What a great Symposium it was in Las Vegas. So many familiar faces and so much we have learned from the Symposium and the MVP Summit. My focus in last couple months was on Sitecore Commerce and I tried to learn as much as possible from this event about Sitecore Commerce. It’s time to share some of those information with the community. I am allowed to share only unrestricted information but, don’t be disappointed, Sitecore Commerce 9 will be released soon and you should be able to dive into it and explore more. If you are a Sitecore MVP, you will be able to play with a Tech Preview sooner than that. This blog is to give you some idea of what is coming.
RIP Commerce Server: No more Commerce Server!! I think, every one is happy that, we don’t have to deal with Legacy System anymore. This should make the installation and maintenance of the system so much easier. Look at the following Sitecore 8.2.1 architecture diagram. Aren’t you happy to see all the red boxes are gone?
Data Migration Tool: As soon the Legacy System is gone, question will be raised about upgrading the old system. How can we move the Catalogs, Profiles, Orders and Inventory data from Commerce Server to Sitecore Commerce 9? Sitecore is working on a migration tool that will help us to migrate data from old system to Sitecore Commerce 9. As mentioned, we should be able to map fields and migrate data easily from Commerce Server to Sitecore Commerce 9.
New Business Management User Experience: Sitecore Commerce Business Tools like, Merchandising Manager, Pricing & Promotion Manager and Customer & Order Manager are not part of Sitecore Dashboard anymore. A new Business User Experience Manager is coming (looks similar to one in Sitecore 8.2.1). The new UI is built using SPEAK 3 component, which is using Angular 4 as the building block. Original SPEAK based UI is gone. The new Business Management Tools are task centric, data driven and extensible. So, if we need to add a new menu or tab in the Business Management Tool, we can write our own plugin and expose the data in the Business User Experience Manager.
Federated Authentication: Sitecore Commerce uses Sitecore’s Authentication model for authenticating and authorizing users. With Sitecore 9, Federated Authentication is now a choice for Sitecore Commerce application. This opens up the possibilities of connecting different third party systems to Sitecore Commerce Securely.
Catalogs and Inventory: The terminology Sitecore uses for product is Sellable Item. The reason for this is, a product may not be a physical product but anything that customer can sell. For example, customer can sell service. In Sitecore 9, Sellable Items are independent of Catalog and they can be used in more than one Catalog. The Categories are part of a Catalog and Sellable Items can belong to more than one Categories. The Inventory is now part of the Sellable Item and inventories belongs a Inventory Set. The Inventory Set is useful to represent multiple warehouses based region or site/sub-site or differentiate inventory based on brick & mortar or online. Following diagram shows the relationship.
The schema for Sellable item is based on Schema.org Product Schema. This makes it possible to map the Sellable Item in JSON-LD directly for google product search markup. The Variant Sellable Items are child of original Sellable Item. The schema is basically same and variant properties are overriden properties.
SXA Storefront: Sitecore will be releasing a new Storefront based on SXA. This will include many commerce specific components with capabilities of creating multi tenant ecommerce website. The solution is based on Helix architecture.
ASP.NET Core 2.0: Sitecore Commerce 9 is built on latest ASP.NET Core 2.0 and the architecture is based on Lightweight Micro Service architecture. This opens up lots of possibility in future to use services in cross platform and take advantages of distributed architecture.
Azure PaaS Support: Since the Commerce Server is not in picture any more, Sitecore Commerce can be deployed in Azure with very little effort. It can take advantage to standard Azure tooling, High Availability, Disaster Recovery etc.
I cannot wait to try Sitecore Commerce 9. There are so much to explore. As I learn more, I will share with the community.