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ZenBuyer™ on-line Catalogue featuring Ajax technology
Behind the Scene

What is the Ajax Technology ?

Ajax technology is about making a web site dynamic by refreshing the content of web pages instead of continuously changing them. It depends on the browser ability to exchange information with the server from within a page, made possible by a component called "XMLHTTP" for "exchange of eXtended Markup Language data through Hyper Text Transfer Protocol"

Microsoft first introduced this XMLHTTP component with Internet Explorer 5 back in 1999. Competitive browsers (FireFox, Safari, Netscape, etc.) followed the same path with different implementations. At the beginning of 2005, every current browser was equipped with XMLHTTP componant. Google rapidly lauched new services based on Ajax technology: Google Suggest and Google Maps.

Web Gurus saw there an opportunity to give Internet a new momentum; Jesse James Garrett from Adaptative Path first gave a name to this technology: Ajax (for Asynchronous JAvaScript and XML). Learn more about AJAX: original post from Mr Jesse James Garrett (feb. 2005).

Abaque first developped ZenBuyer in 2000, long time before one ever spoke of AJAX.
Initially compatible with Internet Explorer only, ZenBuyer now works on most currently used browsers.

Check out ZenBuyer on-line demo

What are the main Advantages of ZenBuyer Ajax Technology  ?

A single application for off-line and on-line Catalogues

Aftermarket Automotive spare parts off-line CD-ROM Catalogue (46K)

Off-Line ZenBuyer Catalogue

Aftermarket Automotive spare parts on-line ZenBuyer Catalogue (23K)

On-Line ZenBuyer Catalogue

Technically, ZenBuyer is based on a standard Windows application, developped with a RAD, object-oriented, data-centric visual tool, with all subsequent benefits: easy access to data, visual form layout, testing and debugging tools, etc.

This application can be distributed both ways: for a direct, local use on client's workstation (CD-ROM, download, etc.), or via Internet through zenBuyer. Clients use both catalogues exactly the same way, with the same data: user has the same experience on all media.

Any application update - on data, user interface or logic - intantly reflects ont both on-line and off-lines versions. You are sure clients get the same service and information on both channels.

Reduced development and maintenance costs

Developing a catalogue with a RAD, object-oriented, data-centric an visual tool is far more simple than with any internet tool, event of the latest generation.

HTML pages are generated with an automated translator. Maintenance done at one place is reflected everywhere without hassle.

Look-and-Feel is similar to a regular desktop Application

Most on-line catalogues present various pages changing after each user's requests. To return on a previous choice, user must use the "back" button, often ignored or misused. Sometimes he gets an expired page message he can hardly cope with.

With ZenBuyer, user has all choice criteria displayed in a single page, can change whatever he wants immediatly, seamlessly use various search modes etc. His user experience) is close to office applications he is used to.

Outstanding Response Times

After each user action, server sends back page updates as opposed to the whole page.

This technology strongly reduces the amount of bytes sent over the Internet (average more than 90 %), thus ensures quick response event if the client connection is slow (often occurs in company sharing an Internet connection and in developing countries).

Table at the bottom of ZenBuyer Demo page clearly shows ZenBuyer unrivalled response times:

ZenBuyer on-line Catalogue response times

Check out ZenBuyer on-line demo

Which browsers support ZenBuyer Ajax technology? 

ZenBuyer is compatible with all browsers supporting XMLHTTP and Javascript 1.2, in other words more than 95 % of current browsers (source TheCounter.com: statistics about used browsers and JavaScript compatibility at the end of June 2005)

To further reduce risk of incompatibility, ZenBuyer works withoutCookies. If client accepts cookies, ZenBuyer can restore catalogue in the same state as after previous visit.

Moreover, ZenBuyer produces no unsollicited pop-up window: further choices are presented in <DIV> sections, dynamically added and removed before and after user's choice.

Check out ZenBuyer on-line demo