Dynamicweb Ecommerce 8
by Imar Spaanjaars
This book was written in 2012 for Dynamicweb Ecommerce 8.
It is a comprehensive introduction to Dynamicweb Ecommerce as it looked back then - and much of the information may still be relevant or valid - but we offer it for download with no guarantees or promises.
Who this book is for
This book is primarily aimed at developers of Dynamicweb eCommerce 8 solutions. The first part of the book deals with building sites with the many built-in features and as such is targeted at frontend developers. The last six chapters of the book focus on the Extensibility API and Import/Export and as such are more suitable for backend developers.
Although the core focus is on developers, the book may also be interesting to different audiences. Since the book shows how to build, use and manage a new eCommerce site from scratch, this book may also be compelling to shop managers (to learn how to use the product on a day-to-day basis) as well as to sales representatives who need a better understanding of the core capabilities of the product.
What this book covers
This book primarily covers Dynamicweb eCommerce 8. Although you’ll come across many of the features found in Dynamicweb CMS 8, I won’t be discussing the ins and outs of the CMS platform.
The book is divided into two sections.
- The first fourteen chapters show you how to install and set up a new Dynamicweb eCommerce site and how to make use of the numerous features and modules that are present in the system.
- The second half of the book – Chapters 15 to 19 – discusses the Dynamicweb Extensibility API, which enables you to extend Dynamicweb beyond its initial capabilities and features. The following list briefly describes the content you can find in each chapter:
- Book introduction (acknowledgements, authors, reviewers)
- Chapter 1, “Introducing Dynamicweb eCommerce 8.” This chapter introduces you to Dynamicweb eCommerce 8, and briefly lists the new features found in this release. You’ll also see how to install Dynamicweb on your local machine so you can follow along with the many walkthroughs from this book.
- Chapter 2, “End to End Demo.” In this chapter you’ll see how to create a fully functional Dynamicweb eCommerce site from scratch. You’ll be familiarized with the steps needed to go from an empty Dynamicweb solution to a complete eCommerce environment. This chapter serves to set up the context and help you understand the terminology used in later chapters that dig deeper into the features presented here.
- Chapter 3, “Configuring a new eCommerce Site.” At the start of each new eCommerce project, there are several things you need to configure right from the start. This chapter shows you what the configuration options are, what they mean and what they are used for. Armed with this knowledge, you’re then ready to start implementing your eCommerce site.
- Chapter 4, “The Product Catalog Module.” The Product Catalog is the workhorse of Dynamicweb eCommerce 8. It’s used to manage and display products and groups, both at the backend in the administrative interface as well as at the frontend for your end customers. This chapter shows you all the ins and outs of the Product Catalog module, including managing products and groups, extending products and groups with custom fields and more.
- Chapter 5, “Working with Variants.” One of the great modules found in Dynamicweb eCommerce is the Variants module. With this module you can easily create multiple variations of a single product without entering the same data over and over again. This chapter demonstrates the use of this module and shows you a few tricks for working with variants at the frontend to help an end user select the appropriate variant.
- Chapter 6, “Working with Images.” Dynamicweb has many options available to display images at the frontend. In this chapter you’ll see how to associate images with products and groups, how to dynamically link products to images based on properties of the product (such as the number) using Image Patterns, and how to use the dynamic image generator to easily create variations of your images in different dimensions based on a single source image.
Download (pdf) | Sample files
- Chapter 7, “The Shopping Cart V2 Module.” The Shopping Cart V2 module is another module (besides the Product Catalog module) that you’ll see in most of the Dynamicweb eCommerce websites. You use the Shopping Cart V2 module to present the contents of the shopping cart to your end users, and to guide them through the checkout process. In this chapter you see how to set up, customize and use the Shopping Cart V2 module.
- Chapter 8, “Working with Payment Methods.” Payment methods are used as part of the Shopping Cart V2 module to finish the ordering process. In most cases, this means connecting to a third party payment provider that enables a user to pay online for the goods they are ordering. In this chapter you see how to configure payment methods so they can connect to an external payment gateway. You also see how to set up a “No Pay” payment method, which can be useful if you send out invoices to your customers later and handle payments separately.
- Chapter 9, “Prices and Discounts.” Out of the box, Dynamicweb comes with a rich pricing matrix that gives you fine-tuned control over the price of a product. You can set a base price, assign bulk prices, determine prices for specific product variants, define prices that are applicable during campaigns and much more. This chapter demonstrates how to configure the price matrix, and how that affects prices shown to the end user in the frontend. In addition, you also see how to work with the Dynamicweb Sales Discounts module, which enables you to configure discounts based on a number of criteria, such as the current date, the products that are being bought and the end user visiting your site.
