Magento 2.3 Open Source & Commerce Features and Release Notes

- E-Commerce, Magento 2

Magento 2.3 Features

We are all passionate about Magento 2 and all its new releases. With every update, the platform gets revolutionary features that revamp the default e-commerce experience entirely and put extension providers out of a job. And the closest major update is Magento 2.3, so let’s discuss how the new platform version may look and when it will be available.

We were amazed when 2.2.2 was released with such features as Magento Shipping, Advanced Reporting, Instant Purchases, Dotmailer Integration, and MFTF. The zero-step checkout experience was magnificent. Although the idea is not new, it was represented in Magento 2 for the first time. Registered customers no longer have to enter any address details, payment preferences, or shipping options. Furthermore, the purchase is made right on a product page. But let’s return to our mutton.

We expect that Magento 2.3 will be released somewhere in mid-2018. And it will include the following core features:

  • Progressive Web Apps;
  • BlueFoot CMS & Page Builder;
  • Klarna Integration
  • Amazon 3rd Party Sales Channel;
  • Multi-Source Inventory;
  • RabbitMQ

Magento 2 Roadmap | Magento 2 Release Notes

Magento Open Source 2.3.0 Release Notes

Below, you can see release notes for the beta version of Magento 2.3 Open Source. It includes a bunch of new features and fixes. Note that it is a pre-release code, and the work on the stable version is in progress. Check the latest version here: Magento 2.3 product availability.

New features

As you might have already read, Magento 2.3 offers significant improvements regarding the developer experience. With PWA Studio, alternatives to SOAP and REST, a flexible frontend API, and mobile development tools, new Open Source version introduces a completely new dimension of coding. Let’s take a brief look at the enhancements:

  • PWA Studio. As a Magento developer, you can now leverage a set of tools that support the development, deployment, and maintenance of progressive web apps. You can find more information about this feature below.
  • Declarative schema. Another improvement that simplifies installation and upgrade procedures is the declarative schema. It revamps the corresponding processes for both Magento and extensions, reducing the need for many database scripts. The biggest advantage of this feature is the ability to roll out database schema changes in patch releases which is impossible for previous Magento versions. Split and shared database structure validation is supported as well.
  • GraphQL API. And this improvement introduces a replacement for REST and SOAP web APIs for frontend development. Below, we discuss this feature in more detail. You can also check GraphQL Developer Guide for more information.
  • MultiSource Inventory (MSI). Starting from Magento 2.3, you can easily manage physical inventory across locations in Magento. Use multiple sources without third-party extensions creating inventory pools for one or more websites. Use API for source operations customizing inventory actions or integrating with third-party order management systems. Check the following article for further information: Magento 2 Multi-Source Inventory (MSI).

Core product improvements

  • Updated tech stack. Magento 2.3 Open Source includes upgraded Redis, MySQL, Elasticsearch, and compatibility with PHP 7.2.
  • Import and export improvements. Although Magento 2 introduces a bunch of import and export improvements, the default tools are still far from being perfect. While it supports new object types, there is still a room for improvement. But you can easily close the gap between your expectations and reality with Improved Import & Export Extension.
  • Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch was a Commerce-specific feature only. Now, the platform support provides support for this engine in Magento Open Source as well.
  • Packaging release improvements. In addition to this feature, 2.3 also introduces an increase in test automation. Consequently, you get a faster and more efficient release.
  • CMS enhancements. Magento 2.3 provides Page Builder for its Open Source version, but it seems that we have to deal with a limited version. The full one is available in Magento 2.3 Commerce. As for the WYSIWYG editor, it is updated to use TinyMCE 4.6. Which can be integrated into Magento through an adapter.
  • Security enhancements. 2FA and CAPTCHA are available out of the box. Cache flush ACL results in granular access to cache management settings. It means that no accidental changes that could potentially affect system performance.
  • B2B product versioning. Now, B2B products match the versioning of the core product.

Magento Commerce 2.3.0 Release Notes

Now, let’s take a look at what Magento Commerce 2.3.0 Beta offers. Just like the Open Source version, this release includes numerous functional fixes and enhancements. But the Magento 2.3.0 pre-release code is a work in progress as well. Check the latest version here: Magento 2.3 product availability.

New features

If you are a developer, here are some good news: this release introduces significant tools to improve your experience. PWA Studio, a flexible frontend API, alternatives to SOAP and REST, headless Magento, and mobile development are just a few core aspects to be mentioned. What are the others?

