How to speed up your Magento 2 store with a smart crawler caching

Oleksii Prozhoha
April, 13
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Today Magento is one of the most popular and widely used e-commerce solutions. In comparison to most other platforms, Magento is the most flexible, user-friendly and versatile.  That’s the reason why it’s latest version, Magento 2, is rapidly gaining popularity among e-commerce startups and online store owners.

Magento is a good choice for those who think and dream big and already have or want to have a large store. But nothing is perfect, unfortunately. When your store grows and attracts thousands of customers on a daily basis – it starts to experience troubles with speed. As a consequence your business begins spending more and more money for expensive server resources.

If you also face this problem, you are lucky to have found this article!

There is a solution designed by Skynix intended to help businesses:

  1. To save server resources using powerful Magento cache;
  2. To make our overlord Google happy by producing fast cached content;
  3. To grow conversion rates by providing fast e-commerce for customers;
  4. To resolve the common re-indexing problem of e-commerce.

Skynix team is excited to introduce a recently released stable version of open-source software: Site Crawler.

Quick and easy installation in a minute will make you forget about these issues forever:

  1. Clone Repo https://github.com/skynixukraine/Skynix-Site-Crawler/releases/tag/1.1.0
  2. Copy .env_default to .env
  3. Run: composer install
  4. Edit .env (Pass your data)
  5. Create data folder
  6. Add write permissions for data folder
  7. Run it: php run.php
  8. Enjoy!

Does your dream team lack a key player?

Oleksii Prozhoha
January, 22
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What for do we hire Project Managers? Are they those who you would really rely on? A typical member of IT community would say – “You don’t need them as they don’t really do anything. Just focus on getting a team with a knowledgeable leader and your project will be fine”. Well, of course, if you have a Product Manager. But they won’t say it out loud.

Don’t you confuse Project Managers and Product Managers as their functions are different?

Product Manager is responsible for the product itself: it’s convenience, user experience, features functionality and so forth.

Project Manager is generally responsible for the processes of Design and Development and has to make every feature and flow running perfectly.

The thing is, small projects are not allowed to have extreme overhead charges ensuring the presence of both Project and Product Managers on board. Very often it turns out the one who is doing Sales (so is a skilled negotiator already) is also performing Business Analytics and Project Management. So, if that gentleman or lady is already so familiar with the project, there is no need to have a separate Product Manager.

The key thing is – no matter how you call your personnel if they cover all zones of responsibility. So for a customer, it is a very wise thing to ask for a key communicating person. As having two or three of them may result in getting lost with something. And again, if your project budget is anywhere above $250k – ignore what’s written here. You will definitely need every player on your dream team.

Skynix LLC moves a building

Oleksii Prozhoha
July, 20
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Happy hours! We’ve moved a building recently and are ready to welcome all our current employees, newcomers and visitors with a better organized and much bigger space to feel yourself like home.

The new building looks very good. It’s easy to get to and it offers you simplicity parallelled with a cozy collaboration space. Few places to have a chat, enough space to discuss a bug and (!) find a solution for it, a place to strain yourself after some hours of efforts put in coding – that is not the full list of what there is in there.

People are organized quite smart, so quick communication is available. As well as crowded meetings are placed in a dedicated space.

Just feel free to come and visit us at Hlybotchytska 17D, at business center “Torus” and you will have a nice interview or a friendly chat.

Custom e-commerce solution for Bikebiz goes live!

Oleksii Prozhoha
June, 25
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Overview

Project: Development of customized Magento-2 e-commerce solution from scratch
Technologies Used: Magento 2, Bootstrap CSS Framework
People Involved: 6 developers
Timeframe: 6 months

Prehistory to software development process

The online presence of Bikebiz brand has been long established at the time of their first contact with Skynix Ukraine. Starting in 1987 as a small second-hand bike dealer, Bikebiz quickly grew up to one of Australia’s leading bike retailers, and they seem to be at the top of their home market for many Australian-favorite bike brands.

The previous version of their website was running on an old and unknown yet fairly powerful platform. Since the first release of Bikebiz website, the e-commerce industry has dramatically transformed, and so did the Magento platform itself, allowing its users to benefit from multiple speed, security, and functionality improvements.

The company also required re-branding, a new logo and a vision that inspires customers to see the company in a new light.

Standard solution or custom e-commerce?

When you are running a web-store you want any required modifications to the site developed quickly and responsibly. You want a developer to spend as little time as possible and deliver results when you need them. Does that sound like too much to hope for?

We don’t believe it is and we’re here to prove that it can be done!

Just recently a team of IT professionals at Skynix Ukraine delivered a highly complicated e-commerce solution. To see what we mean, visit https://www.bikebiz.com.au. We believe you might find some features and ideas there that could help in your business.

Before going into detail, let us describe some core features of the site.

This store is a built-from-scratch Magento 2 Community Edition service. Magento itself delivers a high level of complexity with the capacity to be customized as needed to fit the most sophisticated customer’s needs. However, even with that capability, out of the box solutions are unlikely to meet 100% of your requirements. You always find yourself doing some typical customizations that an e-commerce solution might require: Magento 2 extensions installation, page styling, developing brands page, and landing page development.

Naturally, Skynix Ukraine was also asked to preserve, or rather replicate in Magento 2 certain features from the old platform:

  • Blocking standard Magento search function and implementing a quicker, better, personalized and more flexible Algolia Search API;
  • Installing the Chat feature to allow improved customer service;
  • Implementing Custom Collections system with its own logic for each category.

Magento 2 traditions: find yourself delivering custom service development

When it comes to something very specific, whether it’s your industry requirements or your customer’s particular vision, you may easily find yourself struggling.

For example, something like customization of standard layouts as part of developing some unique and brand new layouts. You may also need developing custom Magento 2 modules, themes, individualized console commands, and filters.

In this particular Bikebiz set-up, a “Make Model Year” product filter is worth to be mentioned separately. Modifying Magento 2 core in a way to create a dynamic and instant transition from a modal window to a product page requires not only expertise but also creativity.

There are some other special features built into this project Skynix Ukraine team is proud of. As an example here comes mega-menu development with a custom slider and product search form.

But the Single Sign In module is something that will impress even the most jaded developer:

Bikebiz has two websites: https://www.bikebiz.com.au and http://parts.bikebiz.com.au/. The newly developed module works quite simply, which makes it a highly evolved application. When a user logs in on any of the listed websites for the first time he/she is automatically added to a second one having the same account name and some other account credentials. Additionally, when account information is edited on either of those websites the changes populate to the other site as well. This helps reduce the frustrating “forgot password” and “abandoned because of registration time” drop outs. As a result, the customer stays more involved and spends more time doing business on the web pages instead of logging in and establishing credentials.

What’s in it for a customer ordering such modified Magento 2 e-commerce solution?

After release Skynix Ukraine team enabled Bikebiz to simply benefit from the new features and improvements of Magento 2 platform:

  • Convenient, self-manageable Content Management System (CMS);
  • Numbers and numbers of useful, built-in Widgets;
  • Powerful Admin Side, enabling to manage sales, inventories, customer relations, financial activities and reporting quickly and efficiently.

So, if you have ideas but are looking for help working them out – reach out to Skynix Ukraine. You might be surprised to find that there is someone on the team who has already solved your problem or can quickly and cost effectively develop a creative solution.

About Authors:

Bogdan Kushlyk, Business Development Manager at Skynix Ukraine, contact at bogdan.kushlyk@skynix.co
Kristina Antypova, Marketing and Project Manager at Skynix Ukraine, contact at kristina@skynix.co

Magento 1.9 vs Magento 2.0: the time has come to step forward

Oleksii Prozhoha
February, 12
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Magento 2 was released at the end of 2015. This event was highly anticipated and called a sufficient response. Some people, being in the unshakable belief in progress, started using the new version of the platform without a moment`s hesitation. Others kept using the elder version, preferring not even to start thinking about the inconvenience connected with the restructuring. But most Magento users still plan to move on. The hesitation is caused by not entirely clear understanding of all the advantages the new platform offers.

Ok, why should people give up the familiar and customized version in favor of the product that just came into existence? Let’s try to find out.

Increase of page loading speed

The first and probably the main improvement is the enhancement of caching. It was a total problem in Magento 1. Pages were loading very slow, to solve this problem online store administrators had to use different third-party extensions that made caching better at least somehow. Starting from the second version Magento platform uses internal caching. Furthermore, the Varnish extension for faster page caching is integrated and supported, so the problem of slow pages loading speed can be forgotten.

Significantly improved test framework

Each time a new extension or add-on is applied, you have to run the test to make sure the new application has not created some bugs or collapsed the entire system. Testing process in Magento 1 was very difficult and inconvenient. However, Magento 2 already has an inbuilt framework that allows conducting of automated tests on any website, regardless of its size and structure, and ensures that the newly added extension will not affect the performance of other systems.

Improved and simplified admin panel

Operating with the administrative panel in Magento 1 required a certain level of skills from the manager. An unarranged user encountered a problem even in such a trifle as editing the product page. The interface was really cumbersome and difficult. In the new version, this problem is solved. The interface has been optimized and made more user-friendly and understandable even for inexperienced managers. This simplifies the process of managing the store.

Some more popular payment systems are now supported

In Magento 2 some leading payment systems had been embedded that was missing in the previous version. For example, PayPal, WorldPay, Braintree and some others. It increases the number of payment options for the customers, making the e-store more convenient and attractive. And, of course, this means there is no more need to spend extra efforts to set these payment systems singly.

Several independent databases

In Magento 1 there was a single database, both managers and clients worked with. This created a risk of overloading when many people from both sides worked with the base at the same time. That, in turn, reduced the speed of loading pages. The new version of the platform has three independent bases – Main, Checkout and Orders. Now managers and customers do not interfere with each other.

Also, some other Magento 2 positive features should be mentioned:

  • complete adaptability
  • optimized process of the creation of new products
  • much more convenient data grids
  • default JavaScript library is jQuery
  • multi-level navigation
  • expanded set of tools to work with client accounts
  • possibility to make private sales
  • different currency support
  • multilingualism
  • almost unlimited ability to configure
  • nice modern design

As you can see, the transition to the new version of Magento will be a large step forward. The main advantages are the significant speed increase and the widening of opportunities. Online store will become faster, more powerful and attractive. And this will have a positive effect on the number of visitors, conversion and total income.

When there is no more question whether to move forward or not, the only problem that still remains is the transition to Magento 2. Skynix specialists can help both in setting up Magento 2 and complete installation and tuning. Choose a convenient option and start using the updated version of the best trading platform!