PROJECT
X-ON Electronics Portal

CLIENT
X-ON Electronics Services

DATE
2010

Launch Site »

X-ON Electronics Portal
 

Project Overview

X-ON Electronic Services are one of Australia's largest wholesale electronics supplier. X-ON were already running an online portal allowing customers an suppliers to order their products online, but the limited functionality and slow speed of the site was causing a lot of issues with existing and new suppliers / customers. Their online portal has a large amount of products on display with a high percentage being sourced externally this was causing a bottle neck in the portal delivery of the products. X-ON contacted Orange Tree Design Studio looking for a solution to their problem.

When X-ON contacted Orange Tree Design Studio we had a look under the hood of their existing structure and realised straight away that a complete rework of the site was needed from the ground.

The Process

There were two main challenges with this website:
1. Overall Speed
2. Easy navigation and a clear data structure
3. Data synchronisation
4. Data currency

Overall speed of the site was addressed from a hardware point of view we noticed straight away that the site was running internally and was bottle necking through their internet connection. So we set up external servers with very high bandwidth allocations this alleviated the bottleneck in regard to delivering the content to the end user. The second part of this stage was to increase security throughout the entire system. Through a restricted VPS system we were able to lock down any areas required allowing only public access to specific data.

The second stage involved providing the end user a simple way to navigate through such a large amount of products. The X-ON customer website currently lists over 2.2 Million products at any point in time. We identified that this could not be achieved through any standard type of menu system. We came up with a solution that involved three different types of navigation, the first option was a large xml based drop down menu providing access to the first three levels of categories, the second option is a product search engine with a higher level of logic to allow more specific results, the last option is a visual based menu system that allows to browse at their own leisure.

The third stage involved data synchronisation, X-ON currently run a large internal based sales system this internal system needed to be in sync with the live external customer site so all data was up to date on both systems. We wrote a series of data synchronisation modules that update both systems whenever new data is added to the live customer website.

The Final stage is the largest challenge of the entire process how to keep all the data current? This large amount of products is sourced externally from 7 different suppliers around the world, we developed a series of product / data converters that allowed us to process large amounts of product data fast, this also gave us the ability to run filters and currency converters over the top of data so that we can display all the data consistently regardless of where the data is sourced from.

The Technology

Orange Tree Design Studio developed the front end of the website using a combination of php & asp this allowed us flexibility to extract the best of each language. The customer site runs primarily from a MySQL database and the internal system is running an SQL Server. The data synchronisation modules communicate seamlessly between both databases.

The site has a large account administration we were looking for a solution that allowed users to update their account without a lot of navigation. We chose Javascript / AJAX type solution using our favourite plug-in JQuery allowing development time to be drastically reduced. We also used a JQuery tabbed interface with Colorbox overlays allowing essentially one page to update all sections of their account.

To display the large amounts of products we used a Datatable AJAX solution allowing us to pool all the various datasets into one primary dataset this allowed us to provide sorting & paging options over all the common data. Combining this option with advanced product search engine this allows users to receive current results in a common framework.

Data converters were developed in php and run directly from the php command line as a batch file, this allowed us to automate the process with super fast results. The site is able process over a million products on under an hour allowing all data to be kept current at all times.

The Result

Our main goal was to provide a smoother faster user experience for customers & suppliers, we achieved this while dramatically increasing the speed of the website. All data is current to within 24 hours from any in the world. The customer site currently holds over 4.4 million products at any point in time. This site is a constantly evolving beast and we enjoy the ongoing relationship we have developed with X-ON Electronic Services.

Technologies
  • XHTML / CSS
  • Javascript
  • Jquery
  • PHP / ASP.NET
  • AJAX
  • Flash
  • MySQl / SQL Server
  • Colorbox, Datatable, JQuery UI
Project Images
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