Atwix MageNews — April 2021

The 31st of March is a date of annual celebration to the Atwix Team. On this date we recognize our eCommerce partnership with Magento, an Adobe company. This year we have 10x reasons to toast our collective selves. We have been a partner going back to 2011. Since then everything we aim to accomplish — commercial and community — is tightly interconnected with Magento and the rapidly expanding eCommerce global economy we support. Ten years in, we remain all-in alongside Magento and our greater ecosystem. Cheers! #HappyAnniversaryMagento

In this MageNews issue we reveal: what challenges, good and bad, eCommerce businesses can expect from Cookieless Future; shedding some light on new SEO changes for Google coming in May 2021; Magento PWA Studio news; PhpStorm plugin, and more.

This is Atwix MageNews April 2021 🍃

Content

  1. Cookieless Future
  2. Google Core Web Vitals
  3. PWA and Headless
  4. Storyblok Visual Editor Integration for Magento 2
  5. Magento Quality Patches (MQP)
  6. Magento Upgrade Compatibility Tool
  7. Community Engineering Hangout
  8. PHPStorm Plugin
  9. Tech Mix
  10. Events

Cookieless Future

Essentially, a cookie is a file, stored on your computer, allowing a browser to identify your profile when visiting a web page. For example, when you click “Remember Me” while logging, that’s a cookie remembering you.

There are three types of cookies (in context of use — these are still the same files):

  • First-party cookies — are stored under the same domain you are currently visiting. For example, if you are shopping on amazon.com, all cookies stored under this domain and used by this domain are considered the first-party cookies. They are usually used for things like remembering selected preferences, getting your login information, storing your shopping cart, or showing you product recommendations, etc.
  • Third-party cookies — are still the same cookie files but collected not by the website you are currently browsing. For example, you are seeing ads on Facebook based on the products you searched on Amazon — that’s 3rd party cookies for Facebook (and still the 1st party for Amazon).
  • Second-party cookies — are one of the solutions to the challenge we face in the cookieless future. Essentially, they are still 3rd party cookies but shared by the domain itself. Let’s clarify. 2nd party cookies would be the data about the user, provided by Amazon to “Retailer A”, that results into an ad by “Retailer A” shown on amazon.com by amazon.com as opposed to amazon.com allowing the “Retailer A” to buy ads to be shown on amazon.com from Google, for example.

Future of the Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies’ days are numbered. Pressure from regulators and consumers has led many within the tech industry to declare that the third-party cookies (and the targeted ads fueled by them) will soon come to an end. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox now block 3rd party cookies by default. One notable holdout is Google Chrome, which has 67% of the browser market share. But it declares to opt-out users from accepting third-party cookies by default in 2022.

Once third-party cookies disappear, there is a couple of ways for marketers to still deliver highly-targeted ads:

  • Contextual advertising — advertisements that are targeted to a certain population based on the visited websites, quite similar to the way magazines operate.
  • Second-party cookies — big retailers will sell ad products directly, as Amazons and Walmarts of the word have enough first-party data to run ads. We can imagine, for example, Walmart being an ad provider in a couple of years or tomorrow.
  • Solutions like Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) from Google — FLoC runs locally and analyzes your browsing behavior to group you into a cohort of like-minded people with similar interests (and doesn’t share your browsing history with Google). That cohort is specific enough to allow advertisers to do their thing and show you relevant ads, but without being so specific as to allow marketers to identify you personally. Approaches like Google’s FLoC may provide the same relevancy of ads with fewer privacy concerns.

Regardless of the solution, thanks to regulations like GDPR, in EU, and CCPA, in US, we hope to see the web, to some extent, as a more private place. Let’s hope.

More Info:

Google Core Web Vitals

In May 2020 Google introduced Core Web Vitals with an intent to make them an important part of its ranking system in May 2021. Let’s figure out what is going to change and how do we maximize our organic reach in 2021.

To help us navigate the change Yaroslav Rogoza, Atwix CTO, put together a neat blog post on Google Page Experience with regard to your eCommerce store.

Also, you may want to check this article from TechCrunch on Staying ahead of the curve on Google’s Core Web Vitals.

PWA and Headless

PWA Studio 10.0.0

A new release of the PWA Studio 10.0.0 has been launched with new features, refactors, bug fixes, and various improvements. Some of those are the Build report tool and Check or Money Order payments. The Buildpack CLI command helps the developer to get information about a storefront setup and development environment. The new business feature – Check or Money Order payments – was provided by Lars Roettig and extends PWA Magento quite significantly. To learn more check out the PWA Studio 10.0.0 Release log.

PWA Studio Checkout

If you need a detailed understanding of how Magento’s PWA Studio Checkout works, we recommend reading Lars Roettig’s new article: Demystified Magento PWA Studio Checkout. There is an excellent explanation of the checkout payment workflow diagram and where the extension point is.

