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Spree Commerce open source project in 2018 and forward

2017-10-02

by Mike Faber

Hello Spree friends!

In the spirit of transparency, please find below the current status report for the Spree Commerce open source project.

Shortcuts:


About Spree

Spree Commerce is a complete, scalable, API-driven open source Ecommerce framework. It is built with Ruby on Rails, empowering forward thinking developers for years. Spree is a mature and market proven technology.

Spree is well suited to serve as a custom technology platform for any type of an Ecommerce application: an online shop, a multi vendor marketplace, a rich-content driven commerce project, a social commerce website or a backend engine for an Ecommerce mobile or tablet app (iOS, Android).

Spree allows you to design and develop a unique, beautiful front-end UX. On the backend it combines API driven omni-channel support with multiple stock location capability, enabling business scalability and flexibility.

Spree allows for rapid development and short time to market because its lean core functionality may be easily customized with a collection of official extensions, as well as hundreds of unofficial ones. By applying these extensions you may customize Spree to your specific use case, industry or a business model.

There are also Spree User and Developer guides available.

But most importantly, Spree Commerce is a vibrant community of users, developers, contributors, agencies and software houses using it to power their Ecommerce projects. Most of them can be found in the official Spree slack channels.


Kudos!

On behalf of all the Spree Commerce users and developers around the world, please accept sincere thanks and congratulations on your support for the Spree community and also on your accomplishments - both open-source and commercial.

Because of your Spree related efforts and track record, Spree Commerce ecosystem, consisting of people, communication channels and most of all open source solutions, continues to grow, evolve and improve to serve the needs of thousands of Spree based projects around the world. Kudos!


Spree powers thousands of successful stores - old and new

Several new Spree projects go live every month and raise tens of millions in funding to execute their go to market strategy.

Existing Spree stores multiply their year to year revenues thanks to unique responsive layouts and UX, but also up-selling and cross-seling customizations.

Spree based platforms deliver top performance to thousands of end-users beating competition in terms of page load times and SEO efforts.

Spree integrates well with any 3rd party systems, such as warehouse management solutions, 3PL, ERP, accounting, taxation or analytics solutions, so you may automate and scale your business beyond limitations of your legacy platform or any home grown system.

Spree lies at the heart of tech stacks allowing for thousands of concurrent end users not only on the cached home page or other static pages, but more importantly on the interactive cart and checkout pages. After all, handling traffic peaks in the checkout flow is critical for delivering great UX and increasing sales.

There are thousands of Spree based stores around the world in all the top shopping categories:

  • Computers & Consumer Electronics (including Mobile Phones, Video Games, Consoles, and Accessories),
  • Apparel, Shoes and Accessories (from basic Clothing to luxury Fashion, Jewelry and Watches),
  • Beauty & Health (including Cosmetics, Self-Care Products and Fragrances),
  • Home & Lifestyle (including Furniture, Decor, Appliances, but also Flowers, Greetings and Gifts),
  • Food & Cookware (from Non-perishables to Groceries, from specialty Diet options to Organic Food and Cooking Equipment),
  • Baby Equipment (including Cribs, Strollers, Swings),
  • Automotive & Industrial (including Wholesale),
  • Books, Music & Digital Products (including Subscription based),
  • Travel & Outdoors (including Booking Services, but also booming Sportswear),
  • Business (including Office Supplies) & Education,
  • Hobbies, Toys & Entertainment (including Event Tickets),
  • Tools, DIY, Craft Supplies.

Why use Spree?

  • Build the exact custom storefront you want, quickly

  • Control every aspect of the platform, including your unique CX

  • Automate your business by integrating 3rd party solutions

  • Easily maintain your solutions and integrations over time

  • Follow your business evolution with custom software development

  • Scale up at a lower cost than with SaaS or Enterprise solutions

  • Use lightweight and battle-proven technology - keep it short and simple

  • Onboard new developers or transfer your project easily (no humans harmed)


If you just need a typical, non-custom Ecommerce solution without any complex integrations, you’d probably be better off with a SaaS / cloud solution.


