Taking advantage of back-in-stock notifications, customers are informed that a product they were interested in recently has become available again. Alternatively, a customer may want to get subscribed to the product price updates and get notified when the price drops on a product.
As a result, customers are more likely to return to make a purchase. These two features are often considered as must-have for almost any marketplace solution.
Their implementation and design are also considered to be quick and easy. In fact, it is not so — there are many points for consideration easy to miss in the design phase. In this article, I focus on the potential pitfalls and best practices in implementing “Back-in-stock notifications” and “Price drop alerts”. Read More »
There are dozens, even hundreds of test automation frameworks available, and we developed our own. Why? Why? Was it worth the effort?
This article describes our needs and our solution, E2E CLI: the architecture of the API testing tool which has been used by our team for about 2 years. Back in 2020, it was developed by me from scratch over the course of a weekend — In other words, it is a very simple piece based on very simple ideas. That first version was supporting 80% of the functionality available today in the last version (and described below). We don’t add features without good reason.
We use this tool to end-to-end test all our services and integration flows. Whenever we make changes to a software system, we need to ensure that they do not break what was already working.
As the architect and lead developer, I designed and developed it from the ground up, so, of course, I am very proud of my brainchild. But the field cannot be well seen from within the field. You know, reinventing wheels is not always bad. When you build something on your own, you are in full control over what is being built, what its purpose will be, and when it is finally conceived and executed as you wish. It has been two years since I have encountered any alternative to our solution.
To reach a wider audience, I found it beneficial to share key concepts hoping to get some feedback from the community and enhance the product.
Technically, the tool has nothing to do with SAP Commerce; it’s for testing. However, our entire team, which uses this tool daily, is focused mainly on SAP Commerce development. And the tool is tailored to be used with SAP Commerce.
While the client (for whose benefit the tool is being used) has authorized me to share high-level details, I cannot disclose names or code. In spite of this, the conceptual view should be useful on its own and might become a good foundation for your own solution.Read More »
A shopping cart is the centerpiece of almost every e-commerce website.
In fact, this component is the first thing that makes an e-commerce store different from just an online catalog. Working with issues and challenges related to the cart is something you’ll never forget.
The Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, at the opening of his novel Anna Karenina, writes ‘All Happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ You know, the diversity of cart-related issues I have been observing in the SAP Commerce projects, made me think that Tolstoy meant the developers as well. The diversity of the issues and challenges in this component is so vast that every case is different. However, when it comes to building or optimizing the shopping cart processes, understanding the limitations, pitfalls, and peculiarities is a huge plus.
Let’s have a look at how a shopping cart works in SAP Commerce under the hood and how to avoid making mistakes in shopping cart customization.Read More »
It all started with the idea of making the built-in flexible search console more convenient for a developer. It is common to find ourselves forgetting the name of an attribute or its type. Imagine my surprise when I found the traces of this feature in the HAC source code. SAP left them unfinished and probably abandoned. For example, for the Impex console, suggestions are basically implemented and almost ready, but for some reason, they have not been finished and not enabled.
In this article, I’m filling this gap and document how to enable autosuggestions in the Impex console. Additionally, I introduce my custom solution for Flexible Search suggestions and autocomplete. Read More »
The essentials were thoroughly explained in the first part of the series. Since the topic is controversial and should be used with caution, we highly recommend reading the introductory part before going further with this piece.
You need to be aware of the potential risks, limitations, pitfalls, and caveats of the ORM engine. In this work, we are explaining those details. We’d like to touch upon a few elements or aspects, you need to take into account when considering using native SQL in your SAP Commerce code. In this part you will learn more about the SAP Commerce L1 cache, multitenancy aspects, service layer direct, and performing faster bulk updates.
Come take a look into the v2005 release of SAP Commerce Cloud. I’ll cover cool and interesting new features, enhancements, and changes, and offer some commentary on what I like and what I like… less. Judge for yourself what SAP did well and what might warrant some extra polish.Read More »
Some say they believe they won’t be able to use the knowledge and experience anywhere else in their careers.
Some of them see this move as ‘boxing’ themselves in.
It is generally believed that focusing on the niche product may cause taking a lot of time in the future to get re-trained for a different product or technology if the current market conditions change and SAP Commerce will fade in relevance and popularity. Proprietary platforms come and go, and developers feel afraid to find themselves with useless knowledge and meaningless experience.
