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Saleor 2.0 Release: GraphQL-first Headless E-commerce

Marcin Gębala

31 Oct 2018 · 4 min read
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Launching the GraphQL-first open source e-commerce for the PWA era.

  • Saleor 2.0 shifts to a headless e-commerce solution featuring a fully-fledged GraphQL API
  • A Progressive Web Application (PWA) delivers engaging mobile-first experiences for end users, on any device and on any platform
  • A JavaScript application using GraphQL creates dynamic and easy-to-manage dashboards, enhancing control and usability for administrators
  • Saleor 2.0 shifts the platform over to a headless e-commerce solution featuring a fully-fledged GraphQL API
  • In Saleor 2.0, a Progressive Web Application (PWA) delivers engaging mobile-first experiences for end users, on any device and on any platform
  • A JavaScript application using GraphQL creates dynamic and easy-to-manage dashboards in Saleor 2.0 that enhance control and usability for administrators

The evolution of a leading e-commerce solution

Our mission has always been to design an e-commerce platform that transforms businesses and to build software that developers love to play with. Over the last five years, we have evolved Saleor into a leading Python e-commerce solution supported by an engaged and ever-growing community of contributors. It has accumulated over 2600 stars on Github while allowing businesses from high-volume online retailers to disruptive innovators on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List to build complex, custom solutions.

It’s been a beautiful 5-year voyage and now, after months of hard work from our dedicated team of engineers and designers, Saleor 2.0 is ready to take flight.

Check out the demo version of our PWA storefront

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The technology behind Saleor 2.0

With e-commerce sales growing in the US by 16% in 2017, people want shopping to be easy and convenient, but they also expect it to be a fun experience tailored to the time, place, and way they want to make purchases. While designing the new version of Saleor, we highlighted four key opportunities for change:

  • Introducing a PWA storefront
  • Building a fully-fledged API
  • Giving shop owners a new dashboard experience
  • Moving from a monolithic platform to a modular set up

These are the new features that bring value not just to online retailers currently using Saleor, but to people looking at maintainable solutions that will serve them throughout the technology changes of the years to come. The story behind the development of these features is the story of Saleor 2.0.

PWA: Any place, any time, any device shopping experiences

We started our redesign by looking through the eyes of the end user, thinking how we can provide the kind of shopping experiences that people are starting to demand. Above all, that means delivering the best mobile-first experience possible. 80% of shoppers now browse products online rather than in physical stores, while over 60% have made a purchase through their phone in the last year and one third of all e-commerce purchases are now mobile.

In designing Saleor 2.0, we needed to start by thinking how we could offer a platform that any online retailer could adapt for both static and mobile devices — and how we could enhance that value now and into the future.

The answer is a PWA (Progressive Web App) storefront which delivers a single-page application, allowing end users to download and save retailers’ pages as applications on the home screens of their devices. Shoppers can then browse online stores and make purchases even when they have poor internet connection or no connection at all. A customer gets on a plane and switches their phone to flight mode, but they can still check out a retailer’s PWA offline, assign products to the cart, and see the orders automatically sent (and payments processed) as soon as they touch down and regain net connection.

GraphQL API: Making the shift to headless e-commerce

The Django back-end of the Saleor platform is a monolithic system that works well, but having the front-end in the same structure does not offer ease of updating to newer versions and also limits the flexibility of features.

We believe that GraphQL is a complete game-changer for how we build applications for the modern web. And that’s why it was our technology of choice for the Saleor API. It moves Saleor to the very edge of technology and turns it into a headless commerce solution, unlocking a whole bunch of new and exciting possibilities and integrations. It also allows us to provide users with two key features they demanded:

  • A new dashboard keeps the best functionalities of the previous version but draws on the most desirable features of experiences like Shopify. Written in React, we shifted away from the static html storefront templates to create dynamic pages that are intuitive to use and bring more control over the end-to-end sales cycle. At this point, functionally, it is still a work in progress, but we are working hard to get a full feature parity with the static version and it should soon be where we want it to be. As you know, we love our software to look great; we’ve introduced a new, temporary design but will soon be unveiling a fresh and exciting look and feel of the dashboard.
  • Modularity from the GraphQL API allows administrators to build upon our API and keep the back-end up to date with no or minimal changes in the front-end. One of the key benefits to headless commerce is that it decouples the front-end form the back, meaning that we have been able to build and maintain a new storefront and dashboard that function independently from the Django base.

headless2

We believe that Saleor 2.0 is the only open source platform that offers a GraphQL API with a full e-commerce experience, giving overarching visibility and control. The new API covers any action imaginable, allowing the management of orders, users, checkouts, shipping, and every other feature that goes into running a full-service store. It helps create a shop that is fully managed and calibrated to specific e-commerce needs.


The Saleor roadmap

We are constantly looking to upgrade and consolidate features to give more power and control to store managers, listening to the needs of users as they experience the platform. Our big goal remains offering intuitive e-commerce that saves time, automates processes, and makes it easier to do business.

We are looking at a range of enhancements to roll out over the coming months. Multi-vendor capabilities, a payment request API, and advanced tax calculation with Avalara integration are all on our radar for early 2019. We already believe that Saleor 2.0 is the most complete open source solution available, but we challenge ourselves to continue taking it further and keep our aim of e-commerce for absolute perfectionists.

We want you to see the value of upgrading your business to Saleor 2.0, but we know that the original platform is still a great static option in the e-commerce space. With that in mind, we will be continuing support for the static templates for at least a few months.


Find out more

Finally, a big thank you to all our supporters, contributors, and stargazers who have helped turn Saleor into the comprehensive e-commerce solution it has become. We are excited to take to the skies together with Saleor 2.0.

Check out all the deeper technical details of the new release on our Github page.

Visit the brand new GetSaleor page to find out more about the new platform.

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Marcin Gębala

Full stack engineer at @mirumeelabs. Development lead of @getsaleor.

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