Magento Open Source is a free, PHP-based ecommerce software distributed under the Open Software License 3.0 to enable developers and online merchants to build and manage ecommerce websites. Originally called the Magento Community Edition, it was renamed as Magento Open Source on the 28th of June 2017 by then-owner Permira. Magento is currently owned by Adobe Inc. who acquired the platform in 2018 for $1.68 billion.
Magento Open Source is one of two main editions of the Magento software. Its counterpart, Magento Commerce, is a subscription-based software available for purchase as an on-premises solution and as a PaaS (platform as a service). Magento Commerce is built using the same core code as Magento Open Source only modified to offer additional functionality and packaged with other services to provide large-scale businesses with a full-featured ecommerce solution.
Initially launched in 2008, Magento quickly gained popularity in the industry and surpassed its primary competitor, osCommerce, within a year of its release. Although popular, it had shortcomings in its architecture, so the developers behind the platform started working on an updated version of the software in 2011.
The current version of Magento, appropriately called Magento 2, was launched on the 17th of November 2015 alongside the original version with an improved high-performance architecture and support for the latest technologies. After Adobe acquired the company in 2018, they announced the end of support for Magento 1 and set a final date for the 30th of June 2020. True to their word, they ceased support for the old platform right on schedule, and as of July 2020, Magento 2 is the only official version of the software available in the market today.
Magento Open Source features
Magento has a reputation for its feature-rich functionality and high customizability that make it perfect for small businesses to manage and scale their online operations. Some of its prominent features include:
Magento boasts a powerful catalog management system capable of supporting virtually any product — from the standard, simple, and configurable products to more advanced grouped, bundled, and even virtual products. Its catalog system can also handle an unlimited number of products capable of supporting enterprises with large-scale inventories.
You can even create global masks for SKUs, meta titles, meta keywords, and meta descriptions to be auto-generated based on placeholder values. Creating configurable products is also streamlined, and users can create multiple associated simple products from within the configurable product itself.
Magento stores support complex promotions using price rules applied at the catalog and cart level. Catalog price rules can be used to offer products at a discounted price based on a set of conditions. These are triggered at the catalog level, so they do not require the use of coupon codes. Using predefined rule properties like customer groups, product categories, color, size, or just about any attribute in a store, you can trigger discounts and change the prices of products in the store catalog.
Cart price rules can be set up to apply discounts to products added to the shopping cart based on a set of conditions, or by using a manually entered coupon code. When applied, it discounts the pricing and displays the amount under the subtotal on the cart page. You can use this to create custom or auto-generated coupons, offer free shipping, provide discounts with minimum purchases, and create the “Buy X, Get Y Free” type offers.
Magento Open Source supports search engine optimization out of the box. You can configure meta titles, meta descriptions, and other metadata at the product level or create global templates to update product metadata automatically using placeholders. It also supports canonical URLs preventing duplicate URLs from being indexed by search engines.
Structured data markups based on schema.org standards are added to all products by default. Providing this data to search engines helps them add rich snippets to a product listing on the search engine results pages. In addition to this, Magento stores also support sitemap generations and the addition of custom data to the robots.txt file to guide search engine bots when crawling a website.
Progressive Web Application (PWA) support
Magento supports the creation of PWA websites through its open-source GitHub project called the Magento PWA Studio. This project is a collection of developer tools that facilitate the development, deployment, and maintenance of a PWA store on top of a Magento store. PWA websites are secure, responsive, fast, multi-device compatible, and can work offline as well.
Magento Open Source is a rock-solid open-source platform with a global community of developers and merchants around it. Its feature-rich and fully customizable architecture make it perfect for all types of businesses. Being open-source provides end users and developers with royalty-free, non-exclusive use of the software.