I have been around the Magento ecosystem for nearly a decade. But I'm not sure if I continue investing efforts/time/money towards the platform. Lots of people I know are moving away from Magento.
Should I stay? Should I move elsewhere? Should I dedicate my career towards other platform/ecosystem?
Highly appreciate your thoughts. What makes you stay, what makes you move away. Thank you so much!
What are closest alternatives to Magento 2.3?
The brutal truth, we have also been using Magento since the earliest 1.x versions, in those days things were simpler, you could go to Themeforest and download any of hundreds of themes and they would just work, you could create direct load code via "Mage_Catalog_Model_Product_Api" methods making maintenance, enhancements, bug fixes a breeze, sure there were problems such as the indexes when you had large datasets of 10,000s and 100,000s products, but as long as you set the update on save it would work fine.
We went to our partner consultants and asked them to upgrade the architecture 2.x because the retailers we work with wanted a more "2022" look and feel, the consultants were not happy but started the conversion process, what should have been 6wks is now 6mths, they first updated the auto load code to use GraphQL to match the product manager, after finding the Magento internal code, for example when you did a product list search, would return 95% of the products, they had to built the search themselves to guarantee a complete result set, found this in other areas, gave up and wrote the entire GraphQL code themselves.
Even then the install was less than optimal, firstly to keep it simple 2.3x was installed but there were problems with the chosen theme among others, so reinstalled to 2.4x however you have to install Elasticsearch hence they had to upgrade the cluster architecture, which threw these odd errors, so they revised it to another cluster approach which is the one everyone else uses, but there is a problem. That approach works for redundancy, but negatively impacts Google ranking so back and forth making adjustments with rare random errors which were impossible to debug, until they worked out there is a problem with the way Magento 2.x and specifically 2.4x returns the page.
Those very infrequent errors were fixed the past week and suddenly this week 1,000 extra pages were ranked by Google on the web cluster, taking it up to 15% of the product dataset for that site, yes Google truly is that fickle and Magento even more. Then of course Magento removed the database read/write functionality so they had to come up with a way to point the cluster instances to the correct Galera cluster instance to load balance, which should be near impossible but they did. Then they had to throw away the GraphQL code as making adjustments was a nightmare, having to recompile the modules on every schema change and refresh the static content, which is painful with 10,000s products and just reverted to ObjectManager as per the 1.x code, it's fast, it's stable, it works.
Magento 1.x was always complicated, 2.x along with Adobe is enterprise level but not, think along the lines they are trying to compete with Hybris, Demandware, Websphere without the integration nor coding basis. Our consultants come from true enterprise backgrounds and 'uplifted' Magento to Hybris/Demandware/Websphere levels by adding areas such as Graphical Product Manager, complete auto product load which is more complex than you could imagine due to the auto cleaning required of the datasets, dynamic cross-country pricing with realtime shipping, discount, profit margin, currency calculations based on visitor location, not what you load in to Magento, and so on.
The simple answer is, if you can move towards enterprise level use of Magento you will be fine, if you try and use Magento 2.4x for small stores you will work longer hours, for less, because everyone from the core code base to extensions to themes have made everything many times more complex the past years, because that is how it is these days. If you are a store owner, if you can get Magento running, and more importantly keep it stable, ideally while using/changing/installing as little as possible, you will also gain, but the barrier to entry meaning time and expense is many times higher today, at the lower to mid range level, there will be a lot more failures than successes which explains "Lots of people I know are moving away from Magento.".
I was like this. Started Magento work in 2007. Spent 2019 retooling for Magento 2 and still retooling to this day with it.
The issue I have, the more Adobe squeezes, the less it becomes desirable as a platform I want to use and promote. The thought process is still scatty behind each decision and as usual not well documented, although that's improving. I'd be happy if the -p versions just came in as a quality-patch and you just install it there rather than all the BS of composer update.
As of Magento 2.4.2 onwards (I won't call it Adobe Commerce yet, lol) I've found that it's actually usable again (Minus the 2.4.3 branch).
Under the Adobe flag, it may present itself for the long term, but the long term is always hard to predict.
The forums are getting quieter and quieter compared to 10 years ago, but I think some of that is down to experience and the other is stackechange. I generally won't ask a lot of questions due to experience debugging, plus stack exchange is a better resource in general.
If you run an eCommerce store you will have very few options but to upgrade from 1.9x to 2.4x for security updates unless you change platform, even though 1.9x was many times easier to deal with.
We are moving back to 1.9x as the stores using it do not take payments, one of the stores we will leave as 2.4x, the others have been migrated to WooCommerce and Drupal Commerce, the latter is closer to Magento.
We have a graphical Product Information Manager which hold all the datasets, it loads data from suppliers, cleans it, maps it to common formats, and either passes the product straight through or creates the products in the PIM for further updates, auto updating the platform, Magento, WordPress/WooCommerce, Drupal in the process.
This allows us to change platforms relatively easily as there is not a lot invested in the Magento system, the other thing we do is have Ceph Clusters (these are faster than the Nexcess clusters) which obliterate the need for marketing or marketing departments, a PIM and Cluster hosting is lost on everyone, but they are what make the 80/20 rule work.
There are a lot of other platforms such as Kentico or Hybris or Volusion, but if you have you product management inside the platform and not just as presentation and payment gateway, you are going to have a lot of problems migrating. Magento is still a valid platform, but the basis for choosing it is very different to some years ago, it's not helped by architecture updates such as Composer and Docker which make what should be simple more complex.