Magento 2 was released in 2016 and is steadily on the rise in the ever-dynamic world of international e-commerce. Testing is finished and troublesome bugs have been eradicated. Besides that, many web stores have already successfully migrated to Magento 2.
So the time is right to take a detailed look at some of the most important differences between Magento 2 and its predecessors and to assess how the changes that were made have played out in the real world.
#1 Responsive web design
The fully responsive web design is one of the most striking features of Magento 2. The interface of the core theme in Magento 2 is fully responsive, an adaptation that looks really cool! The themes and templates grant developers the opportunity to make online stores fully responsive.
This means that Magento 2 is compatible with all possible devices, from desktop computers to notebooks and from tablets to smartphones. An important advantage if you consider the amount of work and shopping that is done on mobiele devices these days.
The number of available themes for Magento 2 has also steadily increased since the platform was first released. There are thousands of themes to choose from at the moment. This includes both general themes as well as customary themes, which are especially developed for certain types of web stores. Good examples of responsive and popular Magento themes are Porto, Craft 2.0, Ves Evolution, Ves Need, Ves Fasony, Ves Sportshop, SoNice, Zewelry, Pixtron, Vigoss en Yume.
#2 Safety: Magento 1 support will cease to exist
Some smart changes in the file structure have made Magento 2 a lot safer in comparison to its predecessors. The main reason for this is the creation of the so-called pub folder. Using this folder is the only way to get access to Magento’s root files, which are no longer accessible through HTTP requests. This makes it easier for developers to protect the code against a wide array of security breaches. Implementing important updates and security patches has gotten a lot easier and faster in Magento 2, which is good news for your web store.
If cybersecurity is one of your main concerns (and it should be in this day and age), switching to Magento 2 is the wisest choice. By November 2018, full support for Magento 1 version e-commerce websites will probably be stopped. This means that from that day on Magento will no longer run security patches for the older versions.
Anyone using these will be running on an unsecure version of the platform, which means loss of PCI compliance, bugs in Magento with no fix, site slowdown and the increased danger of security breaches such as password theft or the involuntary disclosure of personal information.
#3 Improved file structure and new technologies
In Magento 2 the file structure has changed considerably. For instance, all of the base views are moved into the module structure. This means that every module has its own view directory in which you can summon all template files, layout files, js files and CSS/less files from all your modules. This change is a huge leap forward for developers who frequently make customized themes.
Whereas many Magento 1.x technologies are far from exciting, Magento 2 is equipped with several new and interesting pieces of technology. Examples are the full support for PHP 5.x and 7, the standard less CSS preprocessor and the support of jQuery. These novelties definitely improve performance. The use of HTML5 gives you the possibility to make themes wholly responsive, whilst CSS3 offers developers a wide range of new visual options.
#4 Visual Design Editor
The presence of the brand new Visual Design Editor (VDE) is an important (and beneficial) change for web store owners. This functionality simplifies the process of adjusting your theme in the CMS by means of a visual drag and drop menu. This means many web store owners have ample reason to party. The new functionality makes them a lot less dependant on the services of professional web developers.
#5 CSS preprocessing
To make it easier for developers to expand and maintain their CSS, Magento 2 is equipped with default CSS preprocessing. Utilizing a CSS preprocessor speeds up front-end development, especially when you are using complex themes. Lees is the default CSS preprocessor for Magento 2, but developers can also install and use Sass or Compass.
#6 Magento UI Library and interface
Magento 2 has a highly flexible front-end library that harbours all of the core elements from the Magento 2 front end. You can adjust all these elements according to your wishes. Examples of standard and changeable interface elements are breadcrumbs, dropdowns, pop-ups, tooltips, buttons, navigation, forms and many more…
All of this technology simplifies the developer’s task and offers them the opportunity to bend existing themes to his or her liking or to create entirely new ones.
A striking and delightful feature of the Magento 2 interface is its user friendliness. The natural split between the components shop management and system management is the most distinctive feature of the user menu. This means that shop management in Magento 2 consists of menu items like Products, Marketing and Content, while Configuration, tax rules and terms and conditions are assigned to system management.
On top of that, Magento has made the allround management of your shop a lot easier if you compare the process to older Magento versions. Actions like adding new products to your shop or adjusting existing ones have become child’s play due to the highly improved layout.
#7 Faster loading times and improved SEO
Faster loading time
now this is one feature that puts a big smile on our faces! Luckily, Magento paid a lot of attention to this key aspect when they developed their 2.x versions. A few of the improvements? Lighter and faster themes because the interface elements are guided by the modules themselves and a core that works with fewer and lighter elements, which leads to a big reduction in page loading time.
Additionally, Magento 2 is integrated with Varnish to reduce server loads significantly. Full Page Caching is also easy to use in Magento 2. You will notice the advantages that this tool brings immediately. Pages will load up to 25 percent faster, while adding products to the shopping cart will cost customers only half the time it once did. This speed revolution is likely to have a highly beneficial effect on your sales.
Search engines love Magento 2
The Magento 2 platform offers powerful native optimization capabilities that will make your store easier to find on the web. It’s a good idea to draw a broad outline that indicates how your products will be shown in the most important search engines.
It is always possible to adjust your SEO settings when it comes to specific products. Other useful functionalities and tools for marketers are the adjustable robots.txt and the availability of a XML sitemap that is especially designed for images. And to top it all off, Speak is an additional source for a broad spectrum of SEO extensions.
#8 Automatic testing
#9 More and more extensions
During and shortly after the initial launch of Magento 2, the number of available extensions compatible with the new platform was limited at best. Luckily, this has changed. Magento 2 has rapidly been catching up. Nowadays, there are hundreds of extensions available for Magento 2.
This huge arsenal includes hugely popular extensions like Mageworks SEO Suite, Amasty Improved Layered Navigation, Amasty Special Promotions en Mageplaza Magento Blog Extension. These extensions pave the way for a lot of exciting extra functionalities.
#10 Magento 2 and business to business
Magento 2 is also suited to function as an excellent business to business platform. To properly manage this task, Magento 2 Commerce is equipped with several special features:
- Account management: your customers can self-manage their company accounts and set up multiple tiers of buyers with specific roles and permissions
- Taking care of tender applications
- Creating special product ranges and order lists
- Imposing credit limits
On top of the above, Magento 2 allows you to use SKU numbers for online orders and to reorder products from orders that were placed in an earlier stage.
Request a 30 day free trial to get acquainted with Magento 2
The list of improvements and novelties is almost too long to enumerate when it comes to Magento 2. Therefore, the aforementioned summary is far from complete. We encourage you to complement our list with your own ideas! If you don’t have a Magento 2 testing environment yet, you can request one, free of charge, through Byte.
Still doubtful about making the transition?
Despite all the advantages and our enthusiasm about the improvements that the platform offers, we understand that the transition to Magento 2 isn’t made overnight. This is especially true for vendors that already run a Magento 1.x store. But to show you the main differences between Magento 1 and 2 and make the choice a little easier, we have delved deeply into the differences between the two platforms. With all the necessary information in your pocket, you are now able to make a well-informed and conscious decision about whether or not to switch to Magento 2.
It is crystal clear that the future lies in Magento 2. A lot of shops have already made the switch successfully, whilst the major teething troubles of the platform are a thing of the past. Not a surprising fact, since we are several releases down the line since Magento 2.0 first hit the market. The fact that the number of themes and extensions for Magento 2 is still growing and the support for Magento 1.x is going to be discontinued in the not so distant future, builds an even stronger case for switching to Magento 2.