Effectiveness of Web Services: Mobile Agents Approach in E-Commerce System

Effectiveness of Web Services: Mobile Agents Approach in E-Commerce System

Kamel Karoui (University of Manouba, Tunisia) and Fakher Ben Ftima (University of Manouba, Tunisia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch203
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Abstract

With the development of the Internet, the number of people buying, selling, and performing transactions is expected to increase at a phenomenal rate. The emergence of e-commerce applications has resulted in new net-centric business models. This has created a need for new ways of structuring applications to provide cost-effective and scalable models. Mobile Agents (MA) systems are seen as a promising paradigm for the design and implementation of distributed applications, including e-commerce. MA are also useful in applications requiring distributed information retrieval because they move the location of execution closer to the data to be processed. While MA have generated considerable excitement among the research community, they have not been applied into a significant number of real applications. Web services (WS) are emerging as a dominant paradigm for constructing distributed business applications and enabling enterprise-wide interoperability. A critical factor to the overall utility of WS is a scalable, flexible and robust discovery mechanism; an application can be built by integrating multiple services together to make a more efficient service. WS represent a major development in the e-commerce sector. They enable companies to capitalize on their existing architecture by making their application services accessible via the Internet. The application of MA and WS technologies to e-commerce will provide a new way to conduct business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and consumer-to-consumer transactions (C2C) and facilitate the communication between heterogeneous environments. In this article, we first focus on these two technologies of actuality and show their integration in an e-commerce system. Second, we present different kinds of interaction between MA and WS and study their effect on application performance. We also study an example that illustrates an e-commerce system including three categories of transactions: -Shopping transactions: a customer delegates one MA for research and purchase of articles online. The MA will interact with available WS to find the article and its best price. -Salesman transactions: to valorize their products, WS will invoke MA to make publicity for the customers. -Auction transactions: for this type of transaction, a MA (respectively a WS) can sell and buy a product from/to others MA (WS) by auction. Finally, we conclude with a discussion on our inferences and their implications. This work is structured as follows: Section “background” reviews the notions of e-commerce system, WS and MA paradigms. Section “Web services and mobile agents’ technologies on e-commerce system” presents the integration of these two paradigms on the e-commerce system. In section “performance evaluation,” we evaluate the performances of our approach and we study an illustrated example in the section “a case study.” The section “future trends” presents our future perspectives and we end this work with the “conclusion” in the last section.
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Background

This research into the effects of extrinsic rewards on knowledge sharing initiatives encompasses a number of constructs. These constructs were grouped into three sections—knowledge sharing, the introduction of incentives in knowledge sharing, and overcoming past research limitations—and are as described below.

Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge is defined to be a justified belief that enables effective action through the increase of an entity’s capacity (Nonaka, 1994). It is considered to be a vital part of an organization’s resources. In the resource-based view (Barney, 1991), resources that are valuable, are rare, lack substitutes, and are imperfectly imitable, such as knowledge, offer a source of sustained competitive advantage. In order for an organization to exploit its knowledge, there is a need for the management of knowledge. According to von Krogh (1998), knowledge management is the process of identifying and leveraging the knowledge within an organization so as to help maintain its competitiveness.

Organizations are able to manage knowledge through the use of specialized information systems: knowledge management systems. Knowledge management systems are also referred to as knowledge repositories, shared knowledge bases, or knowledge-based systems, and can include bulletin-board systems (BBS) as well as online forums that archive users’ posts.

In the field of knowledge management, the process of transferring knowledge (i.e., knowledge sharing) is considered to be of utmost important. Knowledge sharing is defined as the voluntary process of transferring or disseminating knowledge from one person to another person or group in an organization (Nelson & Cooprider, 1996). If there were no knowledge transfer activities, the field of knowledge management would not exist. For the purpose of this research, the process of knowledge sharing is taken from the viewpoint where it is empowered by technology through the use of knowledge management systems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web Service: It is a paradigm that allows interaction between distant applications via Internet independently of their platforms and languages.

Mobile Agent: It is a mobile software entity that can migrate from one host to another in order to satisfy client requests.

Hybrid Interaction: It is a mixture of MA-WS interactions and WS-MA interactions.

Distributed Application: It is an application composed of distinct components running in separate runtime environments, usually on different platforms connected via a network.

WS-MA Interaction: It is an interaction in which a Web service invokes a mobile agent for a request execution.

E-Commerce: It is the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet, especially the World Wide Web.

MA-WS Interaction: It is an interaction in which a mobile agent invokes a Web service for a request execution

Client/Server: It is a distributed computing model in which client applications request services from server. Clients and servers typically run on different computers interconnected by a computer network.

Aglets: It is a java-based mobile agent platform and library for building mobile agents-based applications.

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