WooCommerce 3.1 was released today after four weeks of beta and RC testing. Although it is just a minor update, the release was a large undertaking with 1,600 commits from 84 contributors.
The most exciting feature in 3.1 is the new built-in product importer/exporter that supports CSV files, a feature previously offered through extensions. The importer makes it easier to migrate stores from other e-commerce platforms, as well as add and update product information for existing stores. Users can select whether to update existing products or create new products and can map the data against product fields:
The tool is also useful for those selling across multiple storefronts or marketplaces and is capable of matching up data based on product ID or SKU. Please note that it only handles products and not customers and orders. Store owners looking to import those additional items will still need to use an extension.
Version 3.1 also introduces the ability to manage WooCommerce.com extension licenses within WooCommerce core, eliminating the need to install the helper extension and copy subscription keys over. Customers can now connect their WooCommerce.com account to the site and download, manage, and activate extensions in the admin. Developers or agencies that have purchased extensions on behalf of clients will need to contact WooCommerce to transfer the subscriptions to a new owner in order for them to show up within the clients’ admin.
This release also includes several other improvements, including the following:
- Add oEmbeds to the product short description, more useful error messages
- More useful error messages
- Add oEmbeds to the product short description
- Customers can accept ‘Terms and conditions’ without leaving checkout
- Set stock statuses for variations in bulk from the edit product screen
- Small improvements to the setup wizard
- WooCommerce Services Plugin: Add live shipping rates for USPS and Canada Post and print discounted shipping labels for USPS without leaving the store
- New search helpers for orders to allow developers to query orders by multiple props
Many WooCommerce store owners experienced considerable difficulties in updating to 3.0 due to extension incompatibilities. This is one of the reasons why WooCommerce recommends making backups of your store and testing the 3.1 update on a staging site to see how it affects themes and extensions. The changes in 3.1 should be backwards compatible with 3.0.x sites, but impact on extensions needs to be tested before pushing the update live.
All these are true, and well done, but with 3.0 they broke a very important function, which I reported a month ago at wordpress.org, and no one responded yet, a whole month later. Again, this worked with Woo. 2.6 and prior versions.
If you have a downloadable product, with let’s say 2 downloadable files, and people buy it, they can download both items, so far so good. Now, if you add a third downloadable file to that same product, the people who previously bought the product don’t get access to this third downloadable file. This was not an issue with Woo 2.6, but it is since 3.0. Support is horrible and extremely slow, and basically Woocommerce is now run like Automattic, which is just like a big bureaucratic government. Nobody cares… I even reported this bug at woocommerce.com, and after 2-3 days I got a response that the support system there is for paid customers who bought their premium products – translation: we don’t care, and give us your money if you want help! Sad but true…