[ic] Interchange Mall

Jeff Dafoe jeffd@evcom.net
Fri, 23 Feb 2001 22:05:01 -0500 (EST)

On Fri, 23 Feb 2001, Mike Heins wrote:

> The key thing is defining the mall process. Once that is done, the 
> actual mechanics of doing the mall are not that hard. For instance,
> with searching it is best to build an external index file on a periodic
> basis. Not only for the ability to map searches, but for performance.
> This is usually a simple custom external script run periodically by
> cron.

	That is exactly what I was thinking.  

> The hard parts are the rules for running the mall, and defining what
> you will and will not support. Once you have done that, you have something.
> Until you have done it, you have nothing.

	Definitely.  My preliminary theory is that the best solution is to
force the user through the checkout process for each vendor (a vendor
being a person with an interchange catalog) who has an item in the user's
cart, perhaps using some sort of shared customer database so that address
and other billing info would not have to be reentered across the disparate
checkouts.  Or perhaps it will be easier to just offer a "mass search"
capability and then make the user check out before moving to the next
store.  Like you said though, it is more of a set of business decisions
that have to be made because there is not one "best" answer to the few
issues that present themselves.

> I know that some people would say "but that is what *you* are there for!"
> (Meaning me and my Red Hat compatriots.) 

	Well, I agree with those people, I'll bet Akopia offers consulting
to help them towards these unique solutions.

> Well, all I know is that if I
> defined this for people the next 500 emails I would get would be "well,
> that is sort of good but I need to do this or that" or "why did you do
> it this way??!!!?". And I wouldn't have any answer.

	Sounds like the international currency issue.

> It is just like shipping except more complicated -- there is no way to
> take all of the possibilities into account.  If there were, there would
> be a "MallMaster" piece of software that would do it all for you. There
> ain't no such beast, and I won't hold my breath for one to appear. 8-)

	I am definitely going to post more as our six month project (of
which ecommerce is just a part) progresses (assuming that we do more than
just set up a search box that searches an index of multiple catalogs).  
I'll let anyone know if we do something neat.