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Magento - CMS friendly or not?

experts disagreeing - Who is right and who is wrong!

2:28 pm on Apr 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the middle of selecting a provider for a major shopping cart redesign on a freelance website.

I'm getting many different recommendations but one i found interesting re magento:

Since posting the project several Magento experts who would prefer to use Magento have suggested other platforms would be more suitable.

Here is an example of what has been said:
"First, about the shopping cart system, as I mentioned before, magento is a very popular shopping cart system now with many new features, but the disadvantage of it is in content pages. It is not a CMS so it will be difficult for you to manage content pages on the site. Especially on your site, there are a lot of content pages. If you want to be able to manage content pages easily, I think other platforms are more suitable."

This was from a company who use magento as their main ecommerce/shopping cart platform and looking at their website it seems they certainly prefer to use it over other platforms. They initially recommended magento but after looking at my site they said it would be bettter to use virtuemart and you can see what they said above.

They also said it is much harder for the user to make changes etc through the back end admin!

Because this company clearly prefers to use magento I guess i felt that their advice was good as it wasn't to their advantage to say otherwise.

Another company also agreed with them after initially recommending magento. Once they saw my site and what i have copied above, they agreed..........

But this from another company:

Here are some interesting facts about Magento CMS which I am confident would dispel any doubts you have on Magento's CMS capability

1) As you know, Joomla is one of the leading CMS systems, used extensively for content management purposes only. Magento and Joomla have the SAME editor - tinyMCE. So this means that Magento can do as much with its editor that Joomla can.

2) Further to this, Magento also has the capability of allowing for a change in editor. So you can work either with tinyMCE or FCKeditor. Whichever one you find to be more advanced. For your particular case, I would recommend sticking with tinyMCE, since you are already experienced with it from you informational website

3) Until its latest edition, Magento was infact NOT content management friendly, as the editor was disabled and could only be enabled by progammers. However, Magento latest edition 1.4 has a fully enabled editor which is no different from Joomla. Providers who tell you otherwise have not worked with the Magento latest edition.


So what do you guys think?
What is the truth? Who is right?

Any thoughts on this magento CMS friendly or not debate would be greatly appreciated!

3:20 pm on Apr 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well, it is true that with 1.4 there is now a wysiwyg editor for content pages. That does NOT make Magento a good CMS.

A good CMS manages pages and helps keep things organized. In my opinion, that is not something Magento does well. It's designed as a shopping cart, not a CMS, so while it now has a decent text editor, it does not suddenly become a good CMS.
7:06 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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as with magento, most carts i have tested or used, have less than optimal cms / content page systems. they have to allow for too many possibilities - so you either get things you can't do or a bloated (slow loading) monstrosity. i vote for getting a dss-pci certified cart that is built with hand rolled external catalogs in mind (easy to integrate) and building your catalog / front-end yourself. but i'm very particular about presentation and catalog speed.

you might research cms's that can be easily mated to decent carts. if magento pleases your cart needs, take a look at drupal for the cms, the drupal cms + magento cart is something i trip across fairly often.
12:00 pm on May 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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There is nothing to disagree with. Magento is not a CMS. Just like Joomla! is not a shopping cart. Virtuemart is but that is an add-on to Joomla! I don't get the CMS shopping cart experience. Death by content? Trying to make a library into a store?
The shopping experience is not about how much content one can throw in the path of the purchaser..is it? just my 2cents
3:45 pm on May 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Cheers for the replies so far. Much appreciated.

Samc, to answer your thoughts, i guess my situation is a little unusual as my shopping cart sits on a separate domain to the informational part of my site.

This was due to the shopping cart provider requiring a new separate domain that they hosted and me not knowing any better at the time.

I didn't want to sacrifice my existing sites rankings so i split the site into 2 domains.

I then added some content pages around the shopping cart and found that it pretty well stood on its own as a website/shopping cart.

Now, a few years down the track i don't want to give that up, i want it to continue to stand on its own as well as be the shopping cart for the informational site AND i want to do it even better so it ranks even higher.

That way i will get almost a double hit. Business that goes through my informational/content site to the shopping cart site and business obtained directly through my shopping cart site entry.

To do this i need the cart to be able to function like a cms as well as a cart.

Hope that helps you understand why I'm trying to do what i am and why i am asking the questions i am.
11:18 am on May 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi, has anyone got any thoughts based on my last message and explanation on why i am doing things the way i am.

I'm really unsure what to do here as I am either selecting a provider who is going to use magento to build the site or i discard them (even though they seem good) based on the fact that magento is going to be considerably harder for me to add content pages to the shopping cart site.

Many thanks in advance for your help!
8:39 am on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure I can help with your particular question, but I can give you a bit of a warning on Magento. It is one of the most difficult pieces of software I've had the pleasure of working with. Unless you are working with a full-fledged expert on it, you are in for a lot of problems.

I will add that I do find their content pages section easy to use if you aren't getting too carried away with it. It's everything else that is a disaster with them.
8:34 pm on June 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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You can have a shopping cart and a Content Management System on the same domain, say example.com and example.com/store/ One would link to the product pages as needed in your content. That way you keep the hard sell out of it on the content site
So let's say Joomla! (whatever CMS) at the root and a sub-directory called 'store' with Magento.

Magento is an extremely powerful shopping cart. It's requirement of skill in installing (as you described that you were having someone skilled building it for you anyway) is far surpassed by it's feature set in an operational sense. CMS it's not but nothing stops anyone from adding one to their site as a link, tab, button, banner, tombstone..
4:46 pm on June 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Buckley - We are in a very similar situation. Vast content site and a shopping cart to create our whole brand presence. We have recently chosen Magento to develop our new shopping cart and are integrating with ExpressionEngine to manage our content...very excited to see the results.
8:10 pm on June 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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magento is buggy with memory leaks, difficult to maintain. you need to have very powerful server to run them properly.
12:43 am on July 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Install the free blog extension from aheadworks (search google for aheadworks magento blog extension, its free), its not the best but it certainly makes it easier to have a blog on your site. I have found magento to be a bit cumbersome in general when it comes to SEO and requires some modifications to get it to be at the level you need it to be.

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