MZR d.o.o. has been developing Commerce-based solutions since Commerce version 4.0 and in the last year we have decided to put our store solutions on a much higher level. We have designed and implemented a universal web store solution, called ASIRIJA, that is based on Websphere Commerce (concurrently on version 6 and we hope to migrate to version 7 as soon as it comes out), but is integrated with a well-known content management system platform called Joomla.
The challenge was not only to integrate PHP and Java oriented environments, but to satisfy customers' needs to have much stronger content management possibilities than the ones contained in the Websphere Commerce Enterprise Server. These two products work together as standalone (dynamic and static) web solutions via our own single sign-on module that uses security-token approach to secure individual resources on each side.
On the other hand, we have found out that a lot of customers rely on very different and (very common) old legacy systems that do not fit well into modern object-oriented environments. That is why it was necessary to base all the integration-oriented modules of Asirija on web services. That has allowed us to make Asirija fully independent and much less coupled with the current customer's legacy system.
One of the major goals was to make Asirija platform-independent. This was quite easily possible due to Java's independency and multiple versions of Websphere Commerce and Joomla (PHP) on different platforms (Windows, Unix, Linux, System i (former AS400)). That means that each side can reside on different environment and any combination of listed platform is possible.
Asirija's deployment is our last project for Kemofarmacija d.d., the major pharmaceutical import company in Slovenia. Their previous web store resided on iSeries and was completely based on S21 legacy system. The company's request was to make a new e-commerce solution that would still use the data from S21, but would be completely uncoupled with it. Of course, the answer was in the usage of web services (in both directions). That means, for example, that all dynamic store information (concrete prices for individual customers, order management, catalogue synchronization, customer's financial state,...) is done via web services.
In addition, we have improved Commerce's Accelerator tool to make additional content management and advertisement functionalities on the store sites possible and manageable. All the static sites are implemented on Joomla system and can be managed there.
In general, our experience with this kind of integration is very satisfactory - we have found out that it might be one of the most customizable symbiosis of products that can satisfy a huge variety of potential customer's needs. We have to point out that none of this would be possible without Commerce's flexibility and very standard options to fill the catalogue via strict XML schemas and its support for different platforms. Another benefit of using the Commerce Server is in strong encapsulation of the data model through EJB objects and modulation of specific logic via Commerce commands.
Asirija's implementation is compatible with all versions of Websphere Commerce (Express, Professional and Enterprise) and all Commerce's platforms.