SCREAM! Magento 1 End of Life Part 4

Over the past four weeks we’ve had a lot of fun gleaning lessons in various horror flicks for how best to face Magento 1’s end of life. In this post, my goal is to show you that if you’re a merchant who’s still afraid to migrate from Magento 1 — and angry at the beastly Magento for putting you through this torture — one way or another you’re capable of rising to the occasion. You got this. How do I know? Because I know your adversary isn’t some supernatural phenomenon with untold powers. Behind the mask of your demon is a bunch of human coders doing the best they can.

Let’s look at this in context of the 1996 movie, Scream. The Scream franchise is notable because it redefined the horror genre by essentially poking fun at it. The movies are self-referential, often hilariously so, like when someone asks in the first movie if the group should split up, a friend warns it’s what friends always do in horror movies, and it never ends well.

Scream opens with Casey Becker, played by Drew Barrymore, receiving a phone call from a mystery man who wants to know what her favorite scary movie is. The conversation quickly turns dark, and after numerous threats on her life the caller informs her that he’s holding her boyfriend hostage. He tells her he will murder him if she doesn’t answer questions about horror films correctly. Eventually both she and her boyfriend are killed.

What’s unique about the Scream franchise is that in the end, there aren’t any supernatural monsters. Once the killers are unmasked they turn out to be humans, and in the case of Scream, friends of the victims. They have no extraordinary powers or superhuman advantages.

A lot of people have tried to demonize Magento for killing off Magento 1. They’re painting the platform’s end of life as a super scary thing, but let’s stay with reality here. As with Scream, there are no supernatural forces at work, no monster corporations coming after Magento 1 merchants to inflict gratuitous harm on them. At the end of the day, it’s just a group of executives, product managers, developers, sales personnel doing what they can to make the best possible decisions given the circumstances. Their weapons? Data, insights, human factors, competing priorities of security, functionality, installed customer bases.

To be sure, many within Magento have their motives. The sales organization absolutely sees the slaughter of Magento 1 as an opportunity to upsell merchants to Magento 2 or Magento Cloud. Just log on to the backend of Magento 1 and you’ll see a popup that warns of the platform’s approaching demise, and instructing admins to contact Magento Sales for more information. Maybe they are trying to scare people into an upgrade, or maybe they’re simply reminding merchants that no platform, especially open source ones, can last forever. Death eventually comes to everything.

Now, I don’t doubt that some people within Adobe/Magento see this is an opportunity to thin the herd a bit. There are plenty of merchants on its customer rolls who would benefit from a far less feature-rich platform. In fact, such merchants tend to be vocal complainers in public forums when they’re overwhelmed or frustrated, and one can see how that would cause Magento’s customer care team untold aggravation. But here’s the thing: these merchants should consider the EoL of Magento 1 as the perfect opportunity to right-size their tech stacks (if you fit that description but aren’t sure how to go about rightsizing your ecommerce platform, check out our Bullseye blog post series).

The more you get into the Scream franchise, the more self-referential it becomes. For instance, the second movie in the series opens with Windsor College seniors Maureen Evans and Phil Stevens going to a sneak preview of a horror flick called Stab. It’s plot? Basically it’s the stuff that happened to Casey and her friends in Scream. The entire franchise dives deeper and deeper down this rabbit hole of self-reference.

And isn’t that just like all tech ecosystems, Magento included? What is a tech community if not a tightly knit, vocal group of people with a shared history and understanding of how their world works. We talk with each other in an esoteric vernacular and language that only we understand. Our taxonomy is oh so very meta, and that can lead to frustration and feeling victimized when someone comes along and upends our world. But as it turns out, our perceived enemies — the powers that be who make painful decisions like killing off outdated platforms — have their own stuff going on. We don’t see the angst of all those decisions Magento must make regarding coding structure, development techniques, partner-integration bundles and so on.

In the past, it was easier to wallow in the self-pity of upgrades because the user community didn’t really have a lot of insight into how and why Magento developers made decisions. But that’s changed. The company has allowed some daylight into that process and in so doing, proves that Magento is a bunch of (really smart) people doing the best the can.

So are you still quaking in your boots at the thought of migrating? Do you still need a hero? Consider Sidney in the movie Scream. She has two killers after her, but she keeps her wits about her and ultimately prevails. We all have the ability to prevail even when things look bleak, even merchants who are clinging on to Magento 1 for dear life. As I said in the beginning, you got this. You have what it takes to stand up to this scary moment and migrate to a safe place. Ready?

Contact SD today to get started!

