Accelerating Innovation through a Simplified Release Strategy

September 16, 2021

By: Corey Dulimba, Group Product Manager , Adobe

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Keeping your Adobe Commerce platform updated is key to maintaining an ecommerce store that is secure, performant, and reliable. Just as if you were taking care of a physical store, an eCommerce store requires maintenance to make sure you are providing the best experience for your customers. 

The decision to delay upgrades to your digital storefront in the short term can have a lasting impact via the accumulation of technical debt and increased costs to run on outdated software. It is for this reason that we always recommend that your team perform updates in line with the Adobe Commerce release calendar.

In 2022, we will be taking a big step towards simplifying the upgrade process and decreasing the total cost of ownership for Merchants. We are committed to helping customers future-proof their business by reducing the complexity and frequency of upgrades, all the while accelerating their time to innovation. Read on for how we're following through with that commitment with our new release strategy.

What’s New

We are reducing the frequency of core Commerce application upgrades from four to three releases in 2022. We will be providing three patches with our new release calendar – two full patches and one security patch.

We are reducing complexity of upgrades and accelerating innovation by narrowing the focus of full patch releases to include only security, compliance, performance, and high priority bugs. New innovations and features will continue to be released as independent services, allowing Merchants to adopt features and innovate faster; Live Search, Product Recommendations, and Amazon Sales Channel are all examples of existing independent services that enabled us to reduce complexity in the core Commerce application. Community contributions and lower priority issues will be released through the Quality Patch tool, providing faster time to market and letting merchants choose the updates that are important to them.

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We will be moving our end of support (EOS) dates to align closely with those of PHP, the third-party scripting language that Adobe Commerce is built on. Whenever a PHP version reaches its end of life (EOL), Adobe must update our code to maintain PCI compliance. With PHP being such a critical component, we've changed our lifecycle policy to align Adobe Commerce version EOS dates with PHP EOL dates. This change will help reduce the frequency and impact of PHP version changes and make it even simpler for Merchants to follow the most effective path for staying current.

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These three improvements are important and worth repeating. We will release patches less often and make upgrades less complex, while innovating faster. We will do this by releasing all new features and capabilities as independently deployable services and leveraging the Quality Patch tool for quality fixes. We will also lessen the impact of PHP changes by having our version EOS dates coincide with PHP EOL dates.

2022 Release Calendar

Below is a first look at our 2022 release calendar. We will have two full patch releases – one in Q1 and one in Q3. To keep things light during the peak sales season, we will have one security patch release in Q4.

New features and product updates will be offered as independent services that can release updates as they are ready, allowing for more frequent improvements to existing features. For instance, since Live Search was made available in June, we have pushed out several feature enhancements that required minimal effort for Merchants to uptake. We will be announcing new feature releases and updates every other month in 2022, making it easier for our community to keep up to date on the latest ways they can drive value and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.

2022 release schedule chart

For our Q1 2022 full patch release, we will be releasing beta code starting in October 2021, until the 2.4.4 pre-release date to help our partners prepare for upcoming improvements, as well as the transition from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8.1. If you are an Adobe partner and haven’t signed up yet for our beta program, you can do so here.

Recent Improvements 

Enabling our customers to run frictionless upgrades has always been a priority for Adobe Commerce. All these improvements were created with this North Star in mind and could not have been achieved without collaboration with partners and Merchants. 

Along with the upcoming improvements, we have also implemented several other programs and tools that our community can benefit from immediately. The beta program, pre-releases, the Quality Patch tool to self-serve quality patches, and the new community contribution model are available to empower the community and speed up the delivery of important updates for Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source. 

Merchants and partners can also use a set of resources to help plan, budget, and complete upgrades such as the upgrade plan checklist, the upgrade best practices guide, and the upgrade compatibility tool. The tool has now over 400 downloads, more than 2,000 executions, and +80 active users on the community slack channel (#upgrade-compatibility-tool). Learn more about recent improvements and all resources available to you here.

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