WooCommerce released a new version 4.0 update on March 10, 2020. “WooCom” as we call it, is the leader among WordPress plugins for ecommerce and online storefronts. This new version is chock full of “enhancements, tweaks, and fixes,” according to the change log accompanying this update. I have reviewed all the details — quite a lengthy list. Normally when a new WooCom is released, I have it installed and tested within just a couple days. But since this is such a big update, containing lots of new code, I’ve taken a slower wait-and-see approach to rolling it out on all client sites that use it. Why the wait?
Wait and Watch
It is not uncommon for WooCommerce to release additional minor updates within just days of a major release. There are many many other plugins that hook into WooCommerce and work alongside it, relying on all its parts and pieces to be working properly. Minor updates following a big release will often be addressing fixes that only appear after actual websites begin installing and using it in big numbers. So it seemed prudent, in this case, to hold off for about a week before I began updating all the Oakley Studio client websites currently using WooCommerce. In the meantime all these WooCom websites are continuing to use the previous version 3.9.2 — and that is humming along just fine.
Most of our WooCommerce online store owners have added at least one or two additional WooCom add-ons, extensions, and other plugins from third-party developers. So along with the big v4.0 release, there were quite a few other WooCom plugins etc that updated in quick succession. By holding off on updating all of these software components on our client websites, we’ve avoided any bad “gotchas” or minor hiccups, while watching how the rollout is going across the WordPress ecosphere. And then, all things looking good, we can proceed with caution.
Updating Our WooCom Websites
With all this preamble out of the way… yesterday March 17th, I began carefully upgrading and testing each website with the new WooCom v4.0. Those updates continued into today, with the last few completed just before I started on this blog post. I encountered no failed upgrades, no errors, and all ecom checkout testing proceeded without incident. All looking good!
Please log into your website and have a look at the new WooCommerce Dashboard, which presents a “Performance” section, comparing the current period of sales with the previous year. And there are a bunch of new charts there as well. Orders and order processing look and behave much as before.
Want more info on how we perform ecommerce checkout testing? We wrote up our process in a blog post last December. Read: “WooCommerce Checkout Testing.”
This major new v4.0 release now includes “WooCommerce Admin” (formerly a separate plugin), a “New Dashboard,” “New and Improved Reports,” a new “Customer View,” and “Store Management Tools” for a more efficient workflow. Here’s the announcement and overview from WooCommerce. To quote the developers,
“WooCommerce 4.0 is a landmark release that taps into the latest technology powering the WordPress ecosystem to improve everyday workflows for store owners.”