In March 2021 turns a year as we, in Europe and in the US faced a threat of Covid-19 and the first lockdown started. The world has changed since then — new-normal, normal, and the reality of our day-to-day. Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and FaceTime usage skyrocket. It’s no longer weird to have your kitchen in the background of your business call or to pet a dog during a board meeting. We move from a mid-size screen at work, to a small one during lunch and a big one before we go to bed. Services like Apple Fitness+ have been launched in 2020 to fulfill the demand for home-based everything. Our events become virtual… and on, and on, and on. The world has changed one year ago, and probably, to some extent, forever. Have we adapted to the new reality already? Not all. Will we have to? We think — yes. Will we need new tools to do that? Yes. Let’s review the e-reality we are living in and how it’s changing our lives, hopefully, for the better.
This is Atwix MageNews March 2021.
- The web is our second home [or first?]
- B2B play essentials
- On the lookout for the new frontend
- Other eCommerce and Open Source news
- Community activity monthly recap
- Tech Mix
The web is our second home [or first?]
Zoom was long a go-to option for video meetings. We at Atwix also use Zoom internally and with our clients. But the landscape seems to be broadening. Microsoft Teams is getting a PWA (Progressive Web App) version, increasing the service accessibility for more users with older/less-performing devices.
Websites like Twitter and Starbucks were among the first who integrated their PWA solutions for mass consumers. Also, PWAs are becoming really popular in eCommerce, powering more and more D2C and B2C scenarios. With this adoption of technology by Microsoft, we might see even more consumer awareness around PWAs and their advantages: speed, features, and SEO.
But not only that, Microsoft is taking online meetings a step further (maybe even 2 or 3) with its new service for AR/VR meeting — Microsoft Mesh.
IKEA was, for a long time, an example of AR applications in eCommerce with its mobile app. What do you think will be the next round of AR/VR solutions for eCommerce?
- [techradar.com] Microsoft Teams is getting a new slimline makeover
- [techcrunch.com] Microsoft debuts its AR/VR meetings platform Mesh.
B2B play essentials
The worlds of B2B and B2C are merging together. Customers expect B2C-like experience on B2B websites. With that long present trend, we think that Magento is well-positioned to provide this customer-centric B2B experience. The reason for this is that the platform can power hybrid commerce scenarios — that is a seamless experience between B2B and B2C. Atwix covers this in one of the recent blog posts about Magento solutions for B2B.
- [ksusentinel.com] Massive growth in B2B eCommerce Platform Market 2021
- [Atwix] Magento Commerce as a key to best-in-class B2B portal.
On the lookout for the new frontend
Magento community of merchants and developers is actively looking for a better frontend experience for both developers and customers — both in modern development experience and fast storefront. In the search for such a solution Adobe, back in January 2019, released the first version of the new Magento frontend — Magento PWA Studio — a set of tools to power a PWA website, built on top of Magento. Alongside this, Venia — a reference theme — was introduced. But Magento PWA studio is not the only alternative to Magento 2 storefront. There are 3rd party PWA solutions like ScandiPWA, VueStorefront, and others. But PWA comes with its shortcomings — the cost of implementation (complexity) and lack of native functionality (like Page Builder, Content Staging, Dynamic Blocks, and others). So the search for the new storefront is not over.
In 2020 Hyva theme was introduced to the world and in 2021 it saw a GA (general availability) release:
On top of that, there are numerous Luma-based themes available on the 3rd party marketplaces. With all of these options, some merchants and developers may get confused about what the frontend of Magento 2 store should be like in 2021. And the answer is — it depends — on the business case, budget, and other factors. But one thing is certain — constant Magento training is all we need, as one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.
Also, Jisse Reitsma wrote an eminent article about the different store views currently available for Magento platform. The overview has a strong overview of the variety of solutions and today’s situation with the frontend development for e-commerce based on the Magento platform. Not only the main text is informative but also comments complement it perfectly well.
Other eCommerce and Open Source news
- [PayPal] Introducing Pay in 4 — leasing payment option from PayPal.
- [magentoassociation.org] Google Core Web Vitals: Explanation for Magento Stores.
