Magento Imagine 2014

imagine-2014I had the pleasure of attending the Magento Imagine conference this year in Las Vegas. The event was held at the Hard Rock Hotel which, to an aging headbanger like me, was the ideal spot. Now that I’m in the air headed back East, I wanted to share a few highlights from the conference.

Magento Community 1.9 and Magento Enterprise 1.14 are now available. The new version of Enterprise contains a new responsive reference theme as well as changes to the UI architecture that will make developing a customized UI about 50% faster. The new theme was developed with Class Llama and leverages HTML5, CSS3, and JQuery. It’s being touted as a complete rebuilding and redesign of the front end. I’ve seen a brief demo and I think it holds great promise for those involved in front end coding.

Perhaps the most compelling thing about the new responsive theme is that was positioned as content centric and not device centric. The folks involved in the design understood the importance of content within the context of an eCommerce experience and have done a great job making sure product pictures and other content maintain prominence as the UI is scaled.

Also in the new versions are performance improvements and enhancements to the way SOLR indexing works. Both are welcome improvements.

Roy Rubin also announced that Magento 2.0 will be in beta in December of this year with a release candidate scheduled for March 2015. This will completely change the current architecture of Magento and, while it is likely to be a difficult upgrade for many, upgrading certainly sounds like a worthwhile pursuit. For starters, installation and the upgrade process were given much though for the 2.0 release so that Magento could adopt a more agile release cadence and break the current long (and sometimes lagging) release schedule. Customizations have not only been promised to be easier, but upgrading to new versions will be easier for those with large investments in customizations. CSS pre-processing is being added as is further investment from the 1.14 release in the user interface architecture.

Great pains have been taken in 2.0 to improve performance and scalability and more attention has been given to integration with eBay Enterprise. Roy positioned it like this:

Magento Enterprise + eBay Enterprise = Connected Commerce

From what I and many others saw at this years Imagine, there certainly appears to be a lot of promise for the future of Magento. The coming weeks and months will tell us more about the impact all of this work will have on the Magento install base. I, for one, think it will have a fairly dramatic impact. Stay tuned…



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