Last week at Sitecore Symposium in Las Vegas, Sitecore announced that they will be releasing Sitecore Commerce 9 this coming December. This will be the first release of the product which will no longer have any parts from the legacy Commerce Server product. For me, the release is both a little nostalgic (due to my history with the legacy product), but also very exciting to see this much needed evolution in the product. As Sitecore Commerce MVP and platinum partner, I was able to get a sneak peek at some of the major changes that will be in the new platform.
Some of the new capabilities are:
The product catalog has been much improved in the new release. By leveraging a Global Product List approach, you will be able to have a product participate in multiple catalogs. In addition, the underlying schema approach has been improved to help support a more complex set of product properties. To help accelerate the catalog creation, there will be a general default schema, which contains the properties that we find in most of the catalogs. In Sitecore Commerce 9, Products (Sellable Items) can belong to one or more Catalogs & Categories. These products can either be physical or non-physical items – for example, selling a TV and a Service Plan together. The diagram below shows you the relationship and flow between Catalogs, Categories and Sellable Items.
With Sitecore Commerce 9, the legacy Inventory model is history. With the new Inventory capabilities, you will be able to support inventory at both Product and Variant levels. In addition, you will be able to manage multiple distribution center models and allocate your inventory accordingly. As the diagram above indicates, inventory will now be part of the Product (Sellable Item) and inventories are managed as part of the Inventory Set.
Improved Business Tools Experience
The new UI supporting the new Business User Experience Manager is built using SPEAK 3, using Angular 4. The tools are more task-centric and extensible. If you need a new event or tab exposed within this tool, you can write your own plugin and expose the necessary data.
SXA Storefront Support
Sitecore Commerce 9 will support integration with SXA in the form of commerce specific components. Sitecore will be releasing a storefront based on SXA shortly. With the SXA support, you will be able to design and create commerce-enabled sites and pages.
Sitecore Commerce 9 is built on the latest .NET core and more of the architecture is moving towards being a micro-services model in the future. This is actually a big step forward for the underlying architecture of the product because it opens up the possibilities of cross-platform and distributed architecture. In addition, the product is now fully supported on Azure PaaS. It can take advantage of standard Azure tools, disaster recovery redundancy, etc.
I would not be doing the new product justice if I did not mention that all the legacy parts of Commerce Server are finally gone. It is definitely an end of an era, but a much needed evolutionary move by the Product team at Sitecore. I look forward to myself and my team getting our hands on the CTP to start building on this next generation Commerce platform.
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