Your instance might have multiple sites. You can have different sites to offer different brands in different countries.
When you first log into Business Manager for a given instance, by default no storefront (site) has been deployed. You must either:
Commerce Cloud includes RefArch and SiteGenesis sample reference sites, which you can use as the basis of your custom Commerce Cloud Digital sites. They are both full-featured demonstration eCommerce sites, which you can use to explore the Digital platform and its capabilities.
They are a resource for both developers and merchants:
It is recommended that you import the Reference Storefront Architecture site (RefArch) into an empty sandbox before importing your custom sites. This prevents you from overwriting existing attributes and data for the custom site.
After importing RefArch, you can validate its behavior by comparing it to the site running on the demo instance at https://production-sitegenesis-dw.demandware.net/s/RefArch/home.
Although you won't be really doing this in practice, let's see how to create an empty site.
After creating an empty site, let's check some final configurations.
When you imported your RefArch site it was created along with it a code version. But what is a code version? It is basically a directory with all your cartridges.
B2C Commerce lets you have multiple custom code versions uploaded to the system at the same time. You can name each of your versions as you prefer, for example, v12 or summer_release.
Select Administration > Site Development > Code Deployment and check the existing code version. You will notice one that starts with SFRA_AP. That is the one created for your RefArch Site.
Remember how to check your code_version because you will need it later to sync your local code with the sandbox.
When developing your storefront, you select one active code version with which to work. All templates, pipelines, scripts, and images are taken from this active version and also that's where your code is uploaded to (check your dw.json file)
So why is it useful to know about code versions?
In your sandbox to see your code changes immediately on the site, you should disable site caching. This prevents the page cache from taking effect so that pages reflect the most recent code changes. In production instances, the cache is on by default.
In order for you to see the latest changes in your storefront products, you should always have the indexes rebuilt.
They are rebuilt automatically from time to time but let's do it manually this time so we don't have to wait.
In order for us to be able to see our controller calls (backend functions) rather than just categories, we have to enable something called Storefront URLs. In order to do that go to:
Site > RefArch > Site Preferences > Storefront URLs, uncheck Enable Storefront URLs.