Magento Live

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament served as the historical backdrop to the 4th annual Magento Live event last week. And some of us Folk were lucky enough to be on the scene.

The event brings together industry partners, solutions partners and merchants alike, coupled with an interesting mix of all things Magento - with developers, project managers, UX experts and web content managers all getting involved.

There was an air of growth to the event. It felt bigger, and it’s a stoic testament to Magento, and the fact that their popularity is rapidly on the up. This is especially true in the UK. In fact their UK popularity has seen more growth in Q2 of 2014 than any other country worldwide in the whole of Magento’s history.

ePowerhouses Magento, Paypal and eBay gave stellar presentations, followed by a series of breakout sessions ranging from technical sessions to things a bit more hands-on, guiding guests through the various aspects of Magento.

Much of Folk’s development team were there: me, Luke Fowell (Senior developer), Frank Clark (Support Lead) and John Tilley (Senior front-end developer), so naturally the technical breakouts were high on the agenda.

Some of the more interesting technical talks included a walkthrough of the much anticipated Magento 2, Magento’s performance toolkit, the Magento test framework (MTF), as well as an excellent talk from Alistair Stead on common problems with scaling performance.

Max Yekaterynenko (Senior Engineer) and Paul Boisvert (Director of Product Management at Magento) presented a detailed look under the hood of Magento 2.

They addressed the current roadmap for release, which was previously unveiled at the Magento imagine conference in Las Vegas.

They confirmed the continuation of investment in the current 1.x versions of Magento, stating that a development beta would be available at the end of 2014, a merchant release candidate at the end of 2015, and a full release in early 2016.

It promises (amongst other things) improved documentation, a full testing framework and Varnish support out of the box (we loved this one). As ever, Magento are encouraging community participation with the Magento 2 github repository, which will be publically available for anyone to download, install and contribute to.

William Harvey, Senior Product Manager, talked through the improved Magento test framework and the performance toolkit. Testing is clearly something that Magento are now taking more seriously and this was music to the community's ears.

Alistair Stead (CTO, Session Digital) also gave a talk on the challenges of scaling a Magento store for busy occasions such as cyber Monday. He delivered some fascinating tales of experience, and demonstrated the various bottlenecks that occur when scaling for high traffic volumes.

Newly appointed eBay enterprise president, Craig Hayman talked about his IBM roots and the Linux and Apache-esque strengths of the Magento open source community.

Steve Denton, Vice President of Marketing Solutions, eBay Enterprise, elaborated on Magento’s UK growth,  presenting some impressive stats - showing that Magento currently accounts for 30% of the share of the top 100k sites in the Alexa 1 million.

On top of that, it has a 42% share within the UK for eCommerce platform of choice.

John Lunn, Senior Global Director of PayPal and Braintree, talked about the exciting movement currently happening with Braintree, and improvements in the card and payments industry.

He talked about security considerations, massively improved conversion rates and completed the talk with a memorable quote regarding Paypal.

Our aim is to disappear.

Omnichannel and the emergence of click-and-collect’s popularity in the UK was another talking point that came through in the group sessions.

It was shown that the UK is leading the way for collect in store services, with 35% of customers who shop online interested in this service. This puts the UK ahead of the whole of Europe and even the US.

There was a lot more besides.

But, overall we came away feeling more aligned than ever with Folk’s primary eCommerce tool. The consistency of our ‘One story everywhere’ motto was almost uncanny with the omnichannel “It’s not winner takes all, it takes all to win” slogan.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the event was Magento’s unceasing passion for its community. As one presenter put it “we know how to make great planes, but we require the feedback from you, the pilots, in order to achieve this”.

Thanks Magento for a great event, and thank you for reading.

Roll on Magento Live 2015.