Retail online store publishing architecture [AX 2012]

Updated: April 24, 2014

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

This topic contains conceptual information to help developers and system administrators understand how channels and catalogs are published from the Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail module to an online store in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Products. Understanding the publishing process can help you develop, manage, and troubleshoot your Retail online store. Before you read this topic, we recommend that you read about SharePoint cross-site publishing concepts. For more information, see Plan for cross-site publishing in SharePoint Server 2013 and Plan terms and term sets in SharePoint Server 2013

Figure 1 shows the architecture and flow of the publishing processes. These processes are described in more detail in this topic.

Overview of Retail online store publishing

Figure 1 High-level architecture of Retail online store publishing processes

To publish the Retail online store channel means to replicate the basic structure of your online store between Microsoft Dynamics AX and SharePoint. You create the basic structure of your online store channel in the Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail module. The following set up tasks must be completed before you can publish the channel:

  1. Add the online store to the organization hierarchy. For more information, see Create or modify an organization hierarchy.

  2. Create the online store and configure properties in Microsoft Dynamics AX. For more information, see Set up an online store.

  3. Configure category hierarchy of you site. For more information, see Set up a retail hierarchy

  4. Create the online store in SharePoint. Install a Retail online store (e-commerce).

After you completed these steps, you are ready to publish the product schema to SharePoint. Figure 2 shows the publishing process for a Retail online store channel.

Publishing process: Retail online store channel

Figure 2 Process flow for publishing a Retail online store channel

  1. You create the online store in Microsoft Dynamics AX and publish it from the Online stores form. The publish status changes from Draft to In progress.

  2. Microsoft Dynamics AX takes a snapshot of the category hierarchies (called the Retail hierarchy) and properties.

  3. The Commerce Data Exchange: Async server reads information about the online store, hierarchies, and properties in the Retail store database and sends it to the Commerce runtime (CRT).

  4. The Async server synchronizes the tables in the channel database.

  5. The Retail publishing job, which runs as a SharePoint timer job, receives information about synchronized tables from the CRT API and creates hierarchies for the site that you created in SharePoint.

  6. The Retail publishing job creates term sets in SharePoint.

  7. The Commerce Data Exchange: Real Time Service receives the status of the Retail publishing job actions from the CRT API and publishes that status in Microsoft Dynamics AX. The status shows either Published or Error.

For the specific procedures to publish a channel, see Set up an online store. After you published the channel, you can publish a catalog.

A Retail product catalog lets you identify the products that you want to offer in your online stores. When you create a catalog, you identify the online stores where the products will be offered, add products, and enhance the product offerings by adding merchandising details. After the catalog is approved, you publish it to make products available in the online store. The following set up tasks must be completed before you can publish a catalog:

  1. Set up retail products and configure hierarchies, assortments, and variants. For more information, see Setting up retail products

  2. Set up retail product catalogs and configure attribute groups and workflow. For more information, see Setting up retail product catalogs.

Figure 3 shows the publishing process for a Retail online store catalog.

Publishing process for a Retail Online Store

Figure 3 Process flow for publishing a Retail online store catalog

  1. Microsoft Dynamics AX reads the product tables in the Retail database.

  2. The Commerce Data Exchange: Async Server synchronizes all products in the channel database.

  3. The CRT/Publishing Connector creates a listing. A listing is an instance of a product for a channel at a given point in time. For example, a product might be “jeans” and the variant might be “red”. The system creates a listing for “red jeans”.

  4. The system determines whether any new attributes were added for the listing. If a new attribute exists, for example if the listing “red jeans” includes a new attribute called “texture”, and this attribute is marked as “Included” at the channel level, then the system creates a custom site column for that attribute. The system creates a new rule for this list item and finishes the process in SharePoint by creating a new row for the “red jeans” listing.

  5. The CRT records the publishing status for the listing.

  6. The Commerce Data Exchange: Async Server synchronizes the publishing status of the “red jeans” listing with all other publishing statuses.

  7. The status shows either Published or Error.

NoteNote

To learn more about custom site columns and list items, see Introduction to Columns and the section titled "Share a library or list as a catalog" in Configure cross-site publishing in SharePoint Server 2013.

Figure 4 shows the various features of an Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail catalog. When these features are published, they are mapped to the SharePoint cross-site publishing platform.

Features of the Retail Online Store catalog

Figure 4 Mapping of Microsoft Dynamics AX catalog features after they are published to SharePoint


Announcements: To see known issues and recent fixes, use Issue search in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS).

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