Posted Mar 21, 2018 by Andrea Evans
Okay, real talk, guys. Here’s the thing about “updating to Magento 2:” The migration from Magento 1.x (M1) to the latest version of Magento 2 (M2) isn’t really an upgrade. It is in the figurative sense of the word. But it’s actually more of a replatform and there’s no button (upgrade or replatform-wise) that can switch you over to Magento 2.
When Magento released version 2 in November 2015, the development community quickly saw the advantages of the new code base. But it also quickly became clear that porting over from M1 wouldn’t be as easy as, say, upgrading Magento 1.13 to 1.14. It just isn’t as simple as an upgrade.
We’ve had a few clients write in and ask us if we could “go ahead and upgrade our site to Magento 2.” I wish it were that simple, I truly do. I would go through and hit that upgrade button for every client! You get a Magento 2 site, and you get a Magento 2 site! EVERYONE GETS MAGENTO 2! (Queue Oprah enthusiasm).
Usually the next question at this point in the conversation is: “If going from M1 to M2 is like replatforming, shouldn’t we look around at other platforms?” And to be totally honest, it’s always good to look around you and see what’s available. However, there are certain advantages to migrating to Magento 2 that you wouldn’t get on another platform
Here are a few of the big features worth considering:
While the technology architecture is significantly different in Magento 2, the data structures and architecture are basically the same. Attributes, categories, product types, customers, orders, search terms all map from M1 to M2 with the data migration tool that Magento released (and we tweaked). You probably don’t need me to tell you this but importing/fixing/re-importing/crying about vague errors/adjusting CSVs/crying some more/re-importing/throwing away your computer/rage quit/taking a deep breath/fixing stupid data stuff/calling your mom for moral support/re-importing is the least amount of fun and a big chunk of time on a project. Using the Data Migration Tool still takes time, and there probably will be some interference to run on the errors but let me tell you – this tool might just give me back the years of life I lost on previous methods of data transfers.
The new admin for Magento 2 is like an old friend who got a really well done facelift. It’s still your friend, still knows everything about you, still has the odd little quirks but actually looks a lot nicer and is easier to navigate (the admin, not your friend’s face…that’d be weird). Every eCommerce platform handles the admin side differently. Learning the M2 admin after spending years in M1 was an easy and small leap to make. That means less time in training and learning a whole new platform. Also the Magento 2 admin is…wait for it…responsive. Mind. Blown.
You should check out Luke’s Magento 2 Admin blog for some quick tips on navigating the new admin and finding some of your old favorite features.
I’ll let my super tech savvy friend, Paul, explain this one in a bit more in detail, but the essentials are – Magento 2 uses more modern yet established technologies that we had to kind of square peg/round hole with Magento 1. But for reals, updated technology tends to be more secure and allow developers to take advantage of improved build standards within these technologies.
Now that you are on board with the replatform concept, your next step is fairly simple: work with your team to decide if you want a complete re-design of your site OR take what you’ve got and put it on Magento 2 (easier said than done).
The faster and less costly option is going to Magento 2 with what you currently have (no redesign). Make no mistake – there is definitely still some planning involved though. Here are a few things your Human Element team would do to prepare you for a move:
Your other option is to start fresh with a new platform, a new look and maybe even a few new user experiences. This is a longer planning and design phase that allows us to get a feel for who you are as an organization, a brand, who your users are, and what type of eCommerce experience they want and need. When all is said and done, you end up with a stack of shiny new creative comps, a web style guide, super awesome wireframes, a gorgeous requirements document, workflows and data flows. All this awesome stuff helps us understand your business and what we are building for you. We’ll also do a similar assessment around current features that you want to keep in Magento.
There’s always a middle road to take where you can do a redesign in some areas but not in others. It’s worth talking over with your Human Element team to figure out the approach.
There are a few things to know (both good and meh) about Magento 2 if you are considering a replatform:
There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2. If you and your team are ready to take the leap and replatform to Magento 2 and you are already a client, talk to your PM and AM at your next check in. Or if you are new to the Human Element family, reach out to our business development team here.
In either case, please repeat after me: It’s not an upgrade, it’s a replatform, and that’s totes ok.