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Building blocks for e-commerce

EC Cubed is marketing e-commerce components that software developers can use as the foundation for building e-commerce applications.

    A new entrant into the e-commerce software market, EC Cubed, is marketing e-commerce components that software developers can use as the foundation for building e-commerce applications.

    Four components in the ecWorks family, which EC Cubed bills as the first suite of e-commerce application components, are shipping today.

    The four components now available include ecProfiler for user authentication and access control, ecWorkRouter for workflow functions, ecTradeMaker for auctions, collaboration, and customer surveys, and ecAdvisor for notifying users of events. Two additional components are now in beta testing.

    The company, which last month received $11.5 million in venture funding, already has booked $4 million in revenue from its three initial customers, Gartner Group, GE Information Systems' TPN Register, and TransAmerica Leasing.

    EC Cubed founder and CEO Faisal Hoque said ecWorks components help companies build e-commerce systems that reflect existing business processes, integrate flexibly with existing business systems, and reuse components in multiple applications.

    The components, built primarily in Java, can cut development and deployment time for developers, Hoque added.

    Most other e-commerce software is packaged as full-scale applications, like those from Open Market or Netscape, or as software toolkits for building Web stores, such as Microsoft's or iCat's.

    EC Cubed is the first vendor to position its offerings as e-commerce components to use as building blocks to create applications.

    Forrester Research has predicted that by next year components will represent 60 percent of large companies' spending on e-commerce software, a $423 million market opportunity.

    EC Cubed's components are server-side products that reside in the application layer of an n-tier client-server model. They are core building blocks designed to provide necessary business functionality within an application, and they can be reused in other applications, for both buying and selling.

    EC Cubed sells the components directly or through systems integrators. Because they are components, the products generally come with consulting services from either the company or a systems integrator.

    Primarily written in Java, the components are available on any technology platform and have been tested on Windows NT version 4.0 and Sun Solaris, version 2.5.1. They are priced on a per-processor basis for $11,995 to $39,995 depending on the component. Bundles that include a specified number of days of consulting also are available.