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Vue Storefront Custom Integration Tutorial

Vue Storefront is platform agnostic which means it can be connected to virtually any eCommerce backend and CMS. This repository is created to make the integration with any 3rd party backend platform as easy as possible.

Note: This tutorial shows how to build a Generic integration for any custom backend API. This is the recommended approach giving you most of the Vue Storefront features of the box. Check the other options...

Three steps for the integration

  • Step One Vue Storefront uses Elastic Search as backend for all catalog operations. We do have three default types of entities that must be supported: product, category, attribute and three optional entities taxrule, cms_block and cms_page in the ES. You may find some sample-data json files in sample-data subdirectory.

  • Step Two The second step is to support the dynamic calls that are used to synchronize shopping carts, promotion rules, user accounts, and so on. To have this step accomplished you'll need to implement the actuall endpoints business logic. Check the boilerplate API implementation in Express.js

  • Step Three Is to configure vue-storefront to use the right set of endpoints from Step Two.

Tutorial

Now, we're to go through all three steps to integrate Vue Storefront with custom or 3rd party eCommerce platform.

First, make sure you've got the vue-storefront and vue-storefront-api installed on your local machine, up and running. Opening the http://localhost:3000 should display default Vue Storefront theme with demo products.

Note: As we'll be using extensively Elastic Search for the next steps in this tutorial, make sure you've got the right tooling to browse the ES indexes. I'm using es-head. Pretty easy to use and simple tool, provided as a Google Chrome plugin.

Empty the vue_storefront_catalog index.

This is the default Vue Storefront index which is configured in both vue-storefront and vue-storefront-api projects - in the config/local.json, elasticsearch.indices section. We'll be using "default".

First, please go to vue-storefront-api directory with the following command:

$ cd ./vue-storefront-api

Then you can empty the default index:

$ yarn db new
yarn run v1.17.3
$ node scripts/db.js new
Elasticsearch INFO: 2019-09-06T19:32:23Z
  Adding iconnection to http://localhost:9200/

** Hello! I am going to create s cNEW ES index
Elasticsearch DEBUG: 2019-09-06T19:32:23Z
  starting request {
    "method": "DELETE",
    "path": "/*/_alias/vue_storefront_catalog",
    "query": {}
  }
  
...

Note: Please make sure your local Elastic instance is up and running. After you've got the vue-storefront plus vue-storefront-api installed, you can ensure it by just running docker-compose up -d in the vue-storefront-api directory.

Import data.

In your custom integration, you'll probably be pumping the data directly to ElasticSearch as it changed in the platform admin panel.

This is exactly how other Vue Storefront integrations work. You might want to get inspired by:

In our example, we'll push the static JSON files from sample-data directly to the ElasticSearch index. Then I'll explain these data formats in details to let you prepare such an automatic exporter on your own.

To push the data into ElasticSearch we'll be using a simple NodeJS tool located in the sample-data folder.

Now we can import the data:

$ cd ./vue-storefront-integration-boilerplate/sample-data/
$ yarn install Or npm install
$ node import.js products.json product vue_storefront_catalog
Importing product { id: 1769,
  name: 'Chloe Compete Tank',
  image: '/w/t/wt06-blue_main.jpg',
  sku: 'WT06',
  url_key: 'chloe-compete-tank',
  url_path:
   'women/tops-women/tanks-women/bras-and-tanks-26/chloe-compete-tank-1769.html',
  type_id: 'configurable',
  price: 39,
  special_price: 0,
  price_incl_tax: null,
  special_price_incl_tax: null,
  special_to_date: null,
  special_from_date: null,
  status: 1,
  size: null,
  color: null,
  size_options: [ 167, 168, 169, 170, 171 ],
  color_options: [ 50, 58, 60 ],
  category_ids: [ '26' ],
  media_gallery:
  ...
{ _index: 'vue_storefront_catalog',
  _type: 'product',
  _id: '1433',
  _version: 2,
  result: 'updated',
  _shards: { total: 2, successful: 1, failed: 0 },
  created: false }
{ _index: 'vue_storefront_catalog',
  _type: 'product',
  _id: '1529',
  _version: 2,
  result: 'updated',
  _shards: { total: 2, successful: 1, failed: 0 },
  created: false }

