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How BetterCommerce is helping retailers and D2C brands scale

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How BetterCommerce is helping retailers and D2C brands scale

As technology makes it convenient for more businesses to launch, customer convenience to buy from these businesses has also increased manifold.

In today’s market, a commerce stack can be a hassle to manage, especially for a growing business as it requires an army. Commerce stacks also vary based on the size and nature of the retail business as an online-only brand would have different technology requirements from a brand that is present offline and is now planning on moving online or vice-versa. Hence, there cannot be one platform or solution that can fit all.

Platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce offer solutions that are ideal for businesses just starting their D2C journey. However, as these businesses scale, these solutions become clunky and challenging to manage due to too many third-party integrations and limited features, depriving any growing ecommerce brand of the capabilities it requires at scale.

BetterCommerce, therefore, finds its purpose in supporting mid-market retailers that are on their journey to scale and require a commerce stack solution that is fast, flexible, and holistic.

Here are some challenges that BetterCommerce helps solve:

Too many third-party plugins

BetterCommerce believes that point technologies work well. However, core commerce dependencies on third parties are treacherous for businesses at scale. If any one of the services stops or malfunctions, it would impact the entire business. Hence to manage this, businesses tend to hire internal tech teams and/or external agencies to keep processes going round the clock – at the cost of time and resources that could have been used to bring innovation to customer experiences. BetterCommerce offers out-of-the-box inbuilt capabilities, which significantly reduce dependency on several third-party plugins/vendors to a minimum.

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Limited customisations

Most current platforms like Shopify (Liquid), WooCommerce (PHP), and Magento (PHP) require enormous time, effort, and cost for customisations to enhance customer experience. This restricts the level of customisations one can achieve to create a seamless customer shopping experience for various touchpoints. With an API-first headless architecture, the dependencies on the ecommerce backend platform are none. Businesses can build a high-performing react-based storefront or native mobile app and just use BetterCommerce Suite of Commerce APIs to deliver seamless experiences across any device or touchpoints.

No central commerce hub

At scale, most businesses want to build mobile apps, open kiosks, or establish offline stores. The most critical element at this phase is to have a central commerce hub, which can allow businesses to have all their touchpoints inter-connected so they can understand customer behaviour better and make decisions faster. By the nature of BetterCommerce architecture, the commercial hub is completely built in a way that it can connect to any touchpoint using APIs and allow businesses to drive the whole business from one backend.

Scalability challenges

While on the journey to scale, businesses require all the processes and SOPs to align together to resonate with the growth story. With disjointed systems and a lack of access to centralised data, it is impossible to undertake a true digital transformation. Some businesses spend years without understanding the potential value of the investment and hence most such projects fail.

High and unpredictable TCO

BetterCommerce is agile, flexible, and yet comprehensive. With most of the features built on micro-services API-based architecture, the overall time to market is faster than most solutions out there in the market. With limited need of third-party plugins and different components of a commerce stack, it offers everything at one place – reducing the TCO significantly. Having packaged business capabilities that deliver an end-to-end commerce stack, BetterCommerce offers an overall predictable TCO, which is also lower than most of enterprise-grade ecommerce solution providers in the market today such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, SAP Hybris, or even Shopify Plus.

Broadly, BetterCommerce is a comprehensive commerce stack that addresses the huge tech gap for mid-market retailers. It enables technology to be an enabler for businesses’ growth journey by providing agility, lower TCO, faster time to market, and flexibility. It is an ideal platform for businesses that have outgrown their current commerce platform or stack, and require a modern composable commerce architecture to future-proof their business.




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[GET] The7 Website And Ecommerce Builder For WordPress

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The7 website and ecommerce builder for wordpress is the most customizable WordPress, Elementor, and WooCommerce theme available on the market up to …

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Making 43% of the Web More Dynamic with the WordPress Interactivity API – WordPress.com News

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Making 43% of the Web More Dynamic with the WordPress Interactivity API – WordPress.com News

Creating rich, engaging, and interactive website experiences is a simple way to surprise, delight, and attract attention from website readers and users. Dynamic interactivity like instant search, form handling, and client-side “app-like” navigation where elements can persist across routes, all without a full page reload, can make the web a more efficient and interesting place for all.

But creating those experiences on WordPress hasn’t always been the easiest or most straightforward, often requiring complex JavaScript framework setup and maintenance. 

Now, with the Interactivity API, WordPress developers have a standardized way for doing that, all built directly into core. 

The Interactivity API started as an experimental plugin in early 2022, became an official proposal in March 2023, and was finally merged into WordPress core with the release of WordPress 6.5 on April 2, 2024. It provides an easier, standardized way for WordPress developers to create rich, interactive user experiences with their blocks on the front-end.

ELI5: The Interactivity API and the Image Block

Several core WordPress blocks, including the Query Loop, Image, and Search blocks, have already adopted the Interactivity API. The Image block, in particular, is a great way to show off the Interactivity API in action. 

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At its core, the Image blocks allow you to add an image to a post or page. When a user clicks on an image in a post or page, the Interactivity API launches a lightbox showing a high-resolution version of the image.

