To kick things off we chat, we get to know each other with the Client and the website and we discuss the expectations of the project. Every now and then we carry out bigger audits as well for websites that are running on Magento 1.
Magento is the world’s leading open-source technology e-commerce platform, favoured by more than 10 000 companies globally. Its latest version, Magento 2 gained notable recognition within the market and its now favoured by many ecommerce businesses. This system incorporates great new features and upgrading opens up new possibilities to completely refresh our webshop.
Why is it important to upgrade?
Changing from Magento 1 to 2 can’t be done by means of a simple upgrade or a version refresh – the migration requires a project that’s of a higher volume and that has a longer lead time. The reason for this is that since 2008, Magento has changed to its core: even its code set has been refreshed, it became stronger and a lot more diverse compared to its original version. The name itself might have remained the same, but Magento 2 operates in an entirely new framework.
Magento 1 has been around since 2008. After a long lifecycle its official support came to an end in June 2020.
With this pre-developed platform, you don’t need to start from scratch when creating a website – what’s more, you can opt for unique design solutions and developments to make it feel more custom-made.
We should see this shift as a prime-time opportunity: migrating to the new version can help us optimize our platforms and our processes so that we can carry out our work through better and smoother processes in a newly refreshed webshop environment.
Magento 2’s key advantages
Two-step shopping – a quicker shopping process
The updated minicart tool made navigation for the user super simple. The basket-view can be skipped, so we can proceed to checkout immediately – here, the system automatically recognizes the registered email addresses and a new alternative header has been added to boost more conversion.
From a technological perspective, Magento 2 has gone under some serious changes. M2’s architecture now supports PHP’s 7th version and it uses the latest versions of NGINX, Apache, Composer, Zend and Symfony. With these advancements, the whole webshop will have a modern foundation that supports all of the latest technologies.
Security updates will no longer be created for version 1 meaning that websites running on this platform will become more vulnerable and will have more exposure to hacking attacks. Magento 2’s security measures on the other hand are constantly updated – oven when it comes to its minor 2 version. What’s more, specific security patches (such as 2.3.4-p2) are now available as well, providing extra protection for our website.
Advanced database management
Managing data became a lot more efficient: locking problems have been resolved and eliminated completely, and since the 2.3 versions have been introduced with default RabbitMQ support, the queue-based operation became possible as well.
The system of Magento 2 has been equipped with extensions that provide great search optimization results. We can rely on the new system’s capabilities from the management of canonical URLs, through responsiveness and metadata all the way through microdata (schema.org).
REST API is an integrated part of the Magento 2 system, and this version now supports GraphQL as well. If we’re planning to launch a PWA (Progressive Web App) both planning and installation will be a lot easier with these solutions at hand.
Magento 2 is already equipped with a well-functioning Full Page Cache but on top of this, it also supports Varnish Cache as well. Thanks to these the main page, the category, and the product pages load a lot quicker – so quick as a matter of fact, that it feels like if the browser saved down a static page to the cache.
Speed – placing items in the basket
Besides the Full Page Cache aspect, it’s important to mention the Ajax solution of Magento 2 as well: with the help of this there is no need to refresh the page when placing an item into the basket. According to tests carried out by Github developers, Magento’s 2nd version performs 30-50% better across the board than the first edition.
Hundreds of extensions
Thanks to Composer the installation of extensions in Magento 2 is a piece of cake. The code quality of the new extensions is much better and the CSS3, the HTML5, and the Require.js technologies also eliminate a range of potential errors. To make the operation of our webshop even smoother, it’s worth thinking about the possibilities of automation when upgrading to Magento 2.
Using the admin panel became more straightforward, it’s easier to navigate between the different menu options and the updated layout helps you find functionalities quicker. With the new version, further developments can be made easier and the existing resources can be managed better and in a more efficient way.
Magento 2 has gone through some dramatic changes in terms of technological advancements. The architecture of M2 now supports PHP7 and uses the latest versions of NGINX, Apache, Composer, Zend, and Symfony. As a result, the whole webshop runs on a system that is based on modern technological solutions which can be utilized for future development projects as well.
Everyone gets a bit anxious over losing their data during an upgrade even though there’s no need to worry. Since both the old and the new versions of the webshop run on a Magento engine, all data can be saved and migrated through means of carefully predetermined logic. Even though all templates and extensions need a complete update, none of them will be lost during the process – what’s more, during the migration these can be sorted into new structures.
What does the migration look like in real life?
As a next step, we carefully examine all the extensions and the integrational elements. Sadly, we will have to leave all these behinds with the migration so it is of the essence to find their latest and greatest Magento 2 equivalents. In most cases extensions can be substituted quite easily. For the extensions that Magento doesn’t have an official new alternative for, here at OANDER we can just develop them ourselves. At the moment we have over a hundred of such extensions, designed specifically for Magento 2.
Sometimes the migration is not just an upgrade: it could mean a total redesign, opening up the possibilities to refresh and evolve the UX and UI interfaces. For the ultimate customer experience and for the smoothest operation, we recommend our very own Magento-2-based Hodor template. This product encapsulates over ten years of OANDER’s experience and it’s equipped with the best technical solutions that we’ve come up with during our work. The strength of this template lies in the seamless operation of the essential functionalities: we can use this base to then build the identity and the project-specific developments on.
When we’re done laying the technological foundations of this exceptional system, we can move on to data migration. We start in a test environment and once everything runs smoothly, we launch the live site. Once the products are migrated we continue with other types of content and as a finishing touch just before the go-live, we redirect all URLs of the site.
Once reaching this point, it's worth revisiting all the marketing solutions that we’ve used previously. The version upgrade provides a perfect opportunity to have a fresh start so it’s worth investing some time and effort into search optimization. Seeking professional help to learn more about SEO and search engines might be a good idea at this point. Another key aspect we’d like to focus on here is content marketing and PPC advertising to ensure smoother business operations in the future.