What is Commerce Server 2009?

Commerce Server 2009

Commerce Server 2009 provides a foundation that simplifies the existing Commerce Server Core Systems, and adds additional features and support for different sales channels. Commerce Server 2009 extends previous version of Commerce Server as the central repository of product, order, profile, and marketing information that you can easily adapt for different presentation technologies. Commerce Server 2009 delivers compelling new Microsoft Multi-Channel Commerce Foundation functionality, the ability to increase your business reach by selling through multiple channels, and a default Web site based on ASP.NET 3.5 Web Parts. 

Commerce Server 2009 adds the following functionality:

  • Multi-channel awareness. Multi-channel awareness allows your business to identify and name different channels, such as the Web or mobile channels, so that one can efficiently use centralized data and enable sellers to provide their shoppers with a consistent experience aligned with corporate messages over medium, locale, and brand. The new Commerce Foundation is optimized for consumer-oriented multi-channel retailing scenarios, as it pervasively establishes and maintains the notion of medium/device, brand, and locale. You can share your data across channels and make the shopper experience appropriate to the channel. For example, you can customize search capabilities, presentation, and checkout procedures for each channel. Commerce Server 2009 provides the ability to identify specific channels by assigning them meaningful names that can be used by the different Commerce Server 2009 commerce entities, and made available to the presentation layer. In Commerce Server 2009, new channels require configuration not customization.

  • Additional shopping features. Commerce Server 2009 adds additional built-in shopping features, such as list support, as built-in commerce entities within the Commerce Foundation. These shopping features are used in the default Web site, or can be used by other presentation technologies. You can customize and extend all shopping features with the Extensibility Kit.

  • Default Web Site. Commerce Server 2009 brings a next generation color-neutral Default out-of-the-box shopping site, ready for production deployment by assembling the 30 Web Parts and controls together. By using Microsoft SharePoint and the assembled Web Parts and controls, this Default Web site offers industry-leading shopping functionality, including Web 2.0 social networking capabilities. 

  • 30 Web Parts and Controls. Collectively known as the Microsoft SharePoint Commerce Services, Commerce Server 2009 ships with over 30 different Web Parts and controls that, when assembled within SharePoint, give you contemporary e-commerce Web site functionality. The Web Parts are categorized into the following groups of functionality: Marketing, Search, Orders, Catalog, Profile Administration, and Management.

You install Commerce Server 2009 on top of Commerce Server 2007. Commerce Server 2009 does not modify Commerce Server 2007; any existing Web site or applications that you have in place will continue to function normally after you install Commerce Server 2009.

Commerce Server 2009 consists of two installable parts:

  • Microsoft Multi-Channel Commerce Foundation (mandatory installation)

  • Microsoft SharePoint Commerce Services, which includes Web Parts and the default Web site

Multi-Channel Commerce Foundation

Commerce Server 2009 encapsulates the API set in Commerce Server 2007. In Commerce Server 2009, this is called the Commerce Foundation. This encapsulation spans the runtime API of Commerce Server. The Commerce Server 2009 Commerce Foundation separates e-commerce business logic and presentation so you can create rich, interactive applications using technologies such as Microsoft Silverlight and Expression Blend. The Commerce Foundation enables additional functionality, custom business rules, and integration to external systems, business partners, and "cloud" services; while maintaining its simplified interface.

The Commerce Foundation also leverages Microsoft Live Services, specifically Live ID for authentication, Live Contacts for address book management, and Virtual Earth for store location.

The Commerce Foundation provides you with the following:

  • A simplified and unified pattern for calls. The general pattern for using the Commerce Foundation is to create a request comprising one or more operations, submit the request to Commerce Server 2009 for processing, and then interpret the returned results.

  • Design and integration extensibility. Extensibility normally extends to the creation or customization of commerce entities, which are the base class from which all Commerce Server 2009 commerce entities derive, to reflect custom requirements for the schema of the product catalog, user profile, and so on. It can also include custom business rules in many functional areas of the e-commerce system. You can extend or override the default implementation of Commerce Server 2009 commerce entities and operations. You can add new features to the operations without modifying and redeploying the assemblies. You can replace the default implementation of the operations with no changes to the Commerce Server 2009 Web service. As a developer, you can introduce new operations into the service. You can create commerce entities by deriving them from the existing commerce entities.

SharePoint Commerce Services

The SharePoint Commerce Services consist of 30 Web Parts and controls, and the Default site. The Default site is comprised of many Web Parts that are interconnected, and that communicate through the Microsoft Multi-Channel Commerce Foundation. By interconnecting the Web Parts, you can create a logic workflow for many different shopping experiences. The Default site reduces the need for developer coding or administrator intervention. Business users, site designers, and other non-developers can create user interfaces by simply adding Web Parts to predetermined templates in their browser, and they can personalize them by setting properties; all of which you do through the editing functionality in Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS).

In SharePoint, business users or site designers simply select the Web Part with which they want to work and make their changes from the list of properties for that Web Part. Designers can skin the Web Parts to create Web Parts that meet the look or design that they want. Non-developers can create the visual look of a Web site without the need for code development. The Default site features enable marketers, merchandisers, and other business users to manage the shopping Web site easily. For example, business users and site designers can create and manage storefronts, shopping carts, orders, and site merchandising.

SharePoint Commerce Services Extensibility Kit

The SharePoint Commerce Services Extensibility Kit is the source code for all Web Parts included in SharePoint Commerce Services. The source code is available to you so that you can extend the functionality for your unique purposes.

Commerce Server 2009 Architecture

The following figure shows the high-level Commerce Server 2009 architecture.