Summary of Required Steps in Building a New Commerce Server Business Desk Module
The following sequence of steps is required to build a new Commerce Server Business Desk module. (For more information about terminology that may be unfamiliar, see Business Desk Terminology.)
Create a new folder under the Business Desk root folder for the site in question. Give it a unique name appropriate to the purpose of the new Business Desk module.
Create a module configuration file in the Config folder within the Business Desk root folder. Give it a unique name appropriate to the purpose of the new Business Desk module. This file must express the module configuration information in a particular XML format. For more information about this XML format, see Module Configuration Files.
Typically, the module configuration file contains an action element for each of the several action pages in the module and at least one module element. This file also describes the taskbar buttons for each action page.
Add a moduleconfig element to the master configuration file that references the newly created module configuration file. Like the module configuration files, the configuration information in the master configuration file is expressed as XML. For more information about XML format of the master configuration file, see Master Configuration File.
The moduleconfig element to be added identifies the ID of the category with which the new module is to be associated. In some cases it may be appropriate to define a new category for the new module. This is done within the master configuration file.
Create the appropriate ASP pages for the new Business Desk module. Typically, there is one ASP page for each defined action element, plus any module-specific utility files included in the action pages. They should reside in the folder created in step 1.
Each action page should include the appropriate Business Desk utilities file(s) and link to the main Business Desk style sheet (Bizdesk.css). Then they should call one of the two routines InsertTaskBar (list pages) or InsertEditTaskBar (edit pages) immediately after the opening HTML <BODY> tag.
Although step 4 is described here as a single step, the creation and debugging of the action pages represents the vast majority of the work involved in developing a Business Desk module.
Create a new HTML help file for each action page in the new module and place them in the Business Desk "docs\htm" folder. Set the helptopic attribute of each action element in the new module configuration file to refer to the appropriate new help file. For the sake of consistency, it is recommended that any new help topics be modeled on the existing help topics.
If there is no specific help topic page for a given action page, simply leave the helptopic attribute as an empty string and clicking the help button for that page will bring up general Business Desk help.
The SDK includes two different aids to this process, as follows:
- The folder <drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft Commerce Server 2002\SDK\Samples\BizDesk\Module contains several files that are designed to make the process of creating a new Business Desk module easier. This includes the file Instructions.txt, which provides further instructions on making use of those files. The additional files include ASP pages for basic list, edit, and response pages, and a template for a file in which strings can be isolated.
- The folder <drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft Commerce Server 2002\SDK\Samples\BizDesk\Installer contains the files required to build the BizDeskModuleInstaller object, which can be used to help automate the process of installing a new module into an existing instance of the Business Desk. For more information about the BizDeskModuleInstaller object, see Automating Module Installation.