This months WooCommerce Community Chat covered updated resources and tutorials, WooCommerce 5.0, WooCommerce Admin and blocks.
Woo Chat, January 28, 2021
Updates on Developer Resources and Tutorials
- The Brexit transition deadline happened on January 1st of this year. A published overview highlighting recent changes to WooCommerce core that impact stores Brexit was shared.
- A guide for store owners was also published that contains helpful guidance that developers and agencies may want to share with merchants.
- There was recently a great tutorial from one of WooCommerce internal engineers on how to register an existing extensions with the new navigation that they have begun rolling out. It was noted how important it is for developers to update their extensions to support the new navigation so that merchants can access their extensions without needing to navigate back to the WP-Admin interface.
In addition, it was shared that the developer blog will have some additional posts over the next month or so. Specifically, you will find tutorials on creating Setup Tasks for merchant onboarding and adding Store Management links to the WC Admin dashboard.
Also, keep an eye out for changes to the labels in some of WooCommerce public repositories. They recently adopted a shared set of principles for labeling, and many teams have already updated their repositories.
Lastly, around documentation, it was announced that an updated Extension Developer Guide in the works. It should be available during the month of February. Maintaining guides like these will be an ongoing, iterative effort, so WooCommerce is eager to hear feedback and input from the community about how they can make them better over time.
And lastly, you are always encouraged to recommend topics that you feel are needed on the developer blog.
Release is slated for February 9th.
Previous to this release, they partially followed the Semantic Versioning (Semver) schema. Going forward it has been decided to follow the WordPress versioning schema. This means that although they’re releasing version 5.0 (which usually means a backwards compatible breaking release under Semver), they will maintain backwards compatibility.
This change was decided mostly because they don’t plan to break compatibility anymore, and also that WordPress core doesn’t really supports Semver like Composer or NPM, since in WordPress you are always forced to update to the latest release of any plugin.
You can read more here and follow the thread of the comments questioning this move.
The Changes in 5.0:
Deprecate legacy reports: Since WooCommerce 4.0, it has added a new and improved WooCommerce Analytics. They are encouraging users to start using the new WooCommerce Analytics and because of this, WooCommerce has soft deprecated the legacy reports with a notice in the legacy reports section. Based on WooCommerce’s new versioning schema this feature isn’t going to be removed.
Changing product type with attached files: Previously when an order is placed with a product that had downloadable files and when you change the product type to say a variable product, the permission for the downloadable files would be lost and access would be denied. This has been fixed so that it now recognizes the change of product type and when you go to use the same downloadable file, it would recognize it and recreate the permissions for the same customer.
Restoring products, orders and coupons: Previously after trashing orders, products or coupons — when restoring, it puts these items into “draft” status. Now it will restore to the same status as what it was before to prevent issue.
This release also includes WooCommerce Admin 1.9
Testing: If you’d like to dive in and help test this new release, you can use the WooCommerce Beta Tester plugin that allows you to switch between beta versions and release candidates. You can also download the release from wordpress.org. A set of testing instructions has been published on Woo’s Wiki page in GitHub. They have also posted a helpful writeup on beta testing to help get you started. If you discover any bugs during the testing process, please let them know by logging a report in GitHub.
A Brief Recap of WooCommerce 4.9
It was a minor release in terms of new features. There were added optimizations of REST API where you’ll support
_fields in the query string and based on the chosen fields. This allows for a faster response depending on if its needed to perform extra queries.
There were also some smaller changes in terms of Brexit, but since lots of the rules became clear only later in January, no big changes got delivered in 4.9.
WooCommerce inadvertently included one backwards incompatible change with 4.9 that caused problems with some plugins which called email actions incorrectly, so the release of 4.9.1 fixed that and they will keep a closer eye on the changes going forward to not repeat the situation.
As for 4.9.2, its recommended you to update since it provides fewer confusing warnings when updating to 5.0, otherwise it’s identical to 4.9.1, so should be stable and well tested.
As mentioned earlier in the chat, 1.9 of WooCommerce Admin will be included as part of 5.0, and here are a few features to highlight:
- Merchant email notifications. The Inbox system in wc-admin introduced a new note type, that allows for notifications/reminders to be sent via email instead of the Woo Inbox feature. Watch for a dev blog post highlighting this new feature and how to use it in your own projects
- Another new extensibility feature will ship too, which will allow developers to add “Task List” items on the Home Screen. So for example if you have onboarding tasks that your extension requires for setup, this would be a great way to highlight those instead of admin_alerts.
There were a few noted mentions around blocks.
- WooCommerce continues to iterate on improving the Cart and Checkout blocks with every release (including some improvements to coupon code behavior in 4.1.0).
- A major focus for WooCommerce right now is adding Subscriptions integration to the C&C blocks which has the side-effect of introducing a number of ways for extension developers to integrate their extensions with the new checkout flow. Once these extension points mature a bit (and they have integrated a few Woo extensions) they’ll be documenting and promoting them heavily. One of the reasons Subscriptions was picked to work with first is because it is an extension with one of the largest integration surfaces out there. They have been solving some really interesting problems when it comes to integrating with the C&C blocks as a part of this work that will benefit a larger amount of extensions in the marketplace once this is done.
- It’s been decided to switch away from monthly releases and will just be doing releases whenever there are some changes to release with blocks. This allows WooCommerce to get incremental improvements out quicker rather than wait for a scheduled date.
This chat is archived and takes place in the WooCommerce Slack Core Channel every month. There was a lot of added comments and discussion this last month so you may want to check that out.
You can also visit the our calendar here to keep updated on it and other Woo-related events.