Realm Digital

We caught up with Realm Digital’s Senior Developer, Zachie Du Bruyn to have a chat about eCommerce solution, Magento. 

What exactly is Magento?
What is Magento? Well, that depends on who you ask, or what you ask Google. It’s simply an eCommerce solution, with strong roots in the content management systems (CMS) arena. It was originally developed by Varien back in 2007.

Something to note is that Magento is made up of two unique platforms: Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition. They were developed by two groups of people, so it differs quite a bit from each other, but most people talk about the Community Edition when they refer to Magento.

What are some of the key features Magento offers?
Magento has all the features that one might need in a basic eCommerce solution. Features like Product Inventory, Checkout, Payment, Reporting, Orders and Product Search. In addition, because of the CMS roots, it also tackles features like Website Design and Styling, Informational Pages, SEO, Google Analytics, and forms.

What’s important to note is that the community edition is open source, meaning that a community of people are improving current features and adding new features regularly to ensure the solution is continuously at its optimal best.

Why Magento?
The open source Magento Community Edition is a free eCommerce platform, so you’ll just be paying for your hosting infrastructure. It would be possible to get a simple eCommerce site up and running in just a few hours, depending on how many products you want to load and configure.

The great thing about working with open source solutions is that there are large communities serving them, resulting in a quick turnaround time to find answers to questions, especially if you are technically inclined.

Magento also supports 3rd party modules/themes which makes it easier to add missing and new features. Most of these are ready built and for sale on the marketplaces, but great care must be taken when choosing these, as it might negatively impact your sites. Always test every 3rd party module/theme before using it in production.

Tell us about some of the key technical features of Magento that appeal to you?
Magento is built on PHP (Zend Framework) and uses a MySQL database by default. You can enable caching using Redis or Memcached, which will speed up site load times. Future versions of the community additions plan to enable Elasticsearch which will improve site performance even more.

Some 3rd Party modules might integrate and/or require additional technology in your hosting stack.

What are the things you should keep in mind?
Even though Magento has a large community serving the public, it helps to have a technical team set it up and configure it optimally, otherwise, you may end up with a slow, unusable site.

Unless your user case is relatively simple, it will take a technical team to set it up and manage it for you, possibly costing the same as a custom solution.

If you plan to use Magento, make sure it’s list of features covers all you will need in the foreseeable future, including exiting 3rd party well-supported modules available when doing your initial analyses.

Realm Digital is a software solutions company with extensive experience in building and maintaining eCommerce websites. Our team of developers can build your online store using the Magento solution, and offer the support necessary to maintain your website. Get in touch with us today if you’re interested in Magento or if you’re interested in finding out more about our digital offering.

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