Preview behavior

When you open store preview, be aware of its behavior to ensure the changes that you make in Management Center display correctly in your storefront.

  • When you click the preview button, the preview session refreshes.
  • Preview runs in its own web application, on a non-standard port so that it can be protected by a firewall.
  • Only one store preview window opens at a time. If a preview window is open and you click OK on the store preview options page, the preview opens in the existing window.
  • By default, the store preview options page displays the home page URL of the store with which you are working in the Management Center.
    • You can enter any valid store URL in the Store Address field. If you enter a store URL for a different store than you are working in, the preview does not reflect your date, time, and inventory options.
    • When you preview your store, if you change stores in the Management Center, the preview window closes.
    • When you launch preview, you are a guest user. If you enter a store URL that is not accessible by a guest user, you might see an error page.
  • If you set a catalog as the default catalog, this catalog displays in store preview. To preview a different catalog, select that catalog as the default catalog before you open Store Preview. Do not use a URL that resembles the following structure to specify the catalogId as a URL parameter:
  • If you are previewing a store in workspaces, the default catalog you specified in workspaces is displayed as the storefront.
  • You can disable commands from running within preview. For more information, see Command and view restrictions in preview.
  • If you perform analytics on user traffic, do not log in to the store when you are testing the site with preview. To avoid logging the user traffic when testing your site with preview, logging user traffic is disabled within preview by default. You can configure caching to capture user traffic data.
  • If you create customized business contexts for the business context engine, you can use these business contexts within preview. For more information, see Adding customized business contexts to preview.
  • If your store does not use relative URLs, or hard codes the port number or context root, the resulting URLs do not work in preview. The resulting URLs do not render with the standard context root that means the preview functionality is not available. To ensure that the store works in preview mode, follow these recommendations:
    • Never hardcode URLs with full paths in the store JSPs.
    • Either use relative URLs throughout your site so every request is relative to its original request, or use a library that preserves the port number and context root to allow the URLs to work in preview mode.
    • Ensure that the wcf:url tag is used when you are including URLs in your JSP files. For more information, see Tag: url.
  • By default, time does not elapse in real time in Store Preview as it does in your actual Store. When you are viewing time or sequence-related Marketing activities in store preview, your content can display differently from its display in your actual store. To ensure that Store Preview behaves as your actual store browsing, select the option to have time in preview elapse as real time elapses. The option to set time in preview elapse as real-time elapse displays in the Store Preview Options dialog when you are selecting to open Store Preview.

    When you are previewing a web activity that displays recently viewed products, the sequence of viewed products can differ in Store Preview than in your actual store. The Management Center Marketing tool tracks recently viewed products according to the timestamp when products were viewed. The Marketing tool uses the timestamps to create the sequence of recently viewed products. If you do not have time set to elapse in Store Preview, the Marketing tool records the same timestamp for all products viewed. The Marketing tool develops a recently viewed sequence that is based on the same timestamp. This sequence can differ from your actual store sequence that is based on separate timestamps for when each product is viewed. Setting the time to elapse for your Store Preview ensures that your web activity behaves the same in Store Preview and in your actual store.

    In addition, in some instances, time might not synchronize correctly when compared with the previewed storefront and the preview context. For example, if you are previewing the store with a specific date, logging in and then out of the store results in losing the date value. When logging back in to the store, time is not synchronized correctly since the preview context displays the system date instead of the preview date.

  • If your store uses an ATP inventory model, the inventory levels for catalog entries in Store Preview do not reflect the actual inventory level. In Store Preview, catalog entries always display as in stock, regardless of the actual inventory level of the item. Inventory filters also do not work for catalog entry recommendations in Store Preview when your store uses an ATP inventory model.