An overview of new features and benefits of Magento version 2

Magento 2 is on the way, and the ecommerce experts at Peacock Carter provide their latest insight for store owners and web developers what to expect.

by Erika Sykes.

At some point in the not so distant future, Magento 2 is set to be released.

There’s been a lot of noise regarding improvements from the perspective of Magento web developers, but what can you, as a Magento store owner and operator, expect to see some from Magento 2?

Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting changes you can look forward to.

1. Improved extension compatibility

The Magento Connect systems and Magento developer ecosystem offer a myriad of extensions, which is one of the primary attractions of the platform. If Magento doesn’t do something out of the box, there is likely to be an extension you can use that will extend Magento to do something.

However, if you have ever used multiple extensions on a single website, it’s possible (even probable!) that you’ve experienced conflicts between Magento extensions, causing your store to break or appear distorted. Currently, there is no way around this problem besides disabling one of the extensions, or hiring a developer to fix the problem. It seems that the Magento team have picked up on this and through changes to the architecture of the platform, are looking to reduce and perhaps remove the issue entirely. So, in future you can look forward to running multiple extensions without as many problems!

2. Improved Magento upgrade system

This one of the primary goals of Magento2, and one we’re really looking forward to: if you’ve ever had to upgrade your store, then you’ll know how costly and problematic the process can be, particularly if your Magento store has been built poorly. Upgrading Magento can be a very large pain for an ecommerce business, which can be multiplied many times over if any of the core files have been modified, or if you are using a large number of extensions.

You’ll be glad to hear that both the Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition will benefit from this change. So, regardless of your edition you can look forward to regularly updating your store, taking advantage of the newly added features and bug fixes.

3. Improved user experience and store management

The Magento core development team are looking to overhaul the overall experience of Magento, so both the customer and store owner can expect improvements. A brief overview of the changes can be seen below.

  • Improved menus and navigation in the administration panel
  • Product creation flow – creating masses of products in the current version can be very time consuming & frustrating. Luckily we can expect this to change in version 2.0
  • Managing tax rules/rates – again this can often be time consuming & confusing, it seems an overhaul can be expected
  • An entirely new theme will be used for Magento’s administration panel, presumably to aid the workflow frustrations highlighted above

These changes are aimed at streamlining the Magento experience, making the entire interface more intuitive. If you spend a lot of time doing repetitive tasks in the back-end, this change is likely to make the most difference to how you run your Magento store day-to-day.

4. Improved performance

Quite frankly, you can expect your store to be faster, more reliable and less intensive on your server. Early estimates state that it could be up to 20% faster than current versions – an impressive improvement if this turns out to be true.

5. Visual design editor

You’ll now have the ability to edit the layout of pages and blocks within your Magento store with a drag & drop interface. In version 1.x this process was far more complex and often required you to hire a Magento developer.

Other Features

The new features we have mentioned so far are the ones we found most exciting though there are plenty more, and no doubt yet more still to be announced. A few of Magento 2’s apparent new features we also like the look of include:

  • Drag and drop product images in admin panel
  • Improved multilingual support
  • Improved security
  • Improved documentation for merchants and developers in the new Magento wiki
  • Possibility to swap out core parts of the application with third party code. As an example, you could swap out the entire back-end system for something more pertinent to your specific needs.

So, how do I move to the new version?

The upgrade process from earlier versions of Magento is likely not to be simple. It is not completely clear at this point how whether there will be direct upgrade path from earlier versions of Magento to Magento 2, but we would suggest moving to the latest version as soon as possible to avoid as many issues as you are able to.

Luckily, the Magento team are devoting resources to developing a set of tools which will allow you to migrate your product, order and customer data from 1.x, into 2.0.

Magento versions 1.x will be supported for a further 2 – 3 years from the release of Magento 2 to support those merchants who are unable or unwilling to commit to a Magento upgrade in the near future.

When will Magento 2 be released?

Unfortunately, a release date for Magento 2 has not been announced yet. We’re following the progress of the development team though, so stay tuned for further information!