Moving to BigCommerce Stencil is inevitable
The change to this new framework is an inevitable change that needs to happen. When should that happen and what is the process for that exactly? The answer to that question is based on your business, and where your website is currently at. Let’s start this discussion by analyzing the current benefits and downsides of the new BigCommerce Stencil framework.
Benefits of Stencil
AMP – a strong benefit as google up-ranks sites that are amp enabled, and of course this feature alone makes your site load super fast
Multiple Domain – on BC’s roadmap but not sure when this would be ready
Local Development – With stencil we can develop locally and show you modifications / qa them prior to push to production
FAST template engine – everything is bundled, minified, and parsed into a very small package
Editable Content – Content that we have you messing with Panels and Snippets / html markup today can be extracted to the ‘theme editor’. A good example is a sitewide ‘header message’ where you can go in and easily update the message, the link, etc right in the theme editor w/o touching any code. This allows us to ship higher quality features that are more stable
Handlebars / YAML Frontmatter – Part of the template framework is the inclusion of handlebars and the exposure of MORE API content. For instance we cannot access say the ‘MPN’ per product on the product detail page on Blueprint, however we can easily do so on stencil.
Current Downsides of Stencil
Increased dev cycle commitment – local dev and the way the theme bundling works introduces about 5-10 min per adjustment for us as developers. If we choose to have a local preview prior to pushing changes live things could take longer to get to production, more stable albeit, but still increased dev time which is hard to explain on an invoice.
Slow to adoption – Your going to see a limited set of partners that are fluent in stencil for the next 1-2 years, same for apps / add-ons / features. The learning curve for stencil has been high for us, and they do use some best practices but its still a lot different than Blueprint. This likely translates into more expensive development for some custom features (but again, more stable and scale-able), as well as limited access to the apps / add-ons mentioned.
We have used our new Growth-Driven Design approach to bring some new and existing customers to BigCommerce stencil in 2 major ways.
- Example Stencil Stores we’ve designed / developed from scratch
- Example Stencil Stores we’ve developed (modified existing themes)