Vibrant Spree community

Spree contributors, developers and users are the soul of the Spree ecosystem. Where to find them? Most of the action takes place on GitHub.

In fact, Spree is the #1 open source Ecommerce project on GitHub in terms of community activity.

Here’s a snapshot of GitHub action as of early October 2017:

  • 17,923 commits
  • 731 contributors
  • 255 translators
  • 8739 GitHub stars
  • 3924 GitHub forks
  • 600k+ total downloads

We’ve got the numbers!


Spree slack - get support, give support!

In case you need to talk to a Spree developer or just socialize with like minded professionals, the best place to go is Spree slack channels, a live chatting application.

There are almost 2000 users there and you may chat with them about almost anything. So join now and get support, give support.

Join the Spree slack now, if you’re not already there!

Download the Windows, Mac, iOS, Android application for your desktop and mobile. Stay in the loop.

The most popular Spree slack channels are:

  • General - say hello, ask a general question
  • Support - describe your issue in detail to get support or browse the issues and give support
  • Contributors - if you’re into open source stardom
  • Github - track latest code repo changes


How to get started with Spree?

Get started with Spree. It’s easy!

1. Run a private SPREE DEMO
Launch your own, private Spree demo in minutes and try the newest version

2. Review SPREE GUIDES
Review the Spree user guides, developer guides, API guides and release notes

3. Get the SPREE CODE FROM GITHUB
Get the newest Spree version from Github, submit any issues you might run into

4. Pick your SPREE EXTENSION
There are several official Spree extensions for most popular use cases, which extend the lean Spree core. If you feel like you need something specific, it’s quite easy to develop your own extension and customize the way Spree works out of the box.

5. Join the SPREE SLACK COMMUNITY
Join the community of almost 2000 Spree business users and developers on a live chat application Slack


Latest techstack, Ruby & Rails support

Spree officially supports the last three Rails versions, so you may take your pick:

Why it matters? When starting a new project, you want to start fresh and build for the future, probably choosing the newest tech stack, enriched with great new features.

When maintaining an existing business, on the other hand, you want continuous support for your platform.

Spree delivers both.


Custom frontend for great user experience

They say the first rule of marketing is differentiate from others. Stand out from the crowd.

Spree allows for easy customer-facing frontend customization, so you may dazzle your users with smooth, frictionless journey from the entry point, right to the “thank you for shopping” page.

Nowadays frontend developers tend to use javascript frameworks to deliver great UX. Spree integrates well with React.js (Facebook open source tech), but also Angular or Ember. Whatever your JS framework of choice might be, Spree gives you the freedom to craft beautiful user experiences.


Universal extensions

Spree out of the box provides a lean, flexible, scalable functionality, which may be customized to achieve your project’s objectives. Customizations may be introduced by using Spree Extensions.

Spree ecosystem offers a set of officially supported, universal extensions available from a spree-contrib repository.

Those official, universal extensions are all compatible with Rails 4.2, 5.0, 5.1 and Spree 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 i 3.4. So you don’t have to worry if an extension you need actually works with the latest Rails or Spree version. This is not the PHP world.

Spree Core Team is open to suggestions which unofficial or outdated extensions should be updated and officially maintained. Please submit your suggestions on Spree Slack or by email.


Updated guides

You are very welcome to take advantage of the Spree User Guides! This documentation is intended for business owners and site administrators of Spree Ecommerce sites. Everything you need to know to configure and manage your Spree store can be found here.

Should you find any errors in these guides, or topics you wish to see covered, please let us know by creating an issue on GitHub.

If you are a Spree developer, you may find the Spree Developer Guides to be of benefit to you, though we strongly urge you to read through both sets of guides. This part of Spree’s documentation covers the technical aspects of Spree. If you are working with Rails and are building a Spree store, this is the documentation for you.

