Magento has a history of being a great eCommerce engine and it has proven to be a proper answer to eCommerce needs since 2008. However, it is going to cut the support for Magento 1 soon and because in many cases the upgrade process would mean rewriting the whole platform from scratch, many will consider something else. Well, we think Sylius is going to be an obvious choice. Here’s why…
What is Magento today?
After Adobe acquired Magento, it seems like the vendor started to focus more on the enterprise market. This leaves a huge potential in the growing SMB (companies with +50M revenue) eCommerce market for Sylius — an eCommerce framework. After all, there’s a lot of middle-market eCommerce website owners that might not be so happy about paying for the Magento ES subscription or spending a ton of money on the development from the beginning on Magento 2.
The development environment
Sylius compared to Magento has a great code environment that makes the developer’s work more efficiently. At the same time, finding an experienced Symfony developer (the framework behind Sylius) who can learn Sylius quickly is much simpler than finding a good Magento developer. Sylius has also a far more extended testing environment which prevents the developer from breaking any mandatory part of the application with his changes. It happens a lot with Magento. Last but not least, Sylius requires less actions to configure — in Magento, the page load without caching mechanisms in dev mode might take up to 30 seconds compared to 0,5s on Sylius. It makes it better in terms of the performance and costs of maintenance.
Sylius is 100% free and open source. Recently Sylius gained 2000 users on Slack and by the time the blog post is written, it’s having over 5000 stars on Github which makes it the top 3 PHP eCommerce solution right behind Magento and WooCommerce (it’s going to catch it up soon 🙂). There are already over 100 extensions made for it and even more that could be used from the Symfony community – all Symfony bundles work in Sylius. Even though Magento 1 has countless extensions, they are not supported by Magento 2 and many of them probably won’t be upgraded.
Time to market
In many cases, Sylius time to market is a few times lower than Magento. It is the outcome of its environment’s quality which allows extending it in a more organized & standardized way. Based on our experience, a similar B2C system could be done three times faster on top of Sylius compared to Magento 2. It is also easier to write a good code in Sylius that is easier to extend and maintain in the future. Magento, on the other hand, is overloaded with antipatterns, which, if replicated, might lead to a huge technical debt.
The philosophy behind Sylius
Magento is an eCommerce platform that allows people to create complex B2C & B2B systems by providing a huge amount of features and complex architecture. But sometimes you don’t need that. If you use just 10 – 20% of Magento’s features and you integrate with other systems for the other functionalities or implement custom logic for it, you probably prefer extendability over the number of features. Sylius, on the other hand, was designed to solve 70 – 80% common eCommerce problems in a framework. The remaining 20 – 30% is what makes the business special. If you find that the native features are not enough for you, you can easily extend it or integrate these features with other software like i.e. PIM, DAM, CMS or Market automation tools via the API (HTTP protocol) or queues (AMQP protocol). As a framework, Sylius allows developing every type of eCommerce – B2C, B2B and as recent case study proves – C2C. Last but not least — thanks to its decoupled architecture, you don’t need to use the whole Sylius stack, you can use just some of its components. This is extremely helpful if you’re building a custom eCommerce app, for instance, for a startup. You don’t get these benefits from Magento and you probably never will.
Technical debt might make your life a nightmare if it turns out that simple changes take a lot of time to implement and break other things. If you have worked with Magento for some time, you probably experienced it. Sylius is taking a lot of care to be up to date with all security changes, news from PHP & Symfony community. This makes it more secure, stable and again — easier to scale.
Upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2 means in most cases rewriting the whole platform. Sylius takes a lot of care to follow the Semantic Versioning concepts and you are always provided with proper upgrade instructions that make the process easy. Sylius has recently upgraded from Symfony 3 to Symfony 4 which was a huge change. Up to date, it’s the most modern eCommerce solution, following every minor Symfony release. The upgrade process of our most complex projects took at most one week of one developer’s work.
Sylius has a growing potential and it seems like it’s going to replace Magento in the medium market. In many cases, it is much better and cheaper, especially for modern growing companies. Due to key differences in the architecture and development environment, Sylius is easier to work with, more stable and simpler to scale than Magento. It seems to be more liked too.