Atwix MageNews – August 2020

MageNews August

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying, “change is the only constant in life.” Said some 2,500 years ago, he seemed to inherently know what life in 2020 would be for all of us in – a series of sprints to keep data secure and websites performing and compliant, to keep pace with the rapidly adapting eCommerce landscape, to innovate new and different end user experiences. Magento has been doing a whole lot of sprinting lately. In this month’s MageNews, we look ahead at a holiday season unlike any other, we dive into Magento’s newest release, and as always we surface and share Magento community activities. So, take a moment to refresh and replenish by catching up on our August MageNews.

Content

  1. [Merchant] Black Friday is Dead
  2. [Merchant] Magento 2.4: Feature Highlights
  3. [Merchant] Magento Roadmap Updates
  4. [Merchant] Google Pay Integration
  5. [Community] MM20UK
  6. [Community] GraphQL and Community
  7. [Community] Magento U Stats
  8. [Technical] Magento 2.4: Tech Highlights
  9. [Technical] PWA Studio 7
  10. [Technical] Magento Price Books
  11. [Technical] Product Options and Variations
  12. Want More?

Merchant

Black Friday is Dead

Long lines, crowded stores, and shoppers hustling for deals. This is Black Friday as we know it. The global pandemic is throwing this concept for a loop. Social distancing, reduced store times, and ramped up cleaning protocols are our new normals and they will affect Black Friday’s shopping experience.

eCommerce remains the safest and most convenient way to buy. This is echoed in decisions from big businesses such as Walmart who decided to close their stores on Thanksgiving. Brick and mortar stores will always have a purpose. They can be converted into fulfillment centers for in-store pickup and curbside pick-up options. Crowdsource transportation with delivery platforms like Uber can be another option to deliver orders.

Supply chain and fulfilment will be extremely important. Salesforce’s Shopping Index estimates that 30% of global retail sales will be through eCommerce channels in the upcoming holiday season. It is important to be ready for possible surges in order volume and website traffic. Big stores like Amazon have been preparing for this period since March.

Not all of the stores will be able to handle fulfillment challenges successfully. We still expect to see out-of-stock products and delivery delays. Shoppers who want to guarantee they get all their desired gifts will be purchasing in advance. Prime day marks the start of early holiday shopping, which has been postponed till October this year. 

Now is the best time to prepare your store for holiday traffic surge. Consider using our Performance Check Tool or scheduling an in-depth Audit.

More Info:
[Salesforce] How COVID-19 Will Shape the 2020 Holiday Season: 5 Predictions on the Future of Retail
[DigitalCommerce360] The Shopper Speaks: So what about the holidays?
[BusinessInsider] Doomsday predictions about the end of Black Friday are now reality, as the pandemic threatens the most important shopping day of the year
[Think with Google] How the pandemic may affect holiday shopping

Magento 2.4: Feature Highlights

Magento 2.4.0 was released at the end of July along with the 2.3.5-p2 security-patch version. This is a minor release that begins the 2.4.x version line. Magento 2.3.x will be still supported for the next 18 months according to the latest changes to the release policy.

Here’s a list of the top functional improvements we’ve seen in Magento 2.4.0.

Security:
– 2FA is now enabled by default and is forced to be used by Admin users.

Merchant Experience:
– Seller-assisted shopping – login as a customer in order to guide customers through buying, quote creating processes or help with account configurations.
– Ability to set expiration period for Magento Admin user accounts.
Media Gallery has been rebuilt in scope of Adobe Stock integration to improve UX and performance of the content management teams.

PageBuilder:
– Yotpo widget can now be inserted in PageBuilder content.

B2B Edition:
Order Approval Workflows and Thresholds were improved. There’s now an ability to define approval rules based on order value, number of SKUs, or shipping costs. This is a significant improvement to B2B self-service suite.
– Ability to search in B2B customer order history.
– Purchase Order Action Logs have been added.

