On February 11th, 2022, Adobe organized the “Adobe Developers Live: Commerce” remote conference. The most important part was the keynote by Chris Hedge, Senior Director Product Management at Adobe, where he announced a couple of upcoming changes, following up the promise given at MA Connect in October 2021 to communicate more openly. In this blog post, I’d like to discuss some of the announcements and address some misconceptions currently expressed by some members of the e-commerce community.
Why you might want to read about my humble opinion
I attended the Adobe Developers Live: Commerce event, as did my colleagues at integer_net. Afterwards, we discussed what we had learned, so it’s not just my understanding but our shared understanding. Also, I have not only discussed the topics with other members of the Magento community but I have discussed them at length with our Adobe partner manager and other Adobe employees working on Adobe Commerce as well as with a member of the board of the Magento Association.
A new release strategy
Chris Hedge announced that there will be a new release strategy for Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source in the future. There will be two release lines, namely LTS and STS.
LTS – Long Term Support
This will be maintained by Adobe, primarily providing stability, compatibility and security updates as well as bug fixes. It hasn’t been announced yet how long the support will last – from what I have heard, I assume it will be at least five years, so each released version would be supported for at least five years.
STS – Short Term Support
The short term support versions will be maintained by the Magento community, allowing them to advance the product via pull requests.
The two versions will not be independent:
- The STS branch will receive all updates from the LTS branch, so it needs to stay downward compatible.
- Selected contributions to the STS branch will be merged to the LTS branch.
Why “No new features” isn’t a bad thing
Yes, Adobe has announced that they won’t build new features for the PHP core of Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source. But, to be honest, it has been like that for the most part of the last couple of years:
- Whenever Adobe introduced new features to the core, it was a SaaS offering like Adobe Sensei or Adobe Stock. The one remarkable exception here is Page Builder.
- All other features were either coming from the community (i.e. Multi Source Inventory, Two Factor Authentication, …) or from partners.
Magento doesn’t need new features in its core
Two of Magento’s biggest advantages play together here:
- Its unequaled extensibility
- Its huge ecosystem of extenstion builders
So why do we need new features in the core if they can be included as extensions?
Instead, Adobe should focus on Magento’s stability, and that’s exactly what they announced.
Giving back power to the community
The earlier years of Magento 2 (about 2016-2018) were some of the best for Magento, after the biggest issues of the 2.0 release had been resolved. In big parts, the success was due to the Magento community which was actively improving the core via pull requests and other contributions, and the efforts of the Magento Community Engineering team to improve contribution processes and direct exchange. I assume that the activity of the community also played a role in the acquisition of Magento by Adobe.
Over the last years (following the acquisition), contributions have become more difficult, also because Adobe didn’t assign as many resources to the Community Engineering team, causing long processing times.
Allowing the community to process pull requests themselves will remove this bottleneck, driving more innovation to the STS releases.
Addressing some misconceptions
Chris Hedge’s keynote has been interpreted differently by other attendees of the event as well as others who did not attend Adobe Developers Live: Commerce themselves, but got their information from the interpretations of others. Those interpretations have been published on social media and other media. Let me clarify a few things:
Magento Open Source will not be passed to the Magento Association
As stated above, control over the STS (Short Term Support) version of Magento will be handed to the community, while the LTS (Long Term Support) version will stay in the hands of Adobe.
Adobe has not announced the end of Magento Open Source
The existing Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce will be supported for several years. It’s also the base for the “Commerce on Experience Cloud” product which was mentioned in the keynote, extended by SaaS offerings. These extensions can be customized through Adobe IO, while the base will stay customizable as we know it from Magento.
The official statement is: Magento Open Source will be supported as long as Adobe Commerce is built on the same stack – that’s “many years to come”.
Adobe Commerce will not go full SaaS anytime soon
Adobe only stated that any new features for Adobe Commerce will come as SaaS offerings. That doesn’t mean that the whole PHP base will be replaced – that would be a huge task which would take years.
Magento is and stays actively supported
To summarize: Magento Open Source is evolving. Things are changing, but Magento is not going away anytime soon.
- Magento is actively used by thousands of agencies and merchants and will be used for several years.
- A big part of the Magento community is looking at new ways to advance Magento in a positive way.
- Adobe is looking for new ways to cooperate with the Magento community actively. In the last months, the internal mindset seems to have changed, probably influenced by the Mage-OS initiative and the Magento Association Open Source Task Force.
- Adobe focussing on a stability and the LTS version of Magento is actually a good sign.
- An example of the advantages of Magento’s extensibility combined with community efforts: most people agree that the traditional frontend theme “Luma” doesn’t fulfill today’s needs. For many, Hyvä is the way to go, others use PWA Studio or other PWA frameworks. This is just one example where the stable Magento base is being supplemented by other solutions coming from the community, from Adobe, or from SaaS providers.
Author: Andreas von Studnitz
Andreas von Studnitz is a Magento developer and one of the Managing Directors at integer_net. His main areas of interest are backend development, Magento consulting and giving developer trainings. He is a Magento 2 Certified Professional Developer Plus and holds several other Magento certifications for both Magento 1 and Magento 2. Andreas was selected as a Magento Master in 2019 and 2020.