Written by: Phillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist

“It Follows”: Magento End of Life Horrors Part 3

This is the four-part horror series we hope will convince you to act. In part one we talked about the impossibility of escaping the pain of migrating off of Magento 1. In part two we showed the horrors that await ecommerce stores that foolishly believe they can skirt the death. This time around, we tackle the curse currently infecting the Magento 1 community. Don’t be lulled into thinking you can escape it because you can’t. It follows.

Hands down one of the most terrifying horror films I’ve seen is “It Follows,” by David Robert Mitchell. I’m not alone, numerous pundits and critics have said it scared the bejeebers out of them more than any other flick in recent history.

It’s a story about a 19-year old girl who hooks up with a handsome high school jock, but later learns the affair makes her part of a chain letter-like curse where she’s pursued by a “nebulous, shape-shifting” and utterly terrifying presence. The only way she can rid herself of it is to knowingly pass it on to a trusting and hapless person.

So how does it tie into Magento 1 EOL?

Magento 1 users have been prolonging the platform’s end of life. Magento 2 was released to the market on November 17, 2015, so for nearly four years everyone has known Magento 1 would meet its demise. But something eerie started happening when Magento extended the death of Magento 1 until June 2020: people began to say that there’s no need to get off of Magento 1 at all. Ever.

“Don’t listen to Magento or Adobe,” the evil-doers whisper. “It’s open source, there’s no legal requirement for you to migrate.” “Just because Magento will drop support doesn’t mean something bad will happen.”

This is an insidious, infectious idea. It’s rooted in the belief that one can absolve oneself of responsibility in dealing with this curse by getting others to buy into it. If more and more people agree that they can just stay on Magento 1, the thinking goes, all will be well.

Don’t fall for this thinking — it’s dangerous. We’ve seen this over and over with software, most recently with PHP 5, which experienced its end of life in October 2018. PHP is the backbone of almost every popular content management system today, including Magento. As PHP 5 is no longer supported, users who didn’t upgrade to PHP 7 faced some series risks, including being hacked, as PHP 5 was recently.

Like Magento 1 users today, PHP 5 users listened to the siren song of people telling them they could skip the hard work of migrating, that monster isn’t coming for you.

Only it is. In “It Follows,” relief from the curse is only temporary, because it is a chain, and once it reaches the end, it starts working its way back down. Future proofing against the curse isn’t an option.

There is no future proofing with Magento 1

If you infect yourself with the curse — if you listen to the people who say you can stay on Magento 1 forever — then you must realize you can’t future-proof your ecommerce store, the business you’ve spent so many waking hours nurturing and growing. The business you hope will fund your kid’s college education and your retirement.

The thing is, you can’t choose an ecommerce platform and expect it to last forever. All platforms must be maintained and upgraded when necessary. The world of ecommerce is fast paced. Customers adopt new ways of engaging with online merchants; fraudsters find new wormholes into platforms. As an ecommerce manager, you need to protect yourself as well as your customers — potentially your unsuspecting victims — from this malice.

Contact us with any questions and for your Magento 1 migration!

Written by: Phillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist

Is Magento 1 your Final Destination?

In part one of this series, we talked about how you can’t escape the pain of migrating off of Magento 1. This next post is for those clever retailers who think that by sticking with Magento 1 they can somehow skirt the death of a platform. [Spoiler alert:] You can’t.

To illustrate this, we turn to the Final Destination franchise, which warns there’s no escaping death, no matter how clever you are.

The movie opens with Alex Browning, (Devon Sawa) about to fly off to Paris with his friends on a class trip.

But just before take-off, Alex has a premonition that the plane will explode in mid-air, killing everyone on board. He panics, a fight breaks out, and Alex, along with his friends are kicked off the plane. Within moments of takeoff the plane really does explode, prompting Alex and his friends to celebrate their good luck in narrowly escaping death.

Little did they know that death would chase them until it eventually wins. Alex watches as his friends are picked off one by one, until he finally meets his end.

It’s a plot device that runs through all five movies: A group of characters are supposed to die but by some stroke of luck, live to see another day. Death, meanwhile, is quite displeased when things don’t go as planned. What makes the movies fun are all the head fakes. As a moviegoer you’re lulled into thinking one character or another will make it, and then wham! It’s curtains, and we never saw it coming.

So how does this relate to migrating off of Magento 1? As we mentioned in part 1 of this series, Magento has moved the end of life (EOL) for Magento 1 a few times. First it was to die in November of 2018, then death got pushed back to June 2020. Retailers who haven’t migrated off of Magento 1 are lulled into believing they have a new lease on life. But do they?

