It is common knowledge, that you need to keep your Magento 2 up to date for both security and performance reasons. However, a lot of merchants find it hard to go through the update sequence and all the possible issues they may face. This blog post is not about how to update Magento. It is about highlighting key features, that were introduced in Magento starting from 2.3.0. So if you still think if you need to upgrade your store, let’s see what will come with that upgrade.
First of all, we are highlighting features starting from the 2.3.0 version and up to the current release – 2.4.1. It does not matter if you are looking for an update from your 2.2.5 version or 2.3.2 version – you may still find some pinpoints that might be useful for you.
Secondly, we are not covering all the release notes or fixes here. We just want to guide you through the key features from the business perspective and which Magento version they appeared in, so you will be able to form a clear picture of what you will get after upgrading.
As there’s a lot of information here, let’s start with a certain table of contents, where we’ll just name the features and Magento version it was first introduced in. Each feature has an anchor link, which will lead you to a brief description of it.
|Place Order \ Payment Method API Captcha protection||2.4.1+|
|Magento 2 Message Queue performance enhancements||2.4.1+||✅||✅|
|Site-Wide Analysis Tool||2.4.1+||❌||✅|
|New Media Gallery||2.4.0+||✅||✅|
|Decomposition of Magento Controllers||2.4.0+||✅||✅|
|PHP 7.4 support||2.4.0+||✅||✅|
|Catalog images lazy loading||2.4.0+||✅||✅|
|Redis performance enhancements||2.3.5+||✅||✅|
|Implementation of Content Security Policies||2.3.5+||✅||✅|
|Page Builder enhancements||2.3.5+||❌||✅|
|Adobe Sensei product recommendations||2.3.5+||❌||✅|
|Disable Magento reports||2.3.4+||✅||✅|
|Adobe Stock Integration||2.3.4+||✅||✅|
|PSD2 (EU) compliance of core payment methods||2.3.3+||✅||✅|
|PHP 7.3 support||2.3.3+||✅||✅|
|CSS Critical path||2.3.3+||✅||✅|
|PDP/PLP/Search page significant performance improvements||2.3.2+||✅||✅|
|PayPal Payflow Pro carding protection||2.3.1+||✅||✅|
Place Order / Payment Method API Captcha Protection
The most recent security update for Magento 2.3 and starting from Magento version 2.4.1 the built-in payment methods, an order placement REST, and GraphQL APIs have additional captcha protection. It allows protecting the store from carding attempts.
Missing such protection may cause the store to become a victim of numerous fraud card usage or even a tool for calculating and stealing card numbers.
Magento 2 Message Queue Performance Improvements
Starting from Magento 2.4.1 version, developers have more control over the message queue configuration. The fine-tuning of Magento 2 Message Queue will allow reducing the resources consumed by the background processes. Such tweaks make the store infrastructure faster and more resistant to the high load hours.
Starting from Magento Commerce Cloud 2.4.1 version the Site-Wide Analysis Tool (SWAT) was introduced. From one side, it allows Magento to provide you 24/7 store performance and security monitoring. On the other hand, it allows generating performance and security reports, which may be used for Magento fine-tuning and avoiding most of the common security and performance issues.
Magento is continuously improving B2B module for Magento Commerce. Almost each new Magento version contains slight performance and functional improvements in this module. However, starting from the 2.4.1 version there were introduced some long-awaited adjustments:
- Improved order approval;
- Company-based shipping methods;
- Bulk cart clearing and bulk cart add to requisition list;
- Captcha protection for a new company registration form;
- Admin company-related actions logging.
New Media Gallery
A new media gallery has replaced the old one starting from Magento 2.4.0 version. It contains significant performance improvements, which allow managing catalog images much faster, manage image duplicates along with relations between products and images.
Decomposition of Magento Controllers
This feature is mostly related to development. With the Magento version 2.4.0 or higher, developers no longer need to inherit core controllers. This makes custom URLs (routes) much more efficient in terms of performance. For now, this feature is not popular among Magento core controllers, making them as slow as they were before.
Magento 2.4.0 and higher supports the most recent PHP 7.4 version. Updating the PHP version is always a good idea, as it allows keeping the store fast and secure on the lowest level of infrastructure. It becomes especially important as PHP 7.2’s life cycle ends in December 2020.
Starting from Magento 2.4.0, the store administrator is able to log in as any customer and perform any store action. This feature allows guiding customers in troublesome moments or help in debugging and troubleshooting customer reported issues.
For that, customers are opted-in to confirm the administrator’s log into their account. Once the admin is logged out – his session is stopped, and he won’t be able to log back in without sending another request to the customer. This can be configured through the ACL, in which the admin user will have an access to act on behalf of a customer.
