Interview: Alpedia.de on Magento
Magento is easily the best framework for developing e-commerce frontends. It is extremely well designed and extensible, providing us with a great foundation for delivering value-added functions that distinguish our clients' stores from the competition.”
Alexander Ringsdorff, Visions New Media
- Tell us a bit about Visions New Media and Alpedia.de?
Visions is an e-commerce consultancy, based in Hannover, Germany. We specialize in highly customized e-commerce solutions and deploy them on our high availability cluster. Alpedia, a start-up shop for office supplies, is our first Magento project. Alpedia went live on April 1st, 2008, with more than 18,000 products from day one.
- What technologies are currently implemented / integrated in the frontend and behind-the-scenes?
Especially because we started developing on early preview versions of Magento, a big part of the challenge was getting Magento fast and scalable right from the start. For this reason, we spent a lot of time optimizing and debugging the core. One of the many exciting features we're working on right now is an extremely fast, new search function. We're currently in testing for this, and will deploy it in the next couple of days or so.
On the backend side, we have implemented complete ERP integration with Magento; this includes exporting orders that we received from the frontend, and feeding updates in the order status back to Magento. Moreover, we have devised our own product import system that can scale all the way up to hundreds of thousands of products and their attributes.
- Why did you choose Magento for the project?
Magento is easily the best framework for developing e-commerce frontends. It is extremely well designed and extensible, providing us with a great foundation for delivering value-added functions that distinguish our clients' stores from the competition. And, of course, it is open-source - thanks this combination, there are really no limits to what we can achieve for our clients on the basis of Magento.
- What other solutions did you consider and/or evaluate?
We evaluated other e-commerce solutions - closed and open - some time ago, and were extremely dissatisfied with what was offered by the market. For this reason, the choice was really only between developing Alpedia in-house completely, or using Magento.
- What are your future plans with Magento?
We're really excited about the community and ecosystem that is rapidly forming around Magento. Part of our commitment as Platinum partners is contributing back to the community, which we will do by contributing bugfixes and enhancements to the core.
We will develop these improvements not only for our own e-commerce clients, but also make them available to other Magento agencies. This will allow them to concentrate on design and user-experience aspects, while leveraging all the infrastructure, development and integration work that we put into Magento.
- Any recommendations for people evaluating Magento?
You will probably not see the forest for the trees in the first couple of days of trying out Magento. The important thing to realize is that - while the software is certainly complex - that its engineering is more than impressive; this is the platform to build upon for the future.
- Any final words of wisdom?
Thanks to Varien and the community for the great work that has gone into Magento already! If you're just starting out, always remember: Magento may seem intimidating at first, but all the community, which we're proud to be part of, will be there to help you!