Cloudways: Hello Jose, thanks for joining me. Please share your career highlights with the readers. How did you first get involved with ecommerce and Magento?
I’ve always been interested in web development projects. My specialization in Magento started in 2009 when the company I was working with switched over to Magento. At that time, I used to work with versions 1.3 and 1.4 of Magento. In the following years, I was lucky to meet my two current partners, David Motilla and David Arroyo, and we started growing professionally and personally.
We founded our own company, Way2 Ecommerce two years ago. We offer advice on strategy and high-value services to increase our clients’ sales and conversions. We specialize in both B2B and B2C models and often take on projects that require integrating Magento with external systems and ERP such as Dynamics Axapta, Navision or other customized software.
Cloudways: The widespread perception is that Magento is losing popularity in ecommerce circles. What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you think Magento 2 would increase the market share?
Jose: I don’t think Magento is losing its popularity. According to BuiltWith stats, Magento still powers about 11% of the stores. This is a strong reference for the popularity of Magento in the ecommerce industry.
It’s true that, at least in the Spanish market, many people think that Magento is slow or painful to use. Mainly, this is due to lack of information about Magento or because of bad experiences with consultancies or freelancers with little expertise in working with Magento stores.
In my view, choosing the correct ecommerce platform and the technology partner who will assist the merchant during the project life cycle are equally important. If the platform is excellent, but the technology partner is not, the project might not be adequately handled and, consequently, the merchant might have an unfavorable opinion of the chosen ecommerce platform.
It’s true that Magento has a steeper learning curve compared to other platforms, but the benefits, flexibility, and power Magento offers should offset any problems.
Cloudways: Do you think that Magento 2 is ready for the merchants who are willing to migrate from Magento 1?
Jose: I do not doubt that Magento 2 is the present and the future. But what I really wonder is what percentage of the companies that use Magento 1 are ready to make the leap to Magento 2. We have to take into account that Magento announced that it wasn’t going to leave behind any merchant nor was going to stop supporting Magento 1 in the short term. So back to your question, if I think that Magento 2 is ready for the merchants who are willing to migrate, my answer is yes, with the following conditions:
- Highly customized projects will require more time to move to Magento 2.
- Not all Magento 1 extensions will be updated to Magento 2. However, things are steadily improving.
On the contrary, as I said before, we have clients who have their business model established and working on Magento 1 and, in the short term, knowing that Magento will continue giving support, they are not considering to migrate to Magento 2.
Cloudways: What advice do you have for developers who are interested in Magento 2 extension development? How can they optimize the process?
Jose: Learn and train. This is the basic rule of learning any technology. These days, newbies have access to a lot of resources including books, video courses, and specialized forums. I suggest starting with a good book or a video course and then start training, training, training and more training. Working on real projects is essential for gaining experience.
Cloudways: What is your opinion about block cache peculiarities? Should the developers prefer or avoid cache keys? What about SQL query optimization?
Jose: Block cache makes Magento code lighter. In my opinion, every block of generated code which can be cached should be cached given that the cache keys are correctly defined. I don’t see why developers should avoid cache keys as long as they are well defined and, depending on the parameters, print one thing or another.
Now about SQL optimization. We make sure that our custom code only gets the required information from the database instead of loading entire entities (improving loading times). This reduces the database access times considerably.
Cloudways: In your opinion, which aspect of Magento development is the most challenging?
Jose: I think that the most motivating part is ERP and Magento integration. Not only for the integration per se, but how we have to manipulate and transform Magento to adapt each business model and ERP’s business logic to match Magento’s core.
Many of our clients, due to their specific business model, ask for automation and customizations that default Magento installations do not offer. It is in these projects where Way2 Ecommerce consultancy and development phases play an essential role because Magento is just an online sales channel and it must be in tune with the rest of elements of the business model.
Cloudways: A word of advice for all the aspiring Magento developers reading this interview.
Jose: Don’t get frustrated!! Remember that a price must be paid to produce quality and reusable code. Besides, Magento has a stable and continuously growing market, so the future of Magento developers is guaranteed.
Cloudways: Let’s talk about fun. What do you usually do in your free time? What are your passion, hobbies, and interests?
Jose: Free time? What’s that? I have a one-year-old son and a daughter of five, so your question is science-fiction to me.
Now seriously, I spend much of my leisure time with my wife and children; they are my passion. About hobbies, I like swimming; I try to find an hour a day on weekdays for swimming, It is a relaxing sport, and it helps me think and clear my mind. Fishing, reading and playing poker also take up my free time. My grandfather taught me how to fish when I was a child; I like reading since as far as I can remember and playing poker is the perfect excuse to be with friends around a table.
Cloudways: We provide 1-Click Magento installation with impressive speed & great cloud infrastructures embedded within the platform. Which top Magento hosting solution would you prefer, shared hosting for Magento stores or a cloud hosting environment like Cloudways offers?
Jose: A shared hosting for a high traffic and sales Magento has no sense. I undoubtedly choose the Cloud option.
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Fayyaz, a passionate Motorbike tourist, works as a Team Lead — Magento Community at Cloudways - A Managed Magento Hosting Platform. His objective is to learn & share about PHP & Magento Development in Community. You can contact him at [email protected]