Total Posts: 38
Co Meath Ireland
Understand completely that there is no such thing as a free lunch. That said, I think that Varien’s interests would be better served by making sure that the community is strong and committed, which does require them to do more than just put new releases into an archive every so often. Even community developers have to know how the package works if they are going to develop new modules and make changes of any sort, and that can’t happen without information, and that information has to be both timely and accurate. Community has been on the back burner for a while, and it shows, hopefully that will be recovered before it does significant damage, and make no mistake, the potential to do serious damage is there, and the control of that is absolutely down to Varien.
Looking at the news release today, and reading between the lines, Varien have been between a rock and a hard place recently with the undoubted success of Enterprise, there are some big names using it, and I will bet whatever you like that those users have been putting Varien under a lot of pressure recently as a result, and we all know that budgets for anything at the moment are under massive pressure.
In one respect, that’s part of the problem, there’s nothing between Community and the full blown very expensive Enterprise system. and if I go back to some of my clients with a $12k per annum figure for the package, I won’t be walking out of the door, and I certainly won’t be walking back in again anytime soon.
What has completely annoyed me, and made my task a lot harder than it should have been is that things like the User guide, which is not free, and templates for the system, which are not necessarily free, did not come up to scratch. Yes, 1.4 is very new, but that does not mean that the user guide, which is also new, should not be in sync with the software, and should carry warnings about things like SuPHP permissions where they are relevant, I spent too long discovering that the 500 errors were due to permissions being wrong for the environment, but correct according to the documentation Equally, some of the documentation that is on the site is now so out of date, its no help at all
In the same vein, a template, if it’s advertised as compatible with Magento, should be capable of being moved without too much pain onto the new version, and if for some reason that’s not a simple task, then I’m sorry, but the developer/marketer should withdraw it until such time as it’s either upgraded, or a procedure that will convert it to the new release is available.
I don’t mind a small charge for support if it’s going to work, but that should be for issues that are not how to get the basic install to work out of the box, which is what’s been causing me pain. At the moment, I can’t get 18.104.22.168 to display images of products, but they are initially appearing in the box, but then get lost when they are applied to the product. I think it’s .htaccess related, but that should not be an issue I need to get involved with, that should have been in the release package.
When the magento-check software gives an OK report but the install fails because some items (curl_exec) are not available as standard on a shared hosting server, that’s not overly helpful, and finding out why is not easy, especially with the snail performance of the site here over the last week. OK, it was being DOS attacked by spammers, and that’s been hopefully partially solved by todays install of Capcha validation, which will help.
I wanted to use Magento because I thought that it would offer facilities and options that most other packages don’t have, but to do that, I have to at least be able to get it to work, and from what I’m seeing in the forums, I am by no means alone in having problems, the very real concern is the high number of people that are having fundamental issues getting it working.
Some of that is for sure that magento is a complex and highly structured product, and most web developers are not used to working in that type of environment.
I was, due to spending a number of years providing technical consultancy on a very large and complex financial services insurance package that was very much based around modular processing. and structured code, so I had hoped that Magento would not be such a massive issue to get to grips with, but any strongly structured system needs to have good supporting information if people are going to be able to get to grips with its methods of operation and data warehousing.
For whatever reason, Magento is not well documented in that respect at the moment, and that’s caused a lot of pain. At the end of the day, I don’t care too much how the code is structured to access the data, or what language its in, if I can see what the database contains, and in the same vein what it doesn’t, I can work out very rapidly if a product can do what I need it to without too much pain, or if complex changes are going to be required..