Is Magento Dead? The Pros & Cons of Magento 2
Everyone’s been on the edge of their seat awaiting the launch of Magento 2. Now it’s here, and a few early adopters have already made the switch from version 1 to 2.
The company has been planning to release a new version of their platform for a while now, and have even developing the platform transparently – letting the community know when they’ve reached certain benchmarks every step of the way.
Now that several merchants have made the switch and the development community has had a chance to play around with the new solution, retailers wants to know:
Is Magento dead?There are a couple of reasons this question has surfaced:
- Other platforms are rising in popularity and gaining more of the market share (think Shopify).
- The release of Magento 2 has been a bit slow in measuring up to the community and merchant’s expectations.
This article will look at the pros and cons of Magento 2 so that you can decide if the improvements found in version 2 outweigh the cons.
Magento 2 Features Pros & Cons
The Backend Admin is Designed for Non-Technical Users
Ever wanted to bulk-edit your products without calling in the forces of your entire dev team?
This task was a bit more complex on Magento 1. One of the main issues with Magento 1 was that the admin interface was quite difficult for non-tech users to operate. The UX of the admin interface was not optimized for merchants who may not have the in-house resource of an internal development team, thus making it very difficult to use if you’re not a techie.
Magento 2 has a highly-improved admin interface, allowing non-technical users to accomplish more without having to rely on their developers. Improvements to the admin interface include:
- An overall new look and feel, with optimization for a wide array of screen sizes (merchants who use iPads or tablets to work will find this upgrade valuable) (source)
- Admin menus have been highly improved
- Product creation is much easier
Outside of your hosting solution, Magento 1 has been notoriously slow in comparison to load times of other ecommerce platforms. One of the reasons for this is how the caching is set up. “Caching” is a temporary storage of data that aims to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and lag.
If you or your dev team have been working in your Magento 1 platform and found that it takes an extremely long time to load or save changes, and if your actual customer-facing pages are taking a long time to load, chances are you’ve got a Magento cache problem.
Optimizing caching in Magento 1 is generally done through extensions which aren’t built to work directly with Magento directly. Popular extensions for Magento 1 are Varnish and Nexcess Turpentine (a module to help you implement Varnish on your system). Without the help of these extensions, stores would be an absolute wreck in terms of scaling and maintaining optimal load times. Read a more detailed developer overview here.
The announcement, then, that Magento 2 has a built-in Full Page Cache component and built-in support for Varnish caching is quite exciting for developers. This means that from Day 1, your Magento solution (if on version 2) supports caching internally and through the Varnish extension. (source)
Caching internally reduces the amount of queries made to the database and instead relies on an internal file system. Your page load time can reduce to 1-2 seconds from a page which normally takes more than 5 seconds. (source) This is a very important improvement.
In a nutshell improving cache means your pages will load much quicker, allowing your content to be delivered quicker to your customer and also to your backend environment. Quicker load time means a better UX: optimization of cache in Magento 2 can help improve your overall customer user experience, meaning a higher conversion rate.
Learn more about Varnish support here on Magento Connect.
It Integrates with Popular Payment Gateways
Another plus of Magento 2 is its tight integrations with popular payment gateways that weren’t previously supported from Day 1. The newly-supported integrations include:
- WorldPay (Enterprise Edition)
- CyberSource (Enterprise Edition)
Easier integration with more popular platforms ensures that your store can easily implement a variety of payment options for your customers which can lead to a better overall checkout UX. It also means that your development time will be increasingly reduced because these platforms are already supported.
Magento 1 Themes Can’t Be Ported
Taking everything you already have on your Magento 1 platform and moving it to Magento 2 isn’t totally possible. The data migration tools are still in development. The more the early adopters use the solutions, the better they’ll be developed, but it’s still a bit early.
So, porting your store’s data is doable. But, taking your customization with you isn’t.
Magento 1 themes cannot be transferred to Magento 2 and have to be built from scratch. Additionally, since Magento 2 is so new there hasn’t been enough time yet for the community to rally and provide many available themes.
“If you own a Magento 1 shop that works perfectly well, you have at least 6 months when you shouldn’t attempt to transfer your shop to Magento 2. “ – Andrei Vashkevich, CTO Amastay
By waiting a bit for the community and resources to develop, merchants will have more options further down the road for a variety of themes. Additionally, Magento 2 launches with a Blank Theme by default making it highly customizable from the beginning. Instead of spending your development time reducing and eliminating unnecessary elements, your ecommerce development agency can proactively begin customization from Day 1 of your Magento 2 setup.
Not All Extensions Are Available Yet for Magento 2
Any extensions you currently have integrated with your Magento 1 platform cannot be ported into Magento 2. (source) The downside here is that you will have extra cost regardless: you may have to repurchase your extension(s) and you will also have to put resources into integrating them anew on your Magento 2 platform.
This con, in particular, is one that creates a hesitancy in many merchants considering upgrading to Magento 2. It will take time for the development community to dig into Magento 2 and build extensions compatible with the new release. Also, these extensions will need to be verified by the Magento community before making them publicly available.
However, there are many verified extensions already available. You can view a list of those here as well as a list of extensions “coming soon”.
Magento 2 Enterprise Edition Cost Rises
Magento Community Edition (CE) has been and will continue to be free. But should you choose to purchase the Enterprise Edition (EE), you’ll face quite a steep price tag. Of course, making this choice has its benefits in that the EE provides features like:
- Enhanced site management
- Enhanced catalog management
- Dynamic marketing & management features
- Customer loyalty programs
- Dedicated 24/7 support
- See the full feature list here.
Committing to an enterprise edition has its benefits, but is the cost worth it? In 2015, the cost of Magento EE was somewhere around $18,000 per year (source). Now, several sources cite that the Magento 2 EE comes with a $22,000 per year fee just for the license. (source)
In addition to having to dedicate your budget toward rebuilding your Magento 1 site from scratch on Magento 2, you’ll also be spending more money on the license alone. It seems that the upgrade from version 1 can add up fairly quickly.
Should You Make the Switch?Making the decision to upgrade your ecommerce website from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is one that requires careful consideration. It’s probably best to consult with an ecommerce development agency – even if you have an internal team – so that you can weigh the pros and cons of moving to Magento 2 now versus waiting until the solution becomes more stable.
Additionally, an outside perspective can help you evaluate if Magento is still the best platform solution for you. If you’re coming to a point where your company is ready to dedicate resources and budget to platform optimization, you should absolutely consider what other platform solutions are available as there may be a more efficient solution fitted for your store’s needs.
With the Magento 2 release, just like any other software release, it’s going to take some time to work the bugs out. The early adopters will be the guinea pigs, and the development will continue. The only thing that remains to be seen is if Magento 2 will work out the kinks fast enough to outpace the the fast-growing competition of Shopify / Shopify Plus.
What are your predictions for the future of Magento? Have you migrated? Are you hesitant to do so? Tell us why in the comments below: