Since Magento2 has been released officially, there is a buzz among the developers, store owners and also wanna-be-entrepreneurs. Well, let me uncover the fact that the new release of the platform accommodates the improvements that were actually fulfilled only by the third-party modules in the 1.9.x versions. Right from the admin panel design changes to the streamlined Luma theme, everything is upgraded to give a better touch to the customer experience with a higher speed performance.
Well, developers are gifted with the simplified directory structure, the layout elements, UI library and LESS preprocessor and lots other technical mentions. But what’s trending for the store owners? Are there any noticeable GUI features that make managing Magento store even more effortless for the non-tech owners? Absolutely, it has come up with such back-end and front-end facilities that it has taken the place of a few programmed modules!
If we stand on the design comparison point, the admin panel is more methodical with the accordion-type-menu on the left; some tabs do not belong to the same menu but to a similar menu. The ‘CMS’ menu has been renamed to ‘Content’ to accommodate elements like Pages, Blocks, and Widgets in it. A new menu ‘Marketing’ manages relevant menus like Promotions (Catalog and Cart price rules), Communications (newsletter), URL rewrites, Search terms, Site Map and reviews under it. The most vital ‘Configuration’ menu is now set under Stores > Configuration.
Besides this, there are some worthwhile enhancements in the product edit area. All the required fields needed for a product to appear on the front-end are gathered in the ‘Product details’ tab.
Price, quantity and category have been added along-with the other mandatory fields. The default behavior of saving the product has been changed as ‘save and continue’, for which the buttons for ‘save’ and ‘save and continue’ were shown previously.
The default dropdown values for tax class has been set to “Taxable Goods”. However, one appreciable change I have noticed is the dropdown values for product stock availability has changed to “In stock”, which was kept as “Out of stock”. Those people who use to forget to change it will try hard searching their product in the specific category... ending up with index and cache management and then come back again to check if they are missing anything in the product. How dull it used to be!
Considerably, these are not the features that I mainly intended to tell you! So what’s new in Magento 2? Move ahead and you’ll find some smart ideas:
1. Magento 1 version offered no graphical solution for changing the products attribute set. Making programmatic changes or buying a module was the only option available. Besides this, if you can’t afford that solution, you are only left with a middle way: Create a new product, select the desired attribute set and then make it work instead of the previous product.
But Magento2 have brought a way to it by providing a default functionality in admin panel for changing the attribute set just like the way you used to edit other fields.
2. Magento 1 has no sure unit of weight of the product. It used to assume whatever is being used for shipping. For example, UPS has a choice of Lbs or Kgs, For FedEx and DHL there is a choice between Pounds and Kilograms. For other shipping methods, weight used to be whatever unit you assumed.
Magento2 have specified lbs(Pound) as its default weight unit in the product grid itself. Now onwards, assigning weight to products requires a conversion of the weight from any other unit to pound.
3. Custom options are an inseparable part of the product. But when it comes to copying options from one product to other multiple products in Magento1, there was no other way than using an extension. But let me tell you that this lazy task have been covered under the default custom options tab of the particular product.
Clicking on ‘Import Options’ button will open up a widget showing other products that have options in it. Just select the product and there you have got all its options imported!
4. Importing bulk products from CSV file have been a tedious task, especially when you realize that the category in which the product has to be assigned is not created in the backend. I have missed this several times and found out that Magento2 manages to create a category by itself if it is not present at the time of importing products. Wow, it sounds so sensible!
5. Just imagine, wouldn’t it be too easy to add the required columns to any grid just by selecting the checkbox for that column name? The most wonderful feature(my favorite, too) is the checkbox widget that adds and removes columns with flexibility in the product grid.
The first version required overriding the specific files just to add or remove a column in any Magento grid. It has become so handy and time-saving now that you can hide and unhide columns in the grid view just in a single click!
6. You can now inline edit few areas of admin panel like CMS Pages and Customers. You can easily make inline editing just the way you can do in an Excel spreadsheet. It allows to make a specific change in all the selected rows just by changing one separate field. It proves to be quite time saving rather than following the same ordinary method to open up each page for every edit.
7. Magento2 now have the default facility to upload videos for your products. Product images will be replaced by product videos reigning the eCommerce by next decade, and the newer version adapts this craze very well in advance! This futuristic version has also paid a sincere attention in easy representation of images. In the backend, if you have checked the thumbnail column, you can see the base image in the product grid and when you click on it, it will get zoomed out in a widget. Similarly, when you click on any image in the front-end, it will get zoomed out in the entire page. This graphical easiness was found nowhere before!
8. Admin no more hold the right to change any customer’s password. In the earlier version admin can change the customer’s password just by a simple verification to input a correct admin password. However, now when admin clicks on ‘Reset Password’, customer will get an email with a link to set a new password. No admin can break this confidentiality without the knowledge of that customer.
9. Inbuilt Full Page Cache has now become an inevitable part of this brand new platform. The motive behind here is to reduce the number of disk reads.The product, category and CMS pages will be treated as static HTML pages, thus fulfilling the motive to reduce the number of disk reads. It assures significant boost in page load time to present the static pages to the user. It stores this cached information under /var/page_cache folder and updates it when needed. It has eliminated all scopes of using extensions for Caching and faster page load.
10. And yes, the most crucial part- checkout have not been overlooked. Besides making the checkout process simplified into 2-steps, several vital steps have been shortened wisely. When the end-user enters the email address, they are prompted to login if that account already exists. Otherwise, guest checkout is assumed. It’s perfect for those people who do not want to create an account on various sites. However, after placing an order, they are prompted to create an account in the order success page if they want to track their order. Integration with payment gateways like Braintree, Authorize.net, WorldPay and CyberSource have been facilitated.
The zip code validation has proved to be quite helpful. It will automatically detect the zip code format and show you a notice for mismatching format with specified country. The unnecessary field for asking the credit card type has been removed by adding the feature of automatic detection type based on numbers (3 = Amex, 4 = Visa, 5 = MasterCard, etc.)
11. An amazement for the Enterprise edition users! If your site is too big to handle lots of users at a time, Magento2 have bought out a middle way. It is possible to split your site into two databases- you can keep one database for those users who are browsing the product and category pages. But when they get redirected to the cart page, the process will be carried forward to a separate database. This will prove to be better performing for those who are actually trying to purchase, and not just browsing the items. It’s a huge deal for sites making thousands of orders per day.
Why should I upgrade to Magento 2?
Looking from a different aspect, if you are quite satisfied with your current Magento site performance and other extensions installed, there is no need to change the road in a hurry.
Magento2 comes with a migration tool, but you will require to separately spend resources for transferring theme and third-party extensions. It may not be feasible to make a move. In the rush to get upgraded, do not lag behind in making a basic survey of your requirements and budgets. We can help you make the right decision!