Credera recently hosted a Webinar on SharePoint Commerce Services and how SharePoint 2010 and Commerce Server 2009 are better together (SlideShare here). As one of the speakers, my focus was primarily on demonstrating how having SharePoint’s content management capabilities compliment a Commerce Server implementation (demonstration here). I have to admit that I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to deliver a practical, real-world example in about 15 minutes. However, once I began using SharePoint Commerce Services, I quickly realized that with all of the out-of-the-box features provided, I would have no trouble.
Today, I would like to explain the ease in which a new page can be created, populated, and published. I have to acknowledge that the title of this post is a little overstated. It may not be as easy as drag and drop, but it definitely is as easy as 1-2-3.
1 – Create the Page
Using SharePoint 2010’s content management ribbon, simply select “New Page” from the Site Actions menu. This will prompt you for a name of the page. And that is it! The new page has been created. Now at this point, the page is blank and will not be visible to the public, but man that was easy.
2 – Populate the Page
This page could be populated with strictly content, images, etc. However, we can vary easily hook into the Commerce Server system through built-in web parts. To do so, we first must provide a connection to the Commerce Server data. We do this by adding a “Product Provider Web Part”. The provider web part will define how to lookup the data from Commerce Server. Next, we would add either Commerce Server content or activity web parts. For example, you may want to display the product’s image, description, and have a way to add the product to the cart. All of these web parts are available out-of-the-box and can be added to the new page. The only thing that we need to do is configure the connection to use and the appearance properties.
3 – Publish the Page
Finally, once the page has been created, it can be put into a workflow/approval process and revised over-and-over, if necessary, before being released to the public. It can either be published immediately, or scheduled by simply using the “Publish” section of the page’s ribbon.
While this example may seem over-simplified and maybe even contrived, it clearly shows that SharePoint Commerce Services allows new content and functionality to be created and deployed without IT involvement or site downtime.
If you are thinking about implementing an eCommerce solution, I would highly recommend SharePoint Commerce Services. Likewise, if you already have Commerce Server or SharePoint, you should consider taking advantage of their combined strength. Credera has had many successful SharePoint and Commerce Server implementations and would love to help you analyze, strategize and/or implement the perfect eCommerce solution for you.