  • PageBuilder. Meet the mighty Page Builder – a drag-and-drop visual content editing tool that allows customizing the appearance of your storefront without writing any code. It is powerful, intuitive, and user-friendly – a tool that Magento users deserve. Below, we provide more information about the instrument.
  • PWA Studio. This feature is common for both Commerce and Open Source, so as a Magento developer, you can now leverage a set of tools that support the development, deployment, and maintenance of progressive web apps for both editions. You can find more information about this feature below.
  • Declarative schema. Another improvement that simplifies installation and upgrade procedures is the declarative schema. It is common for both platform edition. Declarative schema revamps the corresponding processes for both Magento and extensions, reducing the need for many database scripts. The biggest advantage of this feature is the ability to roll out database schema changes in patch releases which is impossible for previous Magento versions. Split and shared database structure validation is supported as well.
  • GraphQL API. A replacement for REST and SOAP web APIs for frontend development is available for both editions as well. Below, we discuss this feature in more detail. You can also check GraphQL Developer Guide for more information.
  • MultiSource Inventory (MSI). Another cool improvement that is provided for both Commerce and Open Source starting from Magento 2.3. Now, you can easily manage physical inventory across locations in Magento. Use multiple sources without third-party extensions creating inventory pools for one or more websites. Use API for source operations customizing inventory actions or integrating with third-party order management systems. Check the following article for further information: Magento 2 Multi-Source Inventory (MSI).

Core product improvements

  • Updated tech stack. Magento 2.3 Commerce includes upgraded Redis, MySQL, Elasticsearch, and compatibility with PHP 7.2.
  • Import and export improvements. Although Magento 2 introduces a bunch of import and export improvements, the default tools are still far from being perfect. While it supports new object types, there are many drawbacks. Check the following article to find out how to improve the default import and export processes of Magento 21 Commerce: How to improve Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud import and export procedures.
  • Packaging release improvements and an increase in test automation are now on board, so you get a faster and more efficient routine.
  • Security enhancements. 2FA and CAPTCHA are available in Commerce too. Besides, cache flush ACL results in granular access to cache management settings reducing accidental changes that could potentially affect system performance.
  • B2B product versioning. This feature is the same for both Commerce and Open Source.

Magento 2.3 Features

Magento 2.3: Progressive Web Apps

Magento 2 PWA

We have a large article dedicated to Magento 2 PWA and its core concepts here: PWA & Headless Magento 2Magento 2 is becoming a Progressive Web Application platform, and it is no longer a secret. The new suite of tools, called the Magento PWA Studio, will be introduced with the Magento 2.3 release. It is aimed at developers who will be able to build Magento 2 PWA stores affordably and easily.

If you are not familiar with either Magento 2 PWA or Headless Magento, here is a brief explanation of the concept. Magento 2 PWA is fast, reliable, and always available. Thus, Magento 2 PWA provides fast load time, accessibility in unclear network conditions, and offline mode. It installs and runs code on the shopper’s device radically increasing speed and capability in comparison to single-page JS applications.

Besides, Magento 2 PWA responds rapidly and provides the most smooth way of interaction with no janky scrolling. Customers get totally engaging user experience with web apps that feel like native applications and provide even more immersive shopping.

Despite the above conditions, Magento 2 PWA is still web since the storefront is written with the help of familiar means: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Note that both domain-specific languages and native frameworks captive to one platform are eliminated simplifying the concept of Magento 2 PWA as much as possible. And since the Magento 2 PWA store lazy-loads itself, it is progressive.

The approach is fascinating and it will push both the developer and user experience forward. The new generation of storefronts will appear after the Magento 2.3 release. Customers will face the more engaging experience, and this will be a significant competitive advantage for those merchants who won’t be afraid to leverage the new concept. Fast load time and better speed, improved usability, offline mode, device-agnostic nature – all these features make Magento 2 PWA very attractive and the release of Magento 2.2 – promising.

Let’s figure out the core benefits of Magento 2 PWA over other websites and proceed to other features of Magento 2.3.

Since Magento 2 PWA works even if the Internet connection is lost, the network traffic is reduced to the minimum. The use of non-blocking techniques allows keeping UI responsiveness at 60fps – a real native app experience. ServiceWorker is based on a “smart client” principle – network traffic isn’t required for every interaction. From the developer perspective, Magento 2 PWA introduces more intuitive an easy-to-use tools: the end-to-end self-education experience with a full feedback cycle, reliable quality assurance, and robust deployment are guaranteed. The idea behind the Magento 2 PWA Studio is to make Magento 2 development possible for every specialist.

Also, note that the React ecosystem integration is planned. React will be used for the JavaScript architecture in Magento 2.3 PWA stores. As a developer, you will get a top-notch experience and a broad community of specialists.

