15 January 2002 Microsoft has released the first “beta” of Commerce Server 2002, the software giant’s latest version of its software package for building ecommerce web sites.
The software offers a number of new features, such as the ability to support a range of currencies and languages throughout its catalogue system. The Enterprise Edition will also feature customer analytics capabilities that can be used to launch targeted marketing campaigns.
In addition, Microsoft also claims tight integration with Microsoft’s Visual Studio.Net suite of development tools, also currently in beta, which will enable developers to more easily add customised features to their commerce sites. Visual Studio.Net is slated for release at Microsoft’s VSLive! Visual Studio developers’ conference on 13 February.
Not surprisingly, Commerce Server 2002 offers integration with Passport, Microsoft’s controversial web-based authentication system. The company has indicated that a final version of the software will be available in the spring.
Commerce Server 2002 is an important element of Microsoft’s .Net web services strategy. During the next 12 to 18 months all its major server software lines will be updated to support .Net web services protocols.
The stand-alone version of the software will be priced at $8,499 (€9,540) per processor, per server, while the version bundled with Microsoft’s SQL Server database – which Microsoft expects most users to deploy as their commerce site’s back end – is priced at $12,999 (€14,592) per server processor.