Business UI Source Code & Customization

Several people have asked me questions about whether or not the new SmartClient Business User Tools in Commerce Server 2007 will be customizable. The answer is YES.

Information will be provided on Microsoft.com when the product ships to obtain the source code to allow you to customize the business user experience to the fullest extent possible.

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Commerce Server 2007 (was 2006) Release Candidate Now Available

Today is an important day in the history of Commerce Server and e-commerce technologies at Microsoft. At long last, the Release Candidate for Commerce Server 2007 (yes, that’s right 2007) is now available for immediate download from http://connect.microsoft.com/. Likewise, the Install Guide can be reached at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57268 and the README at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=57013.

The product is still on track for RTM in June and general licensing availability on 8/1/2006 – in complete accordance with what was committed with the Beta press release in February and detailed at http://blogs.msdn.com/rdonovan/archive/2006/03/02/542242.aspx.

Today’s Release Candidate marks the most revolutionary release of e-commerce technology in Microsoft’s history. It represents the culmination of several years of engineering efforts, highlighted by:

• Pervasive Services Oriented Architecture via ASP.NET 2.0 Web Services
• Integrated Application Integration (via BizTalk Server 2006 Adapters) for Line-of-Business & B2B Trading Partner Interoperability
• World-class flexibility with Catalogs – there isn’t much you can’t model anymore including difficult aggregation and seasonal merchandizing scenarios
• Integrated, Transactional Staging/Deployment
• Extraordinary performance – we can run a simulated Top 10 Retail+ peak e-commerce volume on 4 Web/2 low-end SQL servers
• Full integration with ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005
• The best implementation of e-commerce basics (Catalogs, Inventory, Marketing, & Orders + reporting capabilities) to-date

A bit about the name change – this is a change in name only. Features and functions are not impacted. That begs the obvious question – why change the name? It’s simple – we are simply aligning to many corporate factors based upon the general availability date which lies in Microsoft’s Fiscal Year 2007 and happens to be at the start date of the launch wave for Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, etc. Nothing more and nothing less.

And, for some details about the release. We are shipping the English Enterprise Edition today for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms. Other editions and languages will be available at RTM. This release includes a current working snapshot of the documentation – that will be refreshed at RTM in June and again in August with general availability. All features are present and accounted for and all test coverage is complete.

What’s not included is the Starter Site – this is on its own development cycle slightly behind the core project. It will be out in the RTM timeframe as a Web download. The Starter Site preview has been removed as a result. This release is production supported for TAP customers; it is not production supported for the general public – that will have to wait until RTM when the product support and other infrastructure is in place to provide a great customer experience. Also, this build will expire on September 30, 2006. The RTM build obviously will not have any expiration.

I can honestly say that today brings the most feature-rich, highest quality release of Commerce Server the world has ever seen. On behalf of everyone on the team here in Redmond, we hope you enjoy it. Now, on to the RTM milestone and to drive the quality bar even higher…

Release Candidate: On Final Approach…

I have been quiet lately. Perhaps a bit too quiet. But, it is all for a good reason. We are almost done with the Release Candidate – and it has been a lot of long and crazy hours for the team lately. This is the hardest milestone in the project by a wide margin, as pretty much everything has to be done and fixed to make it a real RTM-candidate build.

This is a quality driven milestone. This means that when the bugs are fixed, we are done – and no sooner. That being said, you can look forward to this being out and available soon. Very, very soon.

More to come shortly on the RC, feature highlights, and our plans for TechEd US in Boston, where we have quite a few cool things planned.