- [martechseries.com] Adobe Collaborates with Easyship to Improve Shipping Solutions for Merchants.
- [Atwix] Magento Open Source Community: 2020 retro and 2021 perspectives.
Community activity monthly recap
Magento Community Hangouts
Magento community has a list of public events open for everyone: contributors, maintainers and business owners. One of them is the Magento Community Hangouts. This event happens twice a month on Wednesdays. At the event on February 10th, the Magento Community Engineering team has presented three alluring topics:
- Composer 2 support
- PHP 8 compatibility
- Performance measurement & optimizations – scaling to 200m+ eSKUs!
Record is available:
Magento Community Triage
Another regular event in the Magento community is the Magento Community Triage. In collaboration with the community enthusiasts, Magento Community Engineers research the backlog of issues and pull requests represented in the Magento projects. Generally, during an hour-long session, around eight pull requests and features are processed. If you have questions about issues or pull requests you work on, do not hesitate to join and rise to the challenge. All public events can be tracked at the Magento Community calendar.
Magento API Changes – the community project
In the previous recap of the community activity, we wrote about the API Changes to Magento 2 project. In one month, the community made great progress with it! Currently, over 20 Pull Requests are open. While interfaces and classes are being marked as @api, the clean-up of no longer used and deprecated methods is in progress. This should improve the core codebase and clear legacy parts. To check the progress you can filter out pull requests by the Project: API changes.
GraphQL Magento 2 coverage
In February, the Magento 2 was improved with the GraphQL coverage for Gift Registry and Compare Products. Despite the complexity of the tasks, a sophisticated and solid solution was implemented by @EduardChitoraga and @Usik__Oleg. Kudos both to guys, maintainers and everyone joining the pull requests discussions.
Fixed deleting of special prices only for specified store
As a part of the continuous improvement delivery, there is one more issue successfully resolved: CatalogSpecialPriceStorage API delete does not delete by store id #25907. This fix unblocks API implementation with the correct way to manage special prices, and is extremely helpful in case the business price management is on the ERP side. You can review the Pull Request with the solution already delivered to the 2.4 branch: Fix delete special prices only for specified store #31485
PHPStorm Magento 2 plugin
The Magento PHPStorm plugin ver. 3.1.0 has been released: Magento PhpStorm. This release contains new features for code generation: database schema/whitelist and message queue. Check out the release notes: Magento PHPStorm 3.1.0
Magento news in one podcast
We strongly recommend listening to the fresh edition of Commerce Party Podcast by ShipperHQ team with hot discussions of Magento as platform, Community development, Magento Association and more.
New composer release
On February 23rd, a new Composer release 2.0.10 was introduced. It contains a list of fixes that makes this new sophisticated version of the brilliant tool even more stable.
Simple. Beautiful. Efficient.
PHPStorm enhancement usage
The PHPStorm, probably, is the most popular and convenient IDE for the PHP world. It has numerous features for professional development, such as various inspections, autocomplete, tools for deployment, etc. This February, Simon Schubert shared his progress with PHPStorm skills improving. Superb recap of the really useful features of the IDE: check it out!
What’s Coming in PHPStorm 2021.1
“The main focus for the upcoming PhpStorm release is stability, but it also includes some new features and improvements. In this video, you can see new inspections in action, as well as a number of UI updates.” — JetBrainsTV says. To learn what improvements will be delivered with the new version of the popular IDE, watch the video: What’s Coming in PhpStorm 2021.1 – EAP Series Episode 1
Refactoring with the PHPStorm
Christoph Rumpel covers an important part of the software development process – refactoring – in his video How to do refactoring in PhpStorm. Using the IDE power is a good choice to make it solid and to decrease the number of errors.
Software Engineering laws
Software engineering is a kind of science and magic. As a complex discipline, it has laws resulting from the years of practice and research. Following and using them properly is the core aspect of a successful solution’s deployment. To learn what are some of those, check out the 10 Laws of Software Engineering That People Ignore
MySQL’s simulation in testing
Matt Brown – a creator of the psalmphp – shares his thoughts about optimization of application testing through MySQL. An interesting and useful article is here: The great pretender: faster application tests with MySQL simulation