Magento 2 release: facts and rumors

Magento 2 is, probably, one of the most discussed topics in the Magento community. It is clear that the market and the technology are ready, and, what is more, are willing to embrace the completely new version of the famous e-commerce platform. Today we share the points we already know about the future of Magento 2.

Disclaimer: all the information is taken from Magento events materials and other open resources, however, it’s not an official announcement or facts confirmed by eBay.

Magento 2 history

Magento 2 was announced in 2010. The plans were to release it by the end of 2011, but now we have 2014 shutting its doors, and finally you can register for the Magento 2 Dev Beta webinar, while alpha version is available on github. It’ve been a long wait, some members of the community are not exactly happy with the things going all, but now it seems we have light at the end of the tunnel.

As Allan MacGregor once said on Twitter, Magento 2 is worth waiting. Although the new version of the e-commerce platform will definitely change the landscape, and both business owners and developers will spend time on transitioning, this release is a huge step ahead, which could strengthen Magento’s market share. The reasons of such a delay weren’t confirmed by any Magento or eBay employees, but these are the thoughts floating in the community:    

  • in 2011, Magento was acquired by eBay. It is very possible than many time and effort were spent on reogranization.
  • Some people, including top management guys, left the company, which also might have brought some confusion into company’s processes.
  • Consolidating the 3 development centers in Urkaine also took time and effort
  • this is probably one of the most unpopular opinions, but the rumors where that the scope for Magento 2 was too broad to catch up with the other platforms.
Embarrassing that it took this long? Perhaps. 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 M2 to market. It would have been nice to let the community and users of Magento know this, but that’s only possible in retrospect. With all this time left “open”, nothing has emerged to “disrupt” the Magento ecosystem, indicating to me that custom, powerful, OPEN ecommerce is still a hard problem which Magento 2 is likely to solve even better than Magento 1. Read more
elena Leonova at Meet Magento Belarus 2014

Elena Leonova, Magento Product Manager, is speaking about Magento 2 on Meet Magento Belarus 2014 in Minsk

Now let’s move to the things we already know about Magento 2.

Features/architecture

 Modern technologies

Magento 2 will be using PHP 5.4 and 5.5, HTML 5, CSS 3 and {less}, moves from prototype.js to jQuery. Also, the new release will support modern coding standards. Require.js will also help loading pages faster.

 

Performance and scalability
  • Full page cache will be available out of the box, as well as Varnish and Redis support. Refactored indexers won’t block processes any more as they’ll work in the background.
  • Improved indexers.  New indexers cover the same functionality as previous enterprise versions, but have been revised to deliver faster query performance and more efficient updates.
  • Multiple admin users.  Core improvements in the admin site allow for more admin users to create and update products while reducing data conflicts.
Customization

In general, Magento team is working to simplify the process of customization:

  • God class “Mage::” is eliminated
  • Modular code and customization. Magento 2 modular code reduces cross-module dependencies, allowing developers to make narrow, targeted changes without impacting other areas of code.
  • Improved search.  Magento 2 includes a modularized search interface and layered navigation so it is easier to customize search functions. You can enable/disable search, even delete it from the code, or switch to 3d party search interfaces.
  • XML validation.  Magento 2 XML validation proactively checks that XML code follows specific rules and structures. This makes it easier for developers to configure XML, as their IDE (Integrated Development Environment) will alert them to valid options and prevent errors that would have otherwise involved significant debugging. This allows developers to predict outcomes and ensure that the extensions work appropriately.
  • Multilevel theme inheritance. Now themes are easier to inherit and to customize.
  • Magento 2 will be responsive out of the box. The blank theme will be using all the modern technologies listed above. What is more, you don’t have to customize the core template to make the shop responsive.
External integration

With Magento 2, integrations with external systems are simplified via enhanced APIs. The new APIs are also more efficient, making it possible to return all the data associated with a business object (such as customer, order, etc.) in one call.  And ‘integration-style’ APIs can create-update-delete-retrieve data based on fields common to Magento and external systems in one call, which is a more efficient way to integrate with external systems.