- Chapter 10, “Managing Orders.” As a shop owner you obviously want to see the orders made in your eCommerce website so you know where to send your products. In this chapter you see how to display the orders in the backend, how to create printer-friendly copies of them and how to work with order flows to manage the state of an order.
- Chapter 11, “Customer Center.” With the Customer Center module you can provide access to prior orders for existing customers. Using this module, your customers can look up receipts for past orders, reorder products and keep track of their favorite products. The capabilities of the Customer Center module are demonstrated in this chapter.
- Chapter 12, “Search.” A fast, accurate and on-topic search engine is critical to most eCommerce solutions these days. In this chapter you see how to configure and use the Dynamicweb eCommerce Search engine that’s based on the popular Lucene indexing service.
- Chapter 13, “Search Engine Optimization.” Search Engine Optimization – or SEO for short – is another critical component of your eCommerce strategy. Just setting a new eCommerce site and then waiting for your customers to come isn’t going to work anymore. Instead, you need a solid and optimized website that can easily be indexed by the major search engines, such as Google and Bing. This chapter shows you how to work with the Dynamicweb SEO feature to optimize the content and technical structure.
- Chapter 14, “Building a Multi-Lingual eCommerce Site.” One of the great things about doing business over the Internet is that it’s easy to reach customers beyond your home base. In reality, however, doing business in multiple countries and in multiple languages is not as easy as it first sounds at first. The Globalization features found in Dynamicweb take away the pain and problems typically associated with doing international business. This chapter shows you how to set up a multi-lingual web site that enables your users to view content in multiple languages, ship to different countries (taking country-specific delivery fees into account) and much more.
- Chapter 15, “Introducing eCommerce Extensibility.” Although Dynamicweb eCommerce 8 is already a very feature-rich platform, it’s likely that you or your clients will come up with functionality that is not supported out of the box. Fortunately, Dynamicweb has a great Extensibility API that lets you build new functionality on top of the core of Dynamicweb, without reinventing the wheel or building complete modules from scratch. In this chapter, you get an overview of the main extensibility capabilities. The next chapters then dig deeper into the three most popular extensibility points of Dynamicweb.
- Chapter 16, “Extensibility – Template Extenders.” A Template Extender is a Dynamicweb class that you can extend to alter the rendering of a template, for example by changing existing or adding new template tags. A number of different extenders exist, and in this chapter you see concrete examples of each of them.
- Chapter 17, “Extensibility – Providers.” A Provider is another extensibility point in Dynamicweb that can be used to contribute custom logic or data to existing processes. For example, using the FeeProvider, you can easily create your own logic to determine the shipping fees for an order – perhaps to differentiate between customers that live close to or further away from the warehouse from which you ship the goods. This chapter shows you concrete implementations of a number of these providers, helping you jumpstart your extensibility efforts.
- Chapter 18, “Extensibility – Notification Subscribers.” Notification Subscribers mimic the event driven model found in many programming frameworks and languages. With a Notification Subscriber you can respond to events that happen in Dynamicweb while processing a page request. This enables you to hook into the process and perform a variety of tasks, such as altering the output, sending e-mail messages, notifying backend ERP systems of new orders and much more. In this chapter you see how Notification Subscribers work, how to use them, and you’ll see a number of concrete examples that may come in handy in your own Dynamicweb eCommerce websites.
What you need to use this book
The requirements for this book depend slightly on the target reader. If you’re a shop owner looking for ways to manage the Product Catalog and orders, pretty much all you need is online access to your Dynamicweb solution. If you’re a frontend developer, you may also benefit from a copy of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2012 (for example, the free Express Edition) or any other HTML editor. If you want to follow along with the extensibility chapters in the second part of the book, you’ll also need Visual Studio 2010/2012 (any version will do, including the free Visual Web Developer Express edition).
Finally, if you want to install and run the sample site on your local machine, you’ll need a version of Windows that supports Microsoft’s web server IIS (Windows 7 is recommended, but older operating systems work as well). You also need to be able to access an instance of SQL Server, either on your local machine (you can use the free Express Edition) or over the network. You can download all required software using Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer which you can download here: http://www.microsoft.com/web/platform/.