Commerce Server 2002 released to manufacture

Top of the list of improvements in Microsoft's software for building e-commerce sites is the .Net integration, which helps developers share and reuse code

Commerce Server 2002, Microsoft's latest addition to its .Net Web services framework, was released to manufacture on Wednesday. The product should ship in a couple of weeks, said server solutions marketing manager Donna Warburton.

The announcement coincided with Microsoft's TechEd developer conference in New Orleans. Commerce Server 2002, an application for building e-commerce Web sites, adds a number of new features, the most significant of which is ability to tie in with the company's .Net framework.

"We are moving all our server products closer to .Net," said Warburton. "The developer portal in Visual Studio .Net will allow developers to use libraries from Commerce Server to developer their applications." For developers who are not used to .Net development, Commerce Server 2002 will ship with sample code for developing Web services, said Warburton. "This makes it easy to add features such as Passport authentication of users," she added.

The two other main areas of development include globalisation and catalogue management. For companies that want to have a Web presence in more than one country, Commerce Server 2002 supports multiple languages and multiple currencies for orders. A virtual cataloguing feature allows companies to create multiple versions of a catalogue for different clients. "You can import anything if it is wrapped in XML," said Warburton. "Anything that can be exported as a flat file can be sucked in."

Commerce Server 2002 also has beefed-up analytics for profiling customers to personalise the Web site, and for such jobs as analysing how the site is performing, added Warburton.

The standard version of the server will cost £4,777 per processor in the UK, and will be limited to run on servers with two processors. An enterprise edition, with more extensive analytics and no artificial cap on scalability, will cost £13,650 per processor.

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