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Bye Bye Magento - Thank you!

After 11 years, Bye Bye Magento.

Jan 17th 2022

I love Magento with all my heart!

I have worked (almost) exclusively with Magento for the past 11 years. More than one decade was dedicated to Magento. This incredible platform and its community had a major impact on my career. I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for being part of this ecosystem. I had the opportunity to experience (and be part) of the e-commerce Golden Age. I saw with my own eyes Magento growing all over the world in an ultra-fast pace. Oh my goodness, Magento led the worldwide e-commerce transformation and enabled businesses to reinvent themselves to sell online and better serve their customers. Year after year a multitude of worldwide talented people surrounded the platform and provided creative contributions that would benefit & strengthen the community. This collaborative ecosystem was a win-win game for all. What tremendous privilege it was to see merchants, agencies, consulting firms, 3rd party vendors & independent developers all completely thirsty & hungry for innovation. They headed towards the same goal, shared the knowledge openly & supported one another. The decentralized worldwide leadership & the spontaneity to help really shined in this community. Of course, there was a big competition… but you know what? It was a healthy competition and everyone was more than welcome to collaborate. There was a profound understanding of the importance of being part of the community. Were there mistakes here and there? Sure, there were. However, the balance was always positive, which right now doesn't seem the case.

I'm leaving

I would like to share that I am leaving the Magento ecosystem. I'm completely thankful and proud for what has been built over the past decade. I am transitioning to a new ecosystem and I'm looking forward to building the next years of my career as successfully as in the early Magento days.

We live in a strong political correctness world. I'm not sure if there are many advantages on a personal level to share the issues which encouraged me to transition towards a new platform. However, I will do that anyway. I strongly believe that ideas (and only ideas) have the power to transform the world. And by doing so, I'm also expecting some level of discontentment from incredible people that might disagree with my perspective. I can respect & live with that. I will not share all details of all possible issues. Instead, I will share briefly what happened over the years. I'm not speaking on behalf of anyone else, but myself. It's me and my perspective. Although I'm convinced that a good portion of the long-time Magento community members will perfectly line up to what I'm pointing out. I believe that is also their claim.

Why are you leaving?

The platform and the ecosystem changed considerably in the past years. To be honest, it turned upside down. The leadership who made Magento a really successful product left the company when Magento was acquired by eBay (2012). On eBay's hands, Magento stagnated for many years. No improvements, no innovation, no new features. That caused damage in terms of growth, while other platforms were preparing themselves to eat the market and grow fastly. Magento 2 was eventually released (2015). It was over-engineered at the highest degree possible. Magento 2 came out as a super buggy product. Seriously, you can't imagine how buggy it was. What a bad game Magento became for many agencies. Some of them went bankrupt, in particular the ones that heavily relied on Magento as their only e-commerce platform.

Magento and the entire ecosystem went upmarket. It means that Magento was no longer a viable platform for small and medium businesses. This move made Magento impossible and unsustainable for them for a simple reason: all costs increased substantially and the complexity became an obstacle for any customization or innovation. Even minor adjustments were a real pain in the neck. From basic modules to hosting, to certifications, to developers, to agencies' rates Magento became way too enterprisyyy. Look, to add custom fields to checkout developers need to be experts on JavaScript, hold years of experience with Magento 2, and understand how millions of parts of the system work together. This scenario led to an exodus of agencies, brilliant developers, and merchants to other platforms without looking back for a second. After some time, Magento 2 was eventually available on GitHub, but frankly, it took way too much time to be published. Ok, some mercy here. I'm not saying it's an easy thing to do. There is certainly complexity to address all community pull requests and ensure that the contributions are working, functional & reliable.

A couple of years after that, Magento was acquired by Adobe (2018). At that point, we didn't have a vibrant community anymore. Priorities changed with the so-called "Adobe Commerce", the new product name. The development focus was on Adobe Cloud, microservices & PWA studio, and not much on open source. Such irony, since the open-source strategy helped Magento to be the #1 e-commerce platform for years. Luma is a good example of that: poor maintenance and improvements over the years. Decisions like that made Magento 2 even more bloated, slow, and heavy.