Magento 2.3: BlueFoot CMS & Page Builder

The second important improvement that should be introduced with Magento 2.3 is the BlueFoot integration. In the new platform version, it will be a part of the core code and consequently the standard functionality. The business-friendly CMS and Page Builder module allows Magento merchants to create and customize pages without any coding skills. BlueFoot supports a vast variety of content that can be modified. Thus, after Magento 2.3 is released, you will be able to customize everything from product pages to blog articles. And we expect that the new platform version will introduce the DEFAULT BLOG for the first time in the history of the Magento ecosystem. If not, you can find a reliable blog module here: The Best Magento 2 Blog Extensions.

Let’s figure out why Bluefoot is so useful that the Magento company planned the full integration with the module. 

The module is totally based on the drag and drop functionality. It is extremely easy to use especially in comparison to the default WYSIWYG editor. You can effortlessly customize headers, images, products, and anything else using the intuitive drag and drop interface of BluePrint. The Magento 2.3 release enables retailers to create more complex designs and better functionality without any help from technical specialists.

The second core benefit you will soon be able to leverage is the ability to integrate products into other pages and elements. Of course, this approach to promotions is available in the current Magento 2 version, but you need technical skills to leverage the integration. From Magento 2.3, blog posts and promotion pages will introduce additional features related to products integration. With the help of the aforementioned interface, you can drag and drop products to the selected pages quickly and easily. The need to write a complex code is eliminated.

The same is about various integrations with third-party content. The Magento 2.3 release enables you to add YouTube and Vimeo videos, Google Maps, and tons of other elements to product pages, categories, and blog posts. As we’ve just mentioned, no coding skills are required.
Static blocks integration is the last Bluefoot feature that should be introduced in Magento 2.3. After the new platform version is released, you will be able to add static blocks to various pages effortlessly. Consequently, the opportunity to apply any custom design to your store pages in the easiest and fastest way will be introduced soon.

Does it mean that you should fire your technical specialist after 2.3 is released? Of course, not. There still will be some complicated tasks Bluefoot won’t be able to cope with. But for small and midsized merchants the new feature will become a real budget and time-saver.

Magento 2.3: Klarna Integration

It seems that the payment system of Magento 2 will be enhanced with the release of 2.3. There is speculation of Klarna integration planned for the upcoming release. It means that customers will get additional payment options and better opportunities. First of all, Klarna introduces the ability to implement the instant checkout process. In the case of this provider, it is necessary to specify address details only. Not a zero-step checkout, but also a significant improvement to the default shopping experience. Another great option is a payment within 30 days after delivery. If something is not ok with the purchased product, a customer can send it back without spending any money. Another option that makes the default Magento 2 user-experience better is spread payments. Klarna introduces an opportunity to split the payment into several parts, reducing a customer’s budget load. More than 60 million customers trust the service, so we hope it will become a part of Magento 2.3.

Magento 2.3: Amazon 3rd Party Sales Channel

Magento 2.3 Features

The integration with Amazon 3rd Party Sales Channel is also expected in Magento 2.3. It will introduce better opportunities for syncing your store and product data with Amazon. Does it mean the full access to Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment? If yes, you will be able to grow your business via the access to Amazon’s world-class fulfillment network with operational expertise and advanced shipping options. The service allows leveraging all its features for orders placed on Amazon.com, your Magento 2 store, and other sales channels. The integration with MCF is aimed to improve customer and admin experience by introducing faster delivery and simplified operations. At the same time, you get drop shipping opportunities. The service allows storing your inventory in its warehouses. As a result, you can lower your fulfillment costs.  Note that Amazon offers competitive rates, scalable capacity, and the opportunity of 1-day, 2-day, or standard (3-5 business day) delivery options; inventory placement across the U.S., shipping carriers, and fulfillment by Amazon; and simplified seasonal spikes management without additional resources.

Magento 2.3: Multi-Source Inventory

Multi-Source Inventory will be essentially updated with the Magento 2.3 release. Merchants will get an opportunity to handle all inventory sources without any third-party extensions or platforms. One Magento installation will have support for multiple file sources. Besides, it will introduce better import/export conditions and simplified ERP integration. Advanced drop shipping opportunities are also a part of the planned update. Total stock control and low stock reports will be introduced in Magento 2.3 as well. It means that you will no longer have to use third-party modules to avoid situations when a product is out of stock.

Magento 2.3: RabbitMQ

Magento 2 Message Queue Framework

RabbitMQ – is another Magento 2.3 feature. Now, it is available for Magento Commerce only. An open source message broker offers a reliable messaging system that can be characterized as highly available and scalable.

