The establishment of Cuisine Courier's online ordering service has agoraphobes sick of the traditional pizza fare drooling at the mouth, all thanks to Internet developer Magic Consulting Australia.
Responsible for the development of a site that in six months will include 500 restaurants and 85,000 menu items in Sydney and Melbourne, Magic Consulting faced several challenges, one of the more daunting being the initial fight for the contract. "It was very quickly apparent that Magic had the best to offer, but it was difficult to convince Cuisine that we weren't exaggerating our abilities. In the end we put our money where our mouth was and offered to build the Web site for free and if they liked it they could pay us," said Magic's managing director Ilan Gross.
The site was developed in "about four weeks", and one of the challenges, according to Gross, was designing a user-friendly site that was not detrimental to its flexibility. "For users, this site is simple, it has to be when people these days demand sub-second respon-ses. But behind the scene is very complex because this type of application is not purely Web-based, it also relies on a client/server. This is a plug-and-play solution based on solving applications on a logic level as opposed to a Web server/NT/database level."
Basically, this means that Cuisine can change the site and update menu items and the like on a level that previously would have been the responsibility of a programmer. At the same time, the client server sets up parameters of where a customer is ordering from and consequently what restaurants are available to them, delivery times and other general data. Not only do these individual systems have to work together but Cuisine demanded that the online services be integrated with its existing call centre.
Cuisine was also unsure of the number of hits the site would take, or the timing of the heaviest traffic. "A lot of hits simultaneously could bog down the system and any hardware has its limitations. To compensate, Magic Software's architectural infrastructure prioritises hits and puts those further down the queue into another section," claimed Gross.
Gross explained that Magic successfully completed the tender not because it is an Internet company but because "it is a knowledge- and skill-based unit. To us the Internet is just another medium from which we can deploy solutions."
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