Staying up to date with the latest trends and developments in the land of e-commerce is of utmost importance for us at Hypernode. Recently, we were introduced to a new technology by our partner Elgentos: Hyvä. Surely, we wanted to know all about it, and therefore we did an interview with the CTO of Elgentos: Peter Jaap Blaakmeer!
1. What is Hyvä?
Hyvä is an alternative to Progressive Web Apps (PWA). It requires a lot of expertise, time and money to build an excellent shop in PWA. Hyvä, on the other hand, is less complex, easier to work with and offers a better performance.
Peter Jaap: “Hyvä actually consists of two themes; the Hyvä reset theme and the Hyvä default theme. The reset theme is the lowest theme in the hierarchy – it does not have anything to fall back on. In the reset theme, all layout XML files from Magento’s blank theme have been copied, and then all blocks have been disabled. What remains is a theme with simply the structure of a Magento shop in the form of layout containers ”
2. What is the difference between PWA and Hyvä?
Peter Jaap: “The big difference with the PWAs as we currently know them in the land of Magento is the integrated frontend in Magento, instead of it being a separate application. As a result, we can make use of the wonderful features that Magento offers, such as the layout XML and the GraphQL endpoints. ”
3. Why did you choose Hyvä for Limburgiavlaai?
Peter Jaap: “Limburgiavlaai used to run on the Porto theme, which was implemented by the previous builder. We have never been a fan of third-party themes and have always built our own custom themes. Such third-party themes initially seem flexible and complete, but soon all that boilerplate code gets in the way. It will be a maze of if-else constructions to show or not show the different functionalities on the frontend. Such themes quickly get you started, but will make you encounter the limitations just as fast. ”
Peter Jaap: “We wanted to have a fast and clean theme that we could quickly work with. Therefore a PWA would be too inconvenient (a lot of complexity due to different stacks). When we encountered Hyvä, we were immediately convinced of the idea behind it. We first transferred a smaller project from a PWA to Hyvä. This project went so well that we decided to do this more complex project in Hyvä as well. This project is complex as it contains many different types of products, contains multiple storeviews (consumer, B2B and whitelabeled) and has many external links. ”
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Hyvä?
Peter Jaap: “The major advantage of Hyvä for the merchant is the speed it provides out-of-the-box. Out-of-the-box you quickly get under 1 second. After optimization, we get under 500 milliseconds for most pages. For us, the big advantage of Hyvä is that you work with the frontend, instead of against it, as many Magento frontenders are used to. It is fun to work with the frontend again! Due to this, the development speed is also higher (or is the causality the other way around?;)). ”
Peter Jaap: “We have now completed two projects with Hyvä and are working on a third project, the largest to date. It looks like we can build the shops twice as fast as with the standard Magento frontend and up to three times as fast as with PWA. In addition, Hyvä offers a React checkout (available for free!). It replaces the standard checkout and is built much simpler. As a result, expanding the checkout is no longer a terrible job. ”
Peter Jaap: “The only drawback of Hyvä compared to a “normal” Magento 2 theme is that third-party extensions do not support Hyvä out-of-the-box. Of course, this disadvantage also applies to a PWA. Hyvä overcomes this problem for commonly used extensions by offering compatibility modules. These are already available for the Elasticsuite extension, a Sentry extension and a Google Tag Manager extension. ”
5. What does the future of Hyvä hold?
Peter Jaap: “We are convinced that Hyvä is and will remain a good solution for many parties at the moment. At Elgentos, we see little benefit in PWAs as they are currently available – the developer learning curve is too steep, which means that costs will only be increasing instead of decreasing. The costs for Hyvä are 1000 euros per license for the first year, with a reduced price of 500 euros for the following years. That is an absolute bargain. Of course there are always parties who will complain about it, but if you don’t have a budget to invest 1000 euros in Hyvä, then Magento 2 might not be for you at all. ”
Peter Jaap: “Elgentos works with 12 experienced e-commerce developers on Magento 2 webshops within the middle to top segment. We are not sales-driven, but a tech-driven organization; code quality, stability and performance are our top priorities. Complex issues regarding external integrations are like fun puzzles to us and building fast web shops is our priority. ”