macmukka and others:
I had one rule while working with mage in a pre-release, no core code modifications! otherwise future upgrades would kill me. I’ve reached that point and unfortunately I cannot use it in a live site and will go back to my earlier project.
You can see how far I got here : http://mage.ip80.com/
This latest version didn’t work for me, I lost the ability to change currencies and had major problems getting my existing templates running due to changed/removed classes etc. (totally expected) but I didn’t know it would be so hard to figure out what was breaking each time. I had to dump all my admin changes too.
Overall I found the designing for Magento ok - I think each phtml needs a descriptive tag so when you analyze the output you’ll be able to track down what is running including a line indicating how the layout was determined. Some things don’t seem to render from templates and probably will later but for now they were even harder to change. I found the site speed “ok” but not great, I run on real Linux clusters so I’m sure I had enough processing power.
To summarize I’d say this is all to be expected in a beta so I’ll keep track of development and try this again 6-12 months from now.