WooCommerce released version 3.0 “Bionic Butterfly” yesterday with improvements to the product gallery and developer tools.
This version, which was previously going to be 2.7, is the first major release since the plugin switched to semantic versioning.
The release came after more than three months in beta and an extended RC testing period.
New product gallery
The new product gallery has subtle improvements for galleries with multiple images.
Clicking on a thumbnail updates the image without forcing it to open in a popup window.
Galleries in WooCommerce 3.0 “Bionic Butterfly” are also more intuitive on mobile with support for touch gestures.
This includes swipe to scroll through the gallery, pinch to zoom, and swipe up to close the current image.
The many bug fixes and improvements provides a much smoother experience of viewing product images.
Significant performance improvements
The WooCommerce 3.0 “Bionic Butterfly” release includes significant performance improvements.
The switch from post meta to taxonomies for features like product visibility, featured products, and out of stock products is one.
WooCommerce contributors also reduced the number of queries required to display related products and upsells.
Version 3.0 introduces CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) classes for developers, making it easier to write and retrieve data from the database with less code.
“High order volume is one of the best problems a store can have, but it can really slow down your site’s performance,” WooCommerce lead developer Mike Jolley said.
“That’s why our team’s main focus this year is performance and scalability.” Scalability improvements are planned for the next several releases.
WooCommerce 3.0 “Bionic Butterfly” also introduces a new command line interface (CLI) powered by the REST API.
The previous CLI didn’t fully support the same functionality and was powered by its own separate code.
The new CLI forks Restful to make REST API endpoints available as WP-CLI commands.
The code that WooCommerce has to maintain is now much smaller.
It ensures that the commands are always current as the project’s REST API is updated in the future.
A renewed need for support
The WooCommerce support forums on WordPress.org lit up with requests after 3.0 was released.
The most noteworthy issue pinned to the top of the forums is an incompatibility with Select2 v3.
The latest version of WooCommerce uses Select2 V4 and this may cause an issue with AJAX search inputs in plugins and themes loading an older version of Select2.
Another issue users are having after upgrade is frontend pages reloading endlessly.
WooCommerce developers have identified this as a problem with the geolocation setting.
They are working on a fix for 3.0.1.
Many users are also reporting issues about incompatibilities with themes or plugins after updating to WooCommerce 3.0 “Bionic Butterfly.
This release received more than 3,000 commits from 115 contributors.
With this many changes packed into a major release, WooCommerce developers recommend testing on a staging site and making a backup before updating the plugin.
This gives you the opportunity to make sure your theme and plugins are compatible with the update.