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The Mystery Of Magento 2: See Why Is It Still Under Wraps?

January 23, 2014

7 Min Read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

“Finally, the platform is mature enough where it’s requiring a new version.”

These were the words of Yoav Kutner when he announced Magento 2 in 2010. Back then, Yoav was the CTO at Magento Inc.; and a few weeks later, it was revealed that Magento 2 would be ready by the end of 2011.

Three years later, we have… well, nothing!

And, some are not happy about it, for e.g., Guido Jansen who wrote a blog post on this issue last October.

Magento 2

Before the release of Magento 2, Magento, Inc. changed

Well, a lot of things changed after the announcement of Magento 2. In February 2011, eBay bought 49% stake in the company and by June, it acquired the whole company where Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner remained the leaders of the application. The decision did come with its share of frowns as reported by TechCrunch.

But, in April 2012, Yoav left Magento citing ‘a change’ in vision for the platform. That was followed by another controversial stance taken by him on eBay’s lack of understanding about ‘open’. Later, he deleted his comment on Quora. However, Internet seldom forgets, and after some digging, a screenshot of his original response is reproduced below.

Yoav Kutner's Response On Quora About Ebay

Yoav is still friendly with the Magento team, though.

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However, only a month before Yoav’s departure, Magento blogger Dimitri Gatowski expressed his concern about Magento 2 development:

“Unfortunately, the development is not based on GitHub, there are only a couple of merges into GitHub. The last one was a couple of days ago, the commit before that was in the end of December 2011!

“In fact, this is the reason why I’m writing this post. I’ve looked into the GitHub project about 4 or 5 days ago and until then the last commit was still from 2011 which concerned me a lot!”

So, we did see a Magento 2 near the ending days of 2011 but it was just the initial commit, or in plain words, a very basic sketch of the application.

Then, why was there such a delay?

No one would tell us that.

However, Osvaldo Spadano shared a great opinion on a LinkedIn discussion:

“Keep in mind that eBay acquisition of Magento caused time to be wasted due to re-organization, consolidating the 3 development centers in Ukraine, good people got fed up and left. Also they made it difficult for themselves by making the scope of [Magento 2] very broad.”

This opinion is also assumed by Ben Marks, a renowned Magento evangelist:

“My ‘assumption’ is that bringing Magento, Inc. into the eBay fold took a bit of effort and time, the X.commerce platform took a lot of effort away, and eBay have redoubled effort to get [Magento 2] to market. It would have been nice to let the community and users of Magento know this, but that’s only possible in retrospect.”

So, why it is taking so long for Magento 2?

Well, they say it takes a town to raise a child and almost the same goes for Magento as it is powered by a very passionate community.

Ben was the first to respond when community managers from Cloudways started asking about the delay. On Twitter, he said:

He was followed by Allan MacGregor, author of the bestselling book Magento PHP Developer’s Guide, who tweeted this:

Indeed, there is a lot of work being done for Magento 2 and it seems the pace has been picked up since last October. Since then, there have been updates almost every week. As of January 23, 2014, there are 61 development builds on GitHub.

Then, there is the matter of ‘scope’.

Currently, Magento is being used to host online stores of all sorts and sizes. From a small fashion startup to high-end clients like Harper’s Bazaar, Christian Louboutin, Nike, and Vizio, it powers a quarter of the e-commerce stores present inside the Alexa’s Top 1 Million websites.

With such a diverse crowd, you need to make sure you please most, if not everyone. This will take time and perhaps this is why there is a great silence on the release date.

But, what has changed in Magento 2?

Let’s say almost everything has changed. Magento 2 is more of a fork than an update to Magento 1. The newer version will support the newer PHP versions, 5.4 or above. However, CLI web-server may not be fully supported. Also, Magento 2 will support mySQL 5.6 or above.

Magento 2 also says sayonara to Mage, the god class of Magento 1. According to Allan, this is being done to cut on complexity while improving the code quality. Now, this shakes the foundation of Magento’s development but in turn makes the code more stable and readable.

jQuery has been introduced to replace prototype.js. Plus, upgrading Magento 2 and installing extensions will be made easier. Magento 2 will come with a responsive design theme but there are no such promises for the back-end. Plus, customization is also being made easier.

