This section discusses the catalog publishing tasks that need to be performed on a routine basis, excluding normal server maintenance such as backups. There is really only one such task, publishing the product catalog, though in some scenarios, several steps may be required.
If the supplier maintains their product catalog data in the Commerce Server Product Catalog System, the act of publishing a catalog consists of a few simple steps:
- Open the Catalog Publisher module in Business Desk.
- Select the appropriate catalog publication (which associates the catalog to be published with the trading partner to which it should be published).
- Click the Publish button on the toolbar.
As suggested previously, if the supplier does not maintain their product catalog data in the Commerce Server Product Catalog System, there are several alternative choices, as follows:
- If there is an effective way in which the catalog data can be routinely converted to a format that can be imported into the Commerce Server Product Catalog System (XML or CSV), which could be done each time before following the steps previously specified.
- If the catalog data is available in a BizTalk Servercompatible format other than Commerce Server Catalog XML v1.5, a new map could be created to map that format to the appropriate destination format.
The question of how often catalogs should be published is something to be negotiated with the trading partner, and depends on a couple of factors that may need to be balanced against one another:
- The trading partner's ability to process catalogs that it receives. Depending on the size of the catalog, the specific task involved, and the number of catalogs being received by the trading partner (potentially from a number of suppliers), the trading partner may place restrictions on the frequency of catalog updates.
- The supplier's ability to perform the steps required to publish the catalog data. If the catalog data is maintained in the Commerce Server Product Catalog System, this will not be a concern. However, if the clicking of the Publish button is just the final step of a much longer process, it could be a factor.
- Changes made to the catalog data by the supplier. The more frequent these changes, the more frequently the supplier is likely to want to update their trading partners. If the scenario involves remote shopping, it may be important to synchronize local updates to the catalog with the act of updating the trading partner's version of the catalog. Otherwise, the customer might become confused when the two versions of the catalog data do not correspond.