space would include: The landscape, her canvas, paints, and brushes. In e-Commerce, the problem space is often large and immensely complicated.
Sets of rules that regulate the way data is transmitted between computers. Examples are PPP, TCP, IP, RIP, POP, SNMP, SMTP, SLIP, ARP, RARP, PAP.
Thin objects that make the physical location of the actual object transparent to the client. In other words, the proxy activates the remote object transparently. For example, the proxy sends a request to a server on the Internet. The server on the Internet never knows that the request is coming from anywhere but the proxy. Thus 100 machines on a network could all access an Internet server and it would look like the proxy was making all of the requests. Some proxies have caching and site filtering built in.
Public key cryptography
A cryptographic system that uses two keys - a public key known to everyone and a private or secret key known only to the recipient of the message.
A request, or search, for information. Generally the request is to return information from a database. SQL is the most common database query language.
Real-world components
Those physical entities that when put together bring about a solution.
Reference models
Diagrams that are used for understanding. That is, "People reference these models for the purpose of helping them make decisions or create an architecture."
One service quality parameter provided by the type of service mechanism in IP. The reliability parameter can be set to one of four levels: lowest, low, high, or highest. An example of reliability is the ratio of expected keep alives returned from an Internet link. If the ratio is high, the line is reliable. This is often used as a routing metric.
Request for Comments. A Request for Comments is a series of notes about the Internet, started in 1969. An RFC can be submitted by anyone. Eventually, if the request for comments gains enough interest, it may evolve into an Internet standard. An RFC number designates each RFC, and once the RFC is published, the number never changes. If an RFC is modified, it receives a new number.
All previous steps are undone when a system failure occurs. In this example, the rollback reverts Sally's account status to the same account balance prior to the $50 transaction. In financial systems, this safety feature prevents the misappropriation of funds.
Router/Transport Layer
Protocols at the Transport layer are concerned with the safe transport and arrival of data. Protocols at this layer include TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and SPX (Sequenced package exchange. Routers operate at the network layer of the OSI model and use network addresses to accurately deliver messages. Cisco routers at this level intelligently select network paths and route data to correct addresses.
Sales channel
The way in which a vendor communicates with and sells products to consumers. For example, physical storefront, catalog sales, telemarketing, and the Internet are all different sales channels.
A script is a type of program that consists of a set of instructions for another application or utility to use. For example, CGI scripts contain a set of instructions written in a programming language like C or PERL that process requests from a browser, execute a program, and then formats the results in HTML. CGI scripts are often used to track information like Web-site hits.
Artificially intelligent/robot technology that searches Web sites for content and categorizes it. The content is stored in a database for later recall by search engine users.
Session Object
Sally's session object is still around, even though Sally has logged off. This is because the life cycle of the session had two determinants: (1) Sally had to remain logged on, or (2) if any process initiated on behalf of Sally is still running, then whichever process lasts longer determines the lifespan of Sally's session object.
Set theory
Sets are the most basic building blocks in mathematics. Set theory is concerned with the inclusion/exclusion of things. Venn Diagrams are often used to represent sets. The most commonly used sets are the sets of natural numbers, integers, rational and real numbers, and the empty set.
The Standard Generalized Markup Language is a system for organizing and tagging elements of a document. SGML was developed and standardized by the International Organization for Standards in 1986. SGML itself does not specify any particular formatting; rather, it specifies the rules for tagging elements. These tags can then be interpreted to format elements in different ways.
A communication path between two computer processes on the same machine or different machines. On a network, sockets serve as end points for exchanging data between computers. Each socket has a socket address, which is a port number plus a network address. Network connections are established by a socket device driver.
Source code
The original set of instructions for a software program. These instructions are written in a source language andlater inputted into a compiler, or assembler. Compilers and assemblers translate the source code into object code that the various target machines can understand.
Structured Query Language. SQL is language used to create, maintain, and query databases for information. SQL is an ISO and ANSI standard that uses plain English words for many of its commands. SQL is probably one of the most popular query languages.
Anyone who has a material interest in the outcome of a solution's implementation.
Streaming media
Streaming technologies are a popular method of listening and viewing audio and video data that comes to a user through the Internet. Streaming technologies allow users to view the contents of the media as the user downloads it. This is in contrast to downloading the file first and viewing it later. Note, true streaming generally requires a fast computer, and fast Internet connection (high bandwidth).
Subject tag
A tag is a line of code within a data structure that gives instructions for formatting or other actions. In Sally's case, the subject tag of the notification is to make payment.
Something that occurs continuously at regular intervals. The opposite of synchronous is asynchronous (irregular intervals). Email is asynchronous communication, where a phone call occurs synchronously. Another way to think of this is that clocks are synchronous, but catastrophic events such as earthquakes or tornadoes are asynchronous.
TCP is one of the main protocols in TCP/IP networks. Whereas the IP protocol deals only with packets, TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data. TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.
Thin client
A thin client is similar to a dumb terminal in that it gets all of its information from the network. Thin clients are stripped down computers that might lack a hard-drive for application storage. Their processing power is limited as well because the server is designed to take this load. In this environment, the thin server would need a "fat server" to run.
Thin server
Like a thin client, the thin server contains little application logic but lots of "dumb" data. An architecture with thin server's relies on the client machine to be fat with application logic and processing power.
Token ring
A local area network (LAN) in which computers are configured in a ring. A message (token) is passed from desktop to desktop. The token is used to avoid conflicts in transmission. A computer can only transmit messages while it holds the token. Token ring was developed by IBM
This could be any type of operation, such as, "I want to buy a book, a plane ticket, etc." In computer terms, this translates into a sequence information exchange that is treated as a unit for the purposes of satisfying a request.
A technology that enables one network to send its data via another network's connections. Tunneling works by encapsulating a network protocol within packets carried by the second network. For example, tunnels are now used to connect islands of networks over the physical Internet. This is known as the Virtual Private Network (VPN, see below), and allows virtual secure networks to be created without the need of hardware.
User datagram protocol, a connectionless protocol that, like TCP, runs on top of IP networks. Unlike TCP/IP, UDP/IP provides very few error recovery services, offering instead a direct way to send and receive datagrams over an IP network. It is used primarily for broadcasting messages over a network.
Un-programmed reports
Reports or queries that were not originally built into the database logic. For example, I could write my own query, rather than choose from those available.
United States dollar.
Value chain
The linking of processes for the purpose of creating an added value to the external customer.
An acronym for Very Easy Rodent Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives. Veronica is a search and retrieval program that works with FTP sites and software like gopher to better index and display retrieved information from a variety of FTP sites.
Virtual communities
These are on-line communities where individuals gather together to share common interests, exchange ideas, etc.
Virtual Private Network. A network that appears to be a physical and dedicated network using public wires to connect nodes. However, it is really a private network using public lines to create a virtual connection between machines.