What you will study
Internet and web technologies are driving fundamental changes in the way that businesses interact. This module will introduce you to underlying ebusiness models as well as the rapidly changing technologies and approaches to implementation underpinning these changes. The module will help you develop skills to enable you to interpret, select and utilise a shifting set of protocols and standards from the emerging technologies, based on close examination of a small set of core standards and knowledge gained from studying prevailing protocols and development technologies. You will use several development and testing tools, including Eclipse, soapUI and Active Endpoints Designer* during the module.
The module is organised into four blocks; Ebusiness, Basic Protocols, Web Services and Orchestration. Trust and security will be themes running through the module, alongside the social, political, technical and legal issues associated with new developments. Case studies draw together key features from each part, setting the scene for a substantive project where you will use your new skills to implement a web-services solution for a company.
Block 1, Ebusiness, will set the scene for the module by exploring how the internet has changed the way organisations do business. What has changed in terms of their internal structures and processes and their relationships with customers and suppliers? Drawing on established models and frameworks, you’ll develop a portfolio of skills to help you to identify the challenges and assess the benefits of new technology for an organisation, thereby bridging the gap between a business model and set of business requirements and an appropriate technological solution.
Block 2, Basic protocols, introduces the essential protocols and standards (such as HTTP and XML), that underpin the current web-services business paradigm. Key to this is the family of XML standards for describing, processing, and manipulating data exchanges between disparate systems. Design tools will enable you to develop and validate document schemas and construct messages for exchange between services.
Block 3, Web services, examines the technical and business motivations behind the development of web services. A historic perspective provides a context for web services technologies such as SOAP and REST and their emergence from the evolution of existing standards, such as HTTP and XML. Through a combination of case study and practical work you will implement, test, deploy and use web services to gain insight into their operation, strengths and weaknesses.
Block 4, Orchestration: Real web services perform small discrete tasks. Implementing a business process therefore requires multiple web services, which have to be organised temporally and procedurally. In order to orchestrate individual services you’ll learn about the business process execution language (BPEL). You'll use design tools to construct, validate, and test BPEL scripts and to understand approaches to handling failure and exceptions which occur in processes.
After completing the four blocks you will undertake a substantial individual project. This requires that you produce a considered assessment of ebusiness for use by an organisation and also apply the tools used during the module to provide sample technology demonstrations for the organisation.
The duration of this 30-credit module is 30 weeks requiring around 10 study hours per week. These hours are only a guide and you may take more or less time according to your study pace.
If you are considering progressing to The computing and IT project (TM470), this is one of the OU level 3 modules on which you could base your project topic. Normally, you should have completed one of these OU level 3 modules (or be currently studying one) before registering for the project module.
* The Open University gratefully acknowledges Active Endpoints, Inc for the use of the ActiveBPEL designer tool.