In 2010 it was announced that the beta release of Magento 2.0 would follow in 2011. We waited on the edge of our seats for months… then lost all hope. For years we continued with updates right up until 1.9.2, when we had all but forgotten about this promise of a new release. Well, it’s 2016, and 2.0 is finally with us. Praise be.
So let’s get down to what we all want to know.
What are the benefits of developing with this new release of the world’s biggest bespoke ecommerce platform? Was it worth waiting for? Should you migrate straight away?
It’s open source, with flexible architecture which allows integration to pretty much any other system. Instead of a rigid process, Magento 2 is built enabling the user to include more actions than simply the default. This allows the user to integrate to almost any external system, be it stock management or order fulfilment (Sage, BrightPearl and Linnworks are just a few). Having this functionality ensures a flawless experience across all systems. Great start.
There’s an improved facility to use full-page caching built-in (e.g. Varnish cache) on the Community Edition, which allows a faster front end experience for customers, with a 50% increase in speed on catalog and checkout pages.
This has always been important, but is crucial now with mobile-browsing more common than desktop for the first time. One of our newest Magento websites has a load speed of 895ms – pretty impressive. UX is so important, so this is a welcome update.
It also now handily assumes that your business requires a guest checkout functionality. This might be because 80% of users had previously had to modify their checkouts to achieve this – thanks for listening, Magento Gods.
Optimisation is the law
We cannot express our love for this enough – the guys at Magento have made it almost impossible to put non-optimised code into the new release, alongside removing any bad extensions. This is brilliant news. If you want more info on why optimisation is key, here’s our explanation of why every site needs to be fully mobile-optimised and responsive.
There’s a list of security fixes within this new release on their website. Many are to protect against XSS (cross-site scripting), which is where hijackers can access sites and steal data amongst other things. It’s pretty dangerous – labelled by Sucuri as a severity of 7/10. Magento 2 unleashed its security patches on this threat, like Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of The Terminator. Scary stuff.
PHP 7.0.2, HTML5 and CSS3
THe PHP update of 7.0.2 in January this year featured a whole load of security fixes, including reported bugs and security-related issues. Magento 2.0.1 supports this version which is great as all PHP users have been told to update immediately. Performance will improve, and memory consumption will be reduced. This makes for happy developers and happy customers alike.
Magento 2 also supports HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, which previous versions only did up to a point. This is awesome, because it supports all the mobile, tablet and responsive aspects of websites that everybody wants these days.
2.0’s improved scalability means when your business grows, your Magento site grows with you. That’s a pretty big feat, and will allow a lot of fast-expanding businesses to relax. So don’t worry if you think you need, Magento has got it covered.
Sharpened administrative options
Calling all admin users! The backend of Magento has been significantly improved, with an easier menu, better customisation process, more admin options, and is touch sensitive, meaning you can access and amend your site while on your phone or tablet. Magento-on-the-go.
Is it worth scrapping a Magento 1 site to upgrade to 2?
Let’s not be hasty. As with all brand new platforms, Magento 2 comes with some faults. Of course they’ll be ironed out over the next coming months, but our advice is to wait until it is well used by others. For at least 12 months, not all extensions will run on 2.0. The ones that do might have issues, or you might have to pay a hefty amount to get the right functionality – something which, in a year or two, may probably be simple extensions with a one-off small cost to purchase and get integrated.
Don’t worry about the (near) future either, because they will support your site for a further 3 years (which is completely standard). You will get security and bug fixes, and being on an older version of the platform won’t affect your SEO or performance. Basically what we’re saying here is, at least for now, anyone developing on Magento 2 will be a guinea pig (not literally of course). That may be a risk you’re happy to take, but the uncertainty involved won’t be everyone’s cup of tea! Magento 1.9.2 is still perfectly functional and a great platform to work on.
It’s like when Apple release new iPhones. The iPhone 6s is out – does the iPhone 6 still work? Yes. The iPhone 4 still works.Except when an iPhone is released it’ll almost definitely work from the outset – but we digress.
Magento 2 is great, and we’ll definitely work with it in future (once its established), but it’s not essential to businesses running smoothly on the latest update 1.9.2. Maybe 2017 will see the rise of migration over to 2.0. Watch this space.