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2018: Reaction’s Year in Review

Hello! Wowza, what a year it has been! If you’ve been following along, you know by now that a year-end blog post is my jam. (If you’ve missed the last couple of years’ worth, you can find them here.)

From the very beginning, we set out to create the leading open commerce platform by building the best, most future-ready experiences for retailers, and by inspiring a passionate community of developers. As 2018 comes to a close, we’re still seeing a ton of interest from the worldwide developer community, who’ve made Reaction one of the fastest-growing open source platforms. And now, as a sign of our growing success with retailers, we’ve begun a partnership with our first large-scale, global enterprise partner, Sports Direct, Inc., to build their future-proof, flexible commerce engine.

This partnership gives us a clear, immediate focus: We’re helping enterprise retailers to realize their vision of what’s truly possible when commerce is connected across channels, to unlock greater customizations, capabilities, and experiences. (More on this below.)

We did some things

But first, let me engage in a bit of humblebragging and share some of our achievements:

To better reflect our growing team and expanding scale, we also updated our company Core Values and Operating Principles, which I’ll share more about in the new year. I continue to be incredibly proud of our team and of what we’re building here at Reaction. More than the numbers and accomplishments, the most rewarding aspect for me is being part of a global community with all of you. (And I do mean global. Did you know that in the last year, Reaction has been installed in at least 120 different countries? Wow.)

Product improvements in 2018

In June of this year, I started posting more regular product updates to our blog. As I outlined in these posts, one of our key focus areas this year has been performance. We doubled down on improving the overall performance of the Reaction Commerce application, and we’ve made significant strides in that area, both for the consumer/shopper experience and the developer experience.

The v2.0.0 release candidate launch was another big milestone. With this release, we now support true headless commerce on Reaction. It’s a major step forward for Reaction’s performance and flexibility, as we moved to abstract Meteor out of our architecture and introduced leading technologies like our GraphQL Storefront API, our Reference Storefront on Next.js, and our Design System (React Component Library).

Looking ahead to 2019

As I mentioned above, we are all about building the best commerce experiences the world has ever seen, for both enterprise retailers and developers. How? Right now, our Engineering teams’ top priorities are:

  1. Expanding support and coverage for our GraphQL API
  2. Continuing to improve application performance, especially for complex and high-volume catalogs and shops

With that in mind, here’s a glimpse into what we’re actively working to ship in the new year. As you’ll see, we’re putting a big emphasis on more advanced functionality to enhance the overall operator and customer experience.


Search

Our new search implementation is built around Elasticsearch, which is optimized for large datasets. Along with faster searches now, this shift sets Reaction up for more complex search capabilities later, and lays the groundwork for doing all kinds of exciting stuff with real-time catalog data streams.


Shipping Engine

Retailers, especially large-scale enterprises, need to be able to easily configure products and destinations for inclusion (and exclusion) in specific shipping categories.

Work-in-progress version of the new Shipping engine interface, with highly customizable filter rules

Routing

This system helps store operators map URLs (for product pages, landing pages, etc.) and manage redirects and rewrites within and between catalogs, all without hurting their hard-earned SEO rankings.

Here’s a sneak peek at a recent version of the Routing system we’re currently developing

Content Management

We’ve built a module around the headless content management system Contentful to more easily integrate content across different channels and experiences in Reaction.


Image and Video Management

This new module uses Cloudinary to upload, store, manage, manipulate, and deliver images and video for your Reaction shop.


Pricing Engine

We’re creating a new pricing system that permits multiple prices to be stored against a single SKU. This is essential for large-scale retailers to manage regional pricing, for example, or targeted sales and promotions.


We’ll have more to share on each of these features (and lots more!) in upcoming product updates and in Reaction Action livestream meetups.

And that’s a wrap

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since we first started building Reaction, but, well, it has. What a ride! Thank you, again, for being a part of our journey. Now more than ever, we still believe in the power of open commerce, and in the incredible dedication and creativity of our clients and community.

Here’s to 2019!

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