New updates on what Magento 2.0 offers:

  • Full page caching on both Magento 2.0 Community and Magento Enterprise 2.0.
    • This is one of the biggest things that I’m excited about. Full page caching is a game changer.
    • It basically takes a database-driven site (where each page might have 100+ database calls to build a single page) and pre-renders all of the pages into basic HTML. This can take page load times down to 1-2 seconds, from a normal 5-8 seconds for many eCommerce sites.
    • I’m thrilled that Magento has incorporated full page caching into the community version – this is just the built-in feature that will keep the open source community going.
    • Faster page load times mean less load on a server. So you can handle more traffic and visitors without having to pay for more hosting infrastructure. Fast page load times make for a better end user experience, can translate into a higher conversion rate, and are a key signal that Google uses to rank sites (fast loading sites often will rank higher).
  • Magento 2.0 is also compatible with Varnish 4, and the HHVM 3.6 (Hip Hop Virtual Machine), pioneered by Facebook to compile php code on the fly for even faster page load times.
  • Reduced JS code calls. In the past, Magento 1.9 and 1.14 needed to load dozens of javascript (JS) libraries to build a single page. This has been reduced; making page load times faster.
  • Better APIs, more modular core, better theming and layout – all these are promised. We’ll see how this actually plays out though in the real world, however.

Database Improvements for Magento 2.0

For Magento, the single point of failure has always been the database.You can scale out front-end Web servers, place all of your content on CDN (content delivery networks), and use load balancing and failover to handle these items.

But until Magento 2.0, you were stuck with one single database to run the whole thing. Sure, you could back up the database to another server on a frequent basis. But everything runs in Magento out of a single mySQL database.

On Magento 2.0, you can have a standalone database for order management and checkout. This means that if you want, you can have the front end of your site’s content, products and categories served out of one mySQL database. And this database can handle a ton of traffic. But when someone wants to actually checkout on the site, the checkout page can use a secondary, standalone database. This allows you to scale out the site, and have a dedicated resources for the most important site visitors – the people trying to check out on the site and make a purchase.

Magento 2.0 also offers compatibility with mySQL clusters, and the catalog database separation.

Because of the database improvements, you can also have concurrent product management (up to 25+ users in the system updating products) and concurrent order management (up to 50+ users in the backend Magento admin processing orders).

Need help upgrading to Magento 2.0? Click Here >>

Speed Improvements in Magento 2.0:

Magento 2.0 is 25% faster for end users browsing the site (standard, out of the box installation), and 52% faster adding products to the cart than the current Magento 1.x platform.

With Magento 2.0, the system can easily support 10 million catalog page views per hour vs. just 500,000 page views per hour on the Magento 1.9 or Magento 1.14 platform. (Assuming the same hardware.)

Improved Checkout process in Magento 2.0:

I have to say… I’m impressed with the way in which Magento 2.0 optimizes and simplifies the checkout process.

The reality is that very, very few people ever want to “Create an Account” to checkout on most sites. Usually, people are forced to. And then when they want to checkout again they can’t… because they don’t remember their password.

There have been many One Page simplified checkout extensions for Magento over the years, and many of them have actually made the checkout process worse (because of errors during the shipping or payment process portion).

Instead, Magento 2.0 re-imagines the checkout process, and starts the entire process with the assumption that someone wants to checkout and make a purchase:

The end user starts by entering in their email address into the system. If it’s found (because they are a past customer), then they will be prompted for their password (optional, but so the form fields can be pre-filled).

Otherwise, the end user just checks out normally.

The Zip code has moved ahead of the City and State fields (at least for the US example), so that City and State can be pre-populated based on the Zip code. This also allows the end customer to have accurate shipping rates calculate automatically, too, without having to do another javascript reload.

If your customer happens to live in a place where the Zip code has multiple cities (I lived in such a place in a small mountain town in the past), the end user can correct this:

My favorite option, though, was the removal of the “Credit Card Type” field:

If you’ve been in the world of credit cards for a while, you know that anything that starts with a 3 is Amex, 4 is Visa, and 5 is MasterCard. I think that Discover Cards start with a 6 or an eight, but I honestly don’t know the last time someone tried to pay with Discover or a Diner’s Club Card.

Asking for the Credit Card Type was unnecessary – the system should be able to select the card type based on the credit card number. This is something that a lot of top sites have figured out – that the less information you ask for on a checkout page, the more likely people are to check out.

Finally, on the order success page – the page after you’ve placed your order… you’re now able to create an account so that you can come back to the site and track your order:

Magento treats guest checkout users differently than people who create an account. In the past, if you checked out as a guest, there was not easy way to subsequently “Save” your information as a customer account.

