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Explore the Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the benefits of using the Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA).
  • Explain why a reference architecture provides a blueprint for site design.
  • List two SFRA technical and UX components.
  • List two benefits of Mobile First.

Introduction

What better way to show what an online storefront site looks like than to build one that you can view and use as a code base? That’s exactly what we did with SFRA. But this architecture is more than just a code base: It provides the blueprint for site design.

Using a reference architecture is all about speedy innovation! Build sites faster with a full library of core site capabilities developed with industry best practices. Hundreds of out-of-the-box features include cart, checkout, homepage, product detail pages, and more. Also, quickly adopt technologies like Apple Pay–giving your shoppers an awesome experience.

The SFRA customization model makes it easy for you to build, maintain, and update your storefront. It sits outside of the platform API layer and uses a conventional Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. We talked about APIs and the MVC architecture in the Salesforce B2C Commerce Development Environment unit.

Developers are free to customize and extend the SFRA code base. Brands are empowered to design pixel perfect sites and meticulously build unique web experiences. Developers bring in new code, integrate with third-party providers, and iterate on their site designs. As a result, merchants completely own their storefront and the underlying code base.

Person using a mobile device

Mobile First Design

Historically, most web designers focused on the desktop first, with mobile second. Even with responsive design, the focus started with the desktop, with additional code for mobile.

Responsive design adapts what’s on the screen based on the screen size.

Mobile isn’t a trend. It’s the present. More and more people use mobile devices to do all kinds of things, especially shop online. Holding a computer in your hand is a powerful thing.

Mobile-first designs for the smallest screen, and then works its way up. It’s one of the best strategies to create either a responsive or adaptive design.

Adaptive design detects the device and other features, and then provides the appropriate feature and layout based on a predefined set of viewport sizes and other characteristics.

Let's Talk Architecture

A reference architecture serves as a starting point for online storefront design, and combines best practices in site design and storefront architecture. It gives you a blueprint for building and customizing your ecommerce storefronts.

Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture landing page

The Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) uses JavaScript controllers. In B2C Commerce, controllers are server-side scripts that handle storefront requests. They manage the flow of control in the application, and create instances of models and views to process each storefront request and generate an appropriate response. For example, the shopper clicks a category menu item or enters a search term, which triggers a controller that renders a page.

Note

Note

Controllers are written in JavaScript and B2C Commerce script. They must conform to the CommonJS module standard.

The SFRA makes it easy to segment B2C Commerce delivered code, merchant customizations, and third-party integration code into discrete cartridges—making it easier to maintain and update the contents of each cartridge.

In B2C Commerce, a cartridge contains code or data. This means that developers can build new components, for example, features such as wishlist, Apple Pay, and payment integrations, and independently plug them into the storefront. This architecture allows for a lightweight and cleaner codebase for continuous, iterative, and evolutionary site design. The core code is not available for edit, while developers are free to develop functionality on top of it.

Best Practices UI Development

The SFRA uses the popular Bootstrap front-end component UI library. Bootstrap is an open source toolkit for developing with HTML, CSS, and JS. It lets you quickly prototype your ideas or build your entire app with its Sass variables and mixins, responsive grid system, extensive prebuilt components, and powerful plugins built on jQuery.

Other Things to Know

Merchants take advantage of SFRA if they are starting new site implementations or redesigning an existing storefront. Merchants typically redesign their storefront every 3 to 5 years, and because a site redesign can be resource intensive, merchants should weigh their timeline against budget, scope, and business implications. To put you on the right path, SFRA comes with annotated wireframes. There are also user groups you can take advantage of.

The B2C Commerce Retail Practice team can provide storefront design consultations to help merchants optimize their existing storefront or make the move to something new.

Next Steps

We’ve explored the details of Commerce Cloud’s SFRA. Now it’s time to learn about B2C Commerce business objects.

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