Time flies. It's already 11 days ago since I came back from Imagine 2017. However, I still wanted to write up this blog to share some of my thoughts on the announcements made during Imagine 2017. It was a blast. I do have some comments though.
Video recap of Imagine 2017
First of all, I created a little video recap of Imagine 2017, with some (but not all) of the thoughts below. If you like watching instead of reading, this is for you. I apologize for the deep voice - I was getting sick after Imagine, it got worse after recording the video, but am back on track again.
Magento 2.2 postponed
When Magento 2.0 came out, there was excitement on a steady release schedule. With Magento 2.1, the promise was redeemed. However, the release was received as buggy, mainly because of a breaking change in the DI constructor (the story with
$context). It seems Magento is a lot more careful now with new releases, leading to the delay of Magento 2.2.
This could be seen as a bad thing, while I think it is not. Magento 2.2 will include a lot of bug fixes - you can see the progress on GitHub Issues as proof. And all of these fixes are tested for, to make sure 2.2 is a stable release. In short, it is worth the wait. The current plan is to release Magento 2.2 somewhere this summer.
Magento Security Scanner
So this is something to get excited about. First of all, we all love MageReport, the tool developed by Hypernode / Byte to help merchants and developer scan their site remotely. Many of us rely on this tool to get an outside peek on a Magento shop quickly. The downside here is that the scan is made from the outside: In the past, I encountered many shops that were hosted on an environment where the ShopLift vulnerability was blocked, while the shop itself was still vulnerable. Likewise, a remote scan can only go so far.
The solution that Magento will release is an internal scan, that requires you to configure SSH public key authentication so that the Magento Security Scanner is allowed to login and inspect things from within the Magento framework. The approach sounds smarter than just having a remote scan. The SSH key bit sounds scary, to say the least.
Magento Social will allow merchants to add product listings to Facebook, which is nice, just nice. However, an effort is also made to allow for advertising in a better way. I'm not sure what that means, apart from the fact that Facebook Advertising in itself already allows you to target specific audiences. But it is good to see that Magento embraces this market properly now as well. That being said, I'm not sure whether this is only the work of Magento, it could have been incorporated into the Magento company via a take-over as well. And it still leaves the community to come up with better alternatives.
Magento Advanced CMS
Magento took over BlueFoot some time ago. The thing is now relabeled to Magento Advanced CMS.
Magento Business Intelligence
BI seems to be the result of another take-over, I'm not sure which. The solution includes a separate application which can connect to Magento (via its API), collect data and visualize those data in a smart way within the Magento BI tool. For larger companies, marketeers and BI analysists (duh) this will a great tool. However, I think the real power will lie in its API. For instance, loading sales statistics from Magento into BI is not enough: Its real power lies with how you combine those sales data with let's say public holidays, flue epidemics, world news, etcetera. I don't know how flexible the BI app will be and how much work is being put into integrating Magento BI with external APIs (Azure, Google, etcetera) but the more the better.
Magento has integrated the shipping solution of Temando into Magento. Temando seems to be a great solution. However, Magento Shipping is nothing more than an integration of this great solution into Magento. It still leaves open many possibilities for third parties to do the same thing better.
Pardon my blunt view
Sorry for putting it a bit blunt but I think the majority of Magento announcements evolves around new Magento Enterprise enhancements that were not built by Magento itself, but acquired instead. From the business point of view, who cares? There's new functionality and that's the thing that matters. However, I wear shirts, not suits - I consider myself a developer, not a business person. And from a developers point of view, the new features of Magento were not that exciting.
But Imagine was awesome!
That being said, Imagine 2017 was awesome: While the announcements were less exciting for developers, the buzz was exciting nonetheless: Talks on UIComponents, headless Magento, API improvements, wearables, Alexa (I've got myself one), Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality. It was more than enough to get me inspired. And I will definitely be back next year!