Magento 2 – a quick overview

10th March 2016

Magento 2 was released in November 2015.  With this new release, Magento also radically changed the licensing model for Magento Enterprise edition by end of year 2015.  We’re still finding our feet with Magento 2. Many existing clients are talking about the move and new clients want us to compare delivery of the new platform to Magento 1.

Despite daily conversations at LogicSpot HQ around Magento 2, this is our first blog post on the topic – so it’s a quick synopsis of the Key Features, the Community and support around it, and whether you should adopt.

Key features of Magento 2

Magento 2 is a product that is worthy of its major release version number change from 1 to 2. This is a ground up product rebuild, taking all the core concepts, business functions and tech functionality from Magento 1, but writing the code again, from ground up, remodelling indexing, caching, PHP usage, test-driven code structure and a re-think of the back-end architecture. Here are some of our key takeaways thus far.

Performance improvements …. if the stack is setup correctly.

  • Speed – we’ve noticed that Magento 2 out of the box, with no tweaking, runs quite a lot slower on the same kit you’d use for Magento 1.  You really need to be using better hardware, and also understand the options – like, definitely use FPC and Production Mode on a live server!  See Amasty’s blog post for more details.

  • Scalability – standalone databases for key subsystems like order management, product management and checkout; combined with support for MySQL Cluster, enable Magento to scale to handle rapid growth.

  • Admin – Comprehensive backend improvements enable larger teams to make product updates and process orders at the same time without diminished performance.

Admin interface – rebuilt

  • At long last, the Magento admin interface has been rebuilt from the ground up. Not only does it look modern, it’s intuitive and simpler to carry out key tasks (like creating new products), and the grids just work. The Magento 2 interface also has the ability to customise which columns you want to see (including thumbnails) and those options being saved on a per-user basis.

Front end tools for mobile and modern development

  • jquery – The old prototype.js javascript library has been ditched in favour of jquery. Finally!  So you’ll just need one javascript library in future, rather than always using two.

  • RWD theme – The RWD theme uses HTML5, CSS3 and LESS/Compass and pre-processors as well as Composer.  If this means something to you then it’s all good stuff – it’s the same toolset we’ve been using for a small number of years at LogicSpot as a chosen front end set.

Magento 2 extensions – support by key providers

When you think of key Magento extension providers, you immediately think of companies such as Ebizmarts, WebShopApps, dotMailer, Amasty, MageWorx, AheadWorks among others. We use a range of extensions on most sites that extend beyond the core functionality.  Not only has the core functionality now increased within Magento 2 but after a slow start from some key industry partners, most now look to provide updated, or replacement extensions for Magento 2.

  • Ebizmarts and their SagePay Suite Pro extension. This was ported earlier in the year and is available for Magento 2.

  • WebShopApps Premium MatrixRate.  This has not been developed for Magento 2, and they’ve been hard at work for some time on the ShipperHQ product – a much bigger offering and not just for Magento anymore.

  • LiveChatInc Magento 2 extension.  A few of our clients use this live chat product on their sites – it’s really customisable and provides a seamless experience for the site visitor. They’ve just announced (March) their Magento 2 integration, which provides agents with Magento 2 user, product, cart, and order data relating to the customer on-site.

  • Our partners, dotMailer were very early into the Magento 2 camp and their extension for Magento 2 has been available for some time now.

  • AheadWorks – their Layered Navigation extension is now available for Magento 2.

Should you go Magento 2 now?

It really depends on so many factors right now. They include:

  • If you’ve already got a Magento 1 site, perhaps start considering an upgrade – the new features could warrant the move, particularly if you’re moving from Magento CE to EE in one fell swoop. You can see the full Magento 2 Feature List here (at the bottom is the link to the PDF).

  • Can you satisfy your business, and functional needs, with that provided by Magento 2 core product and the extensions that are currently available?

  • Are you OK with going “2.0”? I’d still call this “early adopter” territory. I know Magento have already released 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 in quick succession.  That covers PHP 7.x support (brilliant, a potential 3x speed boost on comparable transactions) but you’re putting your faith into the hands of those that have already chosen to build with it – it could be your chosen solution partner’s first foray into Magento 2 and all that brings – so look at risk and mitigation.

  • If you go for Magento 1 now, then you’ve got a 3 year window to upgrade before “End of Life” kicks in. Between now and EOL, Magento will continue to support Magento 1 fully, but new features will only be released for Magento 2 – all the money and effort is going there, rightly so. So is there a cost to develop custom functionality now on Magento 2 that is already available via Magento 1 extension providers … that is cheaper than going Magento 1 quicker and cheaper now + upgrade cost later … we’ve been carrying out this exercise for a few clients recently and this conversation window is reducing fast as Magento 2 is adopted widescale.

Want to talk some more?

If you want to learn more about Magento 2 either Enterprise Edition or Community Edition, get in touch

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