I recently wrote a post about the exciting new changes and features which are being addressed in the upcoming Drupal 8 release. Another exciting development is the release of Drupal Commerce 2.x which is expected to coincide with the Drupal 8 release. These two packages will change the world of Drupal-based commerce.
Drupal Commerce 2 at DrupalCamp Austin, TX
Ryan Szrama recently spoke about Drupal Commerce 2.x at DrupalCamp Austin, TX. It is set for release in late 2014. Ryan started his career at Ebay and went on to create Ubercart. If you know anything about Drupal, you already know that for a long time Ubercart was the only commerce module to use with Drupal. In the past few years Ryan moved on from Ubercart and began working with Commerce Guys to become a primary developer of Drupal Commerce. Here are a few high points from his presentation.
The first thing one notices about Commerce Kickstart 2.x is the out of the box look. Once installed, it looks like a “ready to go” store. This is a result of the effort being made to push out market segment focused distributions. (More on that later.)
Don’t Hard Code Business Logic
With this new release, Commerce will still be of the philosophy that you don’t hard code business logic. Commerce still relies on developer’s expertise in rules and views to implement logic like shipping calculations, Tax rules, etc. At Pixeldust, we love Drupal Commerce for this very reason. In software like Ubercart you would typically install a shipping module that included several calculations that you would make work for your requirements. Commerce prefers that you write your own shipping rules, customized for your needs, thus eliminating superfluous or unused code.
Drupal commerce is integrated with Jirafe, a commerce analytics service. Now we suddenly have commerce analytics.
“Jirafe connects directly with your eCommerce platform to bring your sales and order data together with your website data, giving you 100% exact numbers.”
Market Focused Distributions
One area of focus for Commerce 2x is the push to launch distributions for specific market segments. This means that out of the box a specific distribution will be tailored for a specific market segment, like physical products sales, digital products sales, event sales and organization, or maybe a daily deals type of platform. This is where Commerce Kickstart 2.0 Distribution came from. It has its own theme out of the box, so it can act as if it was its own application. The Commerce developers were really looking to present the experience of targeting a market segment. Kickstart 2.0 focuses on physical products. The daily deals distribution called Open Deals has similar functionality to LivingSocial or Groupon. There is also a conference organizing distribution called COD that is specifically designed around organizing conferences like drupal camp.
A large impetus for the kickstart distribution was to get Paypal, Authorize.net and other popular services to buy into the the platform. Currently there are eight 3rd party service integrations and more expected before launch.
Commerce Mobile App
The Commerce mobile app is also a new addition for Drupal Commerce 2x. This is based on a commerce application server that was developed into a commerce services project. This facilitates turning your commerce site into a REST API to interact with your engine. The mobile app, which works in Apple IOS and Android, then connects to the services that are exposed. The cart is managed through the website. Commerce Guys offers this service as a subscription based model. This can be customized per the clients’ needs.
As with all Drupal releases, the timeline for development is a little squishy. The goal is to have a Drupal Commerce 2.x Beta available at the same time that Drupal 8 launches. It is expected that the Rules user interface will not be available for the Beta release. This is because D8 itself will not have a rules UI for the first release. This is a real downer, but hopefully we will be surprised.
December 2014 Is the optimistic target launch date.
Conduit vs Container
Drupal Commerce wants to be seen as a conduit for all commerce needs rather than a stand alone container for internet transactions. As a conduit it is designed to filter sales data into accounting systems, fulfillment systems, newsletter management systems, etc. To accomplish this Commerce developers are taking full advantage of the REST module that will be a core component of Drupal 8.
Product Data Module
In the past Drupal products required entity type and node type. Node type becomes the product display. This works, but it’s overly node specific. An example, the Commerce module in D7 can only add comments to nodes. In Drupal 8, you will be able to add comments to entities. Product types will now be allowed to have displays and will be displayed on the front-end without a product display node.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of features and improvements to expect in Drupal Commerce 2.x., it does provide a little taste of what to expect. If you would like to see Ryan’s full presentation, it is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW8lbPgndFM