The rendering of the Image block is handled server-side. The client-side interactivity, handling resizing and opening the lightbox, is now done with the new API that comes bundled with WordPress. You can bind the client-side interactivity simply by adding the wp-on--click directive to the image element, referencing the showLightbox action in view.js.

You might say, “But I could easily do this with some JavaScript!” With the Interactivity API, the code is compact and declarative, and you get the context (local state) to handle the lightbox, resizing, side effects, and all of the other needed work here in the store object.

actions: {
			showLightbox() {
				const ctx = getContext();

				// Bails out if the image has not loaded yet.
				if ( ! ctx.imageRef?.complete ) {
					return;
				}

				// Stores the positons of the scroll to fix it until the overlay is
				// closed.
				state.scrollTopReset = document.documentElement.scrollTop;
				state.scrollLeftReset = document.documentElement.scrollLeft;

				// Moves the information of the expaned image to the state.
				ctx.currentSrc = ctx.imageRef.currentSrc;
				imageRef = ctx.imageRef;
				buttonRef = ctx.buttonRef;
				state.currentImage = ctx;
				state.overlayEnabled = true;

				// Computes the styles of the overlay for the animation.
				callbacks.setOverlayStyles();
			},
...

The lower-level implementation details, like keeping the server and client side in sync, just work; developers no longer need to account for them.

This functionality is possible using vanilla JavaScript, by selecting the element via a query selector, reading data attributes, and manipulating the DOM. But it’s far less elegant, and up until now, there hasn’t been a standardized way in WordPress of handling interactive events like these.

With the Interactivity API, developers have a predictable way to provide interactivity to users on the front-end. You don’t have to worry about lower-level code for adding interactivity; it’s there in WordPress for you to start using today. Batteries are included.

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How is the Interactivity API different from Alpine, React, or Vue?

Prior to merging the Interactivity API into WordPress core, developers would typically reach for a JavaScript framework to add dynamic features to the user-facing parts of their websites. This approach worked just fine, so why was there a need to standardize it?

At its core, the Interactivity API is a lightweight JavaScript library that standardizes the way developers can build interactive HTML elements on WordPress sites.

Mario Santos, a developer on the WordPress core team, wrote in the Interactivity API proposal that, “With a standard, WordPress can absorb the maximum amount of complexity from the developer because it will handle most of what’s needed to create an interactive block.”

The team saw that the gap between what’s possible and what’s practical grew as sites became more complex. The more complex a user experience developers wanted to build, the more blocks needed to interact with each other, and the more difficult it became to build and maintain sites. Developers would spend a lot of time making sure that the client-side and server-side code played nicely together.

For a large open-source project with several contributors, having an agreed-upon standard and native way of providing client-side interactivity speeds up development and greatly improves the developer experience.

Five goals shaped the core development team’s decisions as they built the API: 

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  1. Block-first and PHP-first: Prioritizing blocks for building sites and server side rendering for better SEO and performance. Combining the best for user and developer experience.
  2. Backward-compatible: Ensuring compatibility with both classic and block themes and optionally with other JavaScript frameworks, though it’s advised to use the API as the primary method. It also works with hooks and internationalization.
  3. Declarative and reactive: Using declarative code to define interactions, listening for changes in data, and updating only relevant parts of the DOM accordingly.
  4. Performant: Optimizing runtime performance to deliver a fast and lightweight user experience.
  5. Send less JavaScript: Reduce the overall amount of JavaScript being sent on the page by providing a common framework that blocks can reuse.  So the more that blocks leverage the Interactivity API, the less JavaScript will be sent overall.

Other goals are on the horizon, including improvements to client-side navigation, as you can see in this PR.

Interactivity API vs. Alpine

The Interactivity API shares a few similarities to Alpine—a lightweight JavaScript library that allows developers to build interactions into their web projects, often used in WordPress and Laravel projects.

Similar to Alpine, the Interactivity API uses directives directly in HTML and both play nicely with PHP. Unlike Alpine, the Interactivity API is designed to seamlessly integrate with WordPress and support server-side rendering of its directives.

With the interactivity API, you can easily generate the view from the server in PHP, and then add client-side interactivity. This results in less duplication, and its support in WordPress core will lead to less architectural decisions currently required by developers. 

So while Alpine and the Interactivity API share a broadly similar goal—making it easy for web developers to add interactive elements to a webpage—the Interactivity API is even more plug-and-play for WordPress developers.

Interactivity API vs. React and Vue

Many developers have opted for React when adding interactivity to WordPress sites because, in the modern web development stack, React is the go-to solution for declaratively handling DOM interactivity. This is familiar territory, and we’re used to using React and JSX when adding custom blocks for Gutenberg.

Loading React on the client side can be done, but it leaves you with many decisions: “How should I handle routing? How do I work with the context between PHP and React? What about server-side rendering?”

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Part of the goal in developing the Interactivity API was the need to write as little as little JavaScript as possible, leaving the heavy lifting to PHP, and only shipping JavaScript when necessary.

