Today we are very excited to announce that WooCommerce 3.7 is officially available. This latest release of WooCommerce has been in development since April 2019 and contains over 1290 commits from 22 contributors, and is our first release towards smaller, more stable, and more frequent releases.
WooCommerce 3.7 is a minor release which means everything should be backward compatible with previous versions of WooCommerce. We do however always recommend that you ensure all your plugins and theme is compatible before updating and making sufficient backups for peace of mind – please see this guide for more details.
WooCommerce 3.7 ships with Product Blocks 2.3 for the WordPress Block Editor which contains numerous enhancements and performance improvements since the introduction of Product Blocks in 3.6.
The following new features were added for stores running WordPress 5.1 and higher, or with the latest version of the Gutenberg editor plugin installed:
- A new focal point picker on the Featured Product Block.
- A new Product Categories List Block.
- A new Featured Category Block.
- A new Products By Tag(s) Block.
In addition to these new blocks, there were also performance improvements made in looking up products and loading block assets on frontend pages.
We have also branded our blocks for better discoverability so it is easier to identify WooCommerce specific blocks.
WordPress & PHP Minimum Requirements
In efforts to stay up to date and offer the best experiences for stores, we have upped the minimum WordPress and PHP version requirements.
Starting with WooCommerce 3.7 stores are now required to have minimum WordPress 4.9 installed and minimum PHP 5.6.
We have also added nudges to upgrade WordPress and PHP versions in WooCommerce 3.6 and will continue to evaluate the new minimum requirements with each release we do of WooCommerce.
Stores running a version of PHP less than 5.6 and WordPress 4.9 will not be able to update to WooCommerce 3.7, we have however put together a guide for those wanting to update their WordPress and PHP versions.
We are continuously evaluating the performance of WooCommerce and as such shipped a couple of performance improvements with this release:
- Tax classes have moved from using the wp_options table to a new dedicated tax class table
- Reduced the number of queries to populate variations.
- Excluding Action Scheduler tasks from all comments queries speeding up page load times considerably on pages where comment data is loaded (product reviews, post comments, admin pages).
- Fixed a performance bottleneck on the persistent cart.
Additional Content Email Settings
We have introduced new Additional Content sections to all email templates, which replaces the old hardcoded “Thanks” sections.
Store owners can now change this wording from the Email Settings for each type of email without the need to override templates.
Auto Coupon Code Generation
WooCommerce 3.7 also introduces new Coupon Code Generation functionality to the Coupons admin pages.
In the past, if you were a heavy coupon user it took some time and thinking to come up with new unique coupon codes, we have now taken the heavy lifting off your shoulders and now allow you to generate coupon codes with the click of a button.
The coupon code generation algorithm is fully customizable via filters should you wish to alter the default behavior.
Package Management System
With WooCommerce 3.7 we have also made a big fundamental change on how we handle inclusions of certain features that are developed outside of the WooCommerce core plugin.
The change in PHP minimum requirements has now allowed us to utilize Composer for including all our features developed outside of the core WooCommerce plugin, like the REST API and WooCommerce Product Blocks.
End users are not affected by this change and do not need to do anything in order to keep having the REST API and Product Blocks functional. We will include these packages in all our releases.
Beyond these enhancements, the release also contains some tweaks, new hooks and, fixes – all of which you can find out about in the readme.
Updating to WooCommerce 3.7
Since WooCommerce 3.7 is a minor version, it should be compatible with previous versions of WooCommerce, we still recommend that you test and make sufficient backups before performing the update on a production site.
Note: There are a few post-update database upgrade routines that need to run after updating. These may run for a while if you have a large amount of data in your database. On very large databases we recommend running the upgrade routine with the WP CLI command
wp wc update instead of through the admin interface.
If you’re a developer and missed the beta and release candidates (RC), please go through the beta announcement to see what has changed and was deprecated.
How WooCommerce 3.7 Was Tested
WooCommerce 3.7 Beta was announced on 16 July 2019, and since then the release has been in a code freeze. What this means is that we have not introduced any code since then apart from fixes to functionality that were included in the 3.7 release.
This release is also the first release where we have better test plans in place with more testers on an array of hosts running popular extensions and themes.
Apart from our new testing plans, we have also done the following:
- Running the release candidate on WooCommerce.com in production.
- Internally tested all our extensions and themes.
- Did some managed updates for actual customers on staging sites to pick up on any conflicts or bugs before the public release.