Choosing a platform on which to build your business is by no means an easy task. One must as itself, how much money, personal time and effort is he willing to put into it. There are numerous free and open source solutions that promise an easy ride. Since I’m in business of PHP development, here are few platforms worth mentioning X-Cart, osCommerce, PrestaShop, Oxid, Magento, etc.
By now, everyone in open source eCommerce shop business has probably stumbled upon Magento. This is most likely the youngest (latest), most robust platform out there at the moment. It’s built on the back of the powerful and robust Zend Framework.
Lets talk about Magento, in short (really short). From a developer perspective, it’s (mostly) great. It allows you to expand and override almost everything. Once you get the hang of it, you truly see its potential. However, developers are not site owners, they do not run the actual business on the back of the Magento. Their mission is to build and launch. And looking it from this perspective it seems like there is nothing you cannot achieve with Magento. But its modular architecture does not take long to pinpoint one major drawback. Each task, no matter how simply it may look or sound, takes extreme amount of time to do it properly (to develop in such form that you stay compatible with updates). All this leads to further issues with trying to bill your client for feature X, etc.
Lets take a peak at the store owner perspective. If you ask me, each site owner before choosing a platform should take some time to clearly set his shop goals so he can get a clear picture on what features he wishes to implement in his shop. To my experience, most of the time site owners are not aware of wast number of his options and what Magento can offer to them. They simply choose it because it’s trendy, it’s now, it’s wow.
Practical example, client is picky about the layout of product view page, while at the same time he has no idea that he can set special layout for each and every product in his shop. This might not look like a big deal, but it’s a minor example of how flexible Magento is.
My advice for future site owners, take some time and browse trough the Magento demo store available here.