Commerce Server includes a rich catalog management system that plays a central role in defining a complex set of products that are related to each other in a variety of ways. The catalog system supports hierarchical product catalogs with a configurable schema. Products and product categories can also be defined to have relationships that are outside their hierarchical relationships, which can be useful for associating accessories with a primary product.
There are several catalog objects that provide an extensive API to the Web site developers, allowing them to create Web pages that present these relationships to shoppers in easy-to-use ways. This same API provides design-time support to the Commerce Server Business Desk, allowing the catalog-related modules to be directly accessible to business managers. When the Web pages are properly constructed, business managers can make changes to the relationships between products and categories, both hierarchical and otherwise, which are immediately reflected in the corresponding Web pages.
The following list is a summary of the primary features of the Commerce Server Product Catalog System:
The next three sub-sections discuss the support provided by Commerce Server for product catalogs in each of the three types of functionality: user interfaces, Web sites, and objects.