The funny thing is that Adobe has a considerable budget (I guess), strong power of articulation in the business world, hundreds or thousands of employees focused solely on Magento (let me make crystal clear: I fully recognize that they are talented and I have such great respect for them) but amid all bureaucracy, high levels of hierarchy and countless departments, Adobe was not able to implement simple improvements on the frontend side. On the other hand, a Dutch developer (fundamentally alone) was able to shake up the entire Magento frontend world by just creating a brand-new frontend system, 100% from scratch. His sole invention gained so much traction worldwide in a quick period that agencies from all over the world were happily adopting it as the last breath for their clients. Hyvä (2020) was a response that the Magento ecosystem was longing for years. It oxygenated the community and will enable businesses to stay minimally competitive in the market for the upcoming years. That's why decentralization & freedom are important: they can make dreams come true. Hyvä's performance improvements, developer experience, and simplicity are just unbelievable in comparison to Luma. Also, there have not been initiatives like that for a long time coming from eBay/Adobe, even though the ecosystem was begging for it.

By the way… what solid results did Magento Association bring to the community? Nobody can answer this question other than "to open the dialogue with Adobe", or "being the bridge between community and Adobe", whatever that means.

Do you remember how abruptly M1 installation and the multitude of M1 patches were removed from the magento.com website? This event caused damage in terms of long-term support for M1 customers. What chaotic and noisy days those were. Adobe Cloud? I will not even comment on that. For a long time, there were endless complaints from the community. Voices being ignored by Magento leadership. A good example of that is the GitHub pull requests taking years (literally years) to be approved. Not small tweaks but ugly bugs have been fixed by the community for free... but they took an eternity to be merged. Better: 10 eternities to be merged. Lack of transparency. No roadmap. No clear vision of the future. Bad decisions. Uncertainty. The Magento code has become more and more unpleasant to work with.

Currently, there are no newcomers to the community. Zero students or young developers consider Magento as a possibility. Actually, they will never ever ever ever work with Magento. Maybe they will touch Magento… but exclusively to migrate Magento to better e-commerce platforms. Do you think they will ever customize KnockoutJS? There is no damn chance! Why are they going to choose Magento while there is an abundance of cutting-edge and sexy technologies to choose from? The open-source spirit has ended no matter how many times they say it did not. Shopify, Woocommerce among other modern platforms eat the SMB market completely. There are fewer and fewer new projects in Magento 2. The current M2 instances are shrinking as they move to more sustainable platforms with absurd lower TCO. Today there is a scarcity of Magento developers in the world, due to the exodus. That led to super-inflated salaries. Magento developers' salaries are just insane these days. Magento will soon become the new COBOL of the e-commerce universe.

In order to change that scenario, at the end of 2021 a group of brilliant people highly involved with Magento in the last decade (CEOs, CTOs, Developers, Technical Leaders, Event Organizers) believe that the only solution to survive in business was to create a distribution of Magento and make it community-driven. They know it's their last breath. With the distribution in hand, they could together fix bugs (fix bugs for real), create modern features, and most importantly: be free from the Adobe centralization. Adobe is a great company. No questions about it. Major achievements. It's not about good or bad. It's about opening the eyes and recognizing they are failing miserably to handle and respond to such high demand and that they are not choosing good directions. It's important to highlight that the MOSCA initiative (Mage Open Source Community Alliance) had +1,600 people signing up for the open letter in a matter of days: yes, we want (and desperately need) a distribution. Relevant names of the Magento community signed up for the letter. They support the MOSCA initiative and believe it is the last chance for Magento to survive.

Thank you so much!

After a profound time of reflection and thinking, I'm sure it's time to rebuild my career upon a new ecosystem. I highly appreciate the values of community, open-source philosophy, freedom, transparency, decentralization... which I can no longer find in the Magento leadership.

Once again, I would like to thank all the amazing people I met over these 11 years and I would like to express my best desires for the Magento community. As said in the beginning: I love this generous community and can't be more grateful. Thank you so much for everything we built together.

I'm moving towards a new e-commerce platform. It's time for a new journey.