On 12th April 2022, Adobe released a new version of the Magento 2 / Adobe Commerce application, v2.4.4. In this article we take a look at what’s included in the new upgrade, what the upgrade path looks like and when you should be looking to take your store to the new version. Let’s dive right in…
What’s Included In The New Upgrade?
This upgrade doesn’t come packed with new features and functionality. Instead it focuses primarily on improving the overall performance and security of the application and introducing compatibility for PHP v8. This comes as a very welcomed change to previous releases which seemed to focus on introducing new features rather than fixing core bugs and issues with the platform.
See below key summary of what’s included;
- Support for the latest version of PHP, v8.1
- All storefronts now have HTTPS enabled by default for improved security
- Adobe have improved order processing performance
- Magento 2.4.4 supports both Elasticsearch 7.16 and OpenSearch 1.2 offering merchants flexibility with their choice of search engine
- Adobe have removed all bundled 3rd party extensions from the core platform
- Admin users can now apply alt text to images using Page Builder
- GraphQL enhancements and performance improvements
- Over 250 fixes and enhancements to the core platform
PHP v8 Support
PHP v8 has been available since November 2020. Adobe have included full support for PHP v8 in the v2.4.4 release. PHP v8 greatly improves the performance of PHP when compared with v7. This is great news for Magento 2 merchants as they look to boost the performance of their websites to meet Google’s core web vital assessments.
To find out more about why your website performance is so important, checkout our article “Why performance is so important for your ecommerce website”.
The v2.4.4 release brings with it a number of performance enhancements to increase the speed of the platform. With Google now considering a websites performance as a more prominent ranking factor, it’s great to see Adobe are upping the game in terms of application performance with this Magento 2 upgrade.
See below a summary of the key performance enhancements included in the latest release;
- Order processing performance now runs 6x faster when compared to v2.4.3
- Introduction of AsyncOrder feature for better performance
- A new ‘Enable Inventory Check On Cart Load’ configuration option is now available to skip the inventory check for a faster checkout experience
- Totals calculation have now been deferred during checkout which has enhanced the processing of sales rules
Website performance has never been one of Magento 2’s strong points. But with the v2.4.4 release and Hyvä Themes this is quickly changing.
For more information about Hyvä Themes check out our article “Hyvä Themes explained for Magento 2 merchants”.
Bye-bye Bundled 3rd Party Extensions
To date, Magento 2 has come bundled with a number of 3rd party extensions. These include DotDigital, Yotpo, Amazon Payments and World Pay to name a few. Not all merchants used these extensions and their inclusion slowed down the applications performance. This forced Magento 2 developers to remove them and it also prevented the extension developers from deploying new versions as quickly as they would have liked.
With the exception of Braintree, Adobe have now removed all 3rd party extensions from the core application. If you are using any of these 3rd party services then don’t worry! You can still grab the latest version of their extensions and install them to your store from the Adobe marketplace.
This will improve these extensions as the providers will no longer have to wait for a new Magento 2 upgrade to deploy updates to their extensions. A win-win for everyone!
The latest Magento 2 upgrade includes a large number of security enhancements that go a long way to improve the overall security of the platform. See below a summary of these enhancements;
- Users session ID’s are no longer stored in the database
- OAuth password and access tokens are now encrypted before being stored in the database
- Voucher code forms now have ReCAPTCHA support
- API security improvements
- Non-alphanumeric file extensions can now no longer be uploaded to the system
When Should You Upgrade?
We are advising our clients that they sit tight and wait a while before applying this upgrade to their Magento 2 websites. Like with all new releases from Adobe we approach the latest version of the application with caution. Our Experience tells us that every new release introduces a number of bugs and issues which are normally rectified in the p2 versions.
Something else to also bear in mind is that the upgrade to PHP v8 is a big one and therefore extension developers are going to need time to test their products and fix any issues that come from the new version.
For those reasons we are advising our clients that they upgrade to v2.4.3-p2 and wait a few months before taking their sites to v2.4.4. Adobe have said that they will support v2.4.3 until the end of November 2020 which gives you plenty of time to plan, test and deploy this upgrade.
The Magento v2.4.4 upgrade goes a long way to improve the performance, stability and security of the Magento 2 platform. This is an upgrade that is long overdue and a stark contrast to previous upgrades focusing on the parts of the platform that really matter.
Magento 2 and Adobe Commerce merchants have until November 2022 to upgrade their websites to v2.4.4. After this date, Adobe will drop support for v2.4.3 as they look to keep their support in-line with the PHP support for. So when PHP drop support for v7, Adobe will drop support for all versions of their platform that rely on that version of PHP. This can be frustrating for merchants however, Adobe have now confirmed that they will release only 2 major upgrades every year. Adobe are trying hard to reduce the total cost of ownership associated with the platform.
As an agency we advise all our clients to work with us to put in place an effective upgrade strategy. As an Adobe solution partner we ensure that upgrades are applied with very little fuss and disruption to the clients business.
If you currently don’t have an upgrade strategy in place or are finding that your current development partner simply takes too long to apply upgrades to your store then reach out to us today and find out how we can help.