Magento Imagine 2016

Last week I attended the Magento Imagine event, this was my fourth year of being at the event. I’m going to go through some quick impressions here and then hopefully write a few more detailed entries over the next couple weeks on different topics from the conference.

Sunday

IMG_1086The first event of the conference for me was the Big Dam Run, organized by Brent Peterson from Wagento. We ran along the historic railroad hiking trail to the Hoover Dam, about 8 miles in total. The run went through old train tunnels, had amazing views, and a lot of stairs at the dam. It’s hard to think of a better way to kick off the conference!

Later in the day I went to the Oro Momentum event to check out what they have been working on. There was a lot of interesting content here, but I’ll cover that in separate entry.

Monday

The next day was full of deep dives into various Magento 2 topics. This ranged from information on the new Marketplace, to information on the new Magento 2 frontend architecture, to performance and scalability, and quite a few more topics.

In general, I thought these sessions were a little too broad, I would have liked to have seen more in depth details from two hour sessions. There was certainly a lot of value in them, but more focus would have helped. I suspect what I was really looking for was covered in the bar camps on Wednesday, but unfortunately I had to leave too early to attend those.

The evening networking event was fun and I had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people that were working on interesting projects. Discovering exciting new projects by randomly bumping into people at these events is always a lot of fun.

Tuesday

IMG_1092The first big event of Tuesday was the morning General Session, which largely focused on Magento’s new enterprise cloud offering. Their solution is a single tenant “Platform as a Service” offering that gives you full access to the source code to customize Magento in whatever way you need. I really like this approach, as opposed to the more typical “Software as a Service” approach that does not give you access to the source code. The service has an impressive technology stack, including Fastly, blackfire.io, Newrelic, Amazon AWS, ElasticSearch, RabbitMQ, and more. This is targeted at larger businesses, a solution for small to medium sized business is coming in the future.

The afternoon was filled with breakout sessions and talking to vendors in the marketplace. The quality of the breakout sessions were generally high, I particularly liked the project requirements session and the sessions on continuous integration and continuous delivery.

IMG_1100The evening keynote address from Magic Johnson was a highlight of the day. He has a really interesting story and is a great speaker. The way he interacted with the crowd throughout the keynote and the Q&A was fun.

The evening party was a great chance to catch up with several of the partners I work with throughout the year. I also had the chance to meet a lot of other merchants that are trying to solve some of the problems that I’m working on throughout the year.

 

Wednesday

The last day of the conference opened up with a general session about the upcoming release of Magento 2.1. There were a handful of new features announced, the best of which are all exclusive to the Enterprise version of Magento. This release is coming in June, but seems to be a fairly minor release, especially if you are on the Community edition of Magento.

My biggest disappointment of the show was the lack of any clear vision in the B2B space. There was a B2B module announced, but few details were give and it won’t be available until at least Q3. This module also appears to be exclusive to the Enterprise edition. I would have liked to seen this included in the Community edition of Magento, so that the larger community of Magento would have more access to it and produce more enhancements for it.

There were some interesting customer stories during this session, the Fraport story is a particular standout. Magento produced a video to highlight the really impressive work that AOE did for for Frankfurt Airport.

IMG_1094Overall, this year was a big improvement over last year. Last year Magento was sidelined in favor of promoting various eBay Enterprise products and offering. However, now that Magento is independent of eBay, there was a clear focus on making the event about Magento and the future of that platform.

After spending a few days around the Magento community, it’s always clear that this is the greatest strength of the Magento platform. There are an amazing number of smart and talented people that are doing incredible things with the platform, it’s nice to see that Magento does not seem to be taking that for granted.

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