Virtual catalogs is a key feature we improved upon in Commerce Server 2007 to allow you to further customize your base and virtual catalogs. These features will enable additional  scenarios which were not possible in previous versions. If you are not familiar with virtual catalogs, read this post.

The following new features have been added to virtual catalogs in Commerce Server 2007

1. Ability to add rules from another virtual catalog : Commerce Server 2007 now allows you to add inclusion/exclusion/pricing rules to a virtual catalog from another virtual catalog. Note that a virtual catalog can now be created by rules from

  • One or more base catalogs OR
  • Another (and only one)  virtual catalog

This new feature now allows you to create a virtual catalog from one or more base catalogs (possibly coming from different vendors)  and then you can create another customized virtual catalog based off this virtual catalog.

2. Ability to override values of custom properties from inherited catalogs: New in this release is the ability to override the values of custom properties from the inherited catalogs. For eg you can add a product from a base catalog to a virtual catalog and have a different description or display name for the product in the virtual catalog. In addition you can also choose not to override these values and revert back to the original values from the inherited catalogs.

3. Ability to explicitly specify prices for products in the virtual catalog: While you can use flexible pricing rules to define the prices of products and categories in a virtual catalog, you can also explicitly set the prices of products in a virtual catalog. This feature also allows you to revert back this explicit pricing and have the price rule take effect. 

4. Importing and exporting virtual catalogs: Another new feature in this release is the ability to export and import virtual catalogs as virtual catalogs.

The export feature allows you to:

  • Export a virtual catalog as a virtual catalog.  This will export the rules in the virtual catalog and values of the overridden properties.
  • Export a virtual catalog as a base catalog. This will export the current contents of the virtual catalog as a base catalog. 
  • Export source catalogs. This feature allows you to export the source catalogs of the virtual catalog to the same xml file.

The import feature allows you to :

  • Import virtual catalogs as virtual catalogs.
  • Materialize virtual catalogs during import. 

5. Sequencing in virtual catalog

6. In addition we have made notable performance improvements for virtual catalog rebuilds and materialization of virtual catalogs.