Why is this such a big deal?
For months we have been hearing about PrestaShop 1.7, and soon it is to be released to the world. However, this isn’t just any other minor release update to the PrestaShop framework, it’s much, much bigger. We highly recommend you read this before considering your next move to 1.7.
What is new in PrestaShop 1.7?
The aim of 1.7 is to simplify the creation of a shop and products using PrestaShop and improve the user interface in the process. However the core changes can be broken down as follows;
- Easier way to create and maintain your shop theme
- Improvements to the administration area to make it easier to use, create products and install modules.
- Finally, on a technical stand point, the code framework behind some areas of PrestaShop (such as themes and modules) is being completely overhauled.
We think that the new PrestaShop 1.7 is going to be great. The new way to add and submit products looks sleeker, faster and more efficient. In fact, the user interface updates look fantastic across the release. The new theme management will mean that creating a theme for your PrestaShop will be quicker and easier than ever. There are some more really awesome new features coming with 1.7 such as;
- Faster site, the code has been cleaned up and now shops will run faster than ever.
- Better password security
- Blog integration
- Clean URLs
Some of these feature sound great to us, as many of these will have a good effect on the digital marketing side of a PrestaShop, such as the site speed, clean URLs and blog.
Sound Great! What’s the issue?
Although the new version does sound great and we can’t wait to get stuck into them there is a slight downside. Due to the huge overhaul in the framework code, simply upgrading from PrestaShop 1.6 to 1.7 is not an easy process. We know this and even PrestaShop have admitted this. If you try to upgrade your PrestaShop today (release day) these are the issues you will be faced with;
Modules written for PrestaShop 1.6 will mostly work, however if the module works with the theme then it will most likely not work, because the theme system has been completely rewritten. Any modules that work with the products or modules page/s, will also probably not function correctly due to changes to the system behind the scenes in PrestaShop.
This is actually quite a sizeable amount of modules that are now not fully compatible with 1.7 and you will probably find you have at least one module that is now outdated. However, PrestaShop do say that most modules will function however it will be only visual tweaks that will need to be made. If you are not a developer however this may be an issue.
The biggest issue most users of PrestaShop will face are themes. The theme coding has been completely restructured, if your theme you currently use for PrestaShop was built for 1.6 then it is guaranteed not to work on PrestaShop 1.7.
You may now understand why we think this upgrade is so important to all those people that currently use PrestaShop, although upgrading may sound like a good idea, with all of these changes and the probability that an upgrade would probably make your current shop fail, we recommend to approach this upgrade with caution.
As far as we are aware the database holding all the products and categories etc. have not changed. These should easily be migrated over to 1.7.
So what should you do now? – Our Advice
You are probably asking, if you are PrestaShop user, what your plan should be now. Luckily PrestaShop themselves won’t be forcing you to upgrade. They realise that the changes will require developers to tweak their themes and modules to work with 1.7.
First and foremost, we recommend not to upgrade to 1.7 for the time being. 1.6 will continued to be supported for, at the very least, a few months, however we suspect it will be much longer.
PrestaShop 1.7 is great for those who are setting up a new shop from scratch, however for those existing users will find it tricky to migrate over to 1.7. You should get help from a developer before attempting to upgrade to 1.7. This is just to ensure that your shop continues working flawlessly during the transition. This should also be done on a separate development area, rather than trying update your current live site. You’ll want to test that everything is still working and up to scratch before pushing it online.
PrestaShop have commented that they will be providing support to those that wish to upgrade to 1.7. No announcement, as of yet, has been made as to what services these will be and how it will work, although we expect there will be a cost involved. You can, of course, stay with your older version of PrestaShop as we believe, much like previous upgrades, that support will continue for several years.
We want to help you as much as possible with your PrestaShop site. Therefore, we will very soon be conducting our own experiment using a copy of one of our PrestaShop builds so we can all see what changes really are needed for 1.7. We will take you through the entire process so you can feel more confident about upgrading, should you wish to.
If you’d like to upgrade to PrestaShop 1.7 and you would like help to plan and carry out this move, then you can contact us today and we will be happy to discuss the implications, and the potential benefits.