Thursday, February 16, 2012

Preview of a next generation (web 5.0) shopping application

Now that one page checkout is out - I'd like to share with everybody a peek into what we've been up to.  This is a ground up, soup to nuts rethink of how to build an optimal shopping experience based on our 12 years of experience in e-commerce.

About 18 months ago we dreaming up a brand new way to create websites using pure HTML5, CSS, and Javascript -- a Web 5.0 "RIA" (Rich Internet Applications) that could deliver an online experience equivalent to other amazing Web 5.0 RIA's like Facebook, and GoogleDocs. Something revolutionary, not evolutionary.

We are ready to demo our first concept/prototype version - if you go to your domain and add a ?wrapper=2012_proximus you'll be able to try it on your domain - but here are a few examples:

Please keep in mind as you're seeing this - it's a first release of a new tech. It doesn't bring in old sites perfectly, and it does not (at the moment) load old HTML page content.   Here are the benefits:

ZERO LATENCY: Hosted in the cloud, and able to access cloud services to store data - it means shopping sessions can be carried across devices, along with easy access to future cloud technologies.
The shopping application also utilizes the local storage features of modern browsers to download product information and store it on the computer (then it only downloads updates) making it incredibly optimized for wireless 3G/4G browsing experiences.
The applications themselves will work on any hosting infrastructure - even free cloud hosting provided by Google, or Amazon and can be easily cached to ensure the maximum performance possible.

READY FOR BUSINESS: Unlike standard websites, and web 2.0 (ajax) websites which have dynamic server generated pages - this is a Web 5.0 - Rich Internet Application. 
There is no server side code - meaning it's not only fast and highly portable it's also easy to build.  Shopping Apps can be customized by an web developer (*HTML5, CSS, Javascript) - no more rails, no more incompatible hosting infrastructures.
The removal of a legacy server side language also means anywhere from 50 to 75% savings in build and long term maintenance costs.
Developers can work fast by simply downloading a copy of the app - then making the required changes, running/testing on their local computer and then re-upload to the hosting account or sending it to the webmaster for review.  No security clearance required. Developers can work from any device they choose - PC, Mac, Linux, Android Tablet, iPad, or anything else that has a browser.

READY TO GO (MOBILE): Shopping applications can be packaged and deployed as native apps for iOS, Android, Chrome (google apps marketplace) as well as any other device.
Adding technology like jQuery mobile makes it possible to inexpensively create new shopping experiences that are optimized for tablet users with sliding, dragging, voice, camera, and more.

ACT LIKE A NATIVE: Using phone gap technology a shopping app can access the native abilities of a mobile or tablet such as the secure wallet, camera, gps, or acceleratometer - leaving the only question: how high will the customer need to jump before you give them free shipping? 

PRIMED FOR SOCIAL: Most websites use Facebook widgets, this is the first type of e-commerce website that can actually integrate Facebook as the Facebook developers intended.  This opens the door for entirely new types of social shopping experiences that have never been seen before.   We hope this will finally let companies innovate and blur the lines between social and e-commerce.

YES - ITS PLUGGABLE: The development framework provided allows developers to embed full blown shopping experiences into their next generation rich internet applications with ease and minimal footprint.  That means mobile developers can embed shopping experiences to generate revenue - any type of application including games.

PLUG N PLAY:  Any legacy site that can add a script tag can also host a shopping interface.  In the near future we intended to deliver additional functionality called "overlays" that are pluggable into other applications such as wordpress, blogger, and replace the shopping experience on all other competitive e-commerce hosting infrastructures. Delivering the benefits of a real e-commerce oms like Zoovy to people on other infrastructures.

PORTABLE:  Unparalleled investment protection -- because there is no server side language like PHP, ASP, Perl, .Net, Java, or Coldfusion (everything happens in the clients browser) -- the apps are highy portalble across infrastructures.
The application itself is built on an MVC development framework which means that if other e-commerce providers choose to deploy these types of applications - that the apps can be easily and inexpensively modified to be compatible with any e-commerce backend.

HUNGRY FOR WINDOWS/8: Developer previews of Windows 8 show that it's a big update to windows - that is optimized for tablets, but able to run native win32 apps. Tablet apps will run in an interface known as Metro.   Metro applications will be built in pure HTML5, CSS, and Javascript - but and will employ Microsoft's SDK. Using the MVC model we will be able to leverage Microsoft's native javascript api's which should be much faster by removing the browser from the application.

There are a few downsides:

#1. These are not SEO friendly at all.  But don't worry - we'll be adding a superfast server generated SEO compatibility layer specifically optimized for Google - before we  go into general release of this.  We're trying to decide if we want to host this on zoovy infrastructure or support 3rd party hosting infrastructures.

#2. Only works on modern browsers (IE 8 and above) - this isn't a big deal - because  older browsers are so riddled with security holes that nobody should be using them anyway.

As we see it, walls have just been smashed, walls have shifted.


Wm Shawn Taylor said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog post Brian!!!

Alan Washburn said...

I like it!