The core team also saw issues with how these frameworks worked in conjunction with WordPress. Developers can use JavaScript frameworks like React and Vue to render a block on the front-end that they server-rendered in PHP, for example, but this requires logic duplication and risks exposure to issues with WordPress hooks.

For these reasons, among others, the core team preferred Preact—a smaller UI framework that requires less JavaScript to download and execute without sacrificing performance. Think of it like React with fewer calories.

Luis Herranz, a WordPress Core contributor from Automattic, outlines more details on Alpine vs the Interactivity API’s usage of Preact with a thin layer of directives on top of it in this comment on the original proposal.

Preact only loads if the page source contains an interactive block, meaning it is not loaded until it’s needed, aligning with the idea of shipping as little JavaScript as possible (and shipping no JavaScript as a default).

In the original Interactivity API proposal, you can see the run-down and comparison of several frameworks and why Preact was chosen over the others.

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What does the new Interactivity API provide to WordPress developers?

In addition to providing a standardized way to render interactive elements client-side, the Interactivity API also provides developers with directives and a more straightforward way of creating a store object to handle state, side effects, and actions.

Graphic from Proposal: The Interactivity API – A better developer experience in building interactive blocks on WordPress.org

Directives

Directives, a special set of data attributes, allow you to extend HTML markup. You can share data between the server-side-rendered blocks and the client-side, bind values, add click events, and much more. The Interactivity API reference lists all the available directives.

These directives are typically added in the block’s render.php file, and they support all of the WordPress APIs, including actions, filters, and core translation APIs. 

Here’s the render file of a sample block. Notice the click event (data-wp-on--click="actions.toggle"), and how we bind the value of the aria-expanded attributes via directives.

<div
	<?php echo get_block_wrapper_attributes(); ?>
	data-wp-interactive="create-block"
	<?php echo wp_interactivity_data_wp_context( array( 'isOpen' => false ) ); ?>
	data-wp-watch="callbacks.logIsOpen"
>
	<button
		data-wp-on--click="actions.toggle"
		data-wp-bind--aria-expanded="context.isOpen"
		aria-controls="<?php echo esc_attr( $unique_id ); ?>"
	>
		<?php esc_html_e( 'Toggle', 'my-interactive-block' ); ?>
	</button>

	<p
		id="<?php echo esc_attr( $unique_id ); ?>"
		data-wp-bind--hidden="!context.isOpen"
	>
		<?php
			esc_html_e( 'My Interactive Block - hello from an interactive block!', 'my-interactive-block' );
		?>
	</p>
</div>

Do you need to dynamically update an element’s inner text? The Interactivity API allows you to use data-wp-text on an element, just like you can use v-text in Vue.

You can bind a value to a boolean or string using wp-bind– or hook up a click event by using data-wp-on–click on the element. This means you can write PHP and HTML and sprinkle in directives to add interactivity in a declarative way.

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Handling state, side effects, and actions

The second stage of adding interactivity is to create a store, which is usually done in your view.js file. In the store, you’ll have access to the same context as in your render.php file.

In the store object, you define actions responding to user interactions. These actions can update the local context or global state, which then re-renders and updates the connected HTML element. You can also define side effects/callbacks, which are similar to actions, but they respond to state changes instead of direct user actions.

import { store, getContext } from '@wordpress/interactivity';

store( 'create-block', {
	actions: {
		toggle: () => {
			const context = getContext();
			context.isOpen = ! context.isOpen;
		},
	},
	callbacks: {
		logIsOpen: () => {
			const { isOpen } = getContext();
			// Log the value of `isOpen` each time it changes.
			console.log( `Is open: ${ isOpen }` );
		},
	},
} );

Try it out for yourself

The Interactivity API is production-ready and already running on WordPress.com! With any WordPress.com plan, you’ll have access to the core blocks built on top of the Interactivity API. 

If you want to build your own interactive blocks, you can scaffold an interactive block by running the below code in your terminal:

npx @wordpress/create-block@latest my-interactive-block --template @wordpress/create-block-interactive-template 

This will give you an example interactive block, with directives and state handling set up. 

You can then play around with this locally, using wp-env, using a staging site, or by uploading the plugin directly to your site running a plugin-eligible WordPress.com plan

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If you want a seamless experience between your local dev setup and your WordPress.com site, try using it with our new GitHub Deployments feature! Developing custom blocks is the perfect use case for this new tool.

The best way to learn something new is to start building. To kick things off, you may find the following resources a good starting point:


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The Masters Golf Tournament – WordPress.com News

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The Masters Golf Tournament – WordPress.com News

What’s harder: winning the Masters Tournament or re-creating its website in under 30 minutes? Watch the video and find out.

Congratulations are in order for Scottie Scheffler, the winner of the 2024 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia! In today’s Build and Beyond video, Jamie Marsland takes on the slightly less intimidating task of re-creating the Masters website as quickly as he can. Can he possibly do it in just 30 minutes?

Along the way, you’ll learn about sticky navigation menus, image overflows and breakouts, card layouts, and more.

Interested in a free trial that allows you to test our all that WordPress.com has to offer? Click below:


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