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Sadly Magento Not Ready for Prime-time
 
ArtBuilders
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I, like many developers, was seduced by the feature set and slick look to the Magento Cart. However, after a week of development it became clear that this ecommerce solution is not ready for prime-time. The showstoppers include: underwhelming speeds when compared to other carts, outdated and/or missing documentation, a convoluted method of skinning, and a completely client-unfriendly admin section.

Even facing these hurdles, I did my best to hang in there. I managed to speed the cart up some and even got it skinned. But then came time to populate the store. I spent a couple hours with the outdated tutorials trying to understand basic things like their approach to product attributes and sets. (I never did get that to work and used product options instead) Then when I tried to explain it all to my client, I didn’t get far before being instructed to look for another solution. As much as hate having to eat the hours, I don’t blame him. the admin section and related docs are a mess.

I hope in the near future to be able to champion this cart once again. In the meantime, some advise for the Magento Team. Unlike most competing open-source solutions, you already have a head start in offering a feature-rich solution; built on a modern codebase. But I highly recommend that the team focus on usability and flow.  Look to apps like Wordpress for ideas about skinning (or carts like Volusion). Dump the convoluted XML scheme that leaves developers and clients scratching their heads. It’s like peeling an onion trying to get at the correct files that need to be updated. (Look at comments in these forums for proof) Developers should be able to just drop files in a folder and be good to go. As it stands, I would say this cart is simply an example of being well-intentioned but way over-engineered.

 
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J_T_
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Each to their own but what’s so unfriendly about the admin back-end? Aside from the fact it seems designed by someone with a widescreen monitor (needing scrolling on a normal square monitor), it’s all very straight-forward IMO.

And the attributes are pretty easy to grasp IMO too. You name a set, make attributes and then add them to the set. Make a new product and pick the set.

Skinning indeed isn’t as easy as others and speed-wise, you’ll find dozens to be faster but to me it’s matter of balancing criteria.

 
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ArtBuilders
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J.T. - 12 April 2009 09:03 AM

Each to their own but what’s so unfriendly about the admin back-end? Aside from the fact it seems designed by someone with a widescreen monitor (needing scrolling on a normal square monitor), it’s all very straight-forward IMO.

And the attributes are pretty easy to grasp IMO too. You name a set, make attributes and then add them to the set. Make a new product and pick the set.

Skinning indeed isn’t as easy as others and speed-wise, you’ll find dozens to be faster but to me it’s matter of balancing criteria.

I don’t disagree with it’s rich feature set. I was a big fan from the start and hope to use it in the future. But let’s face it, if you’re savvy enough to install and skin it, you’re well beyond the skill-level of the non-technical employee likely to be tasked with managing the cart. You can search through these forums and see the confusion (even from developers) so it’s pretty hard to dispute that.  I’ve been building web sites since 1996 and programming web applications for the past 5 years. I can tell you from experience, if an interface isn’t used regularly or doesn’t hold a client’s hand, you will inevitably find yourself with a lot of support calls and retraining every couple months. That’s exactly what I want to avoid. So my intent is to not bash the Magento Team but to get them to think beyond the developers using the cart and instead to the administrative assistants. Start by better defining the admin section’s product-centric, customer service-centric, and marketing-centric paths. (And a little nitpicking but fix the latency issues while you’re at it… when I click a menu option, I’d like to see a change or at least know it’s doing something.)

 
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Crucial Web Host
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retracted - the post was not appropriate.

Frustration got the best of me.  My Apologies.

 
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Hello,

There just seems to be a never ending flow of of negativity from this forum and a great deal of it is misplaced on Magento.

Many of the issues or problems with Magento really have nothing to do with magento at all and are rather simple configuration issues and a simple lack of understanding.

I have high hopes for Magento Enterprise in the near future.  I think it will resolve many of these issues.

 
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ArtBuilders
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Joined:  2009-02-26
 

This is a forum for suggestions not personal attacks. Unfortunately your own words betray your level of professionalism. And you didn’t do Magento any favors going after a self-professed fan of their software. I’ve already stated my intention to use them in the future once they work out the kinks. I think Magento’s feature set and underlying OO coding makes it potentially the best open-source cart out there.  I’ll leave it at that (and unsubscribe to this thread because it’s already taken up too much time). BTW… You also didn’t do Crucial Web Hosting any favors either by your juvenile rant. If that’s not your company, I’d take it off your signature block to avoid tarnishing it’s reputation. If it is your company, you may want to ask to get your posts removed. How do you think comments like “quite bitching about how stupid you are” or that you wouldn’t teach a client to login for less than $500 will reflect on your business? Do you really think this gives potential clients any confidence in who they are dealing with?

 
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