Archive for January, 2017

What Magento Should spend some of that 250M on

Posted by: Karen Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Its 2017.

Magento 2 lets face it for many of us (probably all) has been a bit of a nightmare.  Yes there are some great things in it, its good to move onto new technologies. But oh my lord the complexity.  And the bugs (you kind of need to have been there to really appreciate this one). And the need to learn umpteen things, a lot of which are very very specific to Magento, i.e. non-transferrable.

In the last 12-18 months I’ve seen several serious size agencies get ‘burned’ by Magento. Merchants have been through a lot of pain in this transition to M2, those that have left it longer have in many cases made the right decision. And the fact remains that Magento 2 is still full of bugs, in parts totally confusing to even people like Alan Storm (where is the hope for the rest of us!), and remains a ‘work in progress’.  So my suggestion #1 to Magento is get more staff focused on fixing these bugs.  Because you sending me blogs about your ‘ideas for the future’ kind of is a bit annoying when I’m dealing with the fallout from your ‘ideas from the past’.  There is a lack of execution that needs resolution. Before you expand to Asia preferably.

I’m not sure Magento really understands how much their actions can affect companies.  Let me tell you this.  But for going cross-platform & diversifying our product range into ShipperHQ we would have had to lay off staff.  After working on Magento for 8 years 2016 was the worst year for WebShopApps on this platform, zero growth, big decline in M1 sales not matched by a rise in M2 takeup.  Looking at Alexa & from what I’ve heard this has been a similar story for other extension agencies.  We knew this was going to happen. I’m pleased we did diversify onto other platforms because basically it saved our bacon.  I’ve also heard agencies tell me similar stories, at best many have just flatlined in 2016 after years of high growth. Maybe coincidental, I don’t think so.

The effect on AheadWorks

Re the technical side of Magento there are mixed reviews. Some say its great, others hard work. Some say project times are shorter, I’ve never seen a project of any complexity that has come in faster than M1.  The learning curve is extremely steep, steeper than M1 in many ways, and although I’m being told that new PHP devs find it easier than existing Magento devs (which frankly I find a little insulting as it implies we have got stuck in our ways which Im 100% sure I’ve not), the reality is that projects are costing more, over-running and fraught with bugs. Thats a fact. So my suggestion #2 to Magento is that they need to simplify this architecture, make some serious decisions around the frontend part (as architecturally seems flawed at best to me & my colleagues).

If Magento inc want to really understand it then go write a serious extn. Not some boilerplate little piece of code. Go get a new Mac and create an environment (good luck with that) and create an extn that does something that affects the db, the view, the business logic. I’ll see you in a while. I truly think Magento forgot to think about how we would use this platform.  And for those of you developers ‘evangalising’ about how great it is – maybe it is great when its your hobby and you aren’t seriously working on it or your merchant is willing to spend a ton of money effectively training you. Go write an extn for it and try to make money from that investment of effort.  Not so easy.  The upfront training costs of staff & retooling in Magento 2 are frankly massive. Some we can take on the chin, this is technology. Some of this is ridiculous, especially the instability and complexity. Plus when Magento is unstable clients think bugs are with us, and that affects our reputation. I’m not responsible for fixing Magento, sorry I don’t have the resources to. They do.

#3 is to invest further in training content. Great strides are being made here both with docs and access to training materials. The video training is still slow IMO, they could do with taking a look at PluralSight which I believe runs the videos at a good speed to retain interest levels whilst still being able to follow.

#4 is the Marketplace. Can’t even discuss that one for fear of breaking terms of agreement (read getting utterly frustrated by many aspects of it).

My biggest single gripe with Magento is this tho.  There is a clear separation in what its telling the community and its actions.  And I’m afraid I’m no longer on board with promoting this platform in terms of community spirit. They speak of ‘We Are Magento’ and I personally love the work of people like Sherrie and Ben. But I’m concerned that they are using this community when underneath what is happening is deals are being made that shut out the very community that helped build Magento to where it is today (not last year, today). Magento have the proof – the Forrester Report stated that what made Magento was its community.  Well this community actually needs money in order to survive, if you shut that tap off then there is no community.  I think that is being forgotten, because releasing a ‘platform in progress’ really really hurt many of us. Yet you are asking me to help fix it. And making deals to white label solutions and/or building partnerships which exclude the rest of us by putting software in the core and making that your main promotion – well I can’t support that, its in conflict of your message of ‘We Are Magento’. IMO We are Magento whilst it suits Magento and then its thanks very much I’m now Magento you can sod off.  Well I walk away from that principle, morally, for my staff, my company and my clients both agencies and merchants. Do not play with us. Work with us and appreciate us, then we will appreciate & invest in you.  I respect many individuals in the company of Magento. I will no longer play along with your game.

So suggestion #5 is  make your actions speak louder than your words. Because I’ve lost trust. And thats why we have refused to become a Select Partner with Magento in 2017 after many years of Gold/Platinum Partnership. We are making our future now, outside the moving unknown foundation which is Magento. Its a shame, we had Magento in our blood, now its one of many platforms for us. Maybe we are getting older, I prefer to say we are growing up.

My philosophy in life is never ever forget where you came from or what made you what you are. I’ll never pretend to be something I’m not, and I’ll always stand up for the small guy. I hope you do too.

 

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Come see us over at ShipperHQ. Highly successful product that is making waves in the shipping technology space with its very unique offering.  We have all your shipping rating & checkout needs covered, and no we don’t print labels (you need ShipStation for that one). We also have the most advanced shipping extension for Magento 2 on the market today, complete with support for over 30 carriers, Store Pickup and Delivery Date with Calendar logic built in.