Integrating with back-end systems and external applications

External systems integration is a key feature of the WebSphere Commerce solution. In WebSphere Commerce business logic is enabled for integration and built-in adapters and interfaces are provided for common integration points. Additionally, the WebSphere Commerce integration solution leverages integration standards by using various IBM connectivity solutions.

WebSphere Commerce can integrate with:

  • Customers by multiple channels
  • Back-end systems within the enterprise
  • Partners and suppliers

The WebSphere Commerce messaging system gives WebSphere Commerce the ability to communicate with its external environment. This communication includes sending messages to and receiving messages from back-end systems or external systems, as well as sending notification to customers and administrators that events occur within WebSphere Commerce.

The following diagram depicts how WebSphere Commerce can integrate with existing applications.

Customers, Partners, and Channels can communicate with WebSphere Commerce through adapters and interfaces. The adapters then communicate through Integration Services to Existing applications, such as CRM, ERP, SCM, and Legacy systems.

For example, you can set up the messaging system to send email messages that notify your customers that their orders are shipped. You can configure WebSphere Commerce to send message to a back-end system whenever an order is created at your store. This order information can be used by the back-end system to do necessary order fulfillment processing. The back-end system can later send order status messages back to WebSphere Commerce indicating that order delivery occurred, or an order invoice is issued. An email can also be sent to update the customer.

Inbound messages are used to run commands in WebSphere Commerce based on messages that are coming from back-end systems. Outbound messages can be generated by the outbound messaging system in order to update back-end systems with events that occurr, such as a new customer order.

WebSphere Commerce internal integration facilities

The following diagram shows WebSphere Commerce components and utilities that are used to communicate with external systems. For example, XML files can be used as input by the massload utility, which uses the files to populate the WebSphere Commerce database. The Extractor utility can be used to extract data from the WebSphere Commerce database into various file formats. XML messages are also used as input to the Messaging system, which is based on the content of the XML messages the Messaging system can perform business logic, or send messages to an external system.

This diagram shows the information that is described in the preceding paragraph.

Messaging architecture

The inbound messaging system can receive XML-based messages via the HTTP protocol and WebSphere MQ. The outbound messaging system provides a means to send email notifications to customers and administrators, send XML-based messages using the Listener for WebSphere MQ transport, and to write messages to a file.

This diagram shows inbound requests that are coming through Mapping functions to Business Function commands; the message then goes through Composer functions and is sent as a response to the request. The Outbound portion of the diagram shows Business function commands that are going through Composer functions to be sent as outbound notifications. Finally, the Response to an outbound message is shown going through mapping functions to Business function commands.

Predefined messages

To speed development, WebSphere Commerce provides many predefined inbound and outbound messages. The predefined messages provide common messaging functionality for fulfillment and back-end messaging needs. In addition, WebSphere Commerce provides an architecture for adding new messages and transports.

The messaging system is prepared to send and receive a number of pre-defined messages in XML format. This format offers a high degree of readability, making the messages easy to modify and maintain. You can also use the legacy message format. However, the XML message format is recommended. You can also add new messages. For new inbound messages, you can associate them with either existing WebSphere Commerce commands, or commands that you create.

WebSphere Commerce provides several messages that the WebSphere Commerce system can use to communicate with an external system. In addition to the messages provided you can also create custom messages.

This
diagram shows messages that can be sent from WebSphere Commerce to
an external system. Or, from an external system to WebSphere Commerce.
Each hotspot on the image map leads to a representative example of
an external systems integration message.Catalog/ProductConfiguratorCustomCustomerFuilfillmentInventoryOrderOrder statusPaymentPriceTax Calculation