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What happened between Commerce Kickstart 1.x and 2.x?

The Product variations seem to be gone and to create a new product type (variation) is now a nightmare.
Additionally the documentation can't keep up the nomenclature straight among: Products, Product Displays, Variations.
Finally the documentation is close to nonexistent.
Can someone please point me to some useful documentation that will show me how to:

-Create product types
-Create products
-Create Product displays (that contain multiple variations)

Also, after this update I became very worried about the long term supportability of a Commerce store. How do I know that
Commerce 3.0 is not going to break everything again?

Asked by: Kapiau
on October 24, 2012

1 Answer

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As the post guidelines indicate, the Questions system is neither a bug tracking system or discussion board. What we're really trying to do is answer discreet questions with discreet answers.

That said, I'll take just a minute to answer the implied question: Why are Commerce Kickstart 1.x and 2.x so different?

The answer is simple and should allay your fears - Commerce Kickstart 1.x was a developer centric tool. It did little more than install Drupal with Drupal Commerce and its dependencies. It was never a "mass market" product designed to show off the features of Drupal Commerce. I use it personally for patch testing and module development, but it's not a robust foundation for a full featured shop.

The 1.x roadmap has always been for Commerce to move from focusing on developers to focusing on site builders and store administrators, and that's what Commerce Kickstart 2.x provides. It creates a reference store out of the box with a highly customized back end that makes it easier for store administrators to manage the product catalog and orders.

The reason you don't see any mention of product displays is because we made the architecture opaque for store administrators - a typical store administrator or customer service representative doesn't need to know that a product entity stands alone and is only displayed through a reference field on a node. Trying to explain this system to Drupal users is confusing enough, let alone non-Drupal users. Instead we've done a lot of work to simplify the architecture so users simply need to know they're creating products on the site, and the UI takes care of managing the product entities as the nodes are updated and "quick edit" forms are submitted.

However, the underlying architecture is still the same - you can find the individual product entities in the database or in a custom Products View if you really want to. You can create new product types separate from product display node types if you want to. The advantage here, though, is that every Drupal Commerce developer no longer has to recreate a usable back end interface for store administrators, which was the case before.

Future versions of Commerce Kickstart may look different, but they'll be iterations of this same idea - how can Drupal Commerce be made more usable out of the box for more people? Drupal distributions aren't designed to be updated from one major version to the next; given the amount of modules involved, it's a practical impossibility. The existence of a new different version doesn't render any existing site broken, though, any more than the future release of Drupal 8 means that sites architected around Drupal 7 would then be considered broken.

Lastly, you posted a follow-up comment to your question as an answer to your question. I've deleted this, as that was inappropriate. You wanted to know if this tutorial still applied, and of course it does - just to Drupal Commerce core, not to Commerce Kickstart, which specializes in providing a user interface on top of Drupal Commerce. The concept still applies (you can add product attributes to your product types just the same), but some of the menu items and breadcrumbs will be different. Commerce Kickstart 2.x doesn't change the underlying architecture, it simply builds on top of it.

Ryan Szrama
Answer by: Ryan Szrama
Posted: Oct 24, 2012


Hey Ryan,
This confused me a lot too. It's flippin awesome looking and in my opinion a great guide on how to set up a store...wish I had it sooner but know you guys put a lot of work into it so thank you all very much for that! I personally did the majority of my work from kickstart 1.x and I might look into the upgrade instructions eventually but for now I'm feeling my way through 2.x to get a better understanding.

Now, what would help the developers/admins and allow for a user-friendly front-end for store owners? Sounds like if a bunch of views, admin controls, and maybe theme from 1.x were ported over/recreated and available to the admin permissions role and the 2.x awesomeness was available for a store-ower permission role, everyone would benefit. Waaaay over simplifying, I know, but it would definitely help me and many others enjoy the benefits of 2.x while still administering what actually happens behind the curtain. I believe something like this will also benefit future developers that are just downloading kickstart for the first time understand the system.

- switch on November 2, 2012


As switch stated above, I too was hoping to find some clarification, documentation outside of your paywall.

I too did a lot of work in 1.X and 2.x seems like a different model. Are best practices changed for v2 vs v1? Is seems like it is now recommended to have multiple content types (product_display) and one product type (product).

What are best practices for determining whether or not to create new product types vs new product types + content types?

- rar on November 7, 2012

Just to clarify: Your documentation today says

User Guide

Note: This user guide assumes that you are working with Commerce Kickstart 1.x

So ... CK2.x documentation link?

- rar on November 7, 2012