As a developer, if someone says, “It’s so easy to get up and running on our platform—it will only take you 15 minutes,"  I usually take their time estimate with a grain of salt.

Much to my surprise, Episerver commerce is easy to get up and running with a website in no time at all (and yes, 15 minutes is about the time it takes!).  First, the documentation that Epi puts together is fantastic.  Easy to follow instructions help move this process along.  Second, using Nuget within Visual Studio gets your database setup, assembly references hooked up, and your solution compiled quite easily – and all of that without hundreds of compilation errors.  Once compiled, you just fire up your site by opening your browser and you have a site that’s ready to configure.  Sure, you will have to create your pages to get some real functionality in there but there are myriads of excellent working demos and add-ons that make this process even easier.

In the next few paragraphs I will walk you through getting a project up and running.  I think you’ll agree that it’s really straightforward and sets you up for success right off the bat.  Let’s get to it!

SQL Server

I like to use SQL Server in my projects, so the first thing I like to do is fire up SQL Server Management Studio and create a dedicated Epi account, along with 2 databases – one for the CMS and one for Commerce.  Here are the details.

Username: epi
Password: epi
CMS Database: MyFirstEpiSite
Commerce Database: EcfMyFirstEpiSite

Once the account and databases have been created, set the epi account as db_owner for both databases.

Visual Studio Extension

Since I’m using the full version of Visual Studio 2015, the first thing to do is download the Visual Studio extension for Episerver.  This contains project templates that help getting an Episerver environment up and running.  Head over to https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=EPiServer.EpiserverCMSVisualStudioExtension in order to get the download.  Once downloaded, double-click the file in order to kick off the VSIX Installer.  Not much to do here.  Select the version(s) of Visual Studio you want to target, then click Install.


Create Project

Fire up Visual Studio and create a new project by clicking “File -> New Project”.  In the dialog that opens up, select the Episerver template and click “Episerver Web Site”.


I then selected an Empty template.  Click Ok and wait a few seconds for the project to be created.


You will notice quite a few reference assemblies have been added.


Since I like using IIS, I’m going to change the default setting before going any further.  Right-click the project and click Properties, then click the “Web” tab.  Change the Server to Local IIS and click Create Virtual Directory.


When saving the project, you will get a warning asking if you want to use SQL Server Express.  Click No in this prompt as we will be setting things up in SQL Server.


Open up web.config and scroll all the way down to the <connectionStrings> section.  Change the connection string to point to your SQL Server instance.  In my case, I have SQL Server installed locally.


Commerce Components

Now that we have our CMS project setup (it’s true – CMS is all setup), time to get commerce in there!

Episerver Nuget Feed

Before proceeding, let’s setup Epi’s Nuget feed.  Right-click the Project References, then click Manage Nuget Packages.  Click the gear icon next to the list of package sources.


Add a new package with the following details

Name: EpiServer
Source: http://nuget.episerver.com/feed/packages.svc


Click OK when done.

Select the EpiServer package source, click the Browse tab and search for Episerver.Commerce and install it.


Click OK in each prompt presented to you as packages are getting installed.

Once done, install Episerver.Commerce.UI.ManagerIntegration using the same steps.

Connection Strings Revisited

Since we changed to point to SQL Server and we installed a Nuget packages, the connection strings need to get reset.


Back-End Site

When setting up a commerce project, we will also need a back-end site so let’s create one more project – an ASP.NET Empty Web Application.  We’ll call it MyFirstEpiSiteBackend.



Once done, right click References for the new package, then click Manage Nuget References.  Select the EpiServer package source, click the Browse tab and search for Episerver.CommerceManager and install it.


Click OK in each prompt presented to you as packages are getting installed.

Connection Strings Revisited

As with the front-end project, we need to change the connection strings of the back-end project, as follows.


IIS Revisited

As with the front-end project, I’m going to change the default setting for IIS.  Right-click the project and click Properties, then click the “Web” tab.  Change the Server to Local IIS and click Create Virtual Directory.


Initialize and Update Database

Now that we’ve set things up the way we want them, open up the Package Manager Console, and execute these 2 commands:


Run the Front-End Site

We’re almost done.  Open up the browser and navigate to your front-end site (http://localhost/MyFirstEpiSite/).  You will be presented with a screen where you can migrate your commerce site. Just click Execute all pending steps.


We’re done!  You can now browse to both the backend and front-end sites.  Log in with admin as the username and store as the password.

Back-End Site: http://localhost/MyFirstEpiSiteBackend


Front-EndSite: http://localhost/MyFirstEpiSite/EpiServer (make sure you add EpiServer to the end of the URL)


This went so fast I didn’t even have time to get a coffee – speaking of which…

If you have any questions about Episerver feel free to reach out to our team anytime.

Chris Vafiadis is a Solution Architect at SMITH.

Tags: Commerce, Episerver, ecommerce, Technology