Inventory Management:
In-store Pickup – buy online, pick-up in store possibility is finally a part of Magento. During COVID situation, the demand for this type of shipping options has gotten higher and higher.
– Support for bundle products has been enabled.

Removed Functionality:
– Braintree, Signifyd modules were removed from the Magento core but they still can be installed from Magento Marketplace.
– Magento Shipping was winded down previously and is now finally removed in 2.4.0.
– Web Setup Wizard has been removed after a poll which showed this feature was rarely used.

More Info:
[Magento] Accelerate Your Business in the Current Commerce Landscape with Magento 2.4
[Atwix] Magento Commerce and Open Source 2.4. Release overview
[Magento DevDocs] Approval Rules – Order Approval Workflows
[Magento DevDocs] My Purchase Orders – Order Approval Workflows
[Magento] Implementing Two-Factor Authentication Throughout Magento
[Magento DevDocs] In-store Delivery
[Magento DevDocs] Magento Release Schedule

Magento Roadmap Updates

Magento announced some insights from the product roadmap during MM20UK.

AI Capabilities:
– Product Recommendations are going to be expanded by visual recommendations based on products look and feel.
– AI-powered site search may be the next feature that the Adobe Sensei team brings to Magento.

B2B Functionality:
– Quote creation from Magento Admin
– Shared Catalog and Company Import/Export
– Address management at a company level
– Order Shipping Workflows

Cost Ownership Improvements:
– Site-wide analysis tool – a tool that helps to perform SWAT-like analysis of Magento instances
– Safe Upgrade Tool – a tool that speeds up conflicts resolving during Magento upgrades

Google Pay Integration

Google announced an official Google Pay integration with Magento 2. GPay allows customers to pay quickly using the payment methods they’ve securely saved to their Google Accounts. This simplifies the checkout process and improves the conversion rate.

More Info:
[Magento Marketplace] Google Pay integration
[Google Developers] Google Pay plugin for Magento 2

Community

MM20UK

Presentations from Meet Magento UK Online have been published. There are 28 recordings from 4 tracks and over £83,000 was raised for charity.

Here are some of the highlighted talks:
[Platform] Magento Product Roadmap Update – by John Stockton
[Platform] Adobe Sensei for Commerce – by Nicole Cornelson
[Technical] Building a maintainable future with Magento 2 – by Chris Brabender
[Platform] Headless Commerce with PWA and Magento 2.4 – by Eric Erway

Find the rest of the talks at the link below.

GraphQL and Community

The GraphQL project is one of the biggest projects on the Magento Roadmap so far. Its role is to make it easier to connect modern frontends like PWA Studio with Magento. It’s interesting that a huge part of the project has been implemented by the Magento community. This is a great example of how vital community power is when improving the platform.

More Info:
[Atwix] The open source for Open-source — a look into GraphQL

Magento U Stats

MageCerts is a non-official page that features Magento certification statistics. Charts are based on the publicly available information about community certifications.

Overall, MageCerts contains almost 5,450 passed certifications for the period from Q3 ’17 to Q3 ’20 (~3 years). Here is a couple of insights based on that data:
– M2 Associate Developer is the most passed certification (~27% of all certifications).
– M2 Professional Developer is in the top 3 most passed certifications (~22% of all certifications).
– M2 Professional Developer Plus takes almost 3% of all certifications. M2 Full Stack Developer takes even less – 2%.
– M2 Order Management Developer is the least passed certification. It was added almost a year ago. Since that time, only 11 people have passed it successfully (this includes some certification authors).

More insights are available at the website below.

More Info:
MageCerts

Technical

Magento 2.4: Tech Highlights

Magento 2.4.0, the latest minor version of Magento, contains major and backward-incompatible changes. Most of them are related to infrastructural requirements and the removal of MySQL-based search.

