MS Commerce Server 101 – An Introduction

MS Commerce Server 101

Microsoft Commerce Server, or MSCS for short, is not actually a server but a foundation which permits you authoring online e-commerce shops easily. Those shops may serve to b2b or b2c needs, but i have seen customers who used it for an online food ordering site, like www.just-eat.co.uk . It is not a big problem to adopt MSCS to various needs such as food ordering, since MSCS provides very extendible foundation. If you know the underlying infrastructure well, and follow the best practices you can extend every system that is provided.

Versions

when we look at the background of the Commerce Server we go back to Site Server days. Site server was introduced in mid 90s, that was an asp solution and made the developers implement basic commerce functionalities. Late 90s seen the evolution the site server which would be the basis of next generation MSCS. We see the versions and work environments in the list below:
Product Name Database Technology Comments
Commerce Server 2000 SQL 2000 ASP based on VB6 components First commerce server release.
Commerce Server 2002 SQL 2000 ASP.NET 1.0 / 1.1 MS CMS 2002 can be used for content management purposes. In order to combine CMS 2002 and MSCS 2002, the library MSIB must be used.
Commerce Server 2007 SQL 2005 ASP.NET 2.0 Increased security, performance, and business apllications which eases administration of the foundation. Only ASP.NET webparts can be used, no OOB CMS integration available but there is a way to do it:
http://meiyinglim.blogspot.com/2006/10/integrating-microsoft-commerce-server.html
Commerce Server 2009 SQL 2008 ASP.NET 3.5 MOSS Integration can be utilized for quick page creation, and content management purposes. By utilizing the OOB provided webparts your commerce site’s pages can be created easily.

for more info (FMI)
http://www.microsoft.com/commerceserver/ Commerce Server Official Page

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/category/commserver Commerce Server MSDN Forums

MSCS is cooperating with MOSS!

The latest version of MSCS is 2009, which can be used as a feature in Sharepoint. By utilizing MOSS’s CMS and workflow capabilities MSCS became a robust foundation for developing e-commerce sites.

Although it can be used with MOSS, if you like to code ASP.NET web application that is still possible.
FMI
Who are the friends of the MSCS
As we have mentioned MOSS can be used for Commerce Server implementations as content management system. Although MSCS has operation sequences and pipelines for processing certain events, MOSS’s workflow capabilities can be utilized for cms related events.

A commerce site which does not integrate to external ssytems cannot be imagined, this is where Biztalk comes to stage. By using single point of integration approach of Biztalk, MSCS and outer world can be communicated easily. For this objective MS provided Commerce server Biztalk adapters. Those are provided to developers to do commerce operations with Biztalk.

Can you imagine a commerce site without customer services? here we can address MS Dynamics CRM as a robust solution, that you can implement your customer services approach easily.

You bought something, can it be without an invoice? Of course not, here we can use the MS Dynamics AX as an ERP solution.
FMI http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/en/us/products/ax-overview.aspx

Last Word

E-Commerce world did not start with Microsoft, it has many competitors from commercial and free software platforms. As you saw in this article there are so much elements which you must consider in a e-commerce site, it does not need to be a huge audience serving site, but even in small implementations you encounter the needs of above elemants.

Hope to meet you by a new article soon.