Catalog Images Lazy Loading
Images lazy loading allows improving performance, especially “First meaningful paint”, as the browsed page becomes interactive before all the assets are loaded. Catalog images lazy loading is implemented for Product list pages (Category), Customer cart, and Wishlist starting from Magento 2.4.0 version. It also allows easy implementation of catalog images lazy loading for custom pages with numerous products.
Redis Performance Enhancements
Redis integration, as customer sessions and low-level cache storage, is getting continuously improved with the Magento evolution. It has a significant performance boost, starting from Magento 2.3.5.
Implementation of Content Security Policies
Magento 2.3.5 and higher contain a powerful toolset of Content Security Policies. It helps detect and mitigate Cross-Site Scripting and related malicious code injections.
Page Builder Enhancements
Starting from Magento Commerce version 2.3.5, Page Builder has multiple significant enhancements, which include:
- Usage of video for the background of slides, banners, and rows;
- Re-usable templates;
- Full-height rows, banners, and slides.
Adobe Sensei Product Recommendations
Magento Commerce versions 2.3.5 and higher are supplied with a new Magento Product Recommendations mechanism. It is based on Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence and allows building more personalized and accurate product recommendations, which should increase conversion rates.
Disable Magento Reports
Starting from Magento 2.3.4 version, store admins are able to disable information gathering by the Magento Reports module. This module is calculating product views, add to cart, and other actions that significantly impact store performance. If store owners or admins are not using that Magento functionality, it may be easily disabled, which can lead to a major boost in store performance.
Adobe Stock Integration
The Adobe Stock Integration was introduced in Magento version 2.3.4. It allows easy upload, licensing, and managing media content. Store admins will get access to numerous royalty-free images which may be used for enriching store visual content.
PSD2 (EU) Compliance of Core Payment Methods
European Union-oriented merchants should respect the PSD2 standards for payment operations. The adjustments for these standards became effective as of September 12th, 2019. Magento has implemented the necessary adjustments to built-in payment methods in Magento version 2.3.3. So if you are selling for the EU market and using Braintree, Auth.net, Cybersource, eWay, or Amazon Pay, you need to get updated to at least 2.3.3 version.
Magento 2.3.3 and higher supports PHP 7.3 version. Updating the PHP version is always a good idea, as it allows keeping the store fast and secure on the lowest level of infrastructure. It is especially important as PHP 7.2 is reaching the end of life in December 2020.
CSS Critical Path
Magento 2.3.3 has introduced the CSS Critical path feature. It allows collecting the most necessary Cascade Style Sheets (CSS) to a single file, which will be kept in the web page header, while all the other page styles will be loaded asynchronously. In that way we won’t need to load the entire store styles for a single page at once, they will become effective slightly later. So customers, especially on a slow mobile network, will be able to interact with the page faster. A significant increase in the first meaningful paint of the page is also improving page ranking by web search crawlers.
Yotpo integration is a part of the Magento meta-package starting from version 2.3.3. Moving product reviews to Yotpo will both improve customer experience and adds a slight boost to performance, as we don’t need to persist and process product reviews on the Magento side any longer.
PDP/PLP/Search Page Significant Performance Improvements
Product details pages, Product listing pages (Category), and Catalog Search pages have a significantly improved response time since Magento version 2.3.2.
Starting from Magento 2.3.2 these async operations were moved to the background, so there will be no delays while working with the admin panel. Also, it will allow reducing CPU and RAM load for the infrastructure. These operations are:
- Coupon codes generation;
- Mass product edit;
- Data export: products and customers.
PayPal Payflow Pro Carding Protection
Google ReCaptcha is added to the PayPal Payflow Pro payment method. This eliminates the ability of carding attacks for this payment method. The update is available for Magento version 2.3.1 and higher.
Magento 2.3.0 has introduced a PWA (progressive web application) Studio. It is now possible to develop PWA-based themes, moving store performance and user experience to the next level.
Merchants are able to replace WYSIWYG with a powerful Page Builder feature if they have Magento Commerce 2.3.0 or higher. Page Builder allows building pages visual experience in a new, more intuitive way, by using a rich palette of the built-in UI-elements.
Multi-source inventory is one of the key features of the Magento 2.3.0 release. It is a must-have for big merchants with multiple warehouses.
It is possible to add two-factor authentication (2FA) for the Magento admin access since Magento 2.3.0. 2FA protection makes impossible any brute-forcing of the admin access. Even a stolen password won’t allow the intruder to reach the admin panel if he won’t get the 2FA device for the same account as well. 2FA becomes mandatory since 2.4.0.
We hope that this material will help you to get familiar with the new Magento features without diving deep into Magento release notes. Keep your Magento updated and healthy. Thanks for reading!