Vue Storefront, as we hopefully proved in the previous text, is the front-end is the best choice for commercetools backend not only because of the full coverage of its default features but mostly because of its MACH-oriented approach. Vue Storefront’s architecture pretty much embodies modularity - one of the main tenets of the MACH Alliance - and as such, is designed to remove the limitations imposed by a more traditional tech stack. It is available in two versions. Let’s take a look at the differences between them.
Vue Storefront Enterprise is the front-end that provides full coverage of commercetools’ features. It saves your time as you don't need to worry about API integrations with commercetools itself and any other third-party services such as headless CMSs, payments, search, loyalty systems, and more. Vue Storefront has got all this covered, but - and we can’t stress it enough - this not all we provide.
The most important and crucial advantage of Vue Storefront in the long-run is its API-first, modular architecture that enables businesses to customize their online entities freely both in terms of UI/UX layer and adding (or removing) any external services. It significantly speeds up time-to-market, as no update can interfere with and jeopardize the stability of the system. That was a founding idea of the entire project, and even though commercetools is now grabbing our attention, nothing has changed in that respect.
The enterprise version of Vue Storefront is, yet, focused heavily on commercetools. We share beliefs in the API-first and MACH-oriented approaches, making Vue Storefront and commercetools a perfect combo. It, however, doesn't collide with the promise we made at the beginning. We still want to maintain and develop the open-source version of the product as well.
Supporting the community dedicated to the development of Vue Storefront remains one of our top priorities, and it won’t change any time. We grew from open source, and it will always be in our DNA. However, on top of the open-source version, we build the whole ecosystem of solutions to make it even easier for clients to work with Vue Storefront.Filip Rakowski, CTO at Vue Storefront.
The open-source version enabling to build of a simple store with basic functionalities. The Enterprise version is dedicated to clients looking for more advanced, out-of-the-box features and ready-to-use integration with market-leading vendorsPatrick Friday, CEO at Vue Storefront
So, to sum it up. There are two versions of Vue Storefront already available:
- Enterprise - dedicated to businesses that use commercetools and are willing to invest in a front-end that is more advanced than the one that comes bundled.
Enterprise VSF saves hundreds of development hours needed to build a fully scalable eCommerce business, thanks to robust API, cloud hosting, regular support, native integrations with best-of-breed eCommerce solutions, and ready-to-use features, without which no modern store can operate today.
- Open-source - a frontend that can be easily placed on top of any headless platform.
It is a great choice for small and medium-sized businesses, yet, building more complex stores will require a lot of custom development. It will take much more time to get to the level of advance that Enterprise is offering out-of-the-box.
However, these basic definitions provoke some serious questions. If the open-source version is “limitless”, what’s the point in buying the enterprise license?
Vue Storefront open-source is, indeed, designed to integrate easily with any platform and most of the most popular third-party services, as the flexibility is and always will be on our banner.
As such, the dependency between our core code and the quality of external implementations is huge, and - despite our continuously offer support to our community engaged with adding bricks to the VSF ecosystem - the standards provided by external implementors may be different from ours.
Considering that, we set ourselves the goal of establishing a standard of implementation and building a service consisting of both software and infrastructure to showcase the full possibilities of Vue Storefront.
Vue Storefront Enterprise will help us to finance further development of the open-source project. It is a paid (the base payment model will be a paid license) service available to customers interested in a seamless integration of VSF as their frontend solution.
The Enterprise version is built “on top” of the open-source project while expanding the tech stack by introducing two crucial components:
- Cloud infrastructure, which provides an optimized, tailored environment for VSF that will help us deliver top-notch frontend performance;
- Proprietary integrations with popular headless stack components (eCommerce, payment, CMS, search, etc.), developed by our own team to provide the best possible efficiency, stability, and feature range.
It is safe to say that the fundament of Vue Storefront - no matter if it is the open-source or enterprise version - is the same.
It is, however, not the same as Vue Storefront 1. The very first version of Vue Storefront - despite being platform-agnostic - was made to work with Magento 2.
It was a dominant eCommerce platform in those days, but soon the things started to change. While Magento integration was already working, we were starting to get a lot of questions about the possibility of using it also in pairs with other platforms. It was possible, but not as easy as it could be because the Vue Storefront architecture was firmly embedded in Magento’s demands.
To keep up with expectations, we decided to do thorough research over ten eCommerce platforms with which we could potentially integrate. commercetools won, and we decided to rebuild Vue Storefront, this time thinking more of it, but - as this platform is truly headless and API-focused - this choice enabled us to establish an architecture that can work with any other eCommerce platforms providing an API.
The next version is upgraded in every aspect. As we learned a lot while working on “number one”, we were able to implement field-tested practices that significantly increase performance, improve the architecture to make it even more modular, and provide a fully customizable UI/UX layer with a low-code approach.
We started to develop the R&D project called Vue Storefront NEXT in 2018 and it soon turned into the foundation of the enterprise, commercetools-focused version.
This means that companies currently have two options: the open-source version for small and mid-size businesses and the Enterprise version.
The Enterprise version can be thought of as a more business-oriented solution-focused heavily on three main aspects such as:
1. shortening time-to-market (as it provides plenty of out-of-the-box features and native integrations);
3. providing flexibility and freedom for developers.
We were aimed to deliver a solution that enables merchants to reduce the time needed to go live with a fully working e-store, but our role doesn’t end in providing a product. We also hold responsibility for how it works, taking care of the integrations and cloud-native environment's maintenance.