Top 5 annoying things in Magento

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If you ask me, there are two important things that make Magento so attractive. First, its free and open source. Until month ago Magento was fully free, now they have Community and Enterprise editions. But make no mistake, when it comes to out of the box feature list, Community edition will most likely beat any open source cart out there. Rich “out of the box” features are the second thing that make it so attractive.

However, after a year of development with Magento, one catches most of its quirks.

  • Complete lack of official API (or SDK, or whatever you like to call it) documentation
  • Extremely deep folder structure that is fully inadequate in design process
  • Error handling functions that most of the time die quietly, especially with xml (config, layout) related issues
  • Large number of files in system which makes it fully impractical to do installations and backup by transferring files over FTP
  • Performance issues in shops with large number of products (20 000, 30 000 and more)

There are more to add to the list, but these are the ones that caught my attention for most of the time. We do every day Magento development, and believe me its quite hard to explain your client that sometimes it takes you 2-4 times more to develop a feature for Magento than for some other system out there.


19 comments

  1. @Alex
    Hi Alex. Thanks for the input. However, you should have taken into the consideration that this mini post was written in 2009. With that in mind I do stand with almost everything I said back then, except “Complete lack of official AP” as this is changed now. Today, after five years of extensive everyday Magento development, and both Magento certifications behind me, Magento seems pretty easy and great. But the fact remains, its a monster that needs to be tamed 🙂

    I’ll be closing the comments on this post as it makes it a bit unfair to comment anything in line with “Top 5 annoying things in Magento” almost 4 years after when the platform grown so much.

    Thanks again for your input.

  2. don’t agree with your view on magento, your points would only be valid if there was an alternative to magento that was better. The only eCommerce solution that comes close is opencart.

    Put it simply if you dream to have a large successful shop then start learning magento, if you want a small shop that will always be small then use something easy like opencart.

  3. I agree with all your points. I find Magento really annoying at times. Not sure if its mentioned but the use of server requests is over the top, the amount of style sheets and javascript files is huge. I know this can be modified but as an out of the box Magento has its limitations.

  4. Who can tell me how to find and install a collapsible sidebar menu…
    The program is awesome I think although I’m not a real programmer but I’ve come a cross OScommerce and a couple of others and this magento puppy is way cool.

  5. 7th most annoying thing people think Magento development is very problematic.

    Every e-commerce have pros and cons but i like magento very well.

  6. @himanshu
    Ummm-what kind of response exactly are you hoping for here? Get reading/working. You think someone will transfer the contents of their brain into a comment and in the morning you’ll know it all?

    -geez

  7. Hi,
    I want to know magento’s structure properly.
    I want to know each and every aspect of magento.
    I need to know it’s database.

    Please some one help me, It’s Urgent.

    Thanks a lot
    Himanshu

  8. For someone like myself who only has minor exposure to programming, I find magento to be EXCELLENT. Why? It’s free, it’s open source, it really is powerful, OOP keeps it flexible and a few others I cant remember.

    The interface is slow and the frontend is quite large, but for what I’m paying, it’s well worth it and the effort.

    Im just afraid of the upcoming major releases. Im just about finished setting up my store and dont want to upgrade in fear of something breaking.

  9. I think some of the comments are made by people with little or no success in understanding the architecture of the system.

    While the EAV system isn’t perfect, how would you create a system that can support any kind of product and allow you to create the different attributes for it?

    Yes, the initial development time can be high while a developer is still learning it. But once you get used to the directory layout (which is simple once you ‘get it’) where to make changes becomes simple.

    Regarding scalability, I have yet to see anyone capable of creating a competing, very similar shop on another platform (osCommerce, Zen, ….) and running *statistically valid* load tests against it. Opening up Firebug and looking at the page load times doesn’t count as valid.

    I do agree that many developers (at least those in #magento or IRC) think that it is complex and struggle with certain aspects, but what Magento is building is a community where those who have issues can ask and get answers. If there isn’t an answer, often times you have to find or create it yourself.

    It may not be perfect, but many who complain don’t understand the system or couldn’t make it any better by submitting patches or extensions.

  10. Hehe Branko, you opened a can of worms with this one…

    In my view, it’s:
    a) a matter of choice – everyone can choose to use this or that software or tool to achieve a result
    b) a matter of working out if you need the complexity and potential of Magento as a base framework upon which you can expand your eCommerce business in the future

    Magento is powerful and should be used in cases when the business has serious growth strategies and I don’t mean increasing the number of products in the catalog, but interfacing with other enterprise systems as part of a bigger picture.

  11. The comments about Magento are quite similar when you ask developers. Everybody thinks Magento is complicated, everybody struggles with it, many developers hate it, many think it sucks, but everybody uses it. The last fact makes the solution good.

  12. So, if you had to start from scratch building a web shop… would you use Magento?

  13. Ok Branko, I’ll bite. I’ll agree with most of those points, and if you’re staying in the realm of annoying things regarding the development of Magento I’d say the biggest issues come down to your last point (#6?) with it taking 2-4 times longer to develop something in Magento than it would in another solution – even when you’re intimately familiar with the solution – for newbs maybe 6-8 times longer 😉

  14. I would say that some of the comments are not fair. Magento is still a wonderful cart for a shop with not so many products.

    The development time is high for the first couple of times and from then on, the code changes are fast and cleaner than any other cart. Moreover, one must appreciate the OOP usage in Magento to keep away customizations from core code which allows easy upgrade.

    Only part where I think Magento does not scale is in selecting EAV model for its DB design. This does not allow it to scale for large number of products.

  15. Magento big time sux. It’s a matter of time when this piece of software collapse into it self ;).
    6th most annoying thing is that Magento have in front panel full of javasript (310k) and large css file. Empy page size is over 450k – wtf!!!

  16. And the 6th most annoying thing about Magento are Magento developers who constantly complain about it, talk about it, dream about it and so on. 😀

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