Thursday June 25th, 2020
By Leandro Bertolami
Changes in user expectations have impacted the way of thinking and developing e-commerce projects.
Since 2012, Pyxis has worked with SAP Commerce (Hybris), on countless projects of different kinds: B2C, B2B, B2B2C and everything you can think of in between. What has been a constant during this time is the relationship between the backend and the frontend.
Since the beginning of our experience in SAP Commerce we have used, in most cases, the module called Accelerator: a store ready to transact and of course, to be modified to suit each client.
The idea of the Accelerator is given by its name, it is to accelerate time-to-market as much as possible and it was that way for a long time. Despite its advantages, one of the main problems is the high coupling between the frontend and the backend. In short, we cannot separate them and deploying a change in frontend affects the backend and vice versa.
This coupling can have a high impact on the business. Businesses seeking digital transformation aim for omni-channeling and unique experiences for each touchpoint. But above all, agility to make these changes and adapt to the user, who is becoming more expert every day and with higher expectations.
Now, what solution can we use to improve this situation? Welcome to headless commerce
In its simplest definition, headless commerce is the separation of the frontend from the backend of an e-commerce application. This separation allows the independence of operation of both components and reduces the dependence of the backend on the experience and user interface. This architecture allows us to improve the deployments of new experiences and accelerate their time-to-market.
Of course, it introduces, in addition to all these advantages, new concepts to work with. The most important are the APIs. All communication between the front and the back will be through APIs. The good news is that the SAP Commerce platform already solves this point, through the Omni-Commerce-Connect (OCC) module that exposes an extensible rest API.
Well, we have the platform that natively supports APIs, why do we keep developing with Accelerator? The answer until a few months ago was “time-to-market”. The cost of starting a store development from scratch is much higher than using an accelerator that solves a large part of the e-commerce problem. But around July 2019, SAP introduced a new storefront (or accelerator) for SAP Commerce called Spartacus. Spartacus is a set of Angular libraries that allows us to deploy a Single-Page-Application (SPA) store using the functionality provided by the native SAP Commerce APIs.
With this, we are not only in parity of functionality with the Accelerator, but, as it is a more modern technology and designed for extensibility from its conception, we can give our customers a better user experience and a more modern store.
Additionally, SAP is working on the B2B version of Spartacus, which will use the new B2B APIs from the last version of SAP Commerce that was released in May.
As a product, if we compare it with the accelerator we have several advantages, among them: * Release cadence of 2 months (we have a new version of the accelerator every year) * OpenSource: not only SAP invests in its development with its internal team, but also accept contributions from the community
* Extensible: improves the architecture to allow its extension, but also preserving the possibility of upgrades, something that was very complex to achieve previously with accelerators
* Progressive: Spartacus plans to be 100% compatible with the PWA checklist, allowing applications to reach anyone, anywhere and using any device.
For those of us who develop on the platform, this new paradigm is a challenge, but one that we have been waiting for a long time and it gives us more tools to create new and better experiences for our clients. We have recently launched our first Spartacus store in production and it has met both customer expectations and ours.
Links of interest: Welcome Spartacus!
Thursday June 25th, 2020