Installation and uprgades

According to Elena Leonova, Product Manager in Magento, the team is also working to simplify the process of installation and upgrades. Magento 2 includes updated information on versioning policies and compatibility of upgrades with current versions.

What is more, Magento 2 features a standalone installer that supports speedier installations of a new Magento instance by proactively checking for pre-requisites before starting the installation process.

Voting for Magento 2 at Meet Magento Belarus

Magento team at eBay values feedback from the community. Meet Magento Belarus visitors could vote for features in Magento 2

Code quality and testing

With the new and improved Magento Testing Framework, developers will be able to automate functional testing of the developed functionality enabling frequent releases and higher product quality.

Magento 2 roadmap and release approach

Here’s the slide from Elena Leonova’s Meet Magento Belarus presentation showing the roadmap for Magento 2:

Magento 2 roadmap

In short: after the release of the stable version the Magento team is going to update the platform every 3 months.

Magento UI library

To cut the long story short, here’s Sergey Ivashchenko presentation from Meet Magento Belarus, where he explained the essence of Magento UI library.

Common questions about Magento 2

Will Magento 2 be divided into Community and Enterprise versions?

Yes, it will be.

Will shop owners be able to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2 automatically?

Most probably no. The thing is that Magento 2 architecture is so different from the previous version that there’ll be no sense in such migration. However, the Magento team is going to provide shop owners with some tools to simplify the process of transition. This task is in process of solving as in most cases the data is customized and cannot be automatically transferred to a new store.

Any information for the killer features aimed at users?

This information will be available later, as now the main task is to release a stable 2.0 version. However, further updates after the merchant release will be focused on functionality for Enterprise users.

How long Magento 1 version is going to be supported?

The Magento team is planning to support Magento 1 for 3 years from the moment of the Magento 2 release.

Will there be an automatic transition for extensions from Magento 1 to Magento 2?

As the Magento 2 project is still in the refactoring stage, it’s really hard to say. The team really wants to provide extensions developers with the tools for transitioning, but more detailed information will be available later. Still, you can read Magento 2 documentation and try to edit your extensions even now. For now extensions are non-transferrable to Magento 2, and any extensions or code customizations will need to be reconfigured in Magento 2.

… and more.

Here are some quotes from Alan Kent, VP of Search Engine Engineering at eBay.

On development processes:
Internally Magento is using development practices similar to the Scale Agile Framework. This is an approach to get multiple Agile teams working together on long term projects. Sprints are grouped into larger deliverables called Potentially Shippable Increments (PSIs) – we call them milestones because we ship code every week to the public GitHub.
On Magento 2 Dev Beta:
By end of 2014 the proposed major platform changes will all in place. This includes upgrading the tech stack (newer versions of PHP, Apache, MySQL and so forth). It also includes more modern coding style, new theme inheritance infrastructure, Composer support, introduction of service contracts, better refactoring of HTML, CSS, and JS assets, and lots more besides.
On porting extensions:
Port early if you want to provide feedback and potentially get the platform changed to meet your needs. Dev Beta is the recommended time for this. That is, end of this year. Dev RC is when the platform should be pretty stable. That is, end of Q1 next year. Port later if you want maximum stability of platform under you. Wait until GA to start porting if you want absolute stability. You may be behind your competitors getting to market on 2.0 (so I do not recommend this), but if you want a super stable platform with zero risk of rework then GA is for you.

P.S. We updated our terms on Magento 2 support and Magento 2 extensions: https://amasty.com/terms.html
«Magento 2 will be a completely different solution in terms of architecture. Due to this extensions for Magento 2 will need to be developed from scratch and will be treated as completely new extensions.»

Are you waiting for the official Magento 2 release? Have you already tried to download and install the alpha version of Magento 2? Please share your opinions in comments.