Magento is a Fucking Nightmare

Posted on March 15, 2010

I created my first Magento shop as a freelancer for a small business client back when version 1 had come out. Oy. I even just rel="nofollow"'d that link to avoid boosting their Pagerank any further. The software showed SO much promise and was SO much better than anything else out there that I was eager to try the new technology.

I designed the shop and got the client up and running, moving their inventory over from their old e-commerce solution.

A few months later, some updates started to trickle in. So I patched the site with the upgrade packages. Fail. The file permissions got messed up, the template system had changed entirely, and the database didn't migrate properly. I rolled the software back. Waiting a few months I tried upgrading again, got it marginally further, and was able to get the site up and running with some important security updates.

The "easy" upgrade solution they provide, Magento Connect, is a disaster. The thing will absolutely break your site.

Their forums are riddled with developers, designers, and proprietors for whom every upgrade destroys their hard work. Varien, the corporate sponsor of the project, is typically silent. And now that they've released their $12,000 Magento Enterprise Edition you can expect the 'community edition' to continue to be supported by people digging through the forums and exchanging cut-and-paste hacks to get the shit to work right. Looking under the hood reveals a labyrinth of directories and PHP files that will make your head spin. The database schema is insane. Any features that a client would actually want, such as WYSIWYG product editing require hacking the core files - hacks that will be lost when the software upgrades itself in place.

I have never had this much strife with a well-adopted open-source project before.

So do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from Magento. I feel pretty bad for subjecting a client to Magento, although admittedly it's a powerful piece of software that can really expand a business. It's too bad the support structure for it is a non-starter. At this point the best we can hope for is to keep the security bugs at bay and let businesses do what they do best.

Drop a comment and suggest the open-source e-commerce software that you like and why.

comments powered by Disqus