2015 - year in review
Performance, performance, performance
While I'm proud of how great Commerce were in 2014, there are still areas where we need to improve. One of those is performance.
We paid attentions to important parts of the system, where customers demand the most. And the results were, quite impressive. From 8.11 to 8.15, many profiling and improvements had been done, and the results are quite expensive: loading cart performance increased with a fold of 4, loading Entry with CatalogEntryResponseGroup.Full performance increased with a fold of 3, etc.
However, the biggest change - "rewrite" catalog system, had to wait for Commerce 9.
Commerce 9 was, in no doubts, big release, in term of changes. And it surely is the biggest in term of performance gain. With the changes in underlying catalog system database, the performance gain is, massive. In some areas, the change is a whopping 10 fold, and other areas, 2-4x times faster. If you are still on Commerce 8.x, while it was a great product at its time, you are highly recommended to upgrade to latest 9.x version. Many customers've done it, and they're more than happy with the performance. 2015 was the year which I can finally be happy with overall performance of Commerce. Of course, there are still rooms for improvement and we are not perfect yet, but let's open a champaign for the performance gain we got.
New promotion system
I am OK with the old promotion system as an editor/administrator, but I'm no fan of it as a developer. When a bug is reported by the QA, I can follow the bug report to re-produce the bug for investigation, but when it comes to write an integration test to verify the correctness of bugfix (and of course, prevent the same mistake to be happenned in the future), I usually grin my teeth. So I'm all in favors for the new promotion system, when I can easily write tests for my fixes, and even unit tests (woo hoo). And did I mention a much more intuiative and well-designed UI?
The new promotion system has been on top of the list of our backlog since 2014. The reason you might not have heard much about it, was, because we don't want to - it has not been under spotlight since the start of days. Writing a new system which is supposed to be best-of-breed is no easy task, and we are careful about it. With the nuget packages approach, we have been able to get feedback more often - therefore the BETA API:s. As you already know, we follow the sematic version rules, so breaking changes are not allowed, unless, well, it's BETA. With careful consideration, we are allowed to move fast and break (necessary) things.
We introduced two new strongly typed discounts, and new shiny UI for managing Campaign and discounts. Markets support is added, and campaign/discount periods are improved. The engine has been fine-tuned.
New promotion system is still, being actively developed, and evolving. At this point of writing, there are at least 3 stories waiting to be released. But based on early feedback from customers tried it, I can say we're in right direction. If you want to use it now, at least to experiment and to learn, you're welcome to try. (and any issues you find will be treated with highest priority, I promise!).
Find is now one of core products of Episerver, and we're still working to integrate it more to Commerce. The old search provider system (remember LuceneSearchProvider, or Solr35SearchProvider?) works fine (well, most of the cases), but it's nothing compared to Find system. Even FindSearchProvider could not unitialize the power of Find. The only true thing to embrace Find is FindCommerce. And it has been paying attention last year. New events (http://world.episerver.com/blogs/Quan-Mai/Dates/2015/7/new-events-for-price-and-inventory-updates/) were introduced to empower the enrichment of indices in Find. New filters were added to make it easier for you to filter the right products.
Of course, there is no "done" for our product. Whenever new version of Find is released with new features, you'll see the reflection in FindCommerce. Expect even deeper integration and new features for Find Commerce in 2016!
When I joined Episerver in 2011, my first project was Enoteca, a demo site for Commerce (R2 SP1 at that time). It was a fully featured site, and served its purpose quite well as a demonstration. But Enoteca was not perfect to build a site. It's even difficult for an experienced developer to reuse some parts of it. With Commerce 7.5 released in November 2013, we introduced Commerce Sample site, which is not as complete as Enoteca, but can be used as a Starter package. You can just install a new Sample site and start adding stuffs to make it yours. It received quite many positive feedbacks from developers, especially the ones who want to learn Commerce. The only problem with Sample site, well, essential problem, is that it's WebForms, while the world has been moving forward with MVC. We had been asking for a sample MVC site frequently and decided to act.
After quite sometimes, Quicksilver saw its daylight as a Github project. Fully open-sourced and frequently updated with bugs and new features, there is no reason to not try it. It's the love of the first sight. The set up can not be simpler. The site is very well-designed and very modern looking. (Did you even notice the easter egg in the site?). Some features are still missing, but they will be added soon enough. There is very few things you don't love about Quicksilver. Go for it!
It was the first time ever, for a conference with such big size and scope. I, unfortunately, was not part of the event, but my colleagues - Mark Hall and Jonas Bergquivst were there, and their presenses were highly appreciated by developers all around the world. We were able to introduce new shiny things and also get great feedback from community. From external and internal sources, I can say it was a big success.
I'm really looking forward for Ascend 2016 and to be a part of it. Tell my boss you want to meet me there ;)
The last thing will be a bit personal: I finally reached the Oracle status in World forums. I'm happy to help people, to spread knowledge and best practices, and especially, to get great feedback from you. You're the driven force behind World forums, and I want to personally thank you for making it even better place.
The world is moving forward. You are. And we are, too. 2015 was a big year for Commerce, but the greatest things are still ahead. We have great ideas waiting to be implemented, we have great improvements to be made.
Let's hope 2016 will bring even more good things to Episerver products, Episerver Commerce and to our community!