Develop WooCommerce

The official WooCommerce development blog

WooCommerce Custom Product Tables Beta — July 17, 2018

WooCommerce Custom Product Tables Beta

Today, we’re pleased to announce the beta of our Custom Products Tables plugin that’s designed to improve the performance of WooCommerce stores by adding database tables that are designed for eCommerce.

This builds on the investment we made in 3.0 which introduced Data Stores and CRUD functionality that provides a uniform way of accessing a store’s data regardless of where it is saved.

Why products first? Simply because it’s one of the most complex Data Stores to change, and one which can positively impact stores of all sizes.

The plugin replaces the current WooCommerce product Data Store with one that makes use of brand new, normalised, dedicated product tables.

Performance Improvements

During our tests we set up two identical stores on the same hosting provider with the same theme and WooCommerce settings, the only difference being one was running the Custom Products Table Feature Plugin.

To test the new product tables we needed to easily create a lot of store data – specifically products, orders, and customers. To do that, we created the WooCommerce Smooth Generator – an easy to use development plugin which allows you to generate WooCommerce data to test the scalibilty of any of your development.

For the tests, we created one data set of 500 products and imported that into two identical stores with Storefront as the theme and no other plugins – one store with the normal WooCommerce data structures and the other with our new feature plugin.

Both stores also had 70,000 orders in the database and meta data in the range of 1.4 million rows.

Average Load times

The results, so far, have been great – with improvements of up to 30% on page load times! Checkout, arguably the most important part of the store experience, has seen the biggest performance gains.

Installing the plugin

To install the plugin you will need :

During the beta period we’ve limited access to the plugin’s functionality so that we can gather feedback from our developer community.

We do not recommend that you install and use this on a live store.

Data Migration

There are two WP-CLI commands available at present to migrate your data:
* wp wc-product-tables migrate-data [--clean-old-data] – This command will migrate data from the current WordPress tables to the new tables, passing the –clean-old-data flag will result in the old data being removed from the WordPress tables. Please be cautious when using this flag as it can result in you loosing your product data if not backed up and you need to revert.
* wp wc-product-tables recreate-tables – This command will drop all the new product tables, removing all data within them and then create new clean tables. This command is useful for testing the migration process from fresh again should you wish. Again, please be cautious as if you ran the migrate-data command with the –clean-old-data flag, running this will result in all your data being lost, so always keep a backup on hand of your products.

Do note that any new products created after you have enabled the plugin will be created in the new tables and will not be available if you disable the plugin again.

What tables are added

  • wc_products – Contains product data eliminating the majority of meta data table storage. A few fields in the meta data table not accessed often, and all extension specific data, will stay in meta data.
  • wc_product_attributes – Contains product attributes and their settings.
  • wc_product_attribute_values – Contains product attribute values and their settings.
  • wc_product_downloads – Contains product downloads and their settings.
  • wc_product_relationships – Contains all product relationships to other products or objects within the WooCommerce ecosystem, i.e. other products, images etc.
  • wc_product_variation_attribute_values – Contains variation data for products.

These tables currently cover all aspects of products, including product settings, attributes, variations, downloads, as well as other relationships such as up-sells, cross-sells, grouped products, and images.

Compatibility with extensions and themes

We’ve kept backwards compatibility in mind by adding specific functionality that checks meta data calls and then intervenes to ensure the data gets routed to and from the correct tables.

Whilst we have taken a care in ensuring developers that are not using CRUD can get/set data in the correct tables, we do advise developers with plugins and themes that make direct meta calls to avoid that and rather use the getter and setter methods provided by the Data Stores since version 3.0. We’ve published documentation here to help you move to the CRUD system.

Release Schedule

Our next milestone is to get this plugin released on WordPress.org so that any store can benefit from the performance improvements. To get there, we need your help putting the beta through its paces so we can catch all issues and better understand the performance improvements and problems you’re seeing in the wild.

Once you’ve installed the beta, please open an issue for any problems you encounter on the GitHub repository. And, let us know in the comments what performance improvements you’re seeing – we’d love to hear from you!

We plan to include the new product tables in a major version update early next year.

WC 3.3 Image size improvements — December 11, 2017

WC 3.3 Image size improvements

Let’s face it, product images are a vital driving force behind sales. Combine that with thousands of WooCommerce-enabled themes out there and it can become¬†difficult to have product images that look good out-of-the-box on all of them. WooCommerce 3.3 aims to improve that with some changes to image size settings and the rendering of images.

WooCommerce 3.3 introduces new image cropping settings. Store owners can now control the width and height of their main images, as well as the cropping with visual cues as to what the images might look like on the frontend. Apart from that we are also giving themes with explicit WooCommerce support more control over image settings to ensure that product images look good out of the box.

Theme Support

In the past, theme authors had to make updates to settings directly via update_option calls to change the settings in the DB. This resulted in store owners experiencing issues where they would change image settings in the admin area just to have it revert back to what the theme updates it to on each page load. With WooCommerce 3.3 theme authors can now declare image sizes via the add_theme_support function. Declaring image sizes this way will take priority over any other settings and also hide the image settings section in the admin area.

add_theme_support( 'woocommerce', array(
'thumbnail_image_width' => 150,
'single_image_width' => 322,
) );

Thumbnail Cropping

A new thumbnail cropping section in the customizer will allow store owners to select one of three cropping ration settings with visual cues:

  • 1:1 (Square scropping)
  • Custom (Store owner can enter a custom aspect ratio)
  • Uncropped (Preserve single image aspect ratio)

Image sizes are then calculated based on the cropping option selected and the image width. It is important to note that Single Product Images are uncropped and not affected by the cropping settings.

Automatic Thumbnail Resizing

Apart from the new theme support and cropping settings, we have also introduced automatic thumbnail resizing. In the past when you changed a product image WordPress would not actually resize the image and you had to install a plugin like Regenerate Thumbnails in order to have WordPress resize the images for you. In WooCommerce 3.3 we have now added on-the-fly thumbnail resizing as well as background thumbnail resizing.

How this works is when you change your image settings WooCommerce will kick off a background process that automatically resizes all your images for you to the correct new sizes. While the images are being resized or if for some reason the resizing did not run or complete, we’ve added on-the-fly resizing to the frontend, ensuring that your images will always look great to your customers.

The on-the-fly resizing also plays an important part in ensuring that you have a great experience when visually editing your site through the customizer. If your theme adds support for it you can play around with different image sizes and cropping settings from within the customizer and see the results instantly.

These changes are already in the master branch and will be going out with the WooCommerce 3.3 release in January 2018.

If you have any thoughts or feedback you would like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments.