Magento Imagine 2016
Paul Rogers / April 26, 2016

After my first Magento Imagine conference last year, I was very excited to be attending again this year - with the event taking place at The Wynn hotel again.

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Last year's conference was amazing. It was a huge event where I met lots of great people and saw some excellent presentations. However, it wasn't comparable to this year's event. Last year wasn't really a Magento conference (was more of a general ecommerce event) and there wasn't much energy around the product, the roadmap etc - whereas this year I'm leaving really inspired about all things Magento!

The introduction of Magento's new cloud-based solution (which was announced on the second day) is a huge move for them. I don't think it's a big surprise (there've been lots of rumours for a while now), but it's a big step forward for Magento looking to break the barriers for the enterprise-level merchants (as this is one of the key selling points for Demandware).

In addition to the cloud offering - Magento also announced the 2.1 release, which will be coming in the next couple of months. There are lots of new improvements as part of this release, including the introduction of elastic search technology, further improvements around performance, improved CMS (content management) functionality and various other things. This is another really positive move for Magento, as it's clear that they're trying to address some of the main pain points for merchants. I also spoke with someone from Magento, who was clear that there are lots more of these kinds of improvements coming later this year.

Another thing that was very clear from the conference was that there's going to be a much bigger distinction in the feature sets of Magento Community and Enterprise editions. There were lots of new features and functionality announced at the conference, but the majority are only going to be available in Magento2 EE.

Magento 2

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It was very obvious that Magento are keen to get merchants moving over to Magento 2 sooner rather than later - with lots of encouragement throughout the conference. Magento employees were focusing on results they've seen so far and the roadmap of new features, whereas merchants were generally focused more on scale.

Generally though - the focus of the event was very much on Magento 2.

On the first day of the conference, I attended the MagentoU course focused on scoping out requirements for Magento 2 projects, which I thought was great! Although lots of the content was above my head, there was lots of interesting stuff in there as well - covering the admin interface, new features, creating functional specs and workflows and lots of other areas.

I also attended the merchant and partner Magento 2 panel discussion, which was interesting. I was hoping for more detail on issues faced, stumbling blocks etc - but it was still interesting to hear why merchants had moved to Magento2 and for those that'd already completed the migration, the benefits over 1.x.

There was a lot of focus from the merchants on the scalability and performance improvements with Magento2, with trading peaks and general conversion rate being reasons highlighted for moving across. The new admin interface was also touched on and one of the merchants suggested that they'd seen and attributed positive SEO changes following the migration.

Overall, Magento Imagine 2016 was the best conference I've attended and I'm definitely going to be attending again next year!