Dealer.com – Impressed

We recently were in the car market because of a bad transmission on our Toyota Corrolla.  As I was browsing thru the different online car dealers websites, I ran across a few that really impressed me from a tech/geekie view.  These sites were using lightbox for car photos, had some really nice icon work, their search had multiple filters you could apply, real nice rollover effects on their grids, all really good web techniques were being displayed.   I started noticing a trend that these sites were being made from the same mold, not exactly cookie cut, but defiantly produced by the same web shop.  Today I figured out they were all produced from dealer.com

Here is the list of technology they are using to make car sites really nice for once and what other technology they use that I could gleam from their source & site:

  • Thickbox – I’m a big fan of this lightbox cousin.
  • jQuery – You know I love jQuery goodness.
  • Validation – They have their own validation routines that they are able add a <script> tag and plug in an array with fields that need validation.  Not bad but they should look at my javascript generic form validation script which works in a similar way to jQuery.
  • Jive Live for the online chat sessions, although I thought Jive Live was defunct now but maybe not.  Either way I’ll give them a pass for using Java ;)
  • SEO friendly markup.  Not a lot of of table tags and a nice usage of friendly seo markup on important keywords. Although I think they could do a better job on URL, meta tags, and title tags.
  • Icon/Images/Navigation.  They stand out here, text style is pt so it scales to my dpi setting.  Images are clean, navigation is standard (which is good), icons are meaning full and big enough to give a real impression.
  • Ext JS – A really nice framework for AJAX grids and other ajax aspects.
  • Java – Ah, dang I was so impressed until I found this out :) .  Half joking of course.  In a world of dynamics language being the thing, it’s funny how I now feel more comfortable thinking about doing Java then say Ruby or Python.
  • MySQL – Another proof that MySQL scales, although they must have some really good DB guys to put their system on it.
  • CVS – Hey you guys should be using Surround SCM ;)
  • Hibernate – Yes another good choice here.  I’ve never messed with hibernate but ORM is a good thing.
  • Flex – No thanks, would prefer Silverlight

So here is a run down on their architecture and my choice if I was the evil mastermind behind the scene:

  Dealer.com Mine
Javascript Framework jQuery jQuery
Imaging Javascript Thickbox Thickbox
Ajax Framework Ext JS ASP.NET AJAX
Server Side Language Java C#
Database MySQL SQL Server
ORM Hiberate LINQ
Rich Application Framework Flex Silverlight

Tim

A .NET, PHP, Marketing Guru authority, at least I hope I am. Reach me at tboland@gmail.com

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