As announced on September 16th 2021, we will be taking big steps towards simplifying our release process and decreasing the total cost of ownership for our Merchants in 2022. Adobe Commerce 2.4.4 will be released on March 8, 2022, be powered by PHP 8.1, and will include several key framework upgrades. To best prepare our Merchants and help them reap all the benefits that 2.4.4 will offer, we’re providing a look into all the platform updates included in the upcoming release. Start planning your upgrade today to keep your stores secure, performant, and reliable.
What is in the 2.4.4 release
We are introducing support for PHP 8.1, four months after its general availability, allowing merchants to upgrade to the latest version of PHP, while maximizing the time between upgrades that require adopting a new version of PHP due to an end of support. Each PHP release adds performance and feature improvements that drive the PHP ecosystem forward. We only take advantage of PHP improvements if the Magento 2 project works with the new PHP engine and removes support for deprecated PHP features. Considering that support for PHP 7.3 ends in December 2021, we will also be removing the support for PHP 7.3 in scope of 2.4.4
Along with the support of the latest PHP version, we are also upgrading several third-party dependencies to their latest version. Upgrading these third-party dependencies helps keep the Adobe Commerce core secure, adds new features, and improves the performance of the platform. The dependencies can be categorized into System, composer, built-in JS libraries, JS NPM & API integrations. The future upgrade in these categories is listed below.
Built-in JS libraries
JS NPM Dependencies
In 2.4.4, we will be adding support for a new search & analytics suite, OpenSearch in addition to Elastic Search, which we will continue to support. Adobe Commerce hosted in the cloud will not be supporting ElasticSearch 7.11 or later and will move to OpenSearch as their default Search engine. Adobe Commerce merchants hosted on-premise have the option to use either ElasticSearch or OpenSearch as both will be supported by Adobe Commerce application
While we understand that the upgrade of these libraries to a new Major/Minor version may introduce breaking changes in the code, these changes are important to ensure that there are no security vulnerabilities due to the outdated libraries. Please note that using outdated libraries in the eCommerce application may impact your PCI compliance and Adobe recommends Merchants keep their store up-to-date by adopting a new Adobe Commerce patch as soon as it is released.
Vendor Bundled Extensions
Historically, we have included 3rd-party extensions in the platform code as part of our Vendor Bundled Extension (VBE) program. With the 2.4.4 release we will be decoupling the majority of these VBEs from the core. These offerings will continue to be supported as optional Marketplace extensions that will be published by the partners ahead of the 2.4.4. release. This change will give Merchants faster access to the latest capabilities and updates from each of these vendor technologies. We will continue working closely with these partners to ensure that these critical capabilities are thoroughly tested on future versions, and available to our merchants through the Marketplace.
How to be best prepared for 2.4.4
The 2.4.4 release is unique as it will include many platform updates and we are excited about the improvements they will bring to our customers. To help our partners prepare for these changes, as well as the transition from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8.1, we released the first round of 2.4.4 beta code in October 2021. We will continue to release updated beta code monthly until the 2.4.4 pre-release on February 22, 2022. If you are an Adobe partner, we encourage you to sign up for our beta program (here) to help you prepare your technology and merchants 5 months before GA.
Additionally, to simplify and speed up the upgrade process, we recommend you use the Upgrade Compatibility Tool to analyze your Adobe Commerce instance and identify possible compatibility issues with a newer Adobe Commerce version before starting the upgrade process. 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.
Enabling our customers to run frictionless upgrades has always been a priority for Adobe Commerce. All these improvements cannot be achieved without the extensive support of our community and partners. We would like to extend a special thanks to the Laminas community for their extensive support in upgrading the laminas libraries to be compatible with the latest PHP 8.1 version.
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