What's in Magento 2.4.4?

What's in Magento 2.4.4?

Introduction

The next release for Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source is 2.4.4.  It's been a long time in the making, is the first release since Adobe have started to be more open about the direction they are taking Magento, and recently the release date has been pushed back by more than a month.  It seems like Adobe are gearing up for some major changes, so what can we understand from the release notes?

To me, it feels like Adobe are treating this release as the start of the new journey and direction they're taking Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source, and I'm expecting it to be a pretty big release in terms of code changes, so it is interesting to look at the release notes to get an understanding of the changes we can expect.

You can find the Commerce release notes here and the Open Source version here, and you might have a hard time tracking them down in a search engine.  It's because Adobe have added canonical links on both pages pointing to the non-beta versions of the release notes, but these pages don't actually exist yet.  So the end result is that search engines basically aren't indexing the beta release notes pages at all, and that's making them harder to find.

In today's video I'm going to be looking through the release notes for Commerce and Open Source, giving you the important points and changes so you can be prepared for the upgrade.  There are going to be some points in here that need to be addressed by your store developer, while other points will be more general interest and won't need any action taking.

Conclusion

For me, there's quite a lot in these release notes that confirms my predictions at the end of my recent blog post on the direction Commerce is headed, and already merchants are being pushed towards SaaS solutions in preference of self hosted functionality.

But the release does also bring some good additions.  Support for PHP 8.1 should give stores a really good boost in performance, and the asynchronous orders functionality, if it lives up to the claims on the releases notes, does sound potentially interesting.

However if you remember, also from my recent blog post where I looked at the Adobe developers conference keynote, Adobe told us that there wouldn't be any new functionality coming to the current codebase.  This leads me to believe that this new asynchronous order functionality is going to be SaaS only, and the fact that it's not even mentioned in the Open Source release notes supports that.  I think that exactly the same is probably also true for OpenSearch - it is talked about on the Open Source release notes, but I wonder if it's just an oversight as the context is completely around the cloud offering of Commerce.  So don't expect any significant level of customisation to be possible with asynchronous orders or OpenSearch - because they're SaaS.

I am also slightly concerned as to what exactly the removal of vendor bundled extensions means.  It seems like this is a push by Adobe to begin to slim down the core codebase allowing them to move towards much lighter LTS releases.  This in turn allows them to concentrate much more on the SaaS side reducing potential support issues by moving support responsibility for currently built in functionality to third parties.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see Adobe close a whole bunch of tickets on GitHub after this release as support for those issues won't any longer be their responsibility.  Currently there are just over 1200 open tickets, let's see how many there are after 2.4.4 is released.

Overall there are certainly some changes that are worth discussing here.  In my blog post in January on the future of Open Source, I did speculate that Adobe were quite advanced in their implementation of Commerce with Experience Cloud, and that certainly does seem to be the case here.

My expectation is that future releases will continue to slim the codebase by stripping out core functionality.  It seems like this could be the case in this release with the removal of vendor bundled extensions.  I also think Adobe will continue to add more SaaS services to give either new, or replacement functionality in preparation for current codebase functionality being stripped out entirely at some point in the future.

That about wraps up my thoughts on these release notes, but please do let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Thanks for reading this post and watching the video.  If you're in need of a Magento developer to do your stores 2.4.4 upgrade, you can find one here, or by clicking the 'find a developer' button at the top of this page.  It's quick, free and connects you with quality Magento devs from across the UK.