At the end of November 2020, SAP Commerce debuted their latest release, “2011.” After spending some time poking around the release, we wanted to provide a quick overview for those interested in the newest version.
When considering upgrading SAP Commerce, it’s important to understand why SAP has introduced these changes. This means taking a deeper look into each new feature, as well as considering how any underlying technical modifications may lay the groundwork for a more efficient application.
In the case of 2011, SAP is clearly setting the stage for easier transitions to headless architectures. Regardless of whether your business relies on OCC APIs right now, if you’re planning on moving towards a headless application in the future, we would strongly recommend upgrading to 2011.
Commerce OCC API Enhancements
This release has a heavy focus on the Commerce OCC (Omni-Commerce Connect) API. Most of these features have existed elsewhere in SAP Commerce, but are now exposed via the OCC API, providing more support for decoupled storefronts like those using SAP Spartacus. The new features include the following:
Configurable Bundles OCC APIs
Cart Validation OCC APIs
API Endpoint Deactivation
OCC AddOn Converter
The Configurable Bundles OCC API was originally a feature only available to work with the JSP Storefront, designed to enable complex and personalized product offerings. This allows sites to use the API to configure different pricing for products when sold together, or offer bundled options to the customer. This change offers more flexibility, and makes these packages easier to configure, especially if you’re using a separate product management system or feed.
Cart Validation OCC APIs allows for cart validation before the checkout via a REST call. This will reduce the risk of an unexpected change on the cart, as well as decoupling this validation logic from other services (Cart Service / Checkout Service, etc). Thus, it provides the customer cleaner validation error messages before attempting to proceed to the checkout page.
API Endpoint Deactivation is exactly what it sounds like—a tool allowing customers to disable any of their OOTB endpoints. This is now possible through simple configuration changes, avoiding the application restart previously required to deactivate endpoints.
Finally, the AddOn Converter is a new command-line interface tool that converts an existing AddOn to an Extension. SAP appears to include this tool to make it easier for users to conform to the OCC Extensions Architecture, rather than the use of AddOns. Thus, this tool helps make that conversion process a bit easier.
Integration API Enhancements
The new release includes multiple changes designed to make Integration Objects within SAP Commerce more lightweight and flexible. An SAP Commerce Integration Object is used to create a GET and POST endpoint that accepts one or more objects, and defines the object’s payload.
The following features were added to Integration Objects:
Virtual Attributes offer a way to define attributes on the Integration Object at runtime. Instead of needing to redeploy and update your type system when adding new attributes, this feature allows attributes to be added on the fly.
Webhooks combine event subscriptions with the runtime configurability of Integration APIs. This feature supports monitoring, retries, and filtering to provide more control over Integration Object items.
Finally, 2011 no longer automatically exposes Integration Objects as APIs. Administrators now have to specify an authentication mode explicitly, increasing the security protocols of these objects.
Other release enhancements include:
Backoffice Enhancements: Some minor changes were made to the backoffice as a part of this release. The largest impact item was an update to the explorer tree widget, making it flexible-search based instead of cache based. For clients with large catalogs, this makes traversing this widget a much smoother & quicker experience. Other minor changes to bulk editing, classification features, and password modification for logged in users have been added, as well.
Search Improvements: Adaptive Search enhancements for variant products were added, as well as added configuration to prevent against voucher brute-force attacks.
Promotion Engine – Container Overlap Detection: Provides detailed messaging in Backoffice for business users setting up promotion rules, helping with identification and management of conflicting containers.
Context-Driven Services: Update makes it easier to integrate with Context-Driven Services, a separate service that adds machine-learning capabilities to provide dynamic content to the user based on browsing history.
As SAP Commerce continues to evolve and add support for a headless commerce architecture, I would have expected to see more support for GraphQL, and we’ve seen clients using GraphQL in their own implementations.
As many migrations from legacy to Commerce Cloud will be happening in the coming years, GraphQL provides a layer of abstraction on the server-side to provide an easy interface to APIs / data sources that may be changing as a part of those migrations. In a headless commerce architecture, GraphQL fits very nicely, and I’m still surprised there hasn’t been any mention of it in the SAP Commerce documentation.
It’s always important to consider both the release notes and the deprecation notes for a given release before deciding if the features align with your business and technical goals.
Interested in learning more about the features discussed above? Contact us via the button at the bottom of the page, as we’ve created a webinar that goes into greater detail on each of these features.