Over the past decade or so, the web has been embraced by millions of businesses as an inexpensive channel to communicate and exchange information with prospects and transactions with customers.
In particular, the web provides a way for marketers to get to know the people visiting their sites and start communicating with them. One way of doing this is asking web visitors to subscribe to newsletters, to submit an application form when requesting information on products or provide details to customize their browsing experience when next visiting a particular website.
From a technical view-point, the web is a highly programmable environment that allows mass customization through the immediate deployment of a large and diverse range of applications, to millions of global users. Two important components of a modern website are flexible web browsers and web applications; both available to all and sundry at no expense.
Web browsers are software applications that allow users to retrieve data and interact with content located on web pages within a website.
Most importantly, modern web sites allow the capture, processing, storage and transmission of sensitive customer data (e.g., personal details, credit card numbers, social security information, etc.) for immediate and recurrent use. And, this is done through web applications. Such features as webmail, login pages, support and product request forms, shopping carts and content management systems, shape modern websites and provide businesses with the means necessary to communicate with prospects and customers. These are all common examples of web applications.
The first layer is normally a web browser or the user interface. the second layer is the dynamic content generation technology tool such as Java servlets (JSP) or Active Server Pages (ASP), and the third layer is the database containing content (e.g., news) and customer data (e.g., usernames and passwords, social security numbers and credit card details).