Magento E-Commerce : A Brilliant Open Source solution or a piece of frustrating unsupported crap?

I’ve now built a few shops using Magento E-Commerce Community Edition.


  • it can look fabulous
  • it has features only expensive professional software has
  • it blows similar software like OSCommerce out of the water.

Cons (you’ll notice a rant below)

Let’s first give the Magento team their say.  The website says;

“The Magento Community Edition is available as a free download under the open source OSL 3.0 license and is recommended for expert developers and highly technical enthusiasts and hobbyists in non-mission critical environments. As this edition is unsupported it is intended to be used by those happy to spend time and resource solving issues independently”

Fair enough.  But I’m left with the feeling that a lot of their web traffic is driven by the “open source” moniker.  BEWARE!  The Open Source license is OSL 3.0 which means that the community doesn’t keep the source up to date,  they can just amend what has been released.

In effect what this does is limit 3rd party Open Source type development because why spend good time developing a solution when in the next version of Magento it may not work.

There have been 4 main revisions in the code since then over a period of 3 years (we’re currently on version 1.4.1) but a quick search on their own forums reveal literally hundreds of frustrated web developers trying to find a simple solutions to the most basic of functions.  When it comes to managing products and categories, Magento fails….. badly.

The unusual way that the management of categories is handled is simply not sensible.  For 3 years this has been highlighted on the forums but still no real solution from the Magento team.

If it were a true Open Source product the community could now have coded a nice Javascript admin for product and category manipulation.


But why should they when the next time Magento is upgraded who’s to say it will work?

I think I’m going to leave Magento behind and leave you with just a little bit of advice.

Have a read of the Magento forums and see if you want to be in the same position as those poor guys (and me!).

Dave Walker
Dave Walker is a middle aged programmer living in North Yorkshire, who loves music and used to enjoy constantly restarting fitness regimes with a bit of football, cycling, swimming & jogging. Now I just eat biscuits.

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