Message queues are based on an asynchronous communications mechanism. According to the specific nature of RabbitMQ, the sender and the receiver do not contact each other. Furthermore, there is no need to communicate with the message queue for both parties simultaneously. When a sender places a message onto a queue, it is stored until the recipient receives it.

Note that it is necessary to establish the message queue system before installing Magento. As a result, you have to follow the basic sequence described below:

  1. Install RabbitMQ.
  2. Install Magento.
  3. Connect RabbitMQ to Magento.

Alternatively, you can implement a basic message queue system on the basis of cron.

Magento 2.3: Asynchronous API

Another important improvement introduced in Magento 2.3 is Asynchronous API. Being different from traditional API, it provides users with the ability to make a request without waiting for the response from the server. As you might have already guessed, the large your e-commerce website is, the more this improvement will enhance the user experience it offers. A huge advantage for big sites that receive a large number of API requests daily dramatically reduces the time necessary to wait for the server’s response. Previously, the bigger the number of changes and products were, the longer it took.

The following video demonstrates how asynchronous APIs work over message queue. The feature is developed in collaboration with  Balance Internet and Comwrap as a part of the Magento Community Engineering projects.

Magento 2.3: GraphQL

The introduction of a new query language for using APIs was inevitable. Considering the features described above, it was obvious that GraphQL will be introduced in Magento 2.3. The rise of PWA leads to the necessity to get smaller amounts of data and make fewer API requests. And it is possible with the GraphQL query language which allows requesting a limited subset of attributes to be returned about an entity. In its turn, this mechanism leads to a significantly smaller number of responses. Besides, you can chain requests decreasing their number. With GraphQL, Magento is writing a new layer that interfaces to the Query API directly.

Magento 2.3: Declarative Database Schema

The current way of things when you want to alter the schema of a Magento database is a little bit complicated. Being based on the InstallSchema and UpgradeSchema classes where a code is written to alter the schema, it introduces a set of difficulties that will be eliminated with the release of Magento 2.3.

The new platform version will change the current way with the help of a declarative database schema. You will forever forget about the database schema definitions fragmented via many install and upgrade scripts. The new approach will be fully based on the definition via XML.

Magento 2.3: ElasticSearch

Magento 2 Catalog Search Engines: Elasticsearch

Finally, Magento Open Source will also get the support for ElasticSearch. The powerful search engine is being extended from Magento Commerce to its community version. Does it mean that Magento 2 Elasticsearch extensions won’t be necessary? We don’t think so. They will still provide tons of missing features.

Magento 2.3: PHP 7.2

PHP logo

And get ready to leverage the updated PHP version! With PHP 7.2, you can implement new development features while working on your Magento 2.3 projects. And the improvement will lead to an increase in performance and security!

And since 7.2 lacks mcrypt, the libsodium module will be used instead for encryption purposes.

Magento 2.3: Cache Management ACL

Another vital improvement introduced in Magento 2.3 is related to the cache management system. The platform will receive fine-grained administration access control with the ability to interact with the system cache.

Magento 2.3: Google reCAPTCHA

How Many Google reCAPTCHA Magento 2 extensions do you know? We’ve been impressed by Amasty’s Google Invisible reCaptcha, but the 2.3 version will include similar functionality by default. Of course, we cannot compare the unreleased feature to the community proven extension but it is already obvious that they have the same purpose. Magento will include the robust technology used for eliminating bots from the flow of store visitors. Google’s reCAPTCHA tool will now be native. And this is a list of pages that can get the additional security level:

  • Both Admin & User Login Pages;
  • Registration Page;
  • Contact form;
  • Forgot Password Page.

Magento 2.3: Two Factor Authentication

Another layer of security is introduced with the two-factor authentication support for the admin interface. Do you remember all these Magento 2 Two Factor Authentication extensions? It seems that they will soon become useless. But there are other modules that improve the level of backend safety. You can check them here: Magento 2 Admin Security Extensions.

As for Magento 2.3, it provides an additional layer of security for the admin panel and, as a result, the whole e-commerce website. The 2FA procedure will require users to verify via SMS, phone call, access token, etc. Of course, finishing the default login steps is necessary as well. It is known that 2.3 supports 3 authentication methods: Google Authenticator, Duo Security, and Authy.

Magento 2.3 Commerce-Specific Features

Below, you can find Magento 2.3 features available for Commerce and Cloud editions only.

