Thoughts on Meet Magento 6.12
23rd May 12 Comments
Spring has arrived in Germany, which means that major commerce software providers open their doors for developers and service providers. The start of to this series of events was made by the Meet Magento conference in Leipzig, Germany. I’ve had a good look around, talked to a lot of people and drank the occasional lemonade.
The general set-up can be dealed with in a few sentences. Since its inception in 2009, the conference has matured perceptably in terms of organisation. Classy location in Leipzig’s Westin Hotel, great catering, working WiFi, streaming/video-recordings of all sessions, mobile camera teams – everything you would and could expect from such a conference in the year 2012. All in all: great job, hat tip to all the busy bees behind the scenes! Needless to say it was great to catch up with the crowd, make some new acquaintances and generally have a good time.
The Magento Déjà-vu
However – and it actually feels like a bit of a Déjà-vu because I’ve written exactly the same regarding an earlier edition of Meet Magento – the way in which the Magento (or should we rather say eBay) management presented itself to the crowd of followers was unsatisfactory to say the least. After the initial words by German community guide Rico Neitzel, the keynote was delivered by Bas Nawijn, Head of Sales, EMEA. He very routinely trotted out slides (which had previously been used by Roy Rubin and Bob Schwartz at the Imagine Conference in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago) sporting all kinds of facts and figures such as more than 800,000 in the community (where do those figures come from?) are supporting Magento now and that everything is growing and superb and what have you: more extensions, more certified developers, more yadda yadda. And not to forget: Passion. Ah yes. And Love. Love for the product. Hang on. Obsession, yes, that’s the suitable term. Thank you community, you’re the greatest, you foster the Magento spirit when you organise hackathons and cross-desert-runs, we owe everything to you, developers, developers, developers (as in Steve Ballmer but without the mad jumping and the sweating).
Please Magento, I say it again: if you don’t want this to be interpreted as mere lip service, get active! Don’t send us a sales guy (nothing personal Bas), send us somebody from management. Have him sit in the developer track for a couple of minutes as a sign that you care. Buy everybody a drink. That sort of thing. Is this really so hard?
What saved the day was the fact that Yoav Kutner, founder and former CTO of Magento (who had magically disappeared from the official presentation’s slides) hit the stage and said a few words about him being there just because he cared and still felt connected to the community. Big round of applause and everything felt right and authentic again.
[Time shift: more presentations, aftershow party, drinks and cigars]
Also the second day keynote was not really an entertaining eye-opener but rather an eBay sales pitch. Bas tried to outline what the basic idea behind x.commerce was (which is a really promising one, ie. interconnecting all sorts of services in the ecommerce space so merchants can concentrate on selling their products rather than maintaining a successively complex array of interfaces and services), but could not get the message across. There were a whole lot of question marks in the conference room. Veery curious. Even more so, because, as I was told, there are a few hundred people in eBay working for the x.commerce product right now!
The open path
A couple of weeks ago I have suggested that based on the knowledge I had to this point, Magento 2 would never see the light of day (Death knell for Magento 2?). Also the Magento 2-related things that were talked about at the Imagine Conference, which as far as I know were mostly restricted to a new design editor for the frontend, seemed to point to a functionality that was more relevant to the Magento Go product instead of the “real” Magento 2.
But, I’ve talked to a lot of people, including Yoav Kutner, and the good news is that it seems as if I was wrong. In the recent weeks, more and more core developers have been switched over to developing Magento 2, the company is also providing a Github repository now for everybody to see what’s being worked on. At the moment the latest commit is about 12 days old, but I was told that eventually this codebase will reflect the latest developments made by the core team. A quite surprising amount of openness I have to say. This would be in line with one of the major goals for Magento 2 – transparency. Let’s see if apart from technical enhancements the communication processes will also be improved further.
In my perception, Magento seems to be back in the race again. Though it will be delayed, Magento 2 is alive and kicking. And regarding the OpenSourciness of the product: even though with regard to the community eBay behaves like a bull in a china shop, they are well aware that the crowd of followers are their most valuable asset. And who would take an OpenSource product away from them when there is so much love around, anyway?