Magento 2 will also be testing-friendly. Due to the absence of Mage god class, testing code will not be as troublesome as before. Moreover, a testing framework comes with the upcoming version and the following tests are to be included:

  • Integration Tests
  • Unit Tests
  • JavaScript Unit Tests
  • Static Tests
  • Legacy and Migration Tests
  • Performance Tests

DB schema will not change much from Magento 1. Tinkering with DB schema means a lot of hassle in restructuring data. It is an intentional move which makes sense as it will also make migrating from Magento 1.x to Magento 2.0 easy.

Furthermore, Magento 1.x branch will be supported for 3 years after the release of Magento 2, and there will be migratory support for moving from 1.x to 2.0 by means of software.

Now, here is the biggest shock. Since Magento 2 has no Mage, the extensions made for Magento 1 may not work on the succeeding version as they will require a rewrite. However, the Magento 2 development team is trying to automate the upgrade process so there is less friction in this scenario. Plus, there is documentation on this issue already available on Magento’s wiki site.

A much detailed technical article is provided here.

Is Magento 2 missing something?

The developers community of Magento seems pretty pumped up about the next version. However, there are some who are not very keen about it. Some of these complains are quoted below:

“I have tested Magento 2.0 dev60 and it is nothing more than a rewrite with jQuery. Magento 2 offers the same feature set as Magento 1. You’ll just need to pay a developer to migrate all your 1.x extensions to 2.x, since there is no upgrade path.

“A developer focus on Magento 2.0 gives us jQuery, OWASP security policies, faster product imports, better performance and “less” CSS. Great. But it does nothing to advance merchants’ needs. Magento is missing the most important suite of marketing and sales automation tools.”

And, he has a point. e-Commerce has become more than just online stores. There is a layer of mercantile requirements which are quite social in nature. One can argue that there are extensions available for these functions, but with Magento 2 not providing full compatibility to Magento 1.x extensions, the future looks scary.

Should you wait for Magento 2?

Given my inquisitive nature, I asked a few question about Magento 2 over the last few weeks. Magento specialist, Mark Shust, was of the following opinion:

And, he is right. Magento 2 is not even in beta (and perhaps, there is no public alpha release too—do correct me if I am wrong). Furthermore, whenever there is a drastic change in a product life’s cycle, there is a great chance of failure. The most recent example of such a failure is the Windows 8 release, due to the fact that the product was changed drastically.

Magento 2 asks its users to do Magento in a different manner, but will it be able to convince them? Only time will tell.

And, then there is the missed opportunity. By delaying Magento 2 too much, eBay is giving a chance to its competitors, like Drupal Commerce, Shopify, OpenCart, and WordPress WooCommerce to eat up market share. In the past year or so, all of these competitors have gained strength. If Magento 2 is delayed further, these competing applications might hold back the growth of Magento.

What’s the official word on Magento 2?

Till now, there is no official release date of any sort for Magento 2. But do they have a roadmap for this?

Well, I tried to get a word from Elena Leonova, Product Manager at Magento, Inc., via Twitter. (Please pardon my careless omission of ‘us’!)

Well, she is a busy lady and I hope she will provide a response in due time. (This blog will be updated if a response comes in.)

However, I did find an official word from Magento product managers on a Quora discussion from 2012.

Read Quote of Piotr Kaminski’s answer to How’s the Magento 2 Going?: Hey, does any one know how’s Magento 2 going? Any fantastic feature coming? I only know that it will probably be released late this year. on Quora Read Quote of Elena Leonova’s answer to How’s the Magento 2 Going?: Hey, does any one know how’s Magento 2 going? Any fantastic feature coming? I only know that it will probably be released late this year. on Quora

For now, it seems GitHub is your friend if you want the latest on Magento 2.

Is the Magento 2 wait bothersome?

Well, it seems that’s not the case. On one of our Quora discussions, Peter Jaap, CTO of a Magento-based company, seems to be satisfied about how Magento 1.x is still present:

Read Quote of Peter Jaap’s answer to Magento: Why hasn’t Magento 2.0 been released yet? Why has it been delayed? on Quora

Well, kudos to the Magento team for still keeping Magento 1.x going while there is serious development going on Magento 2. Perhaps, this is the reason why many people have good faith for the upcoming major release.

Conclusion

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Saad Durrani

Saad is the Senior Editor at Cloudways - A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform. He is a technology enthusiast who loves to blog about emerging technologies and trends. When he is not blogging, he goes to the beach to find inspiration for his fictional stories.

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