And you can do this with one single click. And do so at a time when it makes sense to end users (so they can come back and see if their order has been shipped.) This is a great feature and will covert a lot of guest checkout users into actual customer accounts.

Improved Backend Magento Processes in Magento 2.0:

In the Magento 2.0 update, they also spent a lot of time focusing on how Website owners, who have to process orders and add / edit / remove products in the Magento admin have to work.

One of the most common requested features in the past was the ability to customize the Magento admin grid.

For example, wouldn’t it be wonderful to add a few columns to the product grid so that it’s easy to sort?

In the past, this has required a custom module / custom coding to do this. But it’s now built in to Magento 2.0, and can be set and saved and personalized, based on each Magento admin user.

Second, you can now create a grid view in the admin area (such as Page Titles, SKU and Inventory levels), and then edit the information right on the page in the grid. Sort of like you can do on an Excel spreadsheet. This will save a ton of time, as opposed to the standard method of having to open up each product, navigate to a sub-tab, and then jump back into the grid when you save.

Magento 2.0 doesn’t really address a key issue with Magento products in general: Magento was primarily designed for a person, sitting at a screen, to enter in products into the admin area, one product at a time.

For a site that has hundreds of products, that’s not a big deal. For a site with tens of thousands of products (or more), bulk upload is really the only option.

But for Magento 2.0, they’ve added these features into the Magento 2.0 admin area:

  • Bulk images for products. Basically, you can apply unique images by attribute to each SKU, or apply a single set of images to all SKUs.
  • Bulk Pricing. You can apply pricing to a single set of images, or in bulk to all.
  • Create Product Configurations. In Magento 2.0, you can use more of a visual editor to create attribute values, including checkboxes, that make it a lot easier to figure out for the average Magento admin user.

Magento 2.0 – Payment Gateway Update:

Magento 2.0 allows you to have a few improvements to the payment process, including:

  • Third Party embedded APIs with direct post.
  • An inline iFrame that allows a payment form to be hosted by a third party (i.e. Merchant processor), but still be embedded in the checkout process. I know of many clients who would love this option, because having the credit card payment page area hosted elsewhere mitigates the risk of credit card data being saved / hacked / stolen from a site. (And yes, sadly, this can happen even to Magento sites if you leave your server vulnerable.)
  • Or, you can have a third-party hosted payment page (such as PayPal) that redirects the end user to a page on a completely different domain.

Magento 2.0 is tightly integrated with PayPal, BrainTree, CyberSource, and WorldPay, among others.

What’s next after Magento 2.0 is released?

On the post-launch feature list are:

  • Extended API coverage
  • Staging and preview functionality for Magento sites (something that isn’t always possible on a live Magento site).
  • New search functionality (because this can always be improved)
  • Improved CMS (perhaps to make it easier to work with a.k.a. WordPress CMS)
  • Multi-warehouse support (Magento does not natively allow you to keep track of items in multiple warehouses)

Migrating from Magento 1.9 Community to Magento 2.0?

Magento has promised a data migration tool that will allow product, order, and customer data to be migrated. The data migration tool will also help move CMS pages, store configurations, EAV tables, promotions, Customer passwords and URL rewrites.

Extensions will need to be completely re-built (or re-downloaded from the Magento Connect marketplace), as will design themes and customizations to the Magento framework.

If your site has a ton of core file modifications or crazy extensions, it won’t be as straightforward, though.

Updates from the Magento Imagine 2014 Conference on Magento 2.0:

At the 2014 Magento Imagine Conference, we found out that Magento 2.0 is on a fast-track to be released to the public early next year.

My estimate is that it will be released as a public Beta in December, and the Magento 2.0 code base will be released to the public in time for the 2015 Magento Imagine Conference.

It also appears that Magento 2.0 is going to include full page caching in the Community latform. This is a HUGE deal, and should greatly speed up page load times for Community sites. In the past, Full Page Caching has only been a feature on the Magento Enterprise system, and has been one of the key reasons that many store owners have upgraded. The Enterprise version of the code base promises better scalability, but including Full Page Caching in the Community version of Magento 2.0 is going to make a big difference for store owners, search rankings and help with the future adoption of the platform.

Magento 2.0 – a complete revamp of the Magento code base – has been under development for quite some time. We’ve been testing the Alpha version at our office, and we’re excited to learn that Magento has stepped up their development efforts.

Magento’s Mark Lavelle, Senior Vice President, discussed the roadmap for Magento 2, and it’s a complete overhaul of the Magento code base to bring it up to more modern standards.

