OK, David’s been a really lame blog poster (as in more than 6 months not posting!!??). I guess I could use being so busy delivering quality and features in Commerce Server 2006 as an excuse. But I won’t do that. Instead I will say that I’ve been accumulating a list of CS2006 topics and code samples to blog about.

While I’m posting, I want to point out that we have a new team member blogging about the great stuff coming in Commerce Server 2006. Alan Faulkner is a tester on the team who works on the CS2006 BizTalk adapters and is now taking on much of the Data Warehouse and Reporting test work. This guy’s really become an expert on the systems, so check him out. Plus he’s an east-coast transplant like me :-).

As we approach the dreaded “end game” of Commerce Server 2006, I’ve been reflecting on the release.  Serving as a development manager is a new role from me.  I’ve been with the Commerce Server team for quite a while – since Site Server Commerce Edition was in development, in fact.  And what’s really refreshing is the increased focus on quality and excellence.  I’m also incredibly lucky to work with an extraordinarily dedicated and talented team.  This is truly the best Commerce Server team ever at Microsoft.

I hope that you’ll agree when you use the product. Our early feedback from the beta release of CS2006 has been resoundingly positive around this. We still have a little ways to go to put on all the finishing touches, fix the final wave of bugs, complete the documentation (it’s rather lacking in the Beta release – we’re working on it) and ultimately meet all of the release criteria.  But I think you’ll agree that it’s already a big step up in terms of quality and consistency.

Let me know what topics you’d like to see more technical details around. Here are some of the blog ideas I’ve accumulated. Leave me feedback if you’d find particular value in any of these or have other areas you’d like to learn more about. Since I was formerly the developer for the discounting components in Commerce Server, many of these are marketing or discount related. I prefer to write about technologies and scenarios in CS2006 but if you have pressing issues with CS2002 I’m happy to address those as well.

  • Qualifying discounts on custom properties of products that don’t come from the catalog system. This was a customer scenario where the requirement was to apply discounts to items that are recurring purchases. That can easily be achieved by adding a custom property to the line item (e.g. using the indexer) and then extending the Web service method that retrieves the “product” definitions so that the CS2006 Marketing Manager application (DiscountManager in CS2002 Feature Pack 1) will allow business users to include these properties in their discount expressions.
  • How to implement promotion codes in the CS2002 Starter Site with Feature Pack 1 (this will be “out of the box” in the CS2006 starter site).
  • About the new feature in CS2006 that allows advertisements and discounts to be targeted using Profiles other than UserObject and TargetingContext (a rather annoying limitation of the CS2002 targeting system).
  • How to implement pipeline component property pages in .NET Winforms
  • Expiring anonymous data (baskets, profiles, campaigns, etc)
  • About COM Interop in Commerce Server
  • Using codegen to build a strongly typed “Profile Object”
  • Displaying the discounted price of a product the product listings page in a site. This turns out to be really hard to do in Commerce Server 2002. We’re making it much better in CS2006 but there are some limitations.
  • Approaches to implementing bundling in Commerce Server 2006
  • How do set up a complex shipping discount scenario: If the order exceeds $250 and a certain promotion code is entered, give free shipping for “standard” shipping method only.
  • CS2006 and state/session management (a bit broad, much we could address around this)
  • How to change the precedence of how OrderDiscount awards discounts to line items (on a per line-item basis instead of the global setting that’s already available).