Why Magento? – an interview with Łukasz Bajsarowicz, Magento Developer at Digital Factory, one of the first Magento 2 Certified Professional Developers in the world.
CYCLAD: How long have you been working with Magento?
ŁB: I have been a PHP programmer since 2010. The first time I encountered Magento was in March 2016, when I was working for a consulting company on projects based on Magento Enterprise Edition (a software store and a network hardware outlet). In January 2017 I established cooperation with an agency from Warsaw, which provided solutions based on Magento 2. I liked the new version of Magento so much that I decided to develop in this direction. Apart from actively participating in numerous conferences, since April 2018 I have been one of the first programmers in the world to successfully pass the Magento 2 Certified Professional Developer exam. In my spare time I also introduce changes to the source code of Magento and its documentation. In the first quarter of 2018 I was awarded the title of one of the 4 most active editors of Magento 2 documentation in the world.
CYCLAD: Congratulations! How much effort did it require to achieve such results?
ŁB: Obviously you have to spend several hours a day preparing for the exam. It took me about a month of daily work to master everything, especially because, in contrast to the exam related to the previous version of the application, the exam for the second version was focused on solving problems, not just knowledge of the source code.
CYCLAD: What competences does Magento require to be able to use its full potential?
ŁB: Competences… It’s a difficult question. Primarily: self-discipline. Working with complex applications where the variable business logic constantly intertwines with the application layer is difficult. The elements are strongly interlinked, and every millisecond is extremely precious. This requires identifying certain common practices and ensuring that all members of the team understand and follow them.
In order to use Magento’s full potential, it is necessary to know the tools available in the system and be able to use them – why reinvent the wheel? At the same time, it is important to be aware of the limitations and side-effects of using these tools.
Take the example of an external company is preparing an integration with an e-commerce system based on Magento 2. One of the requirements is to be able to download information on the prices and availability of products. Based on the information received, you can place an order. In order for both sides to understand each other’s expectations perfectly, they must agree on a format for information exchange, which requires API documentation. Magento offers not only complete tools for providing REST or SOAP interfaces, but also a variety of authorization mechanisms, and, most importantly, automatically generated documentation for the created interfaces. The API is ready in one day, while up to 10 working days would otherwise have to be devoted to the same work, from design to testing and implementation!
In a recent project it took exactly an hour to create an API providing a list of stores belonging to our client’s network. Including the creation of documentation and automated tests.
Continuous improvement is also essential. The technology is still “young”, so huge parts are improved from version to version – and, as a programmer, I have to keep up with these changes.
CYCLAD: From a programmer’s point of view – what distinguishes Magento from other technologies?
ŁB: In my opinion its large community is a significant advantage. Conferences around the world (Meet Magento, MageTitans, MageTestFest, etc.) and related events (e.g. Contribution Day) attract thousands of programmers and business representatives. Programmers can be very close to the people who develop the application on Magento’s side – you can give your comments and suggestions and ask questions about specific problems. Programmers are also able to influence the shape of the application by introducing changes to the open source code available on the GitHub website. Large projects, e.g. Multi-Source Inventory, are also created on a community basis. Thanks to this “closeness” and co-responsibility, in 2017 the Magento 2 code was updated by the highest number of people out of all open-source projects on the GitHub website (Magento 2 – 4622 people developing the application, Laravel – 3897 people, WooCommerce – 2952 people).
CYCLAD: How much time does it take to be such an active member of the Magento community?
ŁB: It definitely requires a lot of commitment. My goal is to continuously improve and build my position as an expert in the Magento community. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to regularly appear at industry conferences all over the world. During conferences and Contribution Days I often submit corrections to the source code of Magento, which always requires several hours of work, analysis, and discussion with Magento architects. But these are all great experiences, where you can exchange your knowledge with mentors and the greatest specialists in Magento. Participating in workshops with such experts as Sebastian Bergman, creator of PHPUnit, Mathias Verraes, ambassador of Domain-Driven, or my industry idol, Vinai Kopp, gives access to extensive know-how.
My hard work associated with building a position in the Magento community is now bearing its first fruits, not only in the form of a fresh look on the solutions offered to Clients, but also as my personal success – the fact that I am already a recognizable person at many conferences gives me great satisfaction.
CYCLAD: What about the Clients? Are e-commerce projects based on Magento different from other similar solutions available on the market?
ŁB: Magento is considered an Enterprise-class application – high quality software that performs a comprehensive range of tasks in more than one area of business. Enterprise-class solutions are developed by technologically advanced companies which focus on performance and security of applications. Such software is well documented and provides technical support of the manufacturer. Magento is cheaper to implement and maintain than other solutions from this group. It also does not require dedicated infrastructure. For small businesses it is enough to use a VPS server, large sales platforms can use Amazon, Azure, or their own collocations. I believe that Magento is the only application of its kind that can be perfectly matched to any business. No compromises, no concessions on the part of business – everything according to the principle: “Software is for business, not business for software”.
Take the example of a chain of shops selling flooring for which I implemented a project. They decided to migrate to Magento 2, because the existing software did not allow them to change the main components of their system. Every single time this process was associated with long waiting times and high costs. When participating in the analysis and comparison phase, I noticed that the vast majority of modules they required could be implemented in a short time with the use of Magento, without the involvement of a large programming team.
Additionally, Magento combines B2C and B2B capabilities – almost “out of the box”. With one warehouse and one product database you can run 2 sales platforms in one instance – for business and retail clients.
CYCLAD: What are the benefits of implementing Magento-based solutions?
ŁB: I have already mentioned the low cost of implementation and maintenance. However, this is not the key argument in favor of using this technology. The most important advantage is unlimited flexibility. Regardless of the industry our Client represents, Magento will perform perfectly in every scenario. It works great even for hotel reservations or airline tickets. You can use existing modules as well as have a new module created specifically for your company. Other benefits? The Magento platform enables search engine optimization and integration with key e-commerce services with just a few clicks.
CYCLAD: Which functionality of Magento can be most useful for Clients?
ŁB: I consider the implementation of the so-called “One Page Checkout” – a sales process optimized for user-experience – to be a great success. Additionally, “Marketing Automation” tools are also available, which can be used to increase conversion rate even by over a dozen percent. Another advantage is responsiveness. The platform is designed to display content on computers as well as on mobile devices. The third aspect which I consider equally important is efficiency. A responsibly implemented platform runs smoothly and does not require any additional optimization work.
CYCLAD: When is it really worth implementing Magento?
ŁB: I believe Magento can be used in almost any industry and on almost any scale. It is a scalable platform. It can be shrunk or expanded and handle a huge number of orders as your business grows – which is something every seller hopes to achieve.
CYCLAD: What technological challenges does the e-commerce market face?
ŁB: E-commerce technologies are changing rapidly, so it is difficult to answer the question unequivocally and keep the answer up to date. Nevertheless, progressive applications are the trend for the near future which Magento is following.
A Progressive Web App, unlike its native counterpart, does not require installation on the client’s device. It also does not require regular updates. You can install this application by creating a website shortcut on your home screen or list of applications. As a result, the device stores the files necessary to quickly launch the application – even if you have no access to the Internet.
I keep track of events related to the support of progressive applications as well as Magento’s preparations to support such applications. As soon as a stable version of Magento, allowing for the creation of a production, progressive sales platform is available, my team will be ready for implementation.