Release Cycle Comparison of E-commerce Technologies

Fabian Wesner
Fabian Wesner CTO Spryker
23. October 2017 in

Technology English

 

There are several enterprise e-commerce technologies in the market. Each one promises to be the most advanced and innovative solution. In this article, I took a closer look at the release cycles of the biggest vendors. Past release cycles give a very good indication of what to expect from the vendor in the future. How often will you get new features or improvements? How quickly can the vendor adopt to new markets and stay innovative over time? How fast can you expect patches and security fixes?

Platforms taken into consideration (in alphabetical order):
  •  IBM WebSphere Commerce
  •  Intershop Commerce Suite
  •  Magento Commerce
  •  OroCommerce
  •  SAP Hybris Commerce
  •  Spryker Commerce Operating System

I collected all publicly available release logs and analysed them. I always added a link to show you from where I got the information. In case you find any mistake, please write a comment and I will correct it asap.

Disclaimer: I am Spryker’s CTO.

IBM WebSphere Commerce

WebSphere is one of the dinosaurs in this comparison. Its first release was in 1998 and it is currently available in its eighth major version. IBM uses version numbers with four digits and they refer to important releases as “Mod Pack”. For instance, WebSphere 8.0.1.0 is officially called “Version 8 Mod Pack 1”. In between WebSphere gets several patch releases that contain fixes but also cleanups.

The release cycle for new features at IBM WebSphere seems to be six to twelve months!

  •  8.0.4.0 released 07/2017
  •  8.0.3.0 released 09/2016
  •  8.0.1.0 released 03/2016
  •  8.0.0.0 released 10/2015

The 8.0.2.0 version was a special release for their cloud offering only and is not obeyed in the list above.

Intershop Commerce Suite

Intershop’s first stable version was released already in 1995. During this analysis I focused on their main product called Intershop Commerce Management that was initially launched in 2012 already. As you can see in their release log they have a yearly release cycle except for the half year timeframe between versions 7.7 and 7.8.

⟳ The release cycle for new features at Intershop seems to be six to twelve months!

  •  7.9 released 07/2017 ← New features
  •  7.8 released 12/2016 ← New features
  •  7.7 released 06/2016 ← New features
  •  7.6 released 11/2015 ← New features
  •  7.5.1 released 02/2015 ← New features
  •  7.5 released 09/2014 ← New features
  •  …
  •  7.0 released in 2012

Magento Commerce

Magento issues a patch release every one to three months. Patches contain security and bug fixes and functional enhancements. Features are added in ‘minor releases’ that have happened twice since the launch of version 2 in November 2015. From a semantic versioning perspective those minor releases are in reality majors because they contain BC (Backwards Compatibility) breaks and therefore require migration efforts.

⟳ The release cycle for new features at Magento seems to be yearly!

  •  2.2.0 released 10/2017 ← New features
  •  2.1.9 released 09/2017 ← Fixes and enhancements
  •  2.1.8 released 08/2017 ← Fixes and enhancements
  •  …
  •  2.1.2 released 10/2016 ← Fixes and enhancements
  •  2.1.1 released 08/2016 ← Fixes and enhancements
  •  2.1.0 released 06/2016 ← New features
  •  …
  •  2.0.0 released 11/2015

OroCommerce

The former Magento 1 team created a framework called OroPlatform. This platform is used for several applications like OroCRM, Akeneo and OroCommerce. I will focus on their B2B shop system called OroCommerce that was released earlier this year. OroCommerce regularly has minor releases with features and enhancements and quite often issues patches in between. To keep this list short, I am only showing the patches between 1.3 and 1.4.

To my knowledge they introduce BC breaks in minor versions and keep the major version fixed (like Magento).

⟳ The release cycle for new features at OroCommerce seems to be every second month!

  •  1.4.0 released 09/2017 ← New features
  •  1.3.9 released 10/2017 ← Single fix
  •  1.3.8 released 09/2017 ← Single fix
  •  …
  •  1.3.2 released 08/2017 ← Single fix
  •  1.3.1 released 08/2017 ← Single fix
  •  1.3.0 released 07/2017 ← New features
  •  1.2.0 released 06/2017 ← New features
  •  1.1.0 released 03/2017 ← New features
  •  1.0.0 released 01/2017 ← New features

SAP Hybris Commerce

Hybris is currently on version six which was released mid-2016. Since then, Hybris released five minor releases that introduced not only improvements and bugfixes but also new features. Hybris does not have any public documentation so I cannot say anything about BC breaks and migration efforts here. But as far as I can see, SAP offers services to help with migration, so I wouldn’t expect migration to be an easy job here.

⟳ The release cycle for new features at Hybris seems to be quarterly!

  •  6.5 released 08/2017 ← New features
  •  6.4 released 05/2017 ← New features
  •  6.3 released 02/2017 ← New features
  •  6.2 released 10/2016 ← New features
  •  6.1 released 09/2016 ← New features
  •   6.0 released 04/2016 ← New features

Spryker Commerce Operating System

Spryker introduced a completely new release methodology to the market which is called Atomic Release Process. Spryker’s core team always develops multiple features/improvements/fixes in parallel and releases them as soon as they are done. As Spryker has a very modular software design where every module has its own semantic version there is no global version numbering and each release affects only a few modules. This way, Spryker provides a steady stream of releases resulting in a high pace of innovation and optimal responsiveness to our customer’s requirements. Most demanded patches, hooks or improvements are delivered within a few days as an official core releases.

⟳ The release cycle for new features at Spryker is weekly!

The following table shows the amount of releases aggregated per month for the year 2017 so far. We have been recording release statistics since 05/2017. Since then Spryker has had 241 atomic releases with features, improvements and fixes. You can find all release notes on the Spryker academy.

 
 

In fact we have daily releases but to not overwhelm our customers twice a month we summarize the releases in a mail to our customers and publish the release notes with descriptions, integration/migration guides and module documentation in our Academy. Just have a look at Spryker’s September release notes(part 1, part 2).

✉ You can also sign up to our release mails here (even if you are not yet our customer).

Summary

As shown above the six software vendors have different approaches for the feature release cycle length. Here is a final overview. As Spryker’s CTO, I want to leave the conclusion to the reader:


 
 

Still got questions?
Ask the author for further information.