A pipeline is an extensible software framework that defines and links together one or more stages of a business process, running them in sequence to complete a specific task. For example, the Order Processing Pipeline provides the sequence of steps that are used to process purchases from your site. In the first stage in the Order Processing Pipeline, you retrieve the product information from the database that stores catalog data. In the next stage, you add the address of the user to the order. Each stage in the pipeline represents a category of work. The sequence of the stages determines the sequence in which the work is to be done.
Commerce Server 2002 includes a set of pipelines that perform much of the standard processing required by a Commerce Server site. A site developer can tailor these pipelines to meet the specific needs of the site. For example, a site developer can add new stages to the pipeline, integrate the pipeline components with your existing system, or replace the components with other components supplied by third parties.
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