Product Recommendations for PWA Studio by Adobe Sensei

Having an experience of integrating the Magento PWA Studio for our clients, we know how disappointing it is to not be able to use all Magento Commerce features with Magento PWA Studio and Venia out of the box. And it’s really great to see features like Product Recommendations by Adobe Sensei being supported in Venia.

Storyblok Visual Editor Integration for Magento 2

Choosing a good CMS editor for your Magento 2 Open Source project is a big deal. Yes, we do have Page Builder supported by Magento Commerce, but it’s not for everybody. Thus, we are happy to see projects like Storyblok Visual Editor becoming the Magento 2 integrations.

Storyblok CMS editor also integrates with 3rd party themes like Hyva, making it even more appealing to Open Source Magento community.

You can lean more here – Storyblok Visual Editor Integration for Magento 2.

Magento Quality Patches (MQP)

The MQP project is open and provides a feature that can simplify the Magento upgrade delivery process through the delivery of partial improvements. To check the tool and the newest updates, visit the official repository of the MQP.

Magento Upgrade Compatibility Tool

Another tool in the news list that may interest you is the Magento Upgrade Compatibility Tool. It is currently available for the platform’s Commerce version. The Magento upgrade is a complex process that requires a lot of patience to the compatibility between the Magento, 3rd party extensions, and business commercial code. Having a tool that can help illuminate the compatibility problems is a real boost to the e-commerce software development process. More details available in the respective official article — Introducing the Upgrade Compatibility Tool.

Community Engineering Hangout

A new round of the Community Engineering Hangouts happened on March 24th. This time the team discussed two topics:

  • Predictive Tests Selection by Soumya Unnikrishnan, where efficiency and code delivery process improvement differs from the new testing approach.
  • Mocking 3d Party Services for Testing Infrastructure by Alex Kolesnyk, that covers a crucial topic about how the 3rd party services can be mocked to minimize software development and dependencies such as availability and accessibility.

To get the link to the March and previous meetings, check the official page of the Magento Community Engineering Hangouts.

PHPStorm Plugin

The team of enthusiasts worked hard during March on the Magento PhpStorm Plugin, and as a result, more than thirty pull requests were processed and delivered to the project. In the 3.2.0 release, there are several great additions, such as codebase refactoring leads to the plugin stability, reported bug fixes. But the brilliance of this release is the new outstanding feature Magento Entity Code Generator (CRUD). This functionality covers the new entity creation process right from the plugin UI: create a database entity, related admin UI component, ACL resource, and even admin menu section. Magnificent work! The full list of changes are available at the PhpStorm Magento 2 Plugin 3.2.0 release log.

Tech Mix

PHP RFC: a PDO function mysqlGetWarningCount added

Receiving the information about errors and warning appeared in the automated process is an essential part of the software development. It helps to reach the desired level of application stability and make the maintenance phase of a project simple, together with the bug fixes’ price reduction.
MySQL is one of the most popular open-source relational database management systems used with the Magento platform. This engine provides the count of warnings from the box, but basically, to get this info, an extra query has to be executed. To simplify retrieving warnings with the PHP PDO, a new RFC was opened: Fix #51499 PDO: add mysql-specific warning count function.

PHP RFC: New in initializers

Without a doubt, the PHP 8 release brings a lot of brilliant features: attributes, match expressions, Nullsafe operator, a saner string to number comparisons and others. In the Magento world, those improvements will allow putting business solutions to the new level: more quality and stability with the same time of the development especially, that the Magento PHP 8 compatibility is in active development.
In March, the PHP 8.1 version got a new proposal added by Nikita Popov. The majority faced a situation when it is required to use a nullable argument in the class constructor. It would be easy to use a new expression right during the class initialization! Follow up on the RFC explanation and status on the official page: PHP RFC: New in initializers.

PhpStorm 2021.1 – EAP Series Episode 2

A new video about the upcoming features of the PhpStorm 2021.1 was released by the JetBrainsTV channel. In the What’s Coming in PhpStorm 2021.1 – EAP Series Episode 2 you can find an overview of the features and fixes prepared for the following popular IDE release. The future updates list covers Data Base Tool, Code with me, and the numbers of inspections. More details also can be found in the article PhpStorm 2021.1 Beta.

XDebug 3.0.3

This information was silenced under the latest avalanche of news from all around the world. We think it is imperative to highlight that the well-known and robust software development tool has a new release. To check the list of changes, read the release announcement: Xdebug 3.0.3 is out!

Reads and Listens

Articles:

Amazing long read for those who are hungry for details of software development history. Breathtaking story and magnificent explanation of the high-level things. Check it out! WHY DO INTERVIEWERS ASK LINKED LIST QUESTIONS?

Podcasts:

Events

We thank you for reading this month’s entry, and we encourage you to participate by sharing feedback and thoughts, asking questions or for meet ups to discuss, as well as sharing MageNews with others. See you soon, your MageNews Team!

Case Studies

Meet our clients

From startups backed by Mark Cuban and Sir Richard Branson, to some of the biggest eCommerce operations in the world, Atwix helps our clients deliver unparalleled eСommerce experiences. We’re proud to work with the following companies: