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!

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User Comments

|15 comments
  1. cooee

    1cooee from Aachen, Germany|posted May 9 2008

    Happy to see the first German localisation of Magento! But it’s still a shame that it takes up to 30 seconds for a product to be added to the cart :-(

  2. turnon

    2turnon |posted May 9 2008

    Here the same take a lot of time to add a product.
    And i’m suprprised that they make changes in the core to make it faster.

    A bad show off for a platinium partner

    It’s my personal opnion that the you need your own server (dedicated or VDS) for magento

    A lot of people will say thats to expensive and if you can afford a VDS you are sitting on a dead horse which you have to leave asap.

    regards

    Jan

  3. dimitrig

    3dimitrig from Hannover|posted May 9 2008

    Thanks both of you for mentioning the speed problem you were experiencing by adding products to the basket.

    As we didn’t have the problem before, I had a quick look and discovered that there was a problem with the cache which caused a slowdown on the add to basket function ( I know that this sounds funny ). I have managed to solve this issue now.

    Please continue with your shopping now smile

    Regards,

    Dimitri from the Visions team

  4. piotrekkaminski

    4piotrekkaminski |posted May 9 2008

    @turnon
    > Especially because we started developing on early preview versions of Magento…

    As you can see from the interview, they started developing on an early beta version. The official performance improvements in the core were released later. Of course we strongly discourage changes to the core. Hopefully Visions will not make such changes in their next project smile

    > ...deploy them on our high availability cluster…

    Sounds like they have dedicated server smile

  5. salsasepp

    5salsasepp from Saarlouis, Germany|posted May 10 2008

    Good work!

    @Piotr, are the “optimized and debugged” core changes coming back to you from Visions?
    @Visions: Can you contribute the sped-up search functionality to the community? There’s people with that problem out there (degrading search performance with increasing number of products)

    Thanks,
    Stefan.

  6. srinigenie

    6srinigenie |posted May 10 2008

    Once I read this blog post, I immediately went and checked the Alpedia site and must I say I was impressed by the search !! Kudos on making the search so fast. Yes as salsasepp has pointed out, would you be able to contribute to the community on speeding up the search?

  7. bydesign

    7bydesign |posted May 10 2008

    I’m glad to finally start seeing case studies. I’d love to switch to Magento, but will never get approval unless we can see examples of stores larger than ours performing well under load and meeting any expectations the company had. I expect many other companies would feel the same, not wanting to be the first adopters.

    I hope you can provide more of these case studies especially with the production version (not having to be “hacked").

  8. cooee

    8cooee from Aachen, Germany|posted May 13 2008

    Now the site seems to be really quick. well done! Could you tell us which hosting solution you’re using?

  9. turnon

    9turnon |posted May 13 2008

    I checked it again and it is really, really very fast, gratulations

    do you want to share this solution with the community ?

    regards

    Jan

  10. dimitrig

    10dimitrig from Hannover|posted May 13 2008

    Thank you for your comments - I’m very happy to receive positive feedback! wink

    To answer the questions:
    - I’m in contact with the Magento team about the contribution of speedup fixes and enhancements. Of course we will provide most of this back to the community.

    - We already did some work on the search function to make it faster, but right now we are working on reimplementing search completely; this should not only give us even better performance, but also better results (ranking) and typo correction.

    Regards,
    Dimitri

  11. srinigenie

    11srinigenie |posted May 13 2008

    great to hear that !!!wish this could speeden up the process of performance improvement… still I wonder how you managed to increase the search speed with so many EAV tables around !! Great to hear that anyway!! If search performance is improving, I am not going to complain abt EAV any longer wink

  12. ViperSixTeen

    12ViperSixTeen |posted July 21 2008

    Hi,

    Could you tell me more about the GlobalCollect payment solution? How did you integrate ii in Magento? Just an easy setup or some coding?

    Re,

    Pelle

  13. lorik

    13lorik from Grenoble|posted September 22 2008

    Hi, nice job with the quick search !

    As the improvments done been published by Magento on the community ? we meet a huge problem with a 20 000 products Magento website, ans no solution up to date.

    And if there’s some think to pay to have the solution, we agree too ! smile

  14. ttwhy

    14ttwhy |posted January 31 2009

    Hi,

    just want to know which ERP you use in the background. The first ERP which is working with magento is openERP, but its not supported as well (the project owner has to work on differend projects atm). Did you used any other ERP or do you used the existing openERP integration and fixed the missing parts (what would be awesome if you can share them smile )

  15. plata80

    15plata80 |posted August 28 2009

    ”...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....”

    New search function?!

    “...- We already did some work on the search function to make it faster, but right now we are working on reimplementing search completely; this should not only give us even better performance, but also better results (ranking) and typo correction...”

    That is the most horrible search functions i have ever seen.


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