WooCommerce 3.6 was released this week after six months in development. Store owners with sites running on WordPress 5.0+ will now have access to eight new product blocks, including hand picked products, featured products, products by category/attribute, sale products, new products, top rated, products, and best selling products.
These blocks were previously available as a feature plugin but have now been rolled into WooCommerce core. The plugin now requires WooCommerce 3.6 and will continue to be used for iterating and exploring future WooCommerce block editor features.
Performance improvements were one of the major focuses for this version, which introduces product data lookup tables. WooCommerce core developers’ long term plan is to move post meta to custom tables and a feature plugin is currently in development towards this goal. In the meantime, lookup tables provide a structured index for product data that speeds up querying. This version also brings improvements to transient invalidation, changes to REST API initialization, caching improvements, and more.
WooCommerce developer Timmy Crawford highlighted a few frontend performance improvements in the 3.6 release post:
- A 62% improvement in the load time when ordering and filtering products
- Reduced overall load time by bypassing inactive webhooks
- Reduced the load time for pages with category or product attribute lists
- Reduced load time of product pages with attributes
This release also includes the controversial new marketplace suggestions that advertise official extensions inside the WooCommerce admin. The setting for turning them off can be found under the “Accounts & Privacy” section of the admin.
For the full list of additional enhancements in 3.6, check out the release post or view the plugin’s changelog. The release should be backwards compatible with sites running WooCommerce 3.0+, but testing how the update affects themes and extensions is highly recommended before updating. Version 3.6.1 was released today to fix some issues 3.6.0 had with certain hosting environments.
Beware of this update. We ran it on a site and then I was not able to add an item to the cart. We reverted back to 3.5.8.