Even though I generally share the view and arguments above, I also believe that SAP Commerce is a special case. What I want to leave you, then, is with the explanation of why I think so.Read More »
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When the coronavirus outbreak happened in China, it boosted local e-commerce as many stuck at their homes forced to buy their goods online. Sales of fresh food on JD.com reportedly jumped 215% during the 10-day period and counting. The ability to serve a large number of customers is growing every year. The traffic may be doubled in a week. How to make sure your system is capable to serve high traffic demand? In today’s article I’m sharing my experience with Tsung, a high-performance testing framework.Read More »
The SAP Commerce Cloud APIs are highly customizable, and even smallest changes in configuration, data model or Java code may result in performance degradation. Performance testing is especially important in cases where concurrency may be the source of the problem. To recognize and fix such issues timely, it is recommended to perform regular performance testing, ideally integrated into the build and deployment pipelines. This article is devoted to Apache JMeter, one of the well-known tools for automated (and) performance testing.Read More »
Any SAP Commerce Cloud setup is based on a multi-server setup organized as web cluster. This product comes with clustering support out of the box since very early versions. However, many years in a row, it is still one of the most challenging topics.
JGroups is an essential component of SAP Commerce Cloud. It is widely used as an embedded solution for distributed messaging and eventing in the cluster. It is hard to say that it is underdocumented or it has some quirks that nobody knows how to encounter. However, almost every large project stumbles with JGroups. This article is aimed to shed some light on the internals of the SAP Commerce Cloud clustering and JGroups.Read More »
SAP Commerce developers everywhere face the problem speed of building/restarting hybris. Probably everyone knows this is a long time waiting for the project to build and waiting for the server to start. In cases when the developer makes frequent changes in the code and wants to see the result immediately, the work is significantly slowed down. Many developers use JRebel and similar tools, but unfortunately, they are not suitable for everyone and don’t work for a number of cases. This article explains how to make the compile time shorter.Read More »
Product data is a core of e-commerce and integral part of the customer experience and customer journey. The well-organized product data drives customer acquisition, sales and eventually results in the increasing lifetime value of a customer.
SAP has recently announced a new SaaS offering, SAP Product Content Hub, a cloud-based solution for product and information management (PIM). The new product relies on the SaaS model only.
In this article, I’m basically just going to give a little bit of an introduction to what SAP Product Content Hub is as well as shed some light on what is under the hood in terms of architecture and customizability. Read More »
What content management system you use is of a much higher importance today than it was years ago. Today’s CMS needs to contend with a multi-device world with a wide variety of tablets, mobiles, laptops, and be architecturally ready for new not-yet-existing channels in the consumer’s universe, such as AR/VR and the Internet of Things.
A CMS typically consists of a frontend part, or a «head», and backend. The headless CMS, as their name says, don’t stick to a single predefined “head”. Theoretically, you can develop your own if it is good for your case. Another name for headless CMS is API-first because this interaction is based on APIs.
There are a number of headless content management systems that are mature enough to efficiently replace the built-in Smartedit CMS. Among them, I would highlight Contentful, Prismic, DotCMS, Cloud CMS, Amplience, and Contentstack as well-established and innovative products with a clear roadmap and good integration capabilities.
One of my recent research projects was aimed at using Contentstack as a headless content management system for SAP Commerce Cloud. This article uncovers the key highlights of the research. As a result of that work, I also created a data migration tool for moving existing CMS content from Commerce Cloud to Contentstack.
What is Contentstack? Contentstack is a SaaS headless CMS with an API-first approach that offers the approach known as Content-as-a-Service. It focuses on managing structured content into data feeds that other applications, such as Commerce Cloud, can consume. You can design a content data model interactively or via the Contentstack API and populate the structures with the content interactively or via the same API.
In this article, I pay special attention to the data migration from Commerce Cloud’s CMS to Contentstack. This exercise helped me to see the complexity in all its glory. Because when you design a system from scratch, you can evade the platform’s constraints by designing the structures compatible only with the new CMS. When you need to migrate data, you have to find a solution on how to adapt concepts and data models to get them compatible with Commerce Cloud.
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Payments is a critical part of any e-commerce system. Integrating with a new payment processor is often full of unknowns for developers, and the documentation is either too cumbersome and time-consuming or, on the contrary, scanty and, to the extent it is available, tends to focus only on technical details.The aim of this article is to provide a primer on the key concepts and terminology of online card payments as well as shed some light on the payment integration and related complexities. It provides brief context on the payment system and key regulatory principles and best practices you need to know before designing and implementing the payment module. We also covered the oft-forgotten edge cases you need to handle for large e-commerce solutions. You will learn what to expect and how to address the payment-related issues and problems. Read More »