spree commerce 4.4

In this latest release, following the low-code and no-code trends, Spree becomes even more composable by introducing Webhooks and Platform API as well as more customizable with Metadata. That translates into easier integration opportunities and shorter delivery timelines. On the business front, this latest Spree version introduces downloadable Digital Product sales (documents, ebooks, images, audio tracks, video files) and Wishlists making it an even more universally useful open-source eCommerce platform. 

Digital Product downloads 

With the new Digital Products downloads functionality you may use Spree to sell the following example product and file types: 

  • E-BOOK file types: mobi, epub, pdf
  • POSTER file types: jpg, png
  • IMAGE file types: png in 3 resolutions
  • DOCUMENT TEMPLATE file type: PDF, Word 
  • LARGER DOCUMENTS file type: ZIP
  • DATA SETS file type: CSV, TXT

You may also sell any variations of the above download types such as e-tickets, e-courses, music and videos files, and just about anything else that comes in a digital format. 

This feature also allows you to attach files to physical products, such as users manuals, vouchers, or exclusive digital artworks associated with the product.

Digital products are created the same way as physical products (for the most part), with the only difference being that when a customer has only digital products in their cart, the delivery step of the checkout will be skipped entirely. After purchase, the customer will be able to download their files.

As any Spree feature, Digital Products may be managed through the admin panel and are fully supported with API endpoints in Storefront and Platform API collections.

digital products

Wishlists for upselling

A Wishlist allows registered users to create personalized collections of products they want to buy and then save them for future reference in their user account. Wishlists represent your customers’ interest in the product without an immediate intent to purchase or if the product is currently out of stock.

Wishlists provide you with a wide range of marketing opportunities, from identifying user trends and tracking marketing campaign effectiveness to planning new email or PPC campaigns centered around the items commonly included within users’ wishlists.

As any Spree feature, Wishlists are fully supported with API endpoints in Storefront and Platform API collections.

Webhooks for no-code integrations

Anyone may use Webhooks as a no-code way to connect Spree with 3rd party solutions. For instance, an order webhook may send an updated, up-to-date list of orders every time someone makes a purchase. Getting this information using API would require sending periodic API requests to the “Return a list of Orders” endpoint. On the other hand, a properly set up webhook would feed the relevant order information only when the order list changes triggered by a new purchase.

Webhooks are one of the many ways that apps can communicate with one another by sending automated messages or information. A webhook delivers data to other applications as it happens, meaning you get data immediately and without asking for it.

So the main upside of using webhooks is that applications don’t have to make periodic calls to APIs while waiting for changes. Instead, webhooks will notify your application on a specific endpoint informing them that something interesting has happened.

There are many integration platforms as a service (iPaaS), such as Zapier, Celigo, Workato, Mulesoft Anypoint, Automate.io, which allow for no-code system integrations and composing event-triggered workflows.

With Webhooks you may use these platforms to easily configure tens of connections between systems and compose software solutions yourself without doing any development work whatsoever. Pretty great, huh?

For example, Zapier allows you to create automated workflows by connecting over 3000 applications without any coding involved:

  • when a new order is placed, notify me with Slack, send it to Hubspot and Quickbooks,
  • when a new user signs up for an account, add their email to Mailchimp and send a welcome email from the CEO,
  • when a new payment is made in Stripe, generate a receipt in Quickbooks and send it to the customer by email,
  • when a new shipment is delivered, ask this user for a review,

Metadata for low-code platform customization

Every eCommerce platform is a bit different but customizing it with code changes and database schema adjustments not only requires engineering know-how and skills but also introduces complexity and possibly bugs, complicates future upgrade paths, and generally is not recommended. 

With Spree 4.4 you may leverage the Metadata functionality to easily add custom attributes on the fly for Products, Variants, Taxons, Orders, Carts, or Users without any code or database changes. Meta fields may be either public or private and all are easily accessible using Spree APIs.

For example:

  • an eCommerce platform combining content and commerce may store related blog post identifiers for each product
  • a B2B store may need to distinguish user types
  • any store may need to allow for additional information for orders for analytics purposes

Platform API for app to app integrations

If the low-code Metadata method is not sufficient to customize your Spree platform, you may need to consider using Platform API to create an external app talking to Spree Platform API.

Platform API also comes in handy when connecting Spree with 3rd party systems which may consume its API responses. 

Platform API is ​​useful for application to application integrations based on oAuth 2.0 authentication and permissions.

Platform API is built on the same foundations and technology as Storefront API, which means JSON API format, Swagger (Open API) documentation, and oAuth 2.0 authentication.

Platform API is the biggest and most robust API for Spree with the largest number of API endpoints to cover all features available in the Admin Panel plus much more.

This API completely replaces API v1 which will be extracted from Spree in 5.0.

Admin dashboard experience improvements

Spree 4.4 comes equipped with a much smoother dashboard user experience thanks to Hotwire (Turbo and Stimulus). 

With Turbo you get the speed of a single-page web application without having to write any JavaScript. Stimulus pairs beautifully with Turbo to provide a complete solution for fast, compelling applications with a minimal amount of effort.

As DHH has said: “This is how we’re building Basecamp 4. This is how we built HEY. Now it’s going to be the default answer to JavaScript in Rails 7 together with the new import-map approach. All the missing pages are being printed.” 

That being said, we’re excited to present you with this huge Spree 4.4 release and are already working on Spree 5.0 running on Rails 7 with all its goodies included.

 

Spree as a Service comes with the same functionality as the open-source plus all the SaaS advantages, such as free integrations and features, no upgrades or maintenance, and effortless scalability. Try our free trial or request a demo.