SAP continues its journey to optimize features of its Commerce Cloud, aiming to further improve performance, productivity, and usability.
At the same time SAP aims to address its users’ needs by constantly assessing the need to add, maintain or deprecate compatibility support for complementary products, product packs and services.
We’ll have a critical look at the release notes of SAP Commerce Cloud 2105 and share an overview of new features and sketch the impact.
Enhancements to SmartEdit
‘SmartEdit’ can now benefit from “Enhanced Site Page with Multiple Content Catalogues to One Site Supported”. This allows to easily edit and preview sites in a hierarchical content catalogue setup. It is a widespread practice to setup content catalogues this way to enable subsidiaries to customize their content, without having to start from zero.
Another feature that was added to ‘SmartEdit’ is the “Enhanced Preview Selector with One Content Catalogue to Multiple Sites Supported “. This is mostly a quality-of-life change that displays for which site you are previewing when a catalogue is linked to multiple sites.
Enhancements to Backoffice Product Management
The Backoffice Product Cockpit was updated with the highly anticipated ‘Quick List’ and ‘Block list’ functionality. The Quick List allows for direct access to a user’s specific set of products, while the Block List makes sure that irrelevant products are not shown. These functionalities can be used complementary and allow product managers to easily access their range of products and in turn boosts their productivity.
Another, less impactful addition, is the “Flexible Search Permission Check on Subtype” feature. It gives configurators and admins more flexibility to tweak item permissions in the Backoffice. In earlier versions, a workaround had to be implemented to get equivalent results.
Additional Commerce OCC APIs
SAP is gradually migrating accelerator functionality to expose through the Omni Commerce Connect (OCC) layer. This release is no exception. The “Customer Ticketing OCC API” and “Quotes OCC API” functionality have been updated. Both functionalities, however, are not yet available in Spartacus.
Tip: These two APIs are planned for Spartacus to release in 2022 or later. Follow our blog to get insights on further releases of the SAP Spartacus roadmap.
Furthermore, there’s an update of the OCC Error responses in which the contents of error responses from OCC APIs can be masked to control exposure of system messages. It’s a good change to prevent leaking internal information that can be used in security exploits, although we also see a need for multi language support since this would take care of the error response limitations.
Extensibility and Integration
SAP keeps investing in the integration modules and the latest version of SAP Commerce Cloud adds improvements that reduce maintenance and implementation effort, whilst also adding flexibility.
The newly added “Outbound Sync Delete” feature is a welcome addition. It allows to inform related systems of the deletion of objects such as addresses or credit cards, keeping all your systems in sync. It’s not a big functional change, but developers will be happy to be able to follow the REST standard.
The ability to use the “Exporting Configuration Types” functionality is a game changer as it allows to export configurations through the Backoffice Integration UI Tool. This means that you can validate your configuration in a test system and export the configuration into a production system, which is less prone to errors. In turn, you can also export your production configuration to a local environment for debugging purposes. Most importantly, it reduces the errors that traditionally come with a more manual approach and provides a unified configuration experience.
The webhooks have also received an update and allow developers to have more fine-grained control about when a webhook should be executed. You now can distinguish between create, save and update. You could also configure the webhooks at runtime through the new Meta API. This works well in combination with the “Exporting Configuration Types” functionality.
The platform changes, as described in the release notes, contain general performance improvements and security fixes. Most noteworthy are the Spring 5.3 upgrade, improved performance for paginated SQL queries on MSSQL and Azure, improved performance for item removal and improved product catalogue sync performance.
Significantly improved Search Performance
As a Solr enthousiast, I am always very excited to see improvements in this area.
With faceting traditionally taking up a big chunk of total response time, the Solr JSON facet API provides ease of use for developers, and performance improvements for end users.
A huge change in the search performance segment! I would like to see more of these improvements since the search experience is at the heart of an e-commerce solution, especially in business to consumer markets.
Deprecation and compatibility
With release 2105, no modules are discontinued, and SAP does not specify any other deprecation of extension or modules. However, a change that should be emphasized is the incompatibility of the SAP Commerce Cloud Integration Extension Pack. This pack will no longer be supported in future releases.
This discontinued support could be a deal breaker if you wish to upgrade from any other SAP Commerce Cloud version.
Tip: Digitalum helps organisations to benchmark and advises on tooling architecture. Book time with an expert
SAP Commerce Cloud 2105 is a logical next step in delivering the SAP roadmap and best practices. It includes small, yet impactful improvements and quality-of-life changes frequently asked for by users.
Especially the Backoffice, SmartEdit and Integration UI tool improvements will prove to be significant additions.
The incompatibility of the SAP Commerce Cloud Integration Extension Pack is a high-impact change since it could make upgrading quite a challenge.
However, SAP is fulfilling their promise to improve on agility by continuing to invest in the Integration modules and OCC functionality and the deprecation of the integration pack is a necessary step to improve on the flexibility and agility of the architecture.
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