Top Tip to Improve Performance and UI on WebSphere Commerce – All-New jQuery Aurora Starter Store

Update:

November 2019 – This article has been updated as jQuery is now considered old technology compared to other latest developments in Javascript. I would be remissed not to point out that there are better and newer front-end technologies such as Angular, ReactJS, Vue, etc. In fact, I have asked my team to create Mobiecom as an alternative for the Aurora storefront. It would be beneficial to seriously consider Mobiecom because it addresses many technical problems that our customers have. First, it’s built-in ReactJS (so it’s all javascript, making it easier to find developers) as a SPA (a Single Page Application beats a Multi-Page Application hands down to achieve speed in site navigation), and it uses all REST API calls to communicate to the Commerce server (allowing the store to be independent of the back-end). Click here to find out about a modern alternative to Aurora. Click here to see how fast my site runs on Mobiecom.

Just Available in Mod Pack 4

The Aurora starter store in WebSphere Commerce is completely re-written in jQuery, which is one of the most commonly used JavaScript libraries used in dynamic websites. The jQuery AJAX and events API provide an easy to use framework that meets most AJAX requirements for storefront development.

Past Challenges with Dojo

Before this availability, IBM starter store Aurora was written in Dojo which has been a challenging experience for a lot of developers.

  • Documentation was unavailable for a lot of classes and methods and hidden behind a clumsy documentation browser.
  • Dojo was pretty heavy when you had to use the entire library with their package manager and several levels of framework for the APIs you wanted. It had to be in control of the JavaScript environment and wouldn’t play nice with other popular toolkits.
  • There were so many layers of abstraction that debugging was difficult unless you know the code base well; UI developers had a hard time figuring out why the layout wasn’t exactly what they expected.

Benefits of the jQuery starter store

With jQuery, WCS development can be done faster and easier by front-end developers. The jQuery library has a full suite of Ajax capabilities. The functions and methods therein allow us to load data from the server without a browser page refresh.
In addition to all the existing features that are supported in the Dojo version of the Aurora starter store, the jQuery version supports the following additional capabilities:

  • Store pages load a minimal number of JavaScript and CSS files, as a build script is provided that merges the code from all the files and then generates fewer files, with all its contents combined and minified. This performance strategy improves the web browser’s page load time for store pages.
  • A store function is available to control whether dynamic E-Marketing Spots are loaded either server-side with the page, or loaded after the initial page load is complete, to better support Content Delivery Network (CDN) caching.
  • Interactions in the category page are implemented using full page loads, rather than using AJAX. This strategy simplifies page coding and removes the complexity of handling the web browser’s back, forward, and bookmark features.

In Conclusion & How to get upgrade

We have helped customers replace Dojo with jQuery and in some cases, the effort was significant. We applaud IBM’s move to replace OOTB WCS front end Dojo with jQuery; this will benefit all customers who use WCS. jQuery is far easier to work with, has excellent documentation, and a mature codebase, with countless plugins and utilities available. The jQuery Aurora starter store is available on WebSphere Commerce Version 8 Mod Pack 4 (8.0.4.3) and Commerce on Cloud V16.x

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