Read This Before Migrating a Custom Application from Magento 1 to Magento 2: The Case for Headless eCommerce

November 29, 2018

Categories: B2B eCommerce, Headless eCommerce

Magento recently announced that the end-of-life for Magento 1 is scheduled for June of 2020. They won’t be investing in any new features or security patches for this product, and they are encouraging all users to start working on their migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

This is forcing a great number of Magento users to make a decision: migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2, or take a new approach.

This resource is for Magento users frustrated with the latest Magento announcement that Magento 1 will be sunsetted in 2020 and interested in the right path forward for your eCommerce or order management strategy.

Use this resource to learn more about the migration process and what your options are.

  • Magento is sunsetting Magento 1: What does it all mean?
  • The 5 reasons migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is going to be the worst
  • How modern, headless eCommerce platforms eliminate the risks that come with moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2

First, understand what happens when a product like Magento 1 is sunsetted

In the most simple terms, when a company talks about sunsetting a software or technology product it means that the product will no longer be supported. Without proper support and attention, things like security and performance will be compromised and feature roadmaps will be led to a dead end.

By 2020, Magento 1 sites will not be guarded with the most up-to-date security measures and users will experience issues with performance. Even today, when Magento 1 is fully supported by the Magento community, users have consistently complained about the performance and speed of their applications. Users report less-than-optimal loading times on both the front-end by website visitors and on the backend by admin users. Performance and speed, then, will inevitably become increasingly unreliable as we get closer to the official sunset.

From a feature/function standpoint, Magento 1’s age already shows.

Magento 1 was introduced back in 2008, which, is centuries ago in technology years. With a reportedly cluttered, unorganized admin interface, tweaking the site’s functionality and customizing the experience is slow and difficult. Without continued attention paid to the features requested and function required to create world-class customer experiences, frustration is sure to rise.

Replatforming is inevitable, but is replatforming to Magento the right direction to go?

For customers who have a very custom and complex eCommerce or order management experience built on Magento 1, migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is going to be a bigger project than you think.

Unfortunately, Magento 2 comes with a completely different architecture and database design when compared to Magento 1, which makes the migration process extremely difficult. The migration will require significant time and effort, particularly for users with lots of customizations, complexities and extensions running. The Code Migration Toolkit Magento has built can assist with some migration needs, but not all. Some have even reported that Magento 1 extensions and themes need to be re-created all together in order to work properly with the new Magento 2 structure.

Here are 5 reasons migrating custom applications from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is going to be the worst

1. Your Magento Theme Will Need to Be Rebuilt

Magento themes provide the structural layout and design of your eCommerce site. Unfortunately, Magento 1 themes don’t work on Magento 2. And the front end templates and coding are different enough that the migration tool that Magento offers is not able to convert many of the old themes.

This is forcing most customers migrating to Magento 2 to build a new theme. The amount of customization in your Magento 1 theme directly correlates to the amount of work required to recreate this. This, of course, will require a Magento-specific developer to complete as well, which can be costly and hard to find.

Of course, you could install a Magento 2 theme from the marketplace, but again, if you have very custom requirements, adjustments will still need to be done to ensure the new theme performs to your requirements.

2. Your Magento Extensions Will Need to be Recreated

Magento extensions are the components that provide new features and functionalities to your eCommerce experience. Magento 1 extensions don’t work on Magento 2. Developers will need to create a new extension from scratch or resort to purchasing an extension that performs similarly.

Very custom, complex applications using a large number of Magento Extensions will require extraneous financial and human resources to recreate.

3. There Will Be Hidden and Unexpected Costs

There are many ongoing and hidden costs associated with Magento. Magento is is a full-stack application that requires the customer to manage the technology instead of just using it. In addition to the cost of ongoing maintenance and support, customizations are costly, no matter what version you are running. Hosting costs are also separate, and regular roll-outs of security patches and updates need to be manually installed. This often requires a Magento specialist that can oftentimes be expensive and/or hard to find.

