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New Key Features in Magento 2.0

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Magento 2.0 was officially announced back in 2010, when Yoav Kutner, Magento’s co-founder and CTO, said that ‘finally, the [Magento] platform is mature enough where it is requiring a new version’. 

Magento enthusiasts across the globe had been waiting for this new version ever since, but it took five long years for Magento to launch this version of Magento, and finally on 17 November 2015 the new version was available for download on Magento’s website. 

The release of the new version was partly delayed because the company was acquired by eBay in 2011, and eBay had some different expectations from the new version than the original co-founders. Apparently this resulted in Yoav leaving the company within one year of this acquisition.

Magento 2 launch timeline

Image source: http://ecommercenews.eu/magento-2-finally-still-relevant/

As Magento fans have waited long enough to see this new Magento release, they naturally have high expectations of it too. And it goes without saying that Magento has changed a lot with the new major release of version 2.0. Magento 2.0 offers enhanced performance and scalability, many new features are added to simplify the shopping and checkout process to increase the conversion rate, and with full-page caching, the page reload speed is significantly improved. 

In short, the new platform will hopefully help businesses across the globe to easily and cost-effectively deliver engaging omnichannel shopping experiences to their customers.

Magento 2 launch announcement

In this article, I’ll briefly summarize some key points of this new version of Magento.

Varnish-Based Full-Page Caching

Magento is a huge content management system. This bulkiness comes at the cost of slow page load times. It had been the top concern of Magento developers to improve the page load time of Magento sites to improve user experience and to increase the website conversion rate. Varnish was widely used to implement full-page caching in Magento websites to improve page load time. 

Having realized this need, Magento 2.0 comes with pre-integrated Varnish to cache page content, and this has made page load time around 50% faster than the previous versions. To me, that improvement alone is quite significant.

Enhanced Shopping Experiences

Magento 2.0 not only improved page load time but also improved on many other aspects of users' shopping experiences. Many new responsive themes are added, giving your site easy access to different platforms and devices. 

The checkout process has been made much simpler. In the past, almost all Magento sites used third-party Magento extensions like OnePageCheckout to improve the checkout process. 

With Magento 2.0, the checkout process has been made simpler by default. The guest checkout is assumed, and there is no need to select the card type, as it is automatically ascertained by the type of credit card number, so a lot of unnecessary checkout fields are eliminated, making it much easier for users to check out. Database tables related to checkout are also separated, so now users checking out won't feel the slow database query speed.

Clean and Leaner Code Base

All earlier releases of Magento versions came on the same code base. With years of development, the code base became monstrous, with a lot of legacy and bad code. Magento 2.0 is a fresh start, so with a leaner code base, it is easier to maintain and edit, and as there are fewer files, it is faster as well. I hope the Magento team will continue to keep this code base tidy in all future releases.

Improved Table Locking Issue

One significant bottleneck for Magento sites was the delays caused by the table locking issue. The problem used to arise when one process had to write a table, and it used to lock the table before writing so that no other process could write on it while it was writing. 

For large sites, when many concurrent processes had to write on the same table, this caused a queue, and processes had to wait for their turn to lock and write the table. With improved caching and robust table optimizations, Magento 2.0 promises to significantly resolve this issue.

Improved Admin Panel Design

With Magento 2.0, the old, nasty admin-panel design is gone. It comes with a much more user-friendly and intuitive admin panel, which is responsive and touch enabled, so that you can easily use it on your mobile devices as well. 

Setting up new products and importing products is much easier and up to four times faster with the new design. You can save new views in the admin panel to have quick access to information which is vital for your business needs. And as it is streamlined and more intuitive, it is easy to learn for people who are new to Magento.

New and Secure Payment Integrations

Magento 2.0 has made it much easier to implement several new and established payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.net, and BrainTree. All these payment integrations come with increased security and PCI compliance. Magento Enterprise Edition also comes with WorldPay and CyberSource integrations.

Easier Maintenance and Upgrades

Those who have experience maintaining a Magento site know how hard it was to upgrade Magento to its newer version. With the Magento 2.0 release, it is supposed to be a much quicker and easier task. As the code base is much leaner and comes with modern and modular architecture, the cost and complexity of maintaining the site will also be significantly reduced.

Are You Ready for Magento 2.0 Migration?

I know, like all Magento users, if you have been working on a Magento project, you too would be excited about this new version. But before you take the leap of migrating your site from version 1.x to 2.0, there are some things to consider.

Take a look at your extensions. Many widely used extensions are now built in to the new Magento version, and this is especially true for the Enterprise edition. Many others are already available for the new version or will be available in the next few weeks. However, there still are plenty of extensions which will take some time to be available for Magento 2.0. If your site is using any of these extensions, you'd better wait till you have all your essential extensions available for this new version.

If you have done lots of customization on your Magento site, and have spent significant time and money on this customization, you'd better reconsider your idea of migration to version 2.0. As this new version is altogether a different beast, you might end up spending much more time and resources to have it migrated.

For more information about migration, see my recent tutorial on Moving to Magento 2.

Conclusion

It’s only been a few months since the public launch of this Magento edition. People had high expectations of it, and it seems to meet them to quite an extent. 

I personally think this new version will give a boost to Magento in the long run. It’ll make it as robust and as user- and developer-friendly as any modern CMS should be, which, quite frankly, the previous versions were not.

Magento is a powerful eCommerce solution and it keeps getting stronger with each version. Whether or not you're just getting started or you're starting with the next version, don't forget to check out the extensions we have available for you, as well.

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