Then please do execute the same import scripts for atttribute and category entities:

$ node import.js attributes.json attribute vue_storefront_catalog
$ node import.js categories.json category vue_storefront_catalog

After importing the data, we need to make sure the Vue Storefront Elastic index schema has been properly applied. To ensure this, we'll use the Database tool used previously to clear out the index - once again:

$ yarn db rebuild
yarn run v1.17.3
$ node scripts/db.js rebuild
Elasticsearch INFO: 2019-09-06T20:13:28Z
  Adding connection to http://localhost:9200/

** Hello! I am going to rebuild EXISTING ES index to fix the schema
** Creating temporary index vue_storefront_catalog_1567800809
Elasticsearch DEBUG: 2019-09-06T20:13:28Z
  starting request {
    "method": "DELETE",
    "path": "/*/_alias/vue_storefront_catalog_1567800809",
    "query": {}
  }

After data has been imported you can check if it works by opening http://localhost:3000 and using the Search feature:

Search Feature

Congratulations! Now it's a good moment to take a deep breath and study the data formats we'd just imported to create your own mapper from the custom platform of your choice to Vue Storefront format.

Note: please make sure that you use non-zero IDs in the following entities to avoid unexpected behavior.

Product entity

You might have seen that our data formats are pretty much similar to Magento formats. We've simplified them and aggregated. Some parts are denormalized on purpose. We're trying to avoid the relations known from the standard databases and rather use the DTO concept. For example, Product is a DTO containing all information necessary to display the PDP (Product Details Page): including media_gallery, configurable_children and other features. It's then fairly easy to cache the data for the Offline mode and performance.

Read the full Product entity specification

Attribute entity

Vue Storefront uses the attributes meta data dictionaries saved in the attribute entities. They're related to the product. The attribute.attribute_code represents the product[attribute_code] proeprty - when defined. When not, the product[attribute_code] is being used as a plain tetxt.

Read more on why Attributes are important

Category entity

Categories are being used mostly for building tree navigation. Vue Storefront uses the dynamic-catetgories-prefetching. Please make sure that all the categories are indexed on the main level - even if they exist as a category.children_data assigned to any other category.

Read the Category format specification

TaxRate entity

Note: TaxRates are skipped from sample-data as they're not crucial to display the products and categories in Vue Storefront (as long as the taxes are calculated before product pricing is imported to Elastic)

Here is the data format:

{
  "id": 2,
  "code": "Poland",
  "priority": 0,
  "position": 0,
  "customer_tax_class_ids": [3],
  "product_tax_class_ids": [2],
  "tax_rate_ids": [4],
  "calculate_subtotal": false,
  "rates": [
    {
      "id": 4,
      "tax_country_id": "PL",
      "tax_region_id": 0,
      "tax_postcode": "*",
      "rate": 23,
      "code": "VAT23%",
      "titles": []
    }
  ]
}

To read more on how tax rates are processed when config.tax.calculateServerSide=false, please read the Prices how to and then study the taxCalc.ts.

Write your API adapter for dynamic requests

Vue Storefront doesn't store any user data, order or payment information. Even shopping carts are only stored locally in the browser and then synced with the server (cart/merge Vuex action).

Whenever a product is added to the cart, or user authorization is performed, there is an API request executed.

Read more on the required API endpoints you must provide to have Vue Storefront synchronized

Note: If you're to use Vue Storefront just for catalog browsing purposes you can probably skip this step. In that case please make sure your vue-storefront instance is properly configured with the config.cart.synchronize=false and config.cart.synchronize_totals=false.

Configure vue-storefront

All You need to do is to set the proper dynamic API endpoints in the config/local.json. Here you have the details.

Support

This is a project under MIT license so it's just AS IS :) However, if you're planning to add the new platform to the Vue Storefront ecosystem and publish it freely as an open-source - we'll do our best to support you!

Please feel free to contact the core team at Vue Storefront Forum, on Slack channel or via contributors@vuestorefront.io

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