What is Magento 2

Lets take a closer look

It’s been a while since the next generation digital commerce platform – Magento 2 – finally saw the light in November 2015 after a long gestation period. Being a new generation of the technology and a complete overhaul of the Magento code base, Magento 2 is gradually and irrevocably gaining traction and has already had its fair share of downloads of Magento 2 Community and Enterprise editions (250k) as well as can boast more than 800 active eCommerce stores.

Though not devoid of shortcomings, Magento 2 is unfailingly the future of the platform and migration to the rebooted version is just a matter of time, since the Magento company stated they would keep up supporting version 1 edition for the next 3 years from Magento 2 launching, which will mostly revolve around security patches and important fixes. No new features, improvements or functionality updates are supposed to be introduced in Magento 1 anymore.

What’s new in Magento 2

Focusing on the reviews and feedback on Magento 1 user experience, key breakpoints, inefficient areas and main issues store owners have on Magento 1, Magento team have come a long way to eventually introduce new features and enhancements that might make a world of difference to developers and merchants alike. In general, integrated with the modern technology stack, Magento 2 enables businesses to deliver seamless and engaging customer experience at every touch point, provides streamlined performance and increased scalability, and offers new features and innovation opportunities to developers.

Technical Innovations

On the technical side of things, there are a significant number of notable changes and new features that added up to a remarkable piece of software, and now provide smoother coding capabilities. So, what’s new for developers?

  • The addition of HTML5 tags built into the templates
  • Supports latest PHP versions, from PHP 5.5.x to PHP 7, including new security fixes and improvements that directly affect web store’s speed
  • Revamped CSS preprocessor
  • The switch from Prototype to jQuery as the primary JavaScript library
  • JavaScript loading is now handled by RequireJS, so there is no need to load all the dependencies and files yourself
  • New file structure: every module has its own VIEW directory in which you can access all template, layout, JS, and CSS/LESS files of any specific module
  • Hardware compatible functioning without any added software applications
  • A flexible modular frontend library, Magento UI library, geared to easing frontend theme development
  • Simplified and quickened process of upgrading core Magento software and installing and upgrading extensions in Magento 2
  • A stripped-down version of the theme – a fully responsive, out-of-the-box Blank Theme – alleviating the workload of frontend developers
  • Drastically improved resources for testing during development
  • Compatibility with popular platforms like MSSQL and Oracle

New features for businesses and store administrators

Integrated with an incredibly rich and unique set of out-of-the-box functionality, Magento 2 seems to be a sort of game changer for eCommerce business owners. All numerous bells and whistles incorporated into the system dramatically improve overall performance, scalability and speed of Magento websites, which is expected to deliver better user experience to customers, as well as ramp up brand’s visibility and exposure in search engines. Among the core new features on the merchant’s side are:

Full-page Caching

That’s what the main buzz was all about. Integrated with Varnish Cache – the leading website accelerator technology – the system does proactive caching of the full page output in production mode, thereby reducing page load times from 5-8 to 1-2 seconds, which improves website’s performance and translates into a prominent web presence and higher conversion rates inasmuch as fast loading websites rank higher. Faster page load times significantly decrease the server load, which is critical to high-traffic websites, since low server load helps avoid downtime when the traffic is too high.

Enhanced Backend Admin Panel

Magento has flat-out revolutionized the retailers’ experience through creating a new highly-intuitive and user-friendly admin panel enabling non-tech website owners to operate more efficiently and accomplish tasks that were previously managed by tech-savvy developers only. For example, now you can easily add a few columns to the product grid choosing from the available list in the admin panel, monitor your current state of business via the revamped Magento 2 Dashboard, or quickly create configurable products due to the improved product data import capabilities and new step-by-step product creation tool. What’s more, the admin panel has become touch-friendly, allowing users to swiftly make updates or track sales from their smartphones while on-the-go.

Streamlined Checkout Process

Default 6-step checkout process was replaced with new 2-step checkout that implies collecting personal information in the first step and billing information in the second. Assumed guest checkout enables customers to create an account on the order success page. Less information required as well as lack of compulsory “Create an Account” to make a purchase is supposed to improve conversion rate for retailers and reduce cart abandonment.

Improved Marketing Section

The old Promotion category is now replaced with new Marketing category that features the subcategories of Promotions, Communications, SEO and Search and User Content. More than that, Analytics has become more detailed and gives retailers in-depth reports on abandoned shopping carts, best viewed and purchased products, coupon usage and many more.

More Secured Payments

Magento 2 is tightly integrated with more popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, WorldPay (EE) and CyberSource (EE) that provide improved security.

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition brings exclusive extra features to retailers and shortens the development time, thus empowering businesses to deliver an ultimate customer experience seamlessly across all channels.

One of the greatest improvements seems to be the ability to separate your databases, which makes a big difference for bigger websites. This enables you to have a standalone database for order management and checkout, whereas the front end of your website’s content, products, and categories will be served by a completely separate database thereby ensuring that the checkout process won’t be slowed down by a concurrent browsing.

Though Magento 2 EE license costs won’t come cheap, yet opting for this version is worth considering since it incorporates such perks that will certainly help you save on marketing automation and personalization – the two accelerating trends you can’t avoid in 2017 if you plan to stay in the game.
Among other key features are: content staging, advanced customer segmentation, improved product search (Elasticsearch), dedicated 24/7 support and monitoring, extended customer loyalty, seamless integrations with all major third-party solutions, advanced order and returns management system, to a name a few.

How to Upgrade to Magento 2

Built with a plethora of advanced technologies, Magento 2 turns out to be more complex and requires much expertise and training to handle the uneasy coding behind it. If you want to build out a new Magento 2 website or upgrade the existing one, our dedicated team of professional Magento developers will execute all of the coding as well as frontend and backend development.

Seeing that the process of migrating to Magento 2 proved to be excessively complicated and on the pricey side, and you may be confused whether you should move forward or not yet, we’ll estimate time and development costs and help you out in taking the right decision. Our Magento 2 Demo will come in pretty handy to familiarize yourself with all the nuts and bolts of the revamped platform from the inside and play around with it.

Drop us a line! We'd love to know more about your project