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Magento 2: Where’s Your Head At

When Karen Baker, long-standing and respected Magento community member, published her ‘What Magento should spend some of that £250m on‘ post last week she certainly got 2017 off with a bang.

We’ve since read with interest Kalen Jordan’s response and Joshua Warren’s reply ‘Magento 2 in 2017 – How’s Things?‘.

It’s caused quite a stir on the always lively #RealMagento and being the passionate and opinionated bunch we are, it’s no different in our office. So, we’ve had a think and here’s how we see things with Magento 2 right now.

To give you some context of where we’re coming from;

Magento 2: The Good

Let’s start with the positives – because it’s not all bad.

Bug Fixing

It does get better with every release (or at least slightly less buggy).

“We are going to continue investing in addressing issues in what is already out there, with a lower priority on new features”.

So said Magento VP of Technology Jason Woosley in an internal staff meeting just last week.

Magento have been directing more resources at addressing issues rather than developing new features. Version 2.1.3 addressed approximately 90 issues and 2.1.4 has about 60+ fixes lined up.

M2 training documentation

Magento have worked to make sure their M2 documentation is on point. They also recently redesigned DevDocs.magento.com to give users faster access to critical information and to highlight contributions from the Magento community.

Overall, a big improvement on M1 (although, it does seem that M1 documentation has, as a result, become harder to find!).

Not forgetting: Magento U have also, for a limited time, given away all of the Magento 2 training available online!

Upgradability

Upgrading M2 is much easier than it was in its version 1 counterpart. Using composer now means you’re just 1 digit in a text file away from changing versions. In addition to this Magento have ‘de-coupled’ lots of class logic, which means that classes can self-operate without being dependent on one another, further aiding the upgrade process.

Admin Usability

The new admin area is a big improvement and allows for better navigation and better performance due to its touch screen functionality. Gone (hopefully) are the days when merchants needed to call a developer to update data and basic configuration. The new admin definitely doesn’t look as daunting and is a lot more welcoming for novices.

Magento 2: The Bad

There are quite a few reasons we’ve held off throwing ourselves head first into M2.

Learning

The learning curve is extremely steep, steeper than M1 in many ways – Karen Baker

Agreed, Karen. One of our biggest challenges is to re-train the whole team in the ways of M2. While the code remains the same and ultimately achieves the same goals, the way M2 goes about it is completely different.

We started with the official Magento courses and carried out training sessions during our lunch hour but found the goalposts kept moving with every new release. By the time we’d got ourselves up to speed, the next version came along and we were back to square one.

To add to that, the practicalities of switching between M1 and M2 projects on a day-to-day basis is not easy.

It’s a time-consuming process and an investment we’ve been reluctant to make considering we’ve not had the complete confidence to recommend Magento 2 to all of our clients.

Architecture

…they need to simplify this architecture, make some serious decisions around the frontend – Karen Baker

From where we’re sitting, it seems as though somebody at Magento read a book about design patterns and tried to figure out a way to incorporate them all into the platform. Design patterns are not a bad thing, but when there’s so many of them…

Front-end

The front-end learning curve seems particularly steep. Front-ender’s now need to have a deeper understanding of even more technologies to get started.

We’re told there are lots of changes afoot to simplify the front-end development on M2 but for developers right now, it feels like a state of limbo, not knowing whether to wait for these changes to take place or plough on as is.

Deployment

Initially, we experienced many issues around this. M2 shipped with a poor deployment process that resulted in lengthy downtime when pushing sites and any changes live. This has been addressed partially since then, now you can generate static content files for dependent static files as opposed to generating them for every theme.

Bug fixing

Yes, yes, this was also listed as a positive. But this one goes both ways. There are a lot of them.

As Joshua Warren rightly points out, it’s a challenge for Magento to cut through the sheer volume on Github, a lot of which are non-issues.

That said, the time in which it’s taking to fix major, acknowledged bugs is a concern.

For example:

Ticket no #5596 – you cannot use the cookie notice warning at the same time as google analytics (even after the cookie notice has been accepted) – has been open for 6 months and is still not resolved. And there are plenty more of those.

Throwing more bodies at bug fixing probably isn’t the answer, but getting the priorities in order and communicating these better to the community would be a good start.

EE Focused

Magento are prioritising M2 Enterprise and tickets raised by paying EE customers. This is totally understandable but consequently, the community are suffering through a low priority storm of unanswered, unprioritised bugs and issues.

Magento 2: The Ugly

Magento could never be ugly in our eyes 😉

Magento 2: The Magic 8 Ball

What does the future hold?

Having such a passionate and vociferous community is one of Magento’s great strengths.

The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism – Norman Vincent Peale.

Can our concerns be put to bed? Sure, we see no reason why not.

The willingness of the community to provide Magento with constructive feedback will be vital to the future success of Magento 2.

We’ll be doing just that as we tackle more M2 projects this year and look forward to a brighter, more stable platform in 2017.


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