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Magento 2 Developer Release Candidate webinar – summary

Just like with the webinar after the release of the Magento 2 Developer Beta, there was also a webinar accompanying the release of the Magento 2 Developer Release Candidate, on the 24th of March. Here’s a summary.

On schedule

The webinar started off with a quick introduction regarding the specifics of this Developer Release Candidate. The most important feat is arguably that at this point it is really time to get your boots on and start with porting Magento 1.X extensions and customizations to Magento 2.

There was also a recap of the Magento 2 release cycle and how milestones are currently being hit as planned. The community as a whole got a shout-out for contributing to Magento 2 thus far and emphasis was made on the Magento 2 team still looking forward to feedback.

Improvements in web APIs

Recurring feedback for the Developer Beta was to simplify services. One of the results is that services can now be used to set data too, instead of only getting the data of the resources they represent. Alan notes in a comment that “this is talking about “Data Entities” in the Api/Data directory“. There was an attempt to implement mutable data entities by making use of a builder pattern, but in practical situations that turned out to be “too painful to use in practice”.

Also worth knowing is that with a few lines of XML, service contracts can be exposed as web APIs. Both in SOAP & REST form.

Performance

The performance of Magento 2 is currently “not there yet”. Though there have been improvements in comparison with the Developer Beta (e.g. some requests have more than halved in time, LESS compilation is much faster) there is an ongoing process to improve Magento 2 its performance.

Which might be of help with this, is the performance toolkit shipped with Magento 2 (also available for Magento 1 EE). Noteworthy is that Magento 2 has been verified to be compatible with HHVM 3.6.

Codebase improvements

The general alignment of the Magento 2 codebase has seen some major changes and is still subject to change. For example. to make modules more standalone, module-specific unit tests can now be found in the module package. Other changes include refinements in Magento 2 its usage of Composer.

Already heard before – but highlighted again – is the backwards compatibility policy which will be based on the semver standard. In two to three months from now public facing APIs of the Magento 2 framework will start to get annotated. This implies an upcoming code freeze but official details will probably follow.

Frontend changes

Though there has already been a dedicated webinar (part one and two) regarding frontend changes, this webinar also dealt with that topic.

The Magento 2 Release Candidate now features both client- and server-side compilation of LESS files. Server-side compilation relies on NodeJS, GruntJS & LiveReload. As with every used technology out there, there probably exists an alternative. Alan notes that Magento 2 wants to be able to work with these technologies, not force a specific implementation.

Other frontend changes include i18n support for tranlsations of JavaScript-supplied text-constants and an overhaul of the interface of the setup tool build with (a or the?) new UI framework.

Migrating from Magento 1.X

Already hinted in the AMA in February, Magento 2 will offer migration tools for porting (MySQL) data from Magento 1.X. Community edition 1.6.X to 1.9.X and enterprise edition 1.11.X to 1.14.X will be supported out of the box, but the tool is flexible enough to be customized to work with any previous Magento version.

In the comment by Alan is noted that in case of a heavily accessed site, it will be possible to have live synchronization – without taking the store down – by making use of MySQL triggers.

One of the themes of the Magento 2 Extension Challenge was creating tooling for porting code. According to a note by Piotr, the winners of that challenge will be announced in the upcoming days. Whether any of the participants succeeded in porting Magento 1.X code to 2.X was not mentioned.

Training & Certifications

The paid – cost not known yet – “Fundamentals of Magento 2 Development” Magento U training program will be available on demand and released in two chapters. The first focuses on “Preparation & Configuration”, “Request Flow” and “Rendering” and should be available in April. Circa the summer of 2015 the second chapter is due and focuses on “Database” and “AdminHTML”.

Overheard in the Q&A is that because Magento certifications are adapted from “real life” (i.e. work floor) situations, it is unrealistic to expect a Magento 2 certification program immediately after the General Availability release. Those certifications will come in 2016.

Is taking a Magento 1.X certification still worth it?

In a question by a viewer regarding the certification for Magento 1.X and its deprecation, one of Magento’s staff recommended to still actively pursue it as it is something you can still be expected to work with.

A related question dealt with the end of life support for Magento 1.X and Paul answered this one by stating that a period of 3 years will apply for the latest Magento enterprise edition. In that time period, Magento CE will still be receiving security patches.

Other interesting points

During the webinar, viewers could submit questions for the Magento 2 staff. Some were answered immediately in text-form (which sadly disappeared when the webinar app closed) and others got answered at the end. Here are some interesting takeaways:

  • APIs for payment modules will be heavily refactored in the upcoming months. Though it is possible to already start working on a custom payment module, you can always ping the product team if you want more certainty about your specific customizations. The latter does not only apply to payment modules.
  • The checkout process is susceptible to major revamp in the upcoming months.
  • Additionally to the paid Magento U trainings, there will be free online material supplied by Magento.
  • The new Magento Connect will feature code reviews as part of the process of accepting new extensions in the market place.
  • The enterprise edition of Magento 2 will be released at the same time as the Magento 2 community edition. Merchants (and probably implementation partners, too) can apply for beta testing the enterprise-specific modules of Magento 2. If you are using enterprise you probably already have a contact but otherwise Magento CERL seems like a good start.

Final words

And that’s about it. Overall, again an impressive performance by all those involved and it would definitely not be unpleasant to have more frequent webinars with status updates. In case you don’t want to believe us on our word, a recording of the webinar will be made available in approximately three working days.

If we missed anything or made a mistake which should be rectified, please let us know on Twitter, the comments or below or by dropping an email. Thanks for reading!

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Further reading: Ben Marks on the Magento 2 Developer Release Candidate →