Area: Optimizely Commerce
Applies to versions: 10 and higher
Other versions:

Catalog content

Recommended reading 

This topic describes how to work with catalog content based on the IContent interface in Optimizely. 

Accessing catalog content as IContent

Optimizely Commerce provides a content provider that can serve any catalog content as IContent. That means that you can use an IContentRepository to work with the content as you do in Optimizely CMS.

For information about displaying Commerce content, see Commerce rendering templates.

Content model

To get the full feature set, you need to connect a content type to the meta-class. Do that by creating a model class that inherits from the appropriate type in the EPiServer.Commerce.Catalog.ContentTypes namespace and decorating it with the CatalogContentTypeAttribute attribute.

The following types are available when you create Commerce models.

Type name Description
VariationContent A type for variant/SKU models.
ProductContent A type for product models.
BundleContent A type for bundle models.
PackageContent A type for package models.
NodeContent A type for category/node models.

You should not inherit from the following types because they exist only to show various states in the system:

Type name Description
CatalogContent A type for catalog models.
EntryContentBase A base type for VariationContent, ProductContent, BundleContent, PackageContent and DynamicPackageContent.
NodeContentBase A base type for NodeContent and CatalogContent.
RootContent The virtual root in Optimizely's hierarchical representation of Commerce content.

Note: See Removal of MetaDataPlus tables in Breaking Changes in Commerce 9.

During the synchronization process, specific CLR types generate meta-fields of a specific MetaDataPlus type. You can modify the default mapping by using the BackingTypeAttribute. The following table shows mappings for all supported types.

Commerce-specific attributes

Any attribute you can use in CMS can also be used in Commerce content type models. You can decorate your model with the following Commerce-specific attributes:

  • CatalogContentTypeAttribute

    To connect the content type to an existing meta-class, use the CatalogContentTypeAttribute. Connect them by defining the name of the meta-class that should be connected to the content type.

  • EncryptedAttribute. Use to declare a property to enable Use Encryption. This encrypts the value when stored in MetaDataPlus.
  • UseInComparisonAttribute. Use attribute to declare a property to be used for comparison.
  • IncludeInDefaultSearchAttribute. Use to declare a property to include the value in default search results. This will be used by the search provider system.
  • IncludeValuesInSearchResultsAttribute. Use to declare a property to be included in search results. This will be used by the search provider system.
  • SortableInSearchResultsAttribute. Use to declare a property to be flagged as index sortable. This will be used by the search provider system.
  • TokenizeAttribute. Use to declare a property to be tokenized (word breaking).
  • DecimalSettingsAttribute. Use to declare a property to have precision and scale.

Commerce-specific types

The types you can represent in MetaDataPlus are not directly mapped to a CLR type. Properties that are backed by meta-fields of these MetaDataPlus types need to be specified beyond return type. The following table lists such MetaDataPlus types and additional requirements.

Note: The use of Commerce-specific types is not supported within blocks.

MetaDataPlus Type CLR Type Additional Requirements
Dictionary string Decorated with [BackingType(typeof(PropertyDictionarySingle))]
Dictionary, multiline ItemCollection<string> Decorated with [BackingType(typeof(PropertyDictionaryMultiple))]
StringDictionary type is new in Commerce 13.1
StringDictionary IDictionary<string,string> Decorated with [BackingType(typeof(PropertyStringDictionary))]

Note: To define a property that maps to a StringDictionary metafield, use this example:
public virtual IDictionary<string, string> StringDict { get; set; }

To change the values of that StringDictionary metafield, update the property as a normal dictionary. Example:
content.StringDict = new Dictionary<string, string>() {{ "abc", "xyz" }, {"hello", "world"}};

See also New feature in Commerce 13.1: StringDictionary support for catalog content

Limitations in synchronization

The synchronization of catalog models works the same way as with content types in CMS, except the data is backed in MetaDataPlus. However, there are some limitations due to technical differences. The following are not done automatically. They require manual steps:

  • Change a property type. Causes an exception.
  • Rename a model class. Unless specified by the CatalogContentTypeAttribute, a new meta-class is added, but the old one is left in the system.
  • Rename a property. Adds a new meta field, but the old one is left in the system.
  • Remove a property.

Different properties with the same name must have identical definitions. For example, you cannot have a property called Description on two different classes and make it culture-specific on one, but not the other. This is because, in MetaDataPlus, meta fields are shared across meta classes. Hence, they can only have one definition. See Synchronization.

List properties

Beginning with CMS 11, Commerce has a PropertyValueList that lets editors input multiple primitive values. Available types are:

  • Int
  • String
  • Double
  • DateTime

You can add a list as a new property in your model.

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Last updated: Sep 28, 2021

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