By Miguel Balparda, Magento Developer at Santex
Now more than ever, eCommerce is front and center in the retail strategy conversation. In the first quarter of this year, online shopping surpassed the USD 50 billion dollar barrier in the US at the same breaking records in Latin America. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are the biggest markets. Leading the technology to drive eCommerce applications, Magento has become the #1 platform for online shopping. In fact, this software platform has grown so popular that eBay bought it in 2011.
Technically speaking, Magento is an open source web application based on one of today’s most popular and complete frameworks: Zend Framework. The framework itself has everything a developer needs to use and really fits with Magento Core. This rich eCommerce solution has some of the most accepted features in merchant stores, is easy to install, and comes already integrated with Paypal. Another major plus is that Magento is written in PHP, one of the most-commonly used programming languages in the world. Moreover, big & small package carriers such as UPS and Fedex have integrated Magento into the backbone of their infrastructure to unify ordering and shipping.
One Magento’s biggest advantage is that it provides the merchant with a full set of reports regarding the status of the online store. For businesses with an international client base, Magento offers store management in different languages under the same installation process: this means that the platform stock control only runs through the decision making of one administrator.
There are a few drawbacks that anyone considering implementing a Magento framework should consider. One of its most common problems is its slow response capacity. In order for it to run smoothly, it must have at least a VPS (Virtual Private Server). Some advance caching systems are needed for rapid loading times. Another important disadvantage for this technology is that it has a steep learning curve: time and effort are required to operate the system, even for the most technically sound of developers.
However, the platform really is a complete suite for a running a fully functional enterprise: Stock and price points can be managed, as well as customer subscriptions and newsletters. A Content Management System (CMS) is provided as a regular feature. Magento also owns a marketplace for its extensions: Magento Connect. Through this option, merchants can purchase extensions to customize and enhance their online platform. In fact, the magento community is varied and developers can access to numerous tools and resources like Magento Commerce boards and StackOverflow.
About the author – Miguel Balparda has been developing Magento for almost four years. During this time, he has witnessed the exponential growth the platform has undergone; today it is one of the largest and most popular online stores in the world. There is a great deal of documentation and resources available for both merchants and developers. It is best to start by scanning the official Magento website, where you can find resources to get in touch with the application, as well as free extensions to learn the structure of modules. Miguel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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