How does this “Woo Halo” work?
We will post calls for testing on this website, if you want to participate you just have to follow what we are doing – it’s better if you register to our list to be sure to get all the updates – and contribute to the discussions.
Why is Jetpack required for mobile apps?
The WooCommerce mobile apps use Jetpack. The short answer is that there are limitations in either XML-RPC and the core WordPress API which Jetpack API allows us to work around easily, and some features that we identified in our research as very important on mobile can only be provided by a plugin – particularly for mobile app push notifications, but also with new reporting endpoints that aren’t in WooCommerce core yet.
You do not need to subscribe to a Jetpack plan in order to use the mobile app, the free plan available to everyone is enough.
In more detail: when connecting the app to a site, there are many possible issues that could arise with self-hosted site configurations. For example, some hosts disable XML-RPC, some people have custom SSL setups, etc. These problems would also arise during a Jetpack set up, but in that case we reduce all the issues about login in the app down to one: Jetpack isn’t connected. If this happens, we have an existing experienced support team on-hand that can help customers troubleshoot and get them connected.
The new core WordPress API, and by extension the WooCommerce API, doesn’t support mobile authentication well yet, and we can’t use XML-RPC for WooCommerce because the WooCommerce endpoints aren’t available through XML-RPC. This also means we can’t call any core WordPress endpoints – like WordPress site settings – without also needing them to log into their site via XML-RPC. Supporting multiple APIs with different feature sets also increases the complexity of ongoing development and would slow down feature development. It’s a delicate balance.
Requiring a Jetpack connection simplifies this.
The goal of the mobile app is to provide a modern mobile experience for WooCommerce. An important piece of that is notifications – we want to give you that “cha-ching” moment when you get a sale! However both Apple and Google require that push notifications come from a single trusted source which needs to be from the application author. This means push notifications are not possible without a centralized service backing them, like Jetpack. While the beta doesn’t have push notifications yet it is on the roadmap for the public release version.
This only touches on a few of the many benefits Jetpack will provide WooCommerce customers. We have much more in the works that only a service like Jetpack can help us deliver, like enhanced stats, better reporting, and backup abilities. Hearing your feedback is important to us, we can assure you we’re committed to making WooCommerce + Jetpack + WordPress the best possible experience it can be.