Atwix MageNews – September 2020

MageNews September

Welcome to 20th edition of MageNews. 🎉

It’s been quite a while since we decided to create this digest. MageNews has gone from a simple idea to a full project with a commitment to deliver the most important and exciting Magento news each month.

Our goal is to make this wrap-up useful for every tier in Magento community, both technical and non-technical people, our merchants, partners and a lots of friends from Magento community. A lot of you have already got used to it, hopefully, love it and are happy to be notified about a brand new post every month.

For me, it’s been a tradition now to end my month with reviewing the latest news, defining information and briefly describing what happened. Of course, the best part is the joy from being able to help others to learn more. 🙌

With my recent decision to take a sabbatical and step away from my daily responsibilities we have decided that MageNews must go on! Alex Lunkov, our Business Analyst, will be preparing MageNews for you as of October.

As for me, I’m going to start a new journey and switch focus to other things. No matter what –  Magento will always have a special place in my heart.

Onward and upward, everyone. 🚀

– Roman

Content

  1. [Merchant] Back to School Shopping
  2. [Merchant] Digital Commerce Magic Quadrant 2020
  3. [Community] Magento U Migration
  4. [Community] Adobe Stock Tales
  5. [Technical] Storefront Updates
  6. [Technical] Semantic Version Checker
  7. [Technical] Magento Quality Patches
  8. [Technical] Magento Marketplace Submission API
  9. [Technical] Useful Open Source
  10. Upcoming Events
  11. Want More?

Merchant

Back to School Shopping

We start with looking at how COVID changes our shopping behaviors. This time of year brings the back to school period which has been met with a great amount of uncertainty. Surveys show that parents were not certain on what format schools and colleges would take on in the fall. They were holding off on their shopping until they know what was needed. Here is the prediction of 2020 back to school shopping:

– Parents with school-age children plan to spend an average $789.49 per family (+13% YoY). Parents with college students expect to spend an average $1,059.20 per family (+9% YoY).
– Total spending for school and college shopping combined is expected to reach $101.6bn (+26% YoY). This is the first time back to school/college spendings would top the $100bn mark.
– 72% of parents plan to spend more to buy electronics and home furniture to accommodate home learning. 55% expect that at least some of the classes would be online.
– Despite learning from home, parents still plan to buy clothing for their growing children and traditional school supplies (like paper and pencils). Spendings in this category are projected to be almost the same compared to last year.

More Info:
[NRF] Back-to-Class Data Center
[NRF] Back-to-school shopping 2020
[NRF] Coronavirus could push back-to-school spending to record level as uncertain families gear up for at-home learning

Digital Commerce Magic Quadrant 2020

Gartner named Magento as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2020. Magento is one of 15 eCommerce platforms that were evaluated in the report.

Gartner reinforces the following advantages of the Magento platform:
Global Span. Magento had one of the largest increases in new customer numbers among other vendors. It has grown market share through robust partner and community network, supremacy in midmarket and a rich B2C and B2B customer reference base.
Commerce Scope. Magento’s flexibility, native feature set and solid module marketplace offering. This also includes Order Management and Analytics services that Magento provides separately.
Adobe Ecosystem. Magic Quadrant 2019 treated lack of Adobe-Magento integrations as caution. This year Gartner mentioned the Adobe Commerce Cloud offering which is bundle of Adobe Experience Manager and Magento Commerce Cloud.

Also, it’s interesting to review the places Gartner sees room for improvement with Magento:
Monolith Nature. Historically, Magento is a monolith application which means that it may be hard to gradually scale and upgrade the platform in a cost-efficient way. This will change with Storefront API track where Magento team is reconsidering catalog implementation. This would make a springboard for Magento to jump into the world of microservices architecture.
Scaling Possibilities. With Adobe, Magento slowly but surly approaches enterprise market which has more demands for scale. High order volumes and SKU counts optimisations will help Magento better serve the enterprise market segment.
Focus on Adobe Commerce Cloud. Gartner states that the current Magento roadmap is focused on Adobe Commerce Cloud investments more than on the major platform updates. While this may be true for the period of time Garter reviewed, approaching enterprise market is difficult without investments into long-term platform redesign. This “calm” year may be explained as rethinking what Magento should look like to better meet enterprise needs. The new Storefront API track is only the beginning. Even during this “calm” period, Magento released significant B2B enhancements like approval workflows. This functionality addressed Gartner’s 2019 concerns about the lack of major B2B functions.

Finally, it’s great to see new platforms joining the leader quadrant. This year commercetools.com became a leader because of growth in customer numbers, revenue and geographical span.


More Info:

[Gartner] What is Gartner Magic Quadrant?
[Gartner] Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2020
[Adobe] Adobe named a leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
Atwix MageNews September 2019 – Last Year Gartner Report

Community

Magento U Migration

Adobe started to merge Magento certifications with the approaches they use for the rest of their products. This introduces a bunch of changes:

New Exam Providers
Adobe is using PSI and Examity to provide offline and online proctored exams.

New Certification Titles
Certification titles have been changed completely. New titles consist of certification tiers (professional, expert, master) and summarized skillset that is tested (like Business Practitioner or Frontend Developer). The tiers essentially represent professional level and defines certification logo.

Expiration Time
Adobe will most likely apply a new policy around certification expirations and exam updates. The goal of the company is to respond in the exam content to the current market demand and technology stack which is rapidly changing. Certification expiration time and on-demand exam updates are the way they address this.

