The technical basics of the product configurator

For some time now, we have been providing our customers with the ESYON product configurator, which enables the creation of products with many variants. In this article, we would like to take a look at the technical basis on which the product configurator was created. The ASP.NET software library SignalR and solvers for product configuration models form two essential cornerstones, which we will explain to you in this article.

Create individual articles with the product configurator

Items such as laptops or cars are enormously complex, and even within a series there can still be major differences in features. If you sell these or similar items, you can offer your customers an individual shopping experience by allowing them to configure your products themselves.

For this purpose, there is the Product Configurator from ESYON. The tool lets you create and manage your own configuration models centrally in Mircosoft Dynamics 365 Finance. If desired, you can create hierarchy levels for multi-level variant creation. A plausibility check guarantees that the hierarchy tree you specify does not contain any logical errors.

You can easily test the product configurator with our live demo:

Live Demo ansehen

Microsoft functionality directly in your webshop: With SignalR and Solver

With the product configurator, we have made features from Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance usable in Microsoft Azure. This way, the tool can be seamlessly integrated into your online store. The development focused on the Azure SignalR service and Solver, a strategy for product configuration models.

What is SignalR?

SignalR includes numerous software and client libraries that enable real-time communication between server and client. This is bidirectional, meaning that both client and server hold both sides of the communication: They are both senders and receivers of various requests. With the help of SignalR it is also possible for different clients to contact each other or for a server to contact several clients at the same time. SignalR is based on ASP.NET, a Microsoft framework for developing web applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Both SignalR and ASP.NET are open-source.

Schema über die Funktionsweise des SignalR Services

The Azure SignalR service ensures communication between your online store and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, through which the product configurator is centrally controlled, and enables the configuration models of the ERP to be used externally.

What is Solver?

In a product configuration, most likely not all variables will match. Let’s stay with the car as a product example: If your customer chooses a compact car as the base model, it may not be available as a station wagon with a hatchback, because this design is usually reserved for larger vehicle classes. If so, you would need to ensure that this invalid combination is not offered. Anything else would mean a negative user experience.

For cases like this, there are solvers, a standard feature from Microsoft Dynamics 365 that we take advantage of in the Product Configurator. Solvers allow you to add constraints to your configuration models so that only matching variables can be combined.

Solver subjects the products to a plausibility check in real time. So you don’t have to accept any loss of loading time. Thanks to SignalR, the check can take place directly in your store.

ESYON: Your full-service partner for cloud hosting, ERP, and e-commerce.

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Microsoft Azure and OXID eShop, ESYON brings together the three worlds of ERP, cloud and e-commerce. In more than ten years of company history, we have been able to support several medium-sized companies with their online presence. We would be happy to accompany your project as well! Just contact us, in a non-binding initial appointment we will clarify the possibilities and requirements for your e-commerce platform.

Contact ESYON now