Magento 2 Commerce Shared Catalogs

As a user of Magento 2.3 Commerce, you can fully leverage shared catalogs. This feature allows you to implement an individual approach to your business customer. Being a B2B improvement, Magento 2 Commerce Shared Catalogs provide you with the ability to offer individual catalogs to customers.

You get two types of catalogs: Public and Custom. a visitor sees a public catalog unless a custom one is assigned to him/her. Custom catalogs can be assigned to specific companies and clients. Thus, if you want to provide a selected partner with a specific offer hiding it from everybody else, you can do that with Magento 2.3 Commerce.

Magento 2 Commerce Negotiation Quotes and Companies

Two other B2B features which are a part of Magento 2 Commerce are companies and negotiation quotes. With the former, you can enable company accounts. They are represented by complex structures that incorporate standard user accounts. As an owner of a company account, you can customize its structure and change provided information.

In their turn Magento 2 Commerce negotiation quotes let your partners set up negotiable prices right from the shopping cart. After a proposal is created and sent, your admins are notified and can respond to it. When the price is agreed, a customer can proceed to the checkout. Note that such parameters of the negotiated order as price and quantity cannot be changed during this stage preventing you from fraud.

Magento 2 Commerce Page Builder Data

As mentioned above, Magento 2.3 Open Source includes only a limited version of Page Builder (according to devdocs). A full one is represented in the Commerce edition. Thus, there is no need to hire a team of specialists to create stunning store pages. Magento 2.3 Commerce offers a powerful page builder with an extended flexibility of multiple content types modifications from product pages to blog articles. Here is the list of Page Builder features:

  • Drag and drop functionality and grid system to simplify the way you arrange elements on a store page; 
  • Multiple visual effects to improve the appearance of your store;
  • Deep integration into standards Magento features to simplify the common routine;
  • Product integration into other pages – add products to any store pages; the same is about static blocks and various third-party content;
  • Preview and schedules to see how your improvements are visible to customers.

Magento 2 Commerce Requisition Lists

Another groundbreaking feature of Magento 2.3 Commerce is requisition lists. Imagine wishlists optimized for multiple products that do not disappear when a customer turns them into an order. In the latest Magento version, they are called requisition lists and dramatically reduce the complexity of buying frequently-purchased items.

This exclusive feature simplifies the standard shopping experience of previous Magento version. It’s like recurring payments but with an advanced control level. While purchases are not automated entirely, you get a list of items that can be purchased on a regular basis. Instead of browsing through a catalog, items can be added to a shopping cart within just a few clicks from a single place.

Magento 2 Commerce Visual Merchandiser

Magento 2 Visual Merchandiser Import Export

Magento 2.3 Commerce Visual Merchandiser is a revolutionary tool for product management. It lets you position products and apply various conditions to them adjusting the structure of your catalog in the easiest manner.

Visual merchandiser provides a grid with products which can be dragged and dropped to a new position.  Alternatively, it is still possible to set a position value. Follow the link above for further information about the feature.

Magento 2 Commerce Gift Cards

Magento 2 Commerce Gift Cards Import Export

No more gift card extensions are necessary since Magento 2.3 Commerce offers the lacking functionality. The following gift card types are under your disposal: virtual and physical. You can sell virtual copies so that buyers can send them straight to an email address of a recipient. Alternatively, it is possible a physical gift card can be used instead. You will need to pack it and go to a post office like in case of a normal order. Other gift card features are described in the main article, so follow the link above.

Magento 2 Commerce Content Staging

Magento 2 Commerce Content Staging Import Export

And the Magento 2.3 Commerce offers an opportunity to create schedules for various storefront improvements. With the Content Staging functionality, you can design, preview, and schedule various content updates including not only design elements but also catalog and cart price rules. Here is the full list of supported elements:

  • Products and Categories;
  • Catalog and Cart Price Rules;
  • CMS Pages and Blocks;
  • Widgets.

With Magento 2 Content Staging, you always get two content types: its original version and a set of updates combined in a campaign. When an update is expired, the original content version is restored.

Magento 2 Commerce Store Credits

Magento 2 Store Credits Import Export

The store credit functionality is another feature available in Magento 2.3 Commerce. Now, you can provide your customers with credits out of the box. Feel free to use them instead of refunds, increase loyalty, and gain sales. As a Magento administrator, you can view and control a credit balance and history as well as apply a store credit to a purchase. Similar opportunities are represented from a buyer perspective.

Final Words

It seems that Magento 2.3 will push the platform to an entirely new level. The improvements mentioned above will substantially improve the current customer experience as well as introduce new opportunities for developers, merchants, and administrators. We look forward to the official release date and will update the post when more information is available.