InterCommerce SecureSystem


The VOE (Virtual Ordering Engine, known affectionally by all of us as "The Engine"®) recognizes a number of standard commands, which correspond to all the major functions: adding an item to the basket, going to the check-out, etc. You control these features by embedding HTML references to invoke the Engine in your web pages. The ordering system takes care of all the gory details, such as identifying the user's browser type and abilities, creating a temporary shopping basket if they've never been there before, and handling all the maintenance. All you need to worry about are a few basic functions - everything else is transparent!

As a result of the Engine's flexibility and power, there are a number of ways to reference our system. You can opt to use the virtual shopping basket ability, or simply allow users to select a set of products and jump straight to the ordering section.

We recommend that you read through this section and familiarize yourself with how the Engine works and how it is referenced. Other sections will give you specific examples that you can learn from, or copy and modify for use on your site. If any of this seems confusing at first, don't worry. The system is very simple to use - explaining it is probably the most difficult part.

It is assumed that you have at least a little bit of experience with HTML. It's not required of course, because you can use some of our sample sites as templates, but note that we're not getting into teaching HTML in this tutorial. We're focusing on specific HTML commands which are relevant to using the Engine.

Basic Engine Principals

In the basic scenario, you run your own site on your server; the Engine resides on ICorp's network. For certain functions relating to ordering, the user temporarily connects to the Engine, processes a transaction, and then returns to your site.

Here is an outline of what the Engine does when invoked:

  1. The user clicks on a button or icon on your site (i.e. to add an item to the basket or order products).
  2. A call is made to our network, the Engine responds and reads the data sent.
  3. The system evaluates the user's session, determines if he's been there before, whether there's an active shopping basket, what features his browser supports, and makes appropriate adjustments.
  4. The Engine then performs one of the specified transactions:
    • add
      The Engine updates the user's shopping basket, adding the specified item(s).
    • kill
      The user's shopping basket is deleted.
    • review
      The Engine goes into "Basket Review Mode" where it presents the user with a list of items in his basket, at which point he can remove or change product quantities.
    • check
      The Engine goes into "check-out" mode where it presents the user with the contents of his basket and lists the option of proceeding with the order process. Everything from this point until the purchase is handled by the Engine (soliciting the user's billing and shipping information, compiling an order acknowledgement and forwarding the customer's order to the merchant.
  5. After completing its transaction, the Engine will display a page indicating the process has been completed (such as "The item(s) have been added to your basket.", or "Thank you for your order; Here's a copy of the invoice/acknowledgement."). This behavior can be configurable - for example, instead of displaying the message page, the user could automatically jump to a particular page on your site.
By default, the Engine is configured with a set of generic "headers" and "footers" which make the ordering process look very slick. You can optionally specify your own headers and footer, graphics and other items in order to customize the appearance of the order process and/or make it look exactly like your site. We've created a very professional, standardized appearance, and in the future, will likely give you a number of different "styles" from which to choose.

Referencing the Engine

Every time you invoke the Engine, you need to identify who you are (as a merchant). You do this by specifying your "Vendor ID" as part of the URL reference (or a hidden field in a FORM). When you register with ICorp, you'll receive a Vendor ID. This ID corresponds to a special configuration file we set up which tells the system how to behave, where your data is stored, who receives the final orders, any special customization, etc.

The Vendor ID is typically specified in the format of: c_MyID (a lowercase "c", followed by an underscore character "_" and then your actual ID). Since there is more than one way to invoke the engine, you'll note there is more than one way of specifying the Vendor ID.

On the simplest level, you can make use of two basic Engine functions: adding items to the shopping basket, and purchasing the items in the basket.

The latter command (purchase products, also known as "going to the check-out") is very straightforward. You simply add a URL to your page like the one below:

<A HREF="">Order products in my Basket!</A>

When the user clicks on the above URL, the Engine takes over and proceeds with the order process - it's as simple as that!

Let's take a look at what happens; click the URL below. Note that it's likely that unless you've perused the sample application, it will say "Your shopping basket is empty."

Order products in my Basket!

At this point, just take a quick look, and then hit BACK on your browser. There's no sense in going off-tangent in the tutorial. This demonstrates how easy it is to add a simple URL to your page and instantly "plug-in" the ordering abilities.

In the next section, commands to add items to your basket are described.

Next Section: Adding Items to the Shopping Basket