A sky full of fireworks

ShopWP 2.0 is here!

For the last eight months, we’ve been arduously developing the next version of ShopWP. After what seems like an eternity, we’re happy to finally announce its completion; 2.0 is here and ready to use! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Understanding the limitations of 1.0

When we made version 1.0, certain design decisions were made which added unforeseen limitations to the overall capabilities of the plugin. Let’s walk through them quickly.

Syncing compatibility

The first limitation is how 1.0 syncs the Shopify data. Take products for example. Because version 1.0 renders everything on the server, we must sync everything into WordPress so that we can access it from the PHP templates. And when I say everything I mean just that; product titles, images, prices, variant information, collections etc. Everything is synced and stored in custom database tables in version 1.0.

This isn’t necessarily bad, assuming your web host can handle it. But this brings us to the first major limitation of version 1.0 which is that:

Making a custom syncing process compatible across most web environments turns out to be very hard! ๐Ÿ˜†

In order for the plugin to be successful, we need to make it available to as many users as possible including those who may have less than adequate hosting providers. In this regard, the plugin has always been hamstrungโ€”requiring lay users to adjust things they shouldn’t need to adjust simply to use the plugin like PHP and Apache settings, for example.

Data reliability

Another limitation of version 1.0 is data reliability. If you’re able to successfully sync your Shopify store, you’re still responsible for ensuring this data stays up to date. For example, if you’re a Free user, you need to manually resync your store each time you make any changes inside Shopify. If you’re a Pro user, you have access to automatic resyncing but this can also sometimes fail due to web server issues. These can be annoying to deal with.

Now for some users, this isn’t a big deal. They can simply do a resync when they need. However the issue is this: for the users which it is a problem, it’s a major big deal problem. In fact, it’s a deal breaker. They simply cannot use the plugin without the accompanying data reliability due to their store requirements.

How 2.0 solves the current limitations

Version 2.0 solves the above limitations by providing a new feature called Lite sync. Lite sync is an alternative syncing method that when turned on, won’t actually “sync” any Shopify data into the WordPress database at all. Instead, it fetches the data at runtime via JavaScript.

This solves both limitations. The plugin no longer has to perform a resource intensive process, and the data is always up to date since it’s fetched on each page load.

Brad Pitt dancing from Burn After Reading

In case you’re wondering, we do still provide the option to sync your store the old way. To do this, you need to manually disable Lite sync and turn on a new setting called Sync posts. Doing this will sync your data as native WordPress posts, create the single pages like normal, and store all the data inside WordPress.

Migrating from v1 to v2

Migrating your site from v1 to v2 does require some consideration. We unfortunately had to make some breaking changes so it’s important to exercise caution before updating.

We’ve made a detailed migration guide that you’ll want to check out. Also, be sure to only update the plugin on a staging environment first to avoid any breaking changes leaking into your live site!

Benefits of using 2.0

There are many benefits of using ShopWP 2.0. The biggest ones are:

Less syncing issues
In 2.0, syncing is no longer a painful process and will not prevent you from using the plugin. Lite sync is turned on by default.

Always in sync
This is probably the most important update in 2.0. Many store owners simply need this as an absolute requirement if they plan to sell anything at all.

New features
We’ve packed 2.0 with a ton of new features, including product image zooming, infinite scrolling, product searching, cart notes, custom checkout attributes, and a whole new way of sorting / filtering your products called Storefront.

Faster, Faster, Faster!
We’ve refactored the way the overall UI operates and have improved things greatly. For example, this means no longer waiting for products to be added to the cart, or waiting for dropdown selections to “happen”. All of these interactions now occur immediately which will make your users much happier.

Moving forward

ShopWP way forward stock photo

There are many lessons we’ve learned over the last couple years of working on ShopWP. One of these is that we must provide more frequent updates. So starting in 2.0, we’ll now be pushing out weekly plugin updates that will contain smaller but less risky changes.

There are many lessons we’ve learned over the last couple years of working on ShopWP. One of these is that we must provide more frequent updates. So starting in 2.0, we’ll now be pushing out weekly plugin updates that will contain smaller but less risky changes.

Another lesson we’ve learned is that it’s important to cultivate the feedback of all of you. A few months ago we conducted our first poll of what features people would like to see in 2.0. This went fantastically, and we’ll be doing more of these.

We also want to make a point to provide better incorporation of native Shopify features into the plugin. For example things like providing customers as native WordPress users, analytics integrations, etc. Keep an eye out for more of these features later this year!

How to get it

If you’re using the free version of ShopWP, you can download the update directly from the WordPress repository. Or, you can upgrade the plugin like normal.

If you’re using Pro, you can find the latest .zip file within your ShopWP account. You can also update directly from within the plugins page as well.

** Important ** Be sure to read through our migration guide!