X.commerce Innovate Developers Conference Day 2 Highlights

Yesterday was all about X.commerce and the community at large, but today we focused solely on Magento.

During the first session, we got to hear from Dmitry Soroka about what the Magento 2 roadmap looks like. Magento is putting a lot of effort into making Magento 2 a real upgrade from Magento 1: making it faster, more scalable, more expandable, more flexible, and more awesome in general. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Backward Compatibility is broken – Normally developers love backward compatibility because it makes our lives easier: we don’t have to update code every time a new version comes out. However, this time around, Magento has decided to forgo it. This is actually a very good key decision. Now, they have the chance to fix some important architecture problems that would be much harder or impossible to solve while maintaining backward compatibility. This will result in extensions working better inside the system and minimize conflicts that are common in the current version of Magento.
  • Multiple DB support – Magento 2 will support Oracle, MySQL, MSSQL and PostgreSQL out of the box. In fact, Magento Enterprise 1.11 has this functionality already. Now, it will make it into the core of the community edition. For larger enterprise users, the ability to run Magento inside of their existing infrastructure can potentially save time and money by allowing Magento to speak to those databases directly instead of having to integrate with modules or other middleware.
  • Performance – They’ve already benchmarked a 20% performance increase over Magento 1. There is a lot of room to grow and it’s a big focus. It’s safe to say that Magento 2 will have a noticeable performance gain over Magento 1.
  • Developer Tools & Documentation – They’ve been able to redesign and update several core pieces of Magento as well as developer tools. Documentation is another big thing. They’ve already released documentation for Magento 2 on their¬†Confluence Wiki and are working to make their processes, tools, and methods open & transparent. This is apparent in how they are approaching the testing for Magento 2. (See below!) This is a huge boon to us developers and will help us to continue to write quality code.
  • Theme & Design updates – It looks like they are planning on taking some of the design functionality that Magento Go offers and including it straight into Magento’s core. Making simple design modifications very accessible to store owners. They’re also making the advanced theme functionality better by removing a lot of the limitations that are placed on theme developers during the implementation process. This means that making smaller theme modifications are much easier to do and could make it worthwhile to do, for instance, seasonal designs while still keeping your primary theme untouched.

We’re excited about what Magento 2 has to offer and were elated to be able to download and begin to play with the Magento 2 code that was released today.

One of the key things that are driving the quality code coming from the core team are the tools that they use to test and validate what they are writing. We heard from Anton Makarenko (Sr. PHP Developer on the Core Team @ Magento) about the unit testing capabilities that are being added to Magento 2.

We won’t bore you with all of the technical details, but suffice it to say that they are taking great lengths to ensure that bugs don’t creep into Magento 2 during development and that the tools that they are using are going to be made available to the community for improvement and use. They’ve done a lot of the work solving the technical problems of testing Magento and are giving us the ability to do the same thing for our own extensions and code.

So when is Magento 2 coming out? Well, there is no official roadmap yet, but the word on the street is that in Q3 2012, we’ll see the first alpha release and some time in Q4 2012 will be the final release.

That about wraps it up! We had a wonderful time at the Innovate Developers Conference and look forward to coming back next year.

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