1. Introduction

Customers' expectations of modern e-commerce shop systems are becoming increasingly diverse: In addition to the pure display of product catalogs, they must provide customers with unique and personalized shopping experiences. Thereby, customers want to be addressed via all channels and devices used by them. The number of touchpoints used is therefore unlimited.

FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce allows the Digital Experience Platform FirstSpirit to be linked with any E-Commerce shop system. It thus creates a powerful overall system that combines the functional advantages of these systems and enables the delivery of modern and personalized content.

This document is intended for server administrators and therefore only describes the installation and configuration of the module as well as the import of the reference project on the FirstSpirit server. All steps to be performed in the project and the functionalities provided with Connect for Commerce are described in the FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce documentation.

If the expression "Connect for Commerce" is used in the remainder of this documentation, this refers to FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce in all cases.

1.1. Range of functions

FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce allows to:

  • Access product and category information

  • Creation of new editorial content

  • Display shop elements and editorial content in the FirstSpirit preview simultaneously

  • Delivery of content to any touchpoints

The module provides the necessary functionalities after installation and configuration within the WYSIWYG client.

Familiar FirstSpirit tools are used to maintain the content, meaning that editors who are already familiar with FirstSpirit do not require any additional knowledge - especially not about the E-Commerce shop system. The content is made available to the storefront using the CaaS and is delivered by the storefront in combination with the content from the connected shop.

This means that, within the newly created overall system, there is no difference for the delivery of editorial content. It is still carried out by the storefront. Even if the FirstSpirit server is maintained, this doesn’t affect the frontend.

Figure 1. Data flow

1.2. Architecture

By default, a shop’s architecture consists of the backend and a storefront. While, in this system, the backend provides all shop functionalities and persists all shop content, the storefront delivers this content.

With the FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce solution, FirstSpirit and the CaaS integrate into this architecture and extend the functionalities of the shop. Connect for Commerce thus creates an overall system that combines the functional strengths of the individual systems. Within this overall system, FirstSpirit and the shop represent the backend, while the CaaS and the bridge form the middleware and the storefront is the frontend.

The following graphic shows the high-level architecture of this overall system:

ng architecture simple
Figure 2. High-level architecture

Within the newly created overall system, the storefront continues to deliver the content, which it by default obtains from the backend. In addition, it queries the content of the respective CaaS instance and links it with those of the shop.

In contrast to the delivery of the content, its creation and maintenance shifts to FirstSpirit. With the ContentCreator, FirstSpirit provides an intuitive WYSIWYG client for this purpose. The so-called Omnichannel Manager (OCM) is integrated into this client, which allows displaying external content in the ContentCreator (see figure Low-level architecture).

By embedding the storefront in the Omnichannel Manager, the editors are provided with a combined preview of the content, which in this case, originates from the Preview CaaS and the shop. This way, the editors get the possibility to edit already existing shop pages in the ContentCreator. For this purpose, a variety of different components are available for them.

Product and category information is provided via reports in the ContentCreator. For this, the bridge determines the necessary information from the backend of the connected shop and transfers it to the FirstSpirit server via a REST interface.

The transfer of the created or modified content to the Online CaaS is done with each release. The CaaS persists the content in JSON format in the form of content fragments and makes them available to the storefront, which integrates them together with the shop content.

The overall system of FirstSpirit, the connected shop and its storefront thus has an architecture in which the editorial backend of FirstSpirit is clearly separated from the storefront.

ng architecture
Figure 3. Low-level architecture

2. Installation and Configuration

Various components must be installed and configured in order to use the functions of the FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce module. The following subchapters explain the steps required.

2.1. Installation of the modules

In order to provide the functions of the FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce module, the modules CaaS Connect and Omnichannel Manager are additionally required, which must also be installed on the FirstSpirit server.

Furthermore, when using the supplied FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce Reference Project, the BasicWorkflows must also be installed. In order to use the Interactive Video, the modules YouTube-DAP-Integration and Interactive Video are required.

The delivery contains only the FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce module. All other modules mentioned are available from the Technical Support.

To install the modules, open ServerManager and select Server Properties  Modules.

Figure 4. Server Properties - Module installation

The main panel displays a list of all modules installed on the FirstSpirit server. After clicking Install, select the following files one after the other and confirm your selection with Open:

  • connect-for-commerce-module-<VERSION>.fsm

  • caas-connect-<VERSION>.fsm

  • fs-tpp-api-<VERSION>.fsm

  • basicworkflows-fsm-<VERSION>.fsm (only required when using the BasicWorkflows)

  • youtube-dap-integration-<VERSION>.fsm (only required when using the Interactive Video)

  • interactive-video-<VERSION>.fsm (only required when using the Interactive Video)

  • navigation-service-fsm-<VERSION>.fsm (only required when using)

After the successful installation, the following folders were added to the list:

  • FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce

  • CaaS Connect

  • FirstSpirit ThirdPartyPreview

  • BasicWorkflows (only required when using the BasicWorkflows)

  • YouTube-DAP-Integration (only required when using the Interactive Video)

  • Interactive Video (only required when using the Interactive Video)

  • NavigationService (only required when using)

Each of which must have All rights.

The modules FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce, CaaS Connect, NavigationService, and YouTube-DAP-Integration require a configuration. The necessary steps are described in the FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce documentation, in the Documentation of the NavigationService, in the CaaS Connect documentation, and in the Readme file of the YouTube-DAP-Integration.

After installing all required modules, a one-time restart of the FirstSpirit server is required. Likewise, a restart is necessary after each update or installation of additional modules.

2.2. Project import

A part of the delivery is the reference project FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce Reference Project, which must be installed on the FirstSpirit server. To do this, open the import dialog in the ServerManager via the menu item Project  Import and click the Local button to select the fs-connect-reference-project-<VERSION>.tar.gz file from your local data system. Then assign a project name and a description and confirm the import with Yes. After the successful installation, the project is added to the list in the main panel.

Figure 5. Imported project in the ServerManager

In addition to the standard groups Everyone and Administrators, the reference project includes three further external groups: Editors, ChiefEditors and ProjectAdmins. These groups possess different rights, which are selected depending on their tasks and defined for the different stores. Users outside these groups are not authorized to use the reference project by default.

The usage of external groups requires an LDAP connection. Otherwise, they are not usable and the rights set for them do not apply.

2.3. Adding the web components

Connect for Commerce requires various web components to be added to the FirstSpirit server. Therefore open the Server Properties  Web applications panel in the ServerManager.

Within the main panel several tabs are visible, each with a list of the existing web components. Choose the ContentCreator tab and add the following web components:

  • BasicWorkflows_ContentCreator_Library (only required when using the BasicWorkflows)

  • FirstSpirit Connect for Commerce - Web Application Component

  • FirstSpirit ThirdPartyPreview WebApp

  • YouTube-DAP-Integration (only required when using the Interactive Video)

  • Interactive Video (only required when using the Interactive Video)

Select the web components one after the other using the Add button and confirm each selection with OK.