The best place to start is the Spree Getting Started guide.

We also have the Spree API Guide. This site covers the inner working of Spree's RESTful API. It assumes a basic understanding of the principles of REST.

The REST API is designed to give developers a convenient way to access data contained within Spree. With a standard read/write interface to store data, it is now very simple to write third party applications (eg. iPhone) that can talk to your Spree store. It is also possible to build sophisticated middleware applications that can serve as a bridge between Spree and a warehouse or inventory system.

For a comprehensive list of API functions, start browsing the resources in this diagram.

BTW Check out that cool guides search auto-complete functionality provided by algolia. Thanks!


Spree roadmap for 2017 and 2018

In case you’re curious what’s in store for upcoming Spree versions, look no further!

You may find a constantly updated list of features and fixes for the future versions of Spree on GitHub.

And guess what, you’re welcome to request new features or fixes yourself! It’s easy, just add a new GitHub Issue. The community contributors and Core Team members will review it, comment on it, triage and prioritize. There’s a good chance your request will make it into one of the next Spree versions.

Experience Open Source movement at its best. :-)

If you're interested in a more strategic insight into the Spree roadmap, an architectural perspective, please join the #contributors channel on Spree Slack or get in touch by email.

The future of Spree is API driven, with a smaller, cleaner, modular core.

On the customer-facing side, expect a decoupled frontend, so you will be able to use any technology you like to implement a custom UX for any device or channel. Why not use React.js for a responsive website. Swift for a native mobile app. Java for an Android mobile app. Any technology you like for any channel you want.

Also expect an easy migration path and continuous support for stores running 3.x versions.


Core Team

Besides hundreds of contributors, who are the soul of the community, Spree has a Core Team whose members work together to develop the project, maintain the source code and provide support.

There are hundreds different contributors to the Spree project. But the core team is essential in maintaining order as well as helping to run the growing infrastructure required for the project. It is the Core Team that drives the strategic development of the project.

Everyone is invited to join the Core Team. Candidates will be appreciated and evaluated based on the volume and quality of the code contributed to the project as well as their sustained efforts in improving the overall quality of the Spree community.

Join us! It’s fun and your name will forever be engraved in the annals of the Open Source movement. Nothing looks better on your CV than some significant open source work.


Contribute to Spree open source

In the spirit of free software, everyone is encouraged to help improve this project.

Celebrate open source with us this October by participating in the fourth annual Hacktoberfest, a month-long celebration of open source software in partnership with DigitalOcean.

Even if you miss Hacktoberfest, don’t panic! We encourage contributions all year round.

Here are some ways you can contribute:

Please review the contributing guidelines before contributing.


Spree jobs

Spree enables to onboard any Ruby on Rails developer (unlike in the PHP Ecomm world), so not all Spree jobs are entitiled "Spree developer". However we feel, it is important to connect CTOs with Spree developers, business people with Spree CTOs. Connecting them builds a stronger Spree ecosystem, through dissemination of know how and word of mouth.

If you're hiring Spree talent:

If you're looking for a Spree job, you already know the drill... post on slack, tweet @spreecommerce (we'll retweet and post on FB), post on Spree Linkedin group. Thanks!

If needed in the future, we'll think about a regular job board.


Spree Partner Network

If you run or work at a Ruby on Rails agency or a software house, we want to pick your brain in regards to Spree dev roadmap. What features do you need? What are the most common challanges in your Spree projects? How can we help? How can we make Spree better for the benefit of your projects and the community? Let's schedule a call and discuss.

Let's also talk business. Spree ecosystem offers exciting business opportunities for agencies and software houses launching and maintaining Spree based projects.