Magento 1 Head Fakes

When Magento 2 was released, the company made it very clear that there would be end of life dates for all point releases, and it meant what it said. For instance, the end of life for 2.0 came in August 2018. Users could expect no more security patches, quality fixes, or documentation updates for 2.0 release. It was upgrade to 2.1 or die.

The same thing happened this past September when Magento released 2.3.

Meanwhile, Magento 1 users have been getting security patches from Magento and can count on them until June 2020. If you’re such a user, did you cheat death? Were you somehow wise or lucky to stay on Magento 1 while users of 2.0 and 2.1 were picked off

You may have been spared the burdens of the 2.0-point releases, but the piper still needs to be paid. Migration is still your fate, whether that’s to Magento 2.0, Shopify or some other platform.

If you’re still on Magento 1 it means you’ve been stuck in time since 2015. Magento as a platform has matured in direct response to ecommerce maturation. For instance, it has Page Builder, B2B features, and supports Amazon Channel selling.

Don’t let 2015 be your final destination.

Written by: Phillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist

Don’t Prolong the Horror of Your Magento 1 End of Life

Four years ago, next month Magento announced the demise of Magento 1.0. Many retailers took what was said to heart and made plans to either upgrade to Magento 2.0 or another platform. Some opted to put it off for reasons only they can explain. But whatever the reason, it’s time to act.

This four-part blog series dwells on the gruesome horrors that await retailers who fail to make plans. Since it’s October, we’ve tapped into the horror movie cannon to extract some lessons to drive home our message: June 2020 is coming, run to the safety of a supported ecommerce platform.

We’ll start with the movie Saw. Fans of the horror franchise will remember a central trope of the films: you can put off pain, but you can’t escape it. And, your attempts to avoid it will result in unimaginable horrors — along with profound regret for not doing what you knew you had to do all along.

Saw opens with Adam, (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gorden, (Cary Elwas) waking up chained and locked in a bathroom, a dead body between them. Adam is told to escape; Lawrence is told to murder Adam by 6:00 or his family will be murdered, and he’ll be left to die. They find some hacksaws in the toilet, but quickly realize that they’re meant for limbs, not the chains that bind them to the room. That’s when they’re hit with the gruesome choice before them: hack off their own limbs or die.

There’s an obvious parallel here to online retailers who are still running their businesses on Magento 1. Magento 2.0 was released on November 17, 2015, and Magento told retailers using Magento Commerce 1 (formerly known as Enterprise Edition) and Magento Open Source 1 (formerly known as Community Edition) that they had three years to migrate. Moreover, as of November 2018, retailers could expect no new features or functionality developments, just absolutely necessary security patches. In other words, Magento 1’s end of life was set for November, 2018. We were all warned.

And yet the platform didn’t die when originally promised. Last September Magento offered Magento 1 retailers another reprieve when it extending the cutoff date (pun intended) until June 2020. That led many retailers to hang on to their Magento 1 ecommerce stores, effectively covering their eyes and plugging up their ears to the abject terror of migrating to a new platform.

Three years is ample time to migrate. Many retailers have put off the inevitable, just as Dr. Gordon does in Saw, until they have no choice but to act. You might be hoping for some other outcome — perhaps another extension by Magento? — but it isn’t coming. You need to face that pain.

Yeah, I said it. I equated migrating off of Magento 1 to cutting off one’s own limbs. Of course, Magento provides tools to migrate your catalog and customer base to Magento 2, but all of those plug-ins’ retailers rely on to run their businesses? These are like the five digits Dr. Gordon can’t imagine living without.

We know that once Dr. Gordon lobs off his foot he’ll need to get a prosthesis so he can carry on with his life, just as you know you’ll need to find a prosthetic solution for those plug-ins that won’t work in Magento 2 (or Shopify, if that’s the route you’ll take). That’ll be painful, it will take some getting used to. It will take some trial and error to find the perfect fit. But there’s no getting around your fate.

Here’s the thing: You’ve been warned. Magento’s constant reminders are like the voice of Jigsaw telling Dr. Gordon in the bathroom that his fate is in his own hands; he can escape the horror at any time rather than prolong through procrastination. In the last scene he finally takes the saw to his ankle. It’s a terrible price, but the reward is the safety of his family.

At Something Digital, we totally feel your pain, but it’s yours and you need to face it. The consequences of staying on Magento 1 after its end of life will be gruesome for you and a real horror show for your customers. You need to migrate in order to save your business.

Stay tuned for parts 2-4 in the coming weeks and if you have questions about your Magento 1 migration let us know.

Written by: Phillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist