Business partners wishing to get started with development for WebSphere Commerce can request access to hosted development environment on the IBM SoftLayer cloud:
After completing the form linked referenced in the blog above, you must await confirmation that access has been granted. This is not an automatic approval so please be patient, although it is usually processed within 48 hours.
If you're not familiar with IBM SoftLayer, this blog provides detailed instructions of what to do after getting access.
You will have been granted access to a "virtual image template". This is like a snapshot of a virtual machine which contains the WebSphere Commerce Developer edition. The goal is to deploy a virtual device (aka a VM) based on this template.
Update July 2017: Since I wrote this blog, SoftLayer has become Bluemix - a cloud platform from IBM that provides both infrastructure as a service and platform as a service capabilities. From the bluemix.net user interface, you can deploy the infrastructure as described below. The screens are very similar to the old SoftLayer screenshots below, with the exception of the main menu items which are now located via the Bluemix "hamburger" icon in the left hand corner:
Use your SoftLayer credentials to log into the Customer Portal and select Devices->Manage->Images
Locate the WebSphere Commerce Image Template:
Note the Image Template contains a recommended minimum specification of 2-core, 6GB RAM. This is not enforced when you order the virtual server, but it's important to adhere to this, otherwise your development experience could be very slow! From the Actions menu, choose either a monthly or hourly billed virtual server. The hourly option gives you the opportunity to cancel the virtual server mid-billing cycle, but the monthly option would be slightly cheaper over an entire month.
You will be presented with an order form like this:
The important selections to make are:
- Data center location - choose one close to you
- Computing instance - select at least "2 x 2 Core"
- RAM - select at least 6GB
- System Add-Ons - There are three fields that must be competed here. Take the only option presented for Firewall and Anti-Virus. For monitoring, I always take the Basic option as we are deploying a simple development environment.
Everything else can be left to the defaults. Click the "Add to order" button to continue. A second order page will display, and here you must enter:
- Hostname & Domain - these two fields configure the Windows hostname, so anything can be selected. The hostname must be less than 15 characters (Windows restriction) and I usually set the domain to softlayer.com. For example WCS8DEV.softlayer.com
Note: You are responsible for the security of the OS once it is provisioned. By default, it will have a public IP address. If that concerns you, you can select to have only a private IP address, in which case you'll need to use a SoftLayer VPN client to make a secure connection.
Once complete, the order can be finalised. This will result in a new device listed under the Devices->device list menu:
Initially, there will be a clock icon next to the device name. This indicates the virtual device is still being created from the WC image template and it can take 45-60 minutes to complete. Once complete, you can click the device name to determine the public IP and Administrator password for the virtual device. Using this, you can simply use remote desktop to connect to the Windows OS and start using WC Developer in the cloud. If you prefer to connect on the private IP (i.e. you did not select a public IP when provisioning the device), you'll first need to connect the SoftLayer VPN: http://www.softlayer.com/VPN-Access
Once connected, wait a moment and a Windows application dialog will appear, presenting the licensing terms and conditions from IBM. You must accept the license before attempting to start any applications.
There are shortcuts on the desktop to start the WC server, or WC Toolkit. I would recommend starting the WC Toolkit which essentially launches the Rational Application Developer tool (based on Eclipse) with a workspace of projects which comprise the WebSphere Commerce application code and tools (e.g. starter store, management tools, REST API etc). To launch the WC Toolkit, use this shortcut:
Once the application has launched, you can start the server from the Servers tab and view startup progress on the Console tab. The server is ready when you see the message "Server server1 open for e-business" in the console logs.
The "Quick Links" IE shortcut contains links to the Aurora starter store (Aurora eSite for B2C) and other WC tools like Management Center:
There is also a "Quick Start Guide" shortcut on the desktop which details various usernames, passwords, database names etc.
Finally, if your development activities require you to start afresh, you either delete the device in SoftLayer and repeat the step above, or from the Actions menu in the Device Detail page, you can choose to "Boot from Image" to reinstall. Remember to backup any code before you do this, as the entire OS will be reinstalled.
Adam de Leeuw, IBM Hursley Innovation Centre