The Beta Release will be out in December 2014; the Release Candidate will be available in March 2015.

Why Magento 2?

Why revamp the code base for Magento 2?

It brings in a much more modern code base to the picture. The current code base was designed and architected in 2006 / 2007 – eons in the Web world.

Magento 2 allows for cleaner installation and upgrades, and better performance and scalability.

Magento has been using an agile process, and has made 30+ Github pushes to the Magento 2 code base since October of last year:

What is Magento 2.0?

The Magento commerce shopping cart system was developed by Roy Rubin and his team as a response to OS Commerce. OS Commerce was an early, open-source eCommerce system.

At the time, Rubin was running a Web design company, and was frustrated with how difficult it was to implement design, and not be able to upgrade easily. OS Commerce didn’t have a framework for extensions and plugins (like WordPress and now Magento do), so Magento was born.

Magento now has over 110,000 255,000(updated for 2014) eCommerce store fronts that use the Magento Community or Enterprise platform. It’s feature rich, and contains nearly everything a marketer needs. It’s very stable, and set up properly, can run very fast.

More than five years later, Magento 2.0 is an overhaul of the Magento code base, and includes a visual editor, new “containers” for handling visual elements on a site, better overall performance and more.

The Magento 2.0 codebase is now publicly available at GitHub, and if you’re a developer, you can download the code, test it out, and create a branch.

Upgrading to Magento 2.0

If you’re considering upgrading to Magento 2.0 when it is released (probably in 2013 – Update: Best Guess – April 2015), we highly recommend doing a Magento code audit on your Website, to determine what functionality might not work if you migrate to Magento 2.0.

Although Magento 2.0 has not yet been released, we’re beginning the process of testing the upgrade platform.

Between now and when Magento 2.0 is released might be a good time to make sure your site is upgraded to the most recent version (i.e. upgrade to Magento 1.7), and is free from security vulnerabilities and core code changes.

Magento 2 Overview:

In April 2012, the Magento team showed a demo of Magento 2.0 at the Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. On October 31, 2012, the Magento team had a conference call for developers, where even more specific information about Magento 2 was discussed.

Key features of Magento 2:

Magento 2 will include new features like the Visual Layout Editor, that makes it much easier to drag-and-drop blocks of text or images on pages. This will be a welcome change to the somewhat difficult process of working within layers of template files.

If you are planning on upgrading your Magento site from versions 1.5, 1.6, or 1.7, there are some important considerations to take into account, because Magento 2.0 will not be completely backwards compatible.

For example, Magento 2:

  • Removes some payment methods
  • Slims down by 20% the config.xml file
  • Adds the “container” to the layout options, in addition to Magento’s “blocks”:
  • Containers can contain blocks.
  • Containers can contain other containers.
  • Containers are part of the visual design editor, that allow you to move blocks around.
  • Magento 2 eliminates skins, and instead uses themes. This removes the packages from the entire Magento file system.
  • Magento 2 allows you to manage design themes and packages via the database (vs. uploading files).
  • How cookies are handled, as well as session information.
  • Magento 2 migrates to jQuery, which wasn’t robust enough when Magento first started, but now is an industry standard.
  • Magento 2 relies on REST API and SOAP with WSI compliance.
  • Magento 2.0 will use the Zend Framework 2 for performance issues including a cache engine, translations and the database access layer.

Magento 2.0 User Experience:

From a user experience, Magento 2 updates these areas:

  • Menu system and navigation
  • Access control (how users are able to log into the system)
  • Adding a new product to the system should be faster / quicker / easier. In the past this can be too time consuming for many Magento storefront owners.
  • How taxes are handled through the system

Magento 2.0 Allows For Other Databases:

Magneto 2.0 will support the use of Microsoft SQL server databases, Oracle, and some other databases as well (as well as mySQL).

Magento 2.0 Automated Testing:

Magento 2.0 is expected allow Magento store owners the ability to set up automated tests for Unit Testing, Integration, Functional and Performance testing. This is something that previously required a separate testing system or a staff of dedicated testing people to accomplish.

Magento 2.0 Migration Tools:

Magento will be releasing migration tools to help with the data and code conversion from Magento versions 1.x to Magento 2.0, but as has been the case in the past, this might not work for everyone.

Magento 2.0 should also increase the performance and scalability of the previous versions of Magento. While Magento is a feature-rich system, if it isn’t configured properly, it can be slow to run without the right hardware and caching management systems in place.

Magento 2.0 promises:

  • Better optimized database access for the system.
  • A new re-indexing operation, that allows you to decrease the reliance on database lookups
  • Code improvements that will streamline performance