There has been a lot of talk about Magento 2 and the opportunities it represents, but what there has been precious little of is what the precise differences are between Magento 1.x and the new Magento 2 platform.
We thought we might fill that gap – so that retailers and agencies can weigh up whether to take the additional risk of going Magento 2 or not.
So what is different between the old and the new Magento?
The headline news is not easy – it’s everything and nothing! Old Magento hands will still recognise the old Magento settings, albeit re-ordered slightly.
Re-worked and stripped out checkout.
This has been radically overhauled, and as well as being Ajax, it also starts with Shipping address and then offers the chance in billing to provide a separate billing address. It also reduces the process to 2 steps – Shipping and Payment. It also follows a fundamentally “Guest” type checkout, and includes the opportunity to create an account at the Order Success page. This should address previous issues with the stepped approach that Magento offered, and the issues with ‘Guest vs. Logged In’ checkout; it should reduce checkout fallout and improve conversion.
Backend workflows and product creation wizards.
This includes a number of features designed to improve the usability of the admin screens. The interface is touch screen friendly, the filters and columns are more customisable so that you can create proper workflows, you can Drag and Drop images and video in the admin screens and the product creation system has been simplified through the use of wizards.
The themes have been improved.
Price has been fundamentally reworked.
Perhaps the most fundamental change from a product/store management and ERP integration point of view has hardly been mentioned by Magento, and that is around price. In the old Magento the price of configurable products was defined in the configurable itself – i.e. if you had a product with three differently priced sizes you had to define these differences in the parent product – but this has changed, and now all products take the price of the child. This has massive implications all through the Magento infrastructure, from how integrations work, to promotions and marketplace listings.
The old Dataflow profiles have been (sadly) retired, but the import /export tool has been beefed up (and stabilised!). Magento boasts of imports working 4x faster. We have not yet been able to confirm these claims, but the prognosis seems good.
Caching & Indexing.
It would have been quite a shock if nothing had been done in this area, as this was one of the main gripe areas of Magento 1. It’s not all good news however, as Indexing seems to have taken a step back as there is no manual way to re-generate indexes from the admin panel. However on the plus side caching seems to have been improved, with Full Page cache facilities available in the community edition, and full integration with Varnish available as standard.
The whole MySQL and file architecture has been reworked in the new platform – including database separation of products, orders and customers (to allow greater robustness when data sync is under way) and MySQL clustering.
Magento have trumpeted about security improvements, though to be honest we cannot determine where these improvements have been made, nor what the uplift in security might be. PCI is anyway largely addressed by payment gateway integrations and server infrastructure, and there is certainly nothing to prevent best practice security from being deployed.
Another function of the new platform (that as yet we have not tested) it its Auto-testing suite.
Magento has released data on the improvements to performance and scalability, and they are pretty impressive, with improvements of 150% for catalogue views per hour, and 117% for orders per hour. We have not yet verified these figures, but in any case we have not had any real issues with performance. Magento has always been processor hungry, and this comes at a cost, but this has not prevented the required performance from being achieved.
Lots of changes – and lots just the same – and a bit of getting used to things required. Magento 2 is a real step forward for SME eCommerce, and once the developer ecosystem catches up the future looks rosy!
Is it right for you?
The best way to determine that is to Get In Touch and start comparing your requirements to what can be delivered right now in the new platform! You could also review one of our previous articles on Magento 2 Facts. We look forward to speaking soon and helping you deliver your eCommerce vision.