The new version Magento 2.4 is available now. In this version, some very complex innovations have been added that make the update almost an upgrade. We have compiled the most important of them in this overview.
Another bigger step
In the history of Magento updates, there has always been a change in a reliable sequence from rather "smaller" updates, which mainly consist of bug fixes, and the more complex updates, which again properly expand or change the functional scope of Magento. The Magento 2.4 version definitely belongs to the latter type. Not because of the sheer number of innovations, but because of the high complexity of the changes and their importance for service providers, dealers, and customers. Magento 2.4 has been available since 07/28/2020 and can be described as a special milestone in the Magento version history, especially due to the change in some long-term core functions. The following overview shows which functions and features this affects and what else the new Magento version brings with it:
Features and fundamental changes
One thing that can be anticipated: The focus of Magento 2.4 is on fundamental changes to the platform and updating the various software standards, including PHP and MySQL. But the Magento B2B Edition is also growing. Check out more about Magento Support at RLTSquare. As usual, in addition to the new features and extensions mentioned, there are also numerous Buxfixes and performance improvements. A detailed view of all changes that Magento 2.4 has in stock can be found in Magento's official changelog.
When it comes to security, Magento has repeatedly been criticized in the past, even if the fault mostly lay with the corresponding extensions from third-party providers. Nonetheless, security is still an important issue for Magento. This also shows the possibility of two-factor authentication. This method has proven itself many times and that was reason enough for Magento to set this security query as the default for Magento admins from Magento 2.4.
As mentioned earlier, the general platform core of Magento expects many major changes. Above all, the news that the previous MySQL standard search engine will be completely removed from Magento. The details in detail:
MySQL Search Engine will be replaced by ElasticSearch: The previous Magento standard search engine MySQL Search Engine will be completely replaced by the third-party provider ElasticSearch. This means that when you buy a license for Magento 2.4, ElasticSearch must be installed in order to use Magento 2.4. As of version 2.4, Magento uses an intelligent search technology that is both more comfortable and much faster than the previous Magento standard. Another reason for the decision in favor of ElasticSearch will be that this technology is already the first choice for a very large number of Magento shop operators.
General support for PHP 7.4: An update to the latest PHP versions is necessary every year and makes perfect sense, especially when it comes to security. Therefore, Magento 2.4 will now support PHP 7.4. This also has an impact on all new extensions, which should have the same technical standard. Every third-party provider who wants to offer his extension in the Magento Store for Magento 2.4 must ensure that the software supports PHP 7.4, at best also PHP 7.3.
Update to PHPUnit 9: At this point, it is also important to mention that the PHPUnit framework has also been updated. Magento service providers must therefore ensure that their tests are up to date.
Support of MySQL 8.0: Magento 2.4 now fully supports the latest MySQL version 8.0. At the same time, MySQL 5.7 is the oldest version that is still supported. All versions below are no longer compatible.
Another major change to the Magento core concerns the infrastructure, more precisely the composition of the payment modules: Almost all third-party payment modules will be removed from the core. This step is also related to the new technology standard PHP 7.4 mentioned above. The providers affected include Braintree and Authorize.net.
There is good news for Magento customers and shop operators: Firstly, this makes the Magento core leaner and more resource-efficient - and secondly, each shop operator can decide for himself which payment methods he wants to offer. This is of particular benefit to European merchants, as many of the payment providers that have hitherto been firmly integrated are either completely unknown or unavailable in this region.
Compared to other major updates from Magento, the performance improvements in Magento 2.4 are a bit limited. Many fixes mainly affect Magento service providers and developers. For shop operators from the B2B sector, it is interesting that the speed of the popular Quick Order feature has been improved by 25-30%.
New media library and Adobe Stock connection:
This is another fundamental change to the Magento core because the Magento internal media library (Media Gallery) has been completely overhauled. In addition to a new layout, a direct connection to Adobe Stock was implemented. This enables users to view Adobe Stock image previews directly in the media library. On the other hand, the media library is getting a completely new interface that is supposed to make the search, filtering, and sorting of images up to 30 times faster.
News for the Magento B2B Edition
The B2B market is still one of the most important strategic topics at Magento. It is not for nothing that Magento Commerce has received the Magento B2B Edition since version 2.2. A lot of work has also been done on the popular B2B function package for Magento 2.4. Therefore, in addition to numerous bug fixes, a new feature has been added and an existing one has been expanded:
Order Approval Workflow: Users are already familiar with the feature itself, but what is new is that shop operators can now apply rules to it. Among other things, a company's sales force can create many different types of access rights for their buyers. Different rights lists can be created for each company. For example, rules for the number of orders, delivery costs, or individual items with configurable threshold values can be created. A dashboard then lists in an overview of all orders that require approval as well as a log of all actions that were carried out with an order. For example, this method makes processing orders that require multiple approvers much easier. Furthermore, the sales department of the selling company has further options for analyzing purchasing behavior and the needs of customers. A currency conversion tool helps with the final processing of rules, which will be of great help especially for e-commerce companies that are internationally active.
Seller-Assisted Shopping: This tool is a further development by the Magento community that has made it into the Magento core code as a permanent feature. This enables retailers to take a direct look at the customer's storefront with the consent of their customers. This is useful when a customer needs additional support or advice when placing an order. After an order has been placed, the retailer's existing access rights expire and he can no longer take any further actions on the customer's store. Thus, the customer is protected from unauthorized access and unauthorized actions on the part of the retailer.