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There are nearly 6 million business travelers using the Internet, responsible for more than $30 billion in travel expenses each year. For the Internet-based travel services industry, this is a tremendous revenue opportunity and the competition for this market is very intense.

At the same time, business travelers are perhaps the most demanding of travelers. Often, many of their trips are scheduled at the last moment, and under budget constraints. Additionally, these travelers may be booking frequent or regular trips, and don't want to spend more time than necessary searching for lowest fares or convenient flight times.

TRIP.com's intelliTRIP is an online search tool for travel reservations along with a host of additional information services, all accessible through any standard Web browser.

Saving time for the traveler is a major benefit of intelliTRIP; it allows the user to use a single request to access information from several different sources in just 90 seconds, rather than searching one by one through multiple airlines to gather flight information. IntelliTRIP relies on the BEA WebLogic Server and its Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) technology as the foundation of its component-based architecture to deliver this fast and easy-to-use service.

One-stop Shopping at www.intelliTRIP.com
Users access their account via www.intelliTRIP.com, and specify their desired itinerary. intelliTRIP immediately searches the entire airline inventory and provides the user with a list of as many as 25 flight options. This list will also include Internet-based specials that are not currently available outside the individual Web sites.

IntelliTRIP is a tool that searches multiple travel and airline Web sites, enabling users to compare fares, trip routes and airlines to find the most desirable flight plan. The BEA WebLogic Server manages each transaction. The direct airline connection is an advantage of intelliTRIP, ensuring that users get the lowest possible fares guaranteed by the airline.

Making the BEA WebLogic Connection
"Helping business travelers find the quickest, easiest way to comparison shop airline fares has always been our objective," says Steve Graese, software development manager at TRIP.com. "So we are always looking for ways not only to stay ahead of our competition, but also to make sure we are continually using the latest technologies to bring the most useful information to our users and bring it to them faster."

TRIP.com currently handles hundreds of simultaneous users, and estimates usage rates as high as 14 million hits per month, with market growth as high as 50% annually. With these high usage numbers, scalability of the underlying system was a prime requirement for TRIP.com when selecting a Web application server. BEA WebLogic was selected as a crucial part of the intelliTRIP service since it met the requirements of scalability, reliability and security. In addition, BEA WebLogic's comprehensive implementation of EJB technology and support of Java and other industry standards provide a foundation for growth as the Internet-based business market continues to expand.

Before the implementation of BEA WebLogic, Web interfaces were a Netscape plug-in that could not support many of the browsers used by travelers. This limited the ability for intelliTRIP to reach a large portion of its intended audience, and made it difficult for users to take advantage of its search capabilities.

Another concern of TRIP.com was to ensure that the intelliTRIP infrastructure would be able to support the expected growth of its market. "We're looking at growth rates as high as 50% a year," Graese estimates. "So we know we're going to be adding servers to handle that kind of volume. We don't want intelliTRIP users to quickly lose patience if there are any delays in providing the information they need. BEA WebLogic is meeting today's demands and it's what we'll be relying on as we grow."

That's why TRIP.com selected the BEA WebLogic Server for intelliTRIP. Based on Java standards, BEA WebLogic is browser-independent and provides additional features that are compliant with any Web browser. "Our decision to go with BEA WebLogic was driven by a need to support all of intelliTRIP's users," says Graese. "We were happy to see just how much BEA WebLogic added to our capabilities. [It] had so many features built in Enterprise JavaBeans, servlets and security that we could concentrate our efforts on the intelliTRIP application itself, and not worry so much about building the infrastructure. BEA WebLogic is serving a critical function for us and for the intelliTRIP user."

TRIP.com began developing the BEA WebLogic-based solution in December 1998, and launched in April 1999. Graese adds, "WebLogic saved us countless development dollars and labor hours, allowing us to provide the best possible product to our users in the shortest possible amount of time." IntelliTRIP utilizes the following BEA WebLogic features:

  • Enterprise Java Beans EJBs for the secure sharing of transactional business components
  • Servlets for supporting non-Java clients in using Web browsers
  • Connection pooling for databases and query caching
  • Authorization control lists for reliable security of access and transactions
  • Built-in secure sockets layer for transaction security over public networks Technical Specifications
  • Three-tier, 100% Java-based architecture
  • Sun Solaris 450 Enterprise Server
  • Sun Java Virtual Machines 1.1.7.05
  • Netscape Enterprise Server
  • BEA WebLogic Server
About the Author
Scott Davison is one of the founding editors of SYS-CON Publications, Inc., the publisher of Java Developer's Journal. Scott can be reached at [email protected]
 

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