Much has been happening behind the scenes at WooCommerce since the release of 3.5 in October 2018. The team has been working hard on a variety of improvements that are now available in WooCommerce 3.6.
Two key features will make your store load faster and provide a more engaging experience for your customers:
- Performance Improvements
- WooCommerce Product Blocks
Throughout the build process of WooCommerce 3.6, our team focused heavily on both automated and manual testing, performing in-depth benchmarks of performance across a variety of database sizes.
As with all previous releases, we also ran tests against our extensions and popular themes – we’ve even been running WooCommerce 3.6 right here on WooCommerce.com.
WooCommerce 3.6 is considered a minor release, meaning it should be fully backwards compatible with all WooCommerce releases since 3.0. We still highly recommend you follow best practices and back up your site prior to updating.
Here are some further details around what’s new in 3.6:
WooCommerce Product Blocks
For those who have been working with the new block-based editor that shipped in WordPress 5.0, you’ll be well aware that it enables you to build feature-rich pages and posts on your site.
In WooCommerce 3.6, WooCommerce Product Blocks build upon the power of the block editor, allowing you to easily feature products on posts and pages via eight new blocks:
- Featured products: Select and display a single product in a new “high-impact” format. Control text alignment, show or hide the price and description, add a color overlay, change the button call to action, specify a custom height, or override the product photograph.
- Individual, hand-picked products: Search for and display products of your choice in a grid.
- Bestsellers/top-rated: Display a grid of your best-selling products, filterable by category.
- Newest products: Display a grid of your newest products, filterable by category.
- Sale products: Display a grid of on sale products, filterable by category.
- Products with specific attributes or terms: Display any products that have been assigned multiple or specific attribute terms.
For details on all the options available with WooCommerce Product Blocks, check out our recent blog post on them.
While Product Blocks open up a variety of improvements to the visual side of your store, a great deal of work has gone into making WooCommerce more performant on both customer-facing and administrative pages.
The foundation of the performance improvements in 3.6 is built upon a new Product Data Lookup Table which takes key pieces of data about products and makes them more efficient to query.
The lookup table caches items like SKU, sale and stock statuses, and product rating information into one database table. This allows us to not have to do costly/un-performant database joins on post meta tables.
The end result is speed, a key metric for page ranking and customer happiness.
You’ll also feel the speed improvements in WP Admin when performing actions such as bulk product management, searching variations, or working with downloadable products.
For an in-depth look at the technical details for all of these performance improvements, we encourage you to read the post on our developer blog.
But wait – there’s more
New Admin Dashboard and Reports Too
And finally – in case you missed our recent post, we’ve also launched a new feature plugin boasting a fresh, modern dashboard with updated analytics.
WooCommerce Admin offers a much more powerful reporting and analytics experience. It aims to ease management tasks with new Activity Panels and a customizable Dashboard.
Ready for 3.6?
We’re here if you need us:
- Think you’ve found a bug with WooCommerce 3.6 or a conflict with another plugin? Report it via our GitHub issue tracker.
- Need help with the upgrade? Visit our Support page.
- Want to chat about the release, or have a great idea for the next version? Start a discussion on the public WooCommerce forums at WordPress.org.
Please note that we are not able to diagnose or solve potential issues via blog comments. The fastest way to get in touch with us is one of the methods listed above.
If you would like more technical details about this update, you can read our post on the developer blog.
What do you think of our latest release? Let us know in the comments!