Back in 2016 David Jones wrote a great article about the history, differences and outlook for both Spree Commerce and Solidus,along with a few recommendations on what platform to use under different circumstances. The landscape has changed quite a bit, and we are writing this article for anyone who is looking to understand how to choose between decide between both open-source platforms nowdays.
For those of you new to Spree and Solidus, let’s quickly clarify what each one is. Both Spree Commerce and Solidus are eCommerce platforms built on top of Ruby on Rails.
Spree Commerce (Spree for short) officially launched in 2009 as an open-source project. In 2011, Spree Commerce Inc. was founded and attempted to bring two Spree based projects to market (Spreeworks, to compete with Shopify, and Wombat, a service for integrating third-party services into Spree). Spree Commerce Inc. became one of the principal backers of the Spree open source project. The Spree platform continued to grow and was implemented by many top brands.
In 2015, Spree Commerce Inc. was acquired by First Data, a merchant services processor, that later announced they would no longer be backing the Spree open source project in any meaningful way. Development on Spree slowed down significantly.
Developers from Bonobos and Stembolt, two important players in the Spree world, decided to fork Spree 2.4 and rename it Solidus. Solidus became a separate open-source project with an active development community.
Solidus started to be used on a number of new eCommerce stores and seemed like a natural successor to Spree Commerce.
Spree vs Solidus in 2020:
After the acquisition of Spree Commerce Inc, Spark Solutions (based in Poland) and Vinsol (based in India) became the main backers of the Spree open source project. Development has picked up speed, and most recently, Spree 4.1 was released in March 2020. The development team behind the project is working hard, and new releases are coming through regularly. Spree Commerce has an active slack channel with about 4000 registered users.
As for Solidus, In 2018, JUUL Labs (the electronic cigarette and vaping company) acquired Stembolt, one of the main contributors to Solidus, presumably to aim their development efforts at JUUL’s internal projects. Fortunately, the project has other backers, including Nebulab (based in Italy), and a number of other firms and individual developers. Development on Solidus has continued actively, and new releases are being delivered regularly. Solidus has an active Slack channel with about 3000 registered users.
Which do I pick?
By this point, Spree and Solidus have diverged significantly in terms of their codebase and features. For developers, we really don’t feel there is a significant difference. Our developers actively switch from work between Spree and Solidus projects with no problem. If your project is built on one or the other, however, it will become more difficult to migrate. Here are our recommendations:
For a new project: It’s really a matter of choice at this point. If your engineering has a preference due to features available in either, you can go with their advice. Both projects are active and appear to be good choices for the foreseeable future.
If you are on Spree 2.X: The most natural choice might be moving to Solidus as the latest release is 2.10 and should be mostly backward compatible. With 2.10, you will want to upgrade to Rails 6 and get all of the latest security and performance upgrades.
If you are on Spree 3.X or 4.X: Upgrade to the latest version of Spree, you can no longer easily migrate to Solidus so that the Spree route would be preferred. Spree 4 brings a number of new improvements you will benefit from.
If you are on Solidus: Upgrade to the latest version of Solidus and make sure you are on Rails 6, this will ensure you get the latest security and performance upgrades.
How we can help
If you are looking to build a new Spree or Solidus eCommerce store, or are looking to upgrade to the latest version of either, we have an experienced team that can help.
We specialize in complex implementations where user experience, site speed and innovative functionality play key roles in optimizing your conversion and making the most of your investments in development.
Our job is to remove the pain from software development by helping you find custom solutions for your site, that are delivered on time, within budget and are of the highest quality. If this resonated with you, reach out to us and let's have a conversation.
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