4. Future Migrations Will be Necessary

Unfortunately, you’ll likely need to migrate again. Magento is a full-stack application that provides the front-end experience and functionality for both end users and admin users. Traditional solutions like this are coupled, meaning the front-end is directly correlated with the back-end code and infrastructure, and this creates a hindrance for any desired customizations. One customization requires edits all the way back to the database layer. This makes it impossible to push updates or upgrades to all Magento users because everyone’s back-end architecture is slightly different based on the customizations they have implemented. This is why you’re going to see the comings and goings of the next version of Magento again and again.

5. Forget Innovation and Emerging Technologies:

Magento has a marketplace of applications and extensions you can take advantage of. But when it comes to integrating with best-of-breed microservices or APIs that aren’t part of the marketplace, you need a good amount of financial and human resources in order to get anything done. Whether it’s best-in-class applications that handle analytics monitoring, customer data collection, landing page development, or loyalty programs, or APIs that connect you to the world of IoT, AI and AR, Magento is not built to take advantage of other best-of-breed technologies.

It’s these reasons and more that forward-thinking companies are reimagining the future of their eCommerce strategy and considering headless eCommerce platforms.

If you are an innovative organization that is interested in modernizing your applications and having the ability to quickly roll-out customizations to your B2B eCommerce experience based on your customers’ needs, you need to consider headless eCommerce.

Put plainly, headless eCommerce decouples, or separates, the front-end experience from the back-end experience. This gives you infinite flexibility in designing your desired user experience and eliminates many of the risks associated with updates and customizations that come with full-stack technology.

OrderCloud, a headless eCommerce platform, allows you to have more control, move faster, and customize to your heart’s content. You also eliminate many of the risks that you’re facing while considering where to take your current Magento 1 experience next.

Here are 5 benefits of a headless eCommerce platform like Four51 OrderCloud:

1. Gain More Control:

Traditional, full-stack eCommerce technology is built for functionality, leaving much to be desired in terms of customizations. Headless eCommerce empowers your team to decide how they want to manage the development and design of your ordering experience.

2. Go Omnichannel and Meet Customers Where They Are:

In the early days of eCommerce, the majority of website traffic came from desktop web browsers. That’s why monolithic, full-stack platforms with a coupled front and back-end worked. Today, there are so many buyer touch points and they aren’t even limited to desktop and mobile. Companies who want to embrace omnichannel needs of their customers need great flexibility, and headless eCommerce delivers. Whether you’re thinking about taking advantage of internet-of-things technology or allowing your customers to place orders via voice search and voice commands, headless eCommerce makes this much easier and faster to bring to life.

3. Rapid and Non-Codependent Updates:

Having decoupled front- and backend systems make instant changes to either component without reconfiguring the entire system possible. This makes customizations a lot more cost-effective and faster to implement.

4. Fast and Seamless Integrations:

The headless approach uses APIs to let systems communicate with each other, exchange data and seamlessly integrate without constraints. This allows you to take advantage of the API economy and other best-of-breed applications and functionality that might add to your digital experience (i.e. loyalty platforms, marketing automation tools, personalization, etc.). Not only that, but you can easily integrate your product catalog with other existing online marketplaces, opening up new sales channels with little effort.

5. Performance/Stability:

With Magento, when you’re managing product catalogs with hundreds of thousands of SKUs, you often run into performance and stability issues. Magento forces you to be mindful of proper scaling, optimization and server resources. This requires that you are dedicated to the careful ongoing management and maintenance of your applications infrastructure. With a headless eCommerce platform like OrderCloud, all platform maintenance, stability, and upkeep is done for you. This gives your team more time to spend ensuring your front-end customer experience is meeting your customers needs.

If you’re a Magento customer trying to figure out the future of your eCommerce strategy, use Four51 as a resource to help guide your journey. Four51 OrderCloud, our headless eCommerce platform, will eliminate many of the risks and challenges that come with being a Magento customer.