New Exam Update Policy
Adobe’s approach is to completely rewrite exam content during the update instead of revisiting previous questions.

New Exam Verification Flow
There is a two-step process of exam verification. The first step is the regular passing of the exam and getting the results right away after. Then,  around 24 hours the exam results are verified by fraud protection mechanism.

Certifications Directory
Magento Certifications Directory was taken down and it’s not available anymore. Adobe is working on the similar partner directory, so there may be a replacement for Certifications Directory in the future. Also, certifications are sharable and it’s possible to attach them to LinkedIn profile or similar services.

At this point of migration, all exam content stayed the same and all certifications were migrated.

Previously scheduled exams got canceled and may be rescheduled in Adobe Credential Manager. Adobe Credential Manager is now a place where you can manage your exams and schedule a new one. Previously purchased vouchers are still valid on the Adobe testing platform.


More Info:
[Youtube] Interview with Adobe Magento Certifications leaders
[Adobe] Magento Certification Integration FAQ

Adobe Stock Tales

Alexander Shkurko, Magento contributor and maintainer, told a great story of how his personal development and Magento maintainer life are linked to his open source contributions and to such amazing projects as Adobe Stock Integration. He interviewed key people that helped to make Adobe Stock Integration and revealed the intention that drives them to contribute to Magento.


More Info:
[Atwix] Tales of the Magento Adobe Stock Integration. Part I
[Atwix] Tales of the Magento Adobe Stock Integration. Part II

Technical

Storefront Updates

The August Community Hangout was exclusively focused on the Storefront API track. While the hangout is worth watching, we want to specifically recap two topics.

Price Books Design

Currently, the concept of customer groups is “overloaded” in Magento. Customer groups uses complex B2B use cases, price calculations, taxes, promotions and customer segmentation. With this approach, you may end up having a lot of customer groups on the store which leads to performance issues during price calculation. During price calculation, Magento tries to calculate price for each “website-customer group-product” pair which is expensive and most importantly is not the optimal way of working.

The goal is to be able to specify unique prices for each customer for the needed set of products.

Solution:
– Price Books – represents the real price differences that is configured on the website instead of calculating all possible price calculations. This type of price books has a small set of products with customer-specific prices.
– Fallback Price Books – represents reusable price books for default-level, customer group-level prices. They may be used as a fallback in case customers have specific prices for small set of products and default prices for the rest of the catalog.
– Customer Tags – represents an alternative for overloaded customer groups in order to get more flexible customer segmentation. Customers may be assigned to many tags which would be used during product access limiting, product recommendations, etc.

As a result of a new vision, we project to get:
– more than 20 times faster price calculation process
– ability to have ~15000 unique prices per product (comparing to ~2000 unique prices which may be possible with the current approach)
– flexible customer segmentation mechanism

Catalog Media Design
The Magento team reviews possibilities to offload media assets’ management to DAM (Digital Asset Management). DAM is a system where authors manage assets for content managers. Content managers would be selecting assets from DAM in PIM (Product Information Management). PIM would be updating Catalog Storefront service with the asset links. Then, in turn, storefront would get asset to show communicating with Catalog service. DAM and CDN (Content Delivery Network) may work together to deliver and transform media assets.

More Info:
[Youtube] Community Engineering Hangouts – Storefront Vision
[Youtube] Community Engineering Hangouts – Price Books Design
[Github] Price Books and Customer Tags Concepts
[Youtube] Community Engineering Hangouts – New Catalog Media Design
[Youtube] Community Engineering Hangouts – Catalog Storefront API Progress
[Github] Catalog Images Concept
[Youtube] Community Engineering Hangouts – Catalog Storefront Data flow demo
Atwix MageNews August – Magento Price Books

Semantic Version Checker

The Magento team open-sourced semantic version (SV) checker for the community. The tool will be helpful in the following use cases:
– it helps to identify a new SV-compatible version for an updated Magento extension based on the changeset.
– it can extract backward-incompatible changes from the changeset and list them for further review. That may be handy during Magento platform upgrades or updating 3rd-party modules.

More Info:
[Github] Magento Semantic Version Checker
[Magento DevBlog] Semantic Versioning Checker: versioning modules and fast-tracking Marketplace submissions
Semantic Versioning

Magento Quality Patches

Magento created a separate project to share official quality patches. It’s called Magento Quality Patches (MQP) tool. MQP works on top of Magento Cloud Patches tool and provides a kind of logical separation between quality patches and Magento Cloud integration patches.
More Info:
[Magento Support] Magento Quality Patches released: a new tool to self-serve quality patches
[Github] Magento Quality Patches
[Magento DevDocs] Apply patches

Magento Marketplace Submission API

The Magento Marketplace team exposed Package Submission REST API for extension vendors to allow it to automate the process of package submissions, images/user guides uploading and quality check management. Package Submission API will become more useful as the Magento Marketplace vetting process gets more sophisticated.


More Info:
[Magento DevDocs] Marketplace EQP API

Useful Open Source

EcomDev/sync-magento-2-migration – proof of concept for quick Magento import/export
magetarian/customerTwoFactorAuth – extension that adds 2FA on the customer login form

Upcoming Events

– Oct 13-15th – Reaction Conference, Online
– Oct 24th – MageCONF 2020, Online
– Oct 30th – MM20NY, Online

Want more?

Make sure to be the first for our October MageNews digest – subscribe to our blog.

See you in a month!

Other Digests:
Atwix MageNews – August 2020
Atwix MageNews – July 2020
Atwix MageNews – Archive

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