IBM unveils upgrade for e-storefronts

IBM this week announced plans for an upgraded version of its Net.Commerce software, which helps companies build electronic storefronts.

Net.Commerce 3.2, due at the end of August, promises better performance and scalability thanks to dynamic page caching improvements, CPU utilisation and database access efficiencies and more selective handling of encrypted data, said Karl Salnoske, IBM's general manager of e-commerce products.

The Victoria's Secret Web site, a Net.Commerce beta tester, is anticipating a performance boost of at least 50 percent, said Frank Giannantonio, a vice president at The Limited's technology services, which manages the site.

Companies that want to get the upgrade before August can start with Version 3.1; taking the additional step to 3.2 won't be difficult, Salnoske said.

In connection with the Net.Commerce 3.2 release, IBM also plans an upgraded Catalog Architect 3.2 tool featuring support for XML, to help companies create and manage their Web-site content.

XML tags will make it easier for companies to export and import catalog content and repurpose the information for multiple uses like print advertising or a CD-ROM catalogs.

Equally important will be IBM's partnerships with content-management companies such as Interwoven and OnDisplay, said Yankee Group analyst Steve Robins.

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