Magento 1 is an open-source ecommerce platform launched by Varien Inc. back in 2008. Although it is now a legacy software and no longer receives support or updates, there are still nearly 65,000 live websites using Magento 1 globally. Its successor, Magento 2, is the platform of choice for leading ecommerce businesses and global giants like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Nescafé.
History of Magento
A team of programmers led by Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner developed Magento back in 2007. They were inspired to build the platform after realizing the shortcomings in the leading open-source platform of their time, osCommerce. Their primary aim was to create an open-source ecommerce platform like osCommerce and address its shortcomings related to customizability.
Soon after its official launch in 2008, Magento quickly rose in popularity, and within a year, it had already overtaken its biggest competitor, osCommerce. This rapid adoption of the software helped them build a vast global community of developers and online merchants within their first year. Noticing this success, eBay purchased 49% ownership in the company in 2010 and fully acquired it in 2011. eBay owned the growing payment processor PayPal and wanted to integrate it into Magento to boost its user base. In 2015, Permira, a private equity fund, acquired Magento from eBay, and it was under their ownership that the Magento Enterprise Edition was launched.
Magento’s success with their Enterprise Edition, advanced B2B functionality, and a joint user base in some of the leading global businesses like Coca-Cola and Cathay Pacific made Adobe interested in the platform. Realizing that Magento could fill the gaps in Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe acquired Magento in 2018. After this acquisition, they announced that Magento 1 would stop receiving support and updates after the 30th of June 2020.
Growth of Magento 1
Magento CE (Community Edition) 1.0 beta was first released on the 31st of August 2007 and was followed by the release of Magento CE 1.0 on the 31st of March 2008. Magento CE 1.0 added an API, custom product options, and bundled and virtual products to the beta version. The first stable public release of Magento came on the 24th of June, 2008. Soon after that, Magento became extremely popular, and its user base skyrocketed.
People from different industries across the globe started using Magento to build and manage their online enterprises which introduced new use cases and functionality requirements. Magento’s team was always one step ahead of the curve, constantly working to add more features to enhance the platform. After the official launch, the first few releases introduced features like layered navigation, FTP, downloadable products, and catalogs.
In 2008, layered navigation was only available to ecommerce giants like Amazon until Magento was released. Introducing layered navigation along with powerful marketing and promotional features helped Magento solidify its position in the ecommerce industry. It was also the only solution on the market capable of building and managing multi-store websites out of the box at the time. International businesses were able to use its multi-store, multilingual, and multi-currency support to build global stores using a single platform.
As the platform grew, its developers continued to engage with the community, listening to feedback, adding new features, and fixing known bugs and issues. However, Magento 1 did have its fair share of shortcomings. Its API functionality wasn’t built into the core and it lacked backward compatibility. Even integration with HTTP accelerators like Varnish needed an extension and required additional customization of ESI block policies making it difficult to use. Moreover, severe database locking issues sometimes occurred during the checkout process.
Rise of Magento 2
For a platform that was as feature-rich as Magento 1, its growing list of issues was becoming bothersome. Therefore, to fix the existing issues Rubin and Kutner started working on Magento 2 in 2011. After nearly four years of development, Magento 2 was eventually launched in 2015. It addressed all previously known issues of Magento 1, had better performance, and was easy to use.
While the Magento 1 admin panel was cluttered, clumsy, and unresponsive to different devices, in Magento 2 the admin panel was easy to use and capable of adapting to multiple screen sizes. It had a more customizable architecture and better SEO functionality compared to its predecessor.
Although Magento 1 wasn’t perfect by any means, it was revolutionary in its time. It enabled smaller businesses to access functionality that was only available in premium solutions or to large-scale companies with deep pockets. More importantly, it set the base for building Magento 2, which is one of the most robust, scalable, and reliable ecommerce platforms today.