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?