Magento is one of the most recognizable eCommerce platforms. Adobe currently owns it, and it has around 4% market share in the world as of the end of 2021. This platform is most popular with medium-sized companies, but you can find bigger players also using it. It comes in free and paid versions. The paid version is called Adobe Commerce. This month, we got to experience the release of the newest Magento version, which is 2.4.4. Even though just the last digit has been changed from 2.4.3, it comes packed with new features and significant updates. Let’s go through some of them together.
PHP 8.1 is now supported by Magento
Probably the biggest and most anticipated change is support for PHP 8.1. The previous release only supported PHP 7.4, and keeping in mind that this version will stop being supported in the upcoming months, it’s a good thing that we moved on to the newest version.
Official table from PHP.net as of April 19, 2022
Except for being up to date with the current version of PHP, version 8.1 brings the quicker creation of classes, easier debugging through property promotion and less code, enums, array unpacking, read-only properties, and much more.
While Magento 2.4.4 officially requires PHP 8.1, it’s possible to run it with PHP 7.4. However, that’s not recommended.
Elasticsearch and OpenSearch
Elasticsearch was adopted by Magento in the 2.4 release and moved away from the awful MySQL search method. Now, Adobe had to create something else for their Commerce platform. Due to changes in Elasticsearch licensing, from now on, version 7.12 and above, ES can’t be offered to clients as a managed service.
"What are the key changes being made to the Elastic License? The Elastic License 2.0 applies to our distribution and the source code of all of the free and paid features of Elasticsearch and Kibana. Our goal with ELv2 is to be as permissive as possible, while protecting against abuse. The license allows the free right to use, modify, create derivative works, and redistribute, with three simple limitations:
"You may not provide the products to others as a managed service
"You may not circumvent the license key functionality or remove/obscure features protected by license keys
"You may not remove or obscure any licensing, copyright, or other notices"
The official Elasticsearch site
Amazon already branched off Elasticsearch and Kibana to create a new search solution called OpenSearch. Because of close cooperation between Adobe and Amazon, Magento is ready to use OpenSearch. Of course, many companies are using other search solutions, like Algolia, so this change might not be interesting at all for them.
Magento 2.4.4 brings updates to jQuery. Version 3.6 is now supported. Also, the jQuery user interface (UI) has been updated, including changes to rendering tabs and calling widgets with a data function. Also, scripts, like Require.js or Prototype.js, have been updated to the latest versions.
TinyMCE has been updated from version 4 to 5. PHP unit also has been updated. GraphQL also has been fixed in some places like translations with multi-language and multi-site stores. Also, if you’re using New Relic, GraphQL contains more detailed transaction names so it’s easier to debug.
The exclusion of vendor bundled extensions (VBEs) from core Magento
If you’re not new to the Magento world, you probably know that previous versions came packed with a lot of modules not really necessary to run a basic Magento 2 instance. It seems like Adobe devs noticed that and decided to do the right thing. They made the M2 core much lighter by removing all unnecessary extensions from the core of the platform.
You can still download what you want from the Magento Marketplace and have really up-to-date versions of modules directly from the vendors. Correspondingly, it seems like a win-win situation.
Adobe kept the PayPal-owned Braintree extension in the core probably because of the history between those two companies. Also, they added new PayPal payment features and extended existing ones like, for example, additions to buy now, pay later features.
In Magento 2.4.4, accessibility is an important topic due to the necessity of being compliant with current accessibility standards. Magento devs really worked on that part in terms of visual, content, and user interaction functions.
“Upgrade Compatibility Tool” for Adobe Commerce
Upgrading Adobe Commerce can be a hassle, especially if you have had an eStore instance running for a few years and many modules installed. Adobe devs decided to address that issue and released the “Upgrade Compatibility Tool” that, at least on some level, should make upgrade tasks easier and safer.
It’s a command-line tool that scans your Adobe Commerce instance in all of the modules to find and list critical errors, issues, and warnings that should be addressed before moving to the newer version. This tool finds places in your code that require fixing before any further actions.
The performance of Adobe Commerce
Last but not least, let’s mention performance improvements to the Commerce version of Magento. It can now handle up to 60,000 orders per hour. The previous release could only handle 10,000, so this is a huge improvement and lets you perform load-intensive actions like, for example, flash sales.
Also, the product base can be extended to 200 million SKUs and the cart can contain 750 product lines. Checking out can be much quicker due to the possibility of being able to skip inventory level checks.
API performance has been upgraded so it can now process 2,500 requests per minute while still keeping the average API response time on the 300 milliseconds level. Adobe Commerce also added the possibility to run parallel cron processes, which improves the speed at which tasks are executed.
Well, it seems that Adobe developers understand the current needs of modern eCommerce businesses, including things such as an expanding product base while still needing the customer experience to be slick and quick. Customers need to be able to choose from a wide array of products and swiftly make purchases without looking at loading bars and other unwanted elements.
By slimming the Magento 2.4.4 core code and module base, and updating probably everything inside it to support the latest versions of different technologies, they seem to be saying “we hear you and we have you covered.” Also, they don’t want to stay behind in comparison to other platforms that are quickly adopting a headless and API-first approach.
We’ll see what the future will bring for Adobe and their beloved Magento.
Because there are too many changes in the latest release to cover them in one article, to learn more about the new Magento 2.4.4, please take a look at https://devdocs.magento.com/guides/v2.4/release-notes/open-source-2-4-4.html and https://devdocs.magento.com/guides/v2.4/release-notes/commerce-2-4-4.html.
Published April 22, 2022