During its Imagine 2018 conference in Las Vegas last week, Magento announced its plans for the upcoming Magento 2.3 release that will be out at the end of this year. Like every major release, there are some exciting additions that are poised to bring new opportunities for our clients to sell to their customers, as well as back-end efficiencies.
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Magento recognizes the multiple benefits to this, and in late 2017 announced its efforts in building what it calls the PWA Studio. PWA Studio will contain tools to develop and deploy a PWA for Magento’s front end. Along with PWA Studio will come a lightweight (not feature-full) demo site. The immediate benefits will be a major increase in front-end performance and a close to 10X increase in speed of onboarding new Magento front-end developers.
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GraphQL is a query language for using APIs. With the rise of the PWA, there is a need to get smaller amounts of data and to make fewer API requests. GraphQL’s query language makes this possible by allowing the requestor to request a limited subset of attributes to be returned about an entity (significantly smaller responses) and allows you to chain requests (smaller number of requests).
Magento currently supports REST and SOAP API requests that use Service Contracts. However, to support GraphQL, Magento is writing an entirely new layer that interfaces directly to the Query API. The GraphQL implementation will be the underpinnings on how a PWA frontend will retrieve the data it needs.
Declarative Database Schema
Today, when you want to alter the schema of a Magento database, the pattern used to accomplish this is to use the InstallSchema and UpgradeSchema classes where code is written to alter the schema.
Magento 2.3 will change the recommended way by implementing a declarative database schema. This technique will try to accomplish multiple goals, some of which were discussed here. Instead of the database schema definitions being fragmented throughout many install and upgrade scripts, it will be fully defined via XML.
Multi-Source Inventory (MSI)
Magento 2.3’s multi-source inventory will allow merchants to natively manage inventory via multiple sources.
Magento’s community engineering team has led the charge to introduce multi-source inventory management to Magento’s core. The addition of multi-source inventory will allow merchants to natively manage inventory via multiple sources. This would accommodate the shipping of items and tracking of stock levels from multiple warehouses, as well as inventory within retail stores to support “ship from store” and “pick up in store”.
In addition to the actual MSI functionality, Magento 2.3 will also include new functionality around the reservation mechanism of inventory. Inventory is now reserved within a new table structure instead of the direct decrementing of stock. This will increase performance and prevent database unnecessary locking during the order.
The Asynchronous WebAPI will allow a system to execute API calls asynchronously against the Magento REST API. Because of this, integrations don’t have to wait for requests to fully process when making the calls. This improves the performance of integrations that require many API calls, such as a bulk product integration or customer import. A separate status reporting API will be available to check on the progress of the request by ID. This functionality will be available in both Magento Commerce 2.3 and Magento Open Source.
One of the most anticipated features of Magento 2.3 is the major enhancement to Magento’s native CMS. In the recent past, Magento purchased the Blue Foot CMS technology from Gene Commerce and has made that available to its Magento Commerce merchants. Page Builder is a rewrite of Blue Foot CMS using much of the same foundational features and concepts. These features include template creation, drag-and-drop layout management, and a UX that is clean and friendly to use for a non-technical user.
Page Builder will come natively with Magento Commerce 2.3 and will be available for purchase inside the Magento Marketplace for Open Source implementations.
One of the most anticipated features of Magento 2.3 is the major enhancement to Magento’s native CMS.
One of the most vulnerable parts of any web system is the administration panel’s login page. To protect against malicious users that have obtained a password, Magento is implementing two-factor authentication. This extra layer of security will require a user to prove that they have access by sending a security code to their phone or email. This has become standard practice among many web applications.
Support for message queuing is being extended from Magento Commerce to Magento Open Source. Message queues enable asynchronous communication between systems.
Support for ElasticSearch is being extended from Magento Commerce to Magento Open Source. ElasticSearch, in addition to many other usages, powers Magento’s site search capabilities, including faceted search (filtering by attributes).
PHP 7.2 brings new development features, as well as an increase in performance and security.
Because 7.2 is dropping support for mcrypt (PHP’s go to encryption module), the libsodium module will now be used for encryption.
Through community engineering, many improvements in speed and usability of import/export functionality are being added to the Magento core.
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Cache Management ACL
Magento is adding fine-grained administration access control around the ability to interact with the system cache. Caching provides a much-needed layer of performance for Magento, and in the wrong hands, performance can dramatically suffer.
Magento is switching the technology used for proving that users are humans, not bots, when interacting with a site. Google’s reCAPTCHA tool will now come native.
Now that we know what’s included in Magento 2.3’s release, it just makes it all that much harder to wait. Congratulations to the Magento core team, Magento community engineering, and the community contributors for their hard work. If you have any questions about the update, leave them in the comments below or reach out to me on twitter at @benjaminrobie.