Infrastructure:
– Support of PHP 7.4 (PHP 7.1 and 7.2 versions has been removed)
– MySQL 8.0 and MariaDB 10.4 support (5.6 version support has been removed)
Elasticsearch 7.6.x support ( support for 2.x, 5.x, and 6.x versions has been deprecated)

Platform Updates:
– MySQL-search engine has been removed. Starting from 2.4.0, Elasticsearch became a necessary requirement to install Magento.
– Elasticsearch supports partial word search for product names and SKUs when using quick search.
– Zend Framework references have been migrated to the Laminas project.
– PayPal Express Checkout has been migrated to the latest PayPal JavaScript SDK.
– Support for PHPUnit 9.x was added. 

GraphQL:
– Reorder mutation is now available.
– Category query that supports filtering and pagination is now available.
– Query for selecting in-store pickup locations has been added.
– Forgot password also should be available.

Inventory Management:
– New Bulk interfaces to check whether products that are salable have been added.
Asynchronous stock re-indexing has been added.

Performance:
Controller Decomposition – it allows to create new actions without inheritance from heavy abstract classes.
Image lazy loading has been added to leverage browser-native capabilities.

Security:
– Support of a new security.txt file. Security.txt is a security standard that tells security researchers how they can report their findings.
– A new $escaper local variable has been added to phtml templates. It should be used instead of the deprecated $block->escape{method} methods.
– Template filter strict mode has been enabled by default. It only allows CMS and email variables to have scalar or array types. This should reduce possible RCE vectors of attacks.

More Info:
[Magento DevDocs] Magento Open Source 2.4.0 Release Notes
[Magento DevDocs] Magento Commerce 2.4.0 Release Notes
[Magento DevDocs] Magento 2.4 technology stack requirements
[Magento DevDocs] Magento 2.4 backward incompatible changes
[Magento DevDocs] Backward incompatible changes reference
Atwix MageNews April 2020 – Controller’s Decomposition
[Magento DevBlog] Magento Inventory Performance Optimization in 2.4
[Magento DevDocs] GraphQL – Release Notes
[Github] Forgot password feature

PWA Studio 7

We have a new 7.0.0 version of PWA Studio. Here’s what it brings:
– Improvements to Extensibility Framework and new points to plug in the Buildpack, Peregrine, and Venia UI library components.
– Venia got a new look with improved UX. A brand new homepage is built of PageBuilder blocks now.
– The first version of the standalone checkout page is available and connected to the standalone cart page.
Standard dialog component has been added to unify look-and-feel of modal windows.

More Info:
[Github] PWA Studio – 7.0.0 Release Notes
[YouTube] PWA Studio Community Sync – 7.0.0 Release Notes
[PWA Docs] PWA Studio Fundamentals

Magento Price Books

Magento published details on price books architecture for a new storefront which we reviewed previously. The current price calculation logic has some performance implications with huge catalogs and a big number of the customer groups or websites. Namely, the current logic depends on multiple variables such as current customer group, current website, qty of items in the shopping cart and current date/time. It tries to calculate all possible permutations of prices. However, not all of the customer groups or websites have different prices. This is where redundant operations come from.

Read more on how new architecture is going to tackle the problem.

More Info:
[Github] Magento price books – Proposal

Product Options and Variations

New storefront track seems to produce more and more architectural proposals. This time Magento Architect team reviews how product customizations work in Magento:
– Product options are coupled with their prices.
– Limitations of the current architecture don’t allow to apply promotions and complex B2B pricing to customizable options, bundle and downloadable product types.
– Magento creates redundant product variations per each option which includes values combination.

The main idea of the new vision is to separate a product variation matrix from a product entity. The matrix will be used for filtering possible option combinations. The variant itself may link options intersection with a product, an inventory record or a price. This will bring additional flexibility and segregate product options from prices.

More Info:
[Github] Product Options and Variants – Proposal

Want more?

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See you in a month!

Other Digests:
Atwix MageNews – July 2020
Atwix MageNews – June 2020

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