Magento Gripes

Posted on June 1, 2013

 

I’ve recently looked at the Magento CMS to see what all the fuss is about. Like most other CMSs, it has its great parts and its truly frustrating, hair pulling parts.

I have started to see Magento popping up all over the place as the ‘CMS to use’ for e-commerce websites and a brief look around its menus and functions seems to indicate that this is a true, straightforward interface for clients to use. It has well labelled and obvious inputs that ‘do what they say on the tin’. The one sticking point seemed to be when it came to adding pages of content. Being a regular WordPress user, I am used to the permalinks and page URLs being automatically generated based on the title of the content. This is a reasonable assumption for the CMS to make, and its only rarely I have to change it from that.
Magento decides that the choice is best left in my hands, which seems strange considering the limitations of the characters I could use. I’m pretty sure more users would not be aware of these limitations; this would cause no end of issues, so clicking save, I waited for the process to complete. However, being the impatient so and so that I am, I clicked it again, and this resulted in two entries into the pages list for the same page.

After saving, I was scratching my head staring at the page editing area when I realised I wanted to preview the page I had just created. It seemed that without going back to the list of pages I would be unable to do that – this was frustrating in the extreme.
I am aware that Magento doesn’t advertise itself as a ‘content’ system. Primarily, it is for e-commerce, but usability is still the overriding requirement for any CMS and it seems that some parts of this have been overlooked. I know there are alternatives out there, such as Joomla or Drupal, for managing vast swathes of content, but those too suffer from over complication and tend to be inaccessible to the average client or user. This is the reason I personally favour Wordpress, as it occupies the middle ground between simplicity and accessibility for the client, and configurability for the developer.

I know every Magento user and promoter who reads this is probably indignant at the implication that their favourite e-commerce system is maybe not the panacea of back end systems as has been heralded. However, it’s a pretty good e-commerce system that has potential to be a lot better than it is.

Before the comments and emails come flooding in, I know I have referred to Magento as a CMS when strictly it is an e-commerce system. The main gripe for me is that is has such huge potential to include a way of managing pages, content and other features similar to Wordpress that could enable it to live up to the current hype surrounding it. These gripes are not empty words, and I endeavour to develop modifications and adjustments to my own Magento installation to see if I can do my bit in improving what appears to be a system with huge potential.

 

Steven

Steven is Engage Web’s go-to man for all things web-related, bringing his knowledge of current trends in web design and development to the team.

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