Yesterday, Magento officially announced that the support for the outdated product version 1.x won’t end in 2018.

Magento announces ongoing Magento 1 Support
(from https://magento.com/blog/magento-news/ongoing-magento-1-support; image removed for better readability)

Support of Magento 1 is secured for an indefinite time. Magento assures that they will announce a possible end of support at least 18 months in advance.

Change of Policy at Magento

This is surprising as the end of life (EOL) on November 18th 2018, three years after publishing Magento 2.0, was communicated several times by Magento officials. Interestingly there was no quotable statement about that, for example on the website magento.com or in a press release. On the other hand, there have been several announcements in talks and keynotes by Ben Marks and other Magento officials, as Alan Storm documented in his blog. From that day on, there shouldn’t be any security updates for Magento 1 any more. Plus, even more serious for many clients of the Magento Enterprise Edition (EE): the official support was said to run out at that date, too. Additionally, the license situation was totally unclear for Magento 1 EE shops which will still be online after that date.

From the point of view of Magento Inc., the company behind the popular shop software, the EOL of Magento 1 was a comprehensible measure in order to increase the adaption of the new version Magento 2. In many cases, this was successful – especially larger shops are mostly implemented with Magento 2 now, while existing Magento 1 shops are migrated / newly implemented on Magento 2. Magento together with its official solution partners have been the main driving forces behind this.

From the Point of View of Shop Owners

For many shop owners, switching to Magento 2 is currently not possible, even if it’d be desirable from a technical point of view:

  • Especially many smaller shop owners are not able and/or willing to afford the (at least five-digit) budget for a switch to Magento 2
  • They have put a lot of effort in form of individual development into Magento 1 shops (Community Edition and Enterprise Edition). In many cases this effort is worth several developer years. A switch to Magento would mean to re-develop a big part of that, as in most cases from a technical point of view a migration isn’t possible. For many shop owners, this isn’t manageable with the human resources they have available right now.
  • Know-how and experiences of many developers regarding Magento 2 is much smaller than with Magento 1; at the same time, the effort necessary in order to get comfortable with the software has increased. Conclusion: the capacity of agencies, freelancers and inhouse developers is by far not enough to re-implement a larger share of the current Magento 1 shops on Magento 2 until the end of 2018.

The alternatives for shop owners affected by those difficulties are not ideal:

  • A forced switch to Magento 2 with limited resources (know-how, developers and/or budget) will in many cases lead to a suboptimal result and thus to reduced turnover for several shop owners
  • A switch to a totally different shop software may be the more cost effective way compared to a switch to Magento 2.
  • Many shop owners will continue operating their shops despite the EOL. In the medium-term, this will be a big problem regarding security and privacy.

Magento’s Reaction

The EOL of Magento 1 and the possible options were one of the big topics at the Meet Magento DE which took place in Leipzig last week. This didn’t escape the numerous present Magento employees including CEO Mark Lavelle who was there for the first time. The different mindset could have played a role as well: While the US are much more open to technology and progress in general, especially in Germany scepticism prevails in many cases. This leads to the theory that the problem of slow adaption of Magento 2 is regarded as a smaller problem (probably it is also less of a problem) than in Germany. At the same time, Germans aren’t exactly known for holding off their criticism.

A possible trigger could have been the rising of different initiatives to take over support and maintenance for Magento 1. If one of those initiatives was successful, Magento Inc. would have to give away control over their own image in some parts. The recent announcement took the wind out of those initiatives’ sails for the moment.

In order to avoid a potential image disaster for many Magento 1 merchants, prolongation of the support for Magento is the right approach in my opinion, even if it is slowing down the adaption of Magento in some cases. This is annoying for early adaptors of the new technology, but it is important for a big part of merchants who wouldn’t have managed to make the switch to Magento 2 until the end of 2018. Thus, it’s also good for the image of Magento and its ecosystem.

From a technical point of view, Magento 2 is much more advanced and sustainable than Magento 1, even with its several flaws and its over-complexity in some aspects. As a technical solution integrator we will implement new shops on Magento 2 only (which we have already been doing for a while). As the end of the support for Magento 1 can be announced anytime with a timeframe of 18 months, we recommend not to build any new shops on Magento 1 any more.

Andreas von Studnitz

Autor: Andreas von Studnitz

Andreas von Studnitz ist Diplom-Informatiker, Magento-Entwickler und Geschäftsführer von integer_net. Seine Schwerpunkte sind Schnittstellenentwicklung, Backendentwicklung, Beratung und Entwicklerschulungen. Seit 2011 ist er Magento Certified Developer, seit 2014 Magento Certified Solution Specialist.

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