Take advantage of those opportunities by:

  • sharing your Spree success stories with the community - submit your Spree-based project case study for publication

    • on the official Spree site

    • in the Spree social media reaching thousands of users

  • publishing guest posts on the official Spree blog (coming soon)

  • getting official Spree support for your extension, payment gateway or other projects

  • getting official Spree support your Spree job offers - we'll retweet, repost

  • having your developers proudly join the Spree Core Team

  • promoting your services and products as an Official Spree Partner


New spreecommerce.org website

We're currently working on launching a new spreecommerce.org website. This one is obviously just a temporary landing page :-)

If you're experiencing any trouble with the website, just let us know. Thanks!

On the new website, besides the usual about section, we'd like to present your Spree success stories, but also some development quick wins for the business stakeholders. Stay tuned!


Spree events

If you’re interested in sharing your insights, experiences, expectations, learning more about future Spree versions and meeting Spree Core Team members, there are at least three ways:

  • Workshop - invite us for a Spree know how sharing workshop at your location

  • Hackaton - let’s arrange for an open-source hackaton at your location

  • Local events - invite us to speak at your local event

Contact us to discuss.

Last year we’ve held a 2 day OpenCommerce Conf event in NYC on E-Commerce for both developers and business people. The event agenda was packed with Spree Success Stories from projects big and small.

Relive OpenCommerce Conf talks and absorb some of the speaker's know how and wisdom - look for Slideshare links for each Speaker profile at: opencommerceconf.org

We’re planning on hosting more conference type events in 2018. Contact us if you’d like to contribute or participate.


Long story short

Spree Commerce is an Ecommerce framework for complex and demanding projects. It's:

  • a set of Ecommerce building blocks for the exact storefront that you want

  • well suited for demanding, highly custom projects and complex integrations

  • built by developers for developers to achieve flexibility, extensibility, scalability

  • cheaper than enterprise class solutions, but delivers rich functionality, enables innovation, great UX/CX and relatively short time-to-market


Follow Spree on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin

Make sure to stay in the loop by following Spree on:


Contact us with questions, suggestions, requests

You may reach us on Spree Slack or by email. Talk soon!

Yours Truly,
Spree Core Team

Blog

Scalable Open Source Ecommerce Platform

BEST FREE ECOMMERCE PLATFORM

It’s free. For small business, startups, enterprise. Try a Spree Commerce demo, checkout Spree github, tutorials, live chat on Slack.

FLEXIBILE ECOMMERCE FRAMEWORK

Spree is written in Ruby on Rails (web framework), highly customizable and well supported by the community (several useful extensions).

FAST DEVELOPMENT, SHORT TIME TO MARKET

With Spree you can release an MVP faster than with any other framework.

FACEBOOK-LIKE UI with REACT.js

On the front-end we also use React (JavaScript library), which is created, supported and used by Facebook for a facebook-like user experience.

ECOMMERCE SEO SUPPORT

Relevant, Meaningful URLs, On Page Keyword Targeting, Clean Content thanks to Twitter Bootstrap, a responsive CSS framework search-enginge-friendly, On Site Performance Optimization Minimizing HTTP requests for better search engine crawler behavior

UNLIMITED SKUs

Spree can be optimized and cached in multiple layers to sustain millions of SKUs. We've built a marketplace with 3 million SKUs which handled 15.000 requests per minute in load testing / DDoS simulation.

ROBUST PRICING & PROMOTIONS ENGINE

Promotions within Spree are used to provide discounts to orders, as well as to add potential additional items at no extra cost. Promotions can be activated in three different ways: when a user adds a product to their cart, enters a coupon code during the checkout process or visits a page within the Spree store

REPORTING AND DATA VISUALIZATION

Get all your data into a data warehouse with out of the box Segment integration, then connect to a visualization and reporting tools. Explore your data, drill down into KPIs, find out what's happening, discover a root cause, find a solution, turn data into actionable items.

INTEGRATIONS MADE EASY WITH SPREE API

Integrate with the Ecommerce ecosystem using robust Spree API. Connect to your warehouse solution, ERP, accounting software, analytical tool, marketing automation, omni channel solution, loyalty program platform. You name it!.

See what you can do with Spree and launch a demo now

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