WooCommerce 3.7 Introduces New Blocks, Updates Minimum WordPress and PHP Requirements

WooCommerce 3.7 was released today after four months in development. This minor release is backwards compatible with previous versions. Despite containing more than 1,290 commits, 3.7 is smaller than previous releases, as the WooCommerce team is working towards delivering more frequent releases to improve the stability of the platform.

WooCommerce 3.7 bundles updates from the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin version 2.3, including the following new blocks and enhancements to existing blocks:

  • A new focal point picker on the Featured Product block
  • A new Product Categories List block
  • A new Featured Category block
  • A new Products By Tag(s) block
  • Featured Product now allows for featuring a product by variation, linking to the product page with the variation pre-selected

Here’s an example of the featured category block, which lets store owners stay right inside the editor to select the category and see an instant preview of the content.

WooCommerce developers are working on creating more block editor capabilities for store owners. Future versions of the WooCommerce Blocks plugin will include new blocks for product filtering and for displaying product reviews. These will be tested first through the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin before being added to core.

WooCommerce 3.7 Requires WordPress 4.9+ and PHP 5.6+

This release bumps the minimum required WordPress version to 4.9 and the minimum required PHP version to 5.6. There are new upgrade nudges in WooCommerce 3.6, alerting users who will need to to upgrade WordPress and PHP versions in order to update their stores to WooCommerce 3.7.

The increased minimum versions allows WooCommerce developers to include new and more performant code in future versions of the plugin. It also enables them to utilize PHP packages. The Product Blocks and REST API functionality have been removed from core and are now loaded via Composer.

WooCommerce Blocks Rebranded

Users may notice some visual changes to how WooCommerce blocks appear in the editor. The blocks have been updated to better reflect the WooCommerce brand. This is becoming more common, as plugins with multiple blocks carve out their own branded spaces in the block inserter.

A few other notable enhancements in WooCommerce 3.7 include the following:

  • Email Settings: New “Additional Content” sections replace the old hardcoded “Thanks” sections so store owners don’t have to override templates to change the wording
  • Coupon admin pages: Automatically generate new coupon codes with the click of a button
  • Performance improvements, new dedicated table for tax classes, reduced number of queries to populate variations, excluding Action Scheduler tasks from comments queries to speed up page load times

The WooCommerce Admin feature plugin continues to make progress and currently has 300,000 active installations. The plugin provides a new JavaScript-based dashboard for monitoring store reports and sales metrics. Recent updates include more data on the Customer Report page, improved navigation bar design, and an improved Stock Activity panel that automatically responds to inventory updates. Store owners who want to preview this functionality in WooCommerce can install the feature plugin.

Version 3.7 should not cause any backwards compatibility issues but the update includes a few database upgrade routines. The WooCommerce team recommends those with large amounts of data in their databases to upgrade using the WP CLI command wp wc update, instead of through the admin. Check out the release post and beta announcement for more details.

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Original: wptavern.com

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