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X.Commerce Introduction Part 1 - The Fabric

Thu, 11/24/2011 - 09:53

A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about the future of commerce and some new possibilities when somebody mentioned “XCommerce”, I was a little bit shocked since I never heard any of it, so I started my own research, a few days later I was really excited with what I found so I’m here to tell you what is it all about.
 
X.Commerce (www.x.com) it is not one product, it is a platform that involves many products and participants, what they call Ecosystem. For a very promising start, the drivers of this concept are no others than eBay ™, PayPal ™ and Magento ™, nothing more to say… right?
 
Why an Ecosystem? Isn’t it funny? Let’s take a look to the word’s definition (or at least one of them): “An ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.”, this is exactly X.Commerce, it enables communication between different products in an standardized manner.
 
How these guys makes this happen? X.Commerce provides developers and merchants with a set of tools to make this ecosystem possible, i.e. The Fabric and PayPal Access. These tools are supported by experts in the e-commerce industry, such as eBay, PayPal, Magento, Kenshoo, and a long list of others including Facebook as one of the new members. In this point I will explain how "The Fabric" works.

The Fabric

X.Commerce centralizes all communications in one Service Bus called “The Fabric” who is in charge of sending all messages to different recipients, so any who might want to integrate with X.Commerce should understand how this works, luckily, there is plenty of information about the Fabric concept, but I will try to explain it in a few lines.

There are a few concepts to have in mind: Capabilities, Tenants and Topics, let talk about each.

  • Capabilities: It is simply a connector to the fabric, handles incoming messages from and sends responses to the fabric. A capability is any kind of functionality that is connected to the fabric.

 

  • Tenants: a tenant is a merchant, who authorizes capabilities to interact with the fabric on his behalf; this is basically the way we as merchants can authorize different functionalities (capabilities) to work on our behalf in order to expand and extend our functionality.

 

  • Topics: topics are more or less the center of everything, topics drives the communication contracts, an example of topic is “/inventory/update”, here you can see two things, a topic category “inventory” and a topic contract “update”. A topic can be tenant required or not, this means that certain topics can only be received and sent if the tenant is authorized to do it.

 
Having these three concepts, now we can say that X.Commerce is basically a publish/subscribe service bus, Capabilities can send and receive messages for certain topics, and they will only receive it if the tenant is authorized or the topic is free for everyone. 

Summary

The main goal of X.Commerce is to let merchants and developers the freedom to innovate and generate aggregated value to their services, without having to worry about the common aspects of commerce, by providing a powerful platform with tools like Magento already integrated.

By doing this, merchants and capabilities can establish relations with different capabilities and why not other merchants, making our business extensible, this is what it is all about, relations, consumers, merchants and one standard way to integrate each other. This means a very promising future for e-Commerce and merchants.

In future posts I will write about how to make the fabric work, how to interact with it and how other products like PayPal Access works.

Any Comments? Doubts? Don't hesitate and write!

 

Series

X.Commerce Introduction Part 1: The Fabric

X.Commerce Introduction Part 2: Registering a Capability 

X.Commerce Introduction Part 3: Integrate technologies with X.Commerce

.Net Developer
Senior developer interested in multitier architecture, web based, back-end and core app design and development.