On 17th November 2015, the first stable version of Magento 2.0 was released. After more than 4 years of development, it was an overdue step that great parts of the Magento community as well as many merchants have long awaited. So has now the time come to start working on the development of a Magento 2 store? Or is it the right time to update an existing Magento 1 store to Magento 2?

Notice

This article assumes that it is desirable to use Magento 2 instead of Magento 1 sooner or later. This is by now means self-evident, even if it is often proclaimed. Even in the next years, Magento 1 will still have advantages in comparison to Magento 2:

  • the system’s stability, riping for more than seven years
  • the availability of good and low priced extensions for all use cases
  • Magento 1 will be supported by Magento at least until the end of 2018 when it comes to security and compatibility, e.g. for PHP 7. We expect that even after 2018 the system will be supported – by whoever.
  • the higher availability of experienced Magento 1 developers

The Current State of Magento 2

During our own works with Magento 2 as well as in conversations with developers working on Magento 2 projects, we have been able to form an opinion of the current state of Magento 2. For example, we attended the exclusive Magento 2 meeting on the 18th November 2015 in Mainz (Germany), where netz98, host and Magento Gold Partner, talked about their experiences of the recently launched Magento 2 project for SEAT. Our current impression in brief:

  • The new technical platform of Magento 2 is a pure delight for any experienced developer. The implemented technologies such as dependency injection, service contracts or interception enable a high quality development which – medium-term – will be faster and more stable.
  • Magento 2 sets standards in its frontend, too – modern development methods and a technologically high quality base theme make it possible to implement themes professionally.
  • As a result, however, the complexity during development and production increases significantly – especially newcomers will be challenged by the new technologies, which will lead to an increased amount of time needed for development – at least in the beginning. One of the great obstacles developers need to overcome is understanding and mastering the mechanisms involved in automatic code generation.
  • There are already a few extensions for Magento 2 (see the corresponding area of the Magento Marketplace). The total number of extensions for Magento 2 is still very manageable amount and in no way comparable to the several thousand modules for Magento 1. From the point of view of a German merchant central extensions are missing, e.g. for almost all payment providers, in order to integrate payment via credit card. The only exception here is PayPal.
  • Compared to Magento 1, Magento 2’s biggest advantage are improved load times when cache functionalities are properly set up.

Update from Magento 1 to Magento 2

Switching from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is actually not an update but a new implementation altogether, since very few modules and other developments can be transferred. Only the database containing e.g. product and customer data can be updated. There are tools available to port extensions from Magento 1 to Magento 2. However, these are only usable for a small percentage of extensions. An official guide for a recommandable procedure during an update is not yet available.

In our opinion, changing to Magento 2 at this time is not reasonable yet since both the system’s stability as well as the availability of extensions still leave a lot to be desired. We recommend to wait at least a few months. We assume that the critical comments stated above will soon be solved.

The costs for an upgrade will certainly go down in the upcoming months thanks to the growing experience and additionally available extensions.

New Development of a Magento 2

If you don’t have a (useful) online store yet, our recommendation differs slightly. Here you have to decide from case to case. If the store is supposed to be similar to standard Magento or if the majority of functionalities (e.g. interfaces) will be developed individually anyway, it might pay off to consider Magento 2 now. The choice of payment providers is an important factor: if you need a payment service provider’s extension, e.g. for credit card payment or direct debit payment, there is no way around Magento 1 (a few exceptions exist though, depending on the merchant’s country). If the merchant is somewhat adventurous with a focus on sustainable solutions, Magento 2 is in the lead.

Summary

In almost every case we currently recommend to not use Magento 2 yet. From today’s point of view, it’s advisable to wait at least for the next Magento update(s). In the upcoming weeks and months, many important extensions for Magento 2 will be released. The Magento community is currently very actively working with and on Magento 2, so prepare yourself for a lot of modules, blog posts, books and other ressources to be published, which will make it a lot easier to develop your own Magento 2 store.

Andreas von Studnitz

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 Developer Plus and a Magento (1 and 2) Certified Solution Specialist. He was appointed a Magento Master in 2019.

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