Implementing the Order Pipeline: Part I in C#

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Implementing the Order Pipeline: Part I
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our e-commerce application is shaping up nicely. You have added customer account functionality, and you are keeping track of customer addresses and credit card information, which is stored securely. However, you are not currently using this information instead, you are delegating responsibility for this to PayPal. In this and the next chapter, you ll build your own order-processing pipeline that deals with credit card authorization, stock checking, shipping, email notification, and so on. We ll leave the credit card processing specifics until 15, but in this chapter, we ll show you where this process fits into the picture. Order pipeline functionality is an extremely useful capability for an e-commerce site. Order pipeline functions let you keep track of orders at every stage in the process and provide auditing information that you can refer to later or if something goes wrong during the order processing. You can do all this without relying on a third-party accounting system, which can also reduce costs. The first section of this chapter discusses what an order pipeline is and the specifics that apply to the HatShop application. The bulk of this chapter deals with constructing the order pipeline system, which also involves a small amount of modification to the way things currently work, and some additions to the database you ve been using. However, the code in this chapter isn t much more complicated than the code you ve already been using. The real challenges are in designing your system. By the end of the next chapter, customers will be able to place orders into your pipeline, and you ll be able to follow the progress of these orders as they pass through various stages. Although no real credit card processing will take place, you ll end up with a fairly complete system, including a new administration web page that can be used by suppliers to confirm that they have items in stock and to confirm that orders have been shipped. To start with, however, you need a bit more background about what you re actually trying to achieve.
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What Is an Order Pipeline
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Any commercial transaction, whether in a shop on the street, over the Internet, or anywhere else, has several related tasks that must be carried out before it can be considered complete. For example, you can t simply remove an item of clothing from a fashion boutique (without paying) and say that you ve bought it remuneration is an integral part of any purchase. In addition, a transaction only completes successfully if each of the tasks carried out completes
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CHAPTER 13 IMPLEMENTING THE ORDER PIPELINE: PART I
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successfully. If a customer s credit card is rejected, for example, then no funds can be taken from it, so a purchase can t be made. The sequence of tasks in a transaction is often thought of in terms of a pipeline. In this analogy, orders start at one end of the pipe and come out of the other end when they are completed. Along the way, they must pass through several pipeline sections, each of which is responsible for a particular task or a related group of tasks. If any pipeline section fails to complete, then the order gets stuck and might require outside interaction before it can move further along the pipeline, or it might be canceled completely. For example, the simple pipeline shown in Figure 13-1 applies to transactions in a brickand-mortar store.
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Figure 13-1. Transactions for a brick-and-mortar store The last section might be optional and might involve additional tasks such as gift-wrapping. The payment stage might also take one of several methods of operation because the customer could pay using cash, a credit card, gift certificates, and so on. When you consider e-commerce purchasing, the pipeline becomes longer, but it isn t really any more complicated.
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