Magento is one of the most widely used platforms in the world of e-commerce. Magento accommodates the need of the modern customer for flexibility and reliability which is why it is the choice for not only large but even small retail businesses.
Another prominent reason behind Magento’s popularity is the availability of a wide array of inbuilt functionalities, scalability, and progressive development.
The epitome of this progressive development is the release of Magento 2 in 2015 which introduced significant upgrades. These upgrades allowed the platform to cover almost 30 percent of the e-commerce market. These features included Varnish support, inbuilt Full Page, Cache CSS preprocessing, CSS and JS Minification, Code generation, RequireJS for improved JS, and User-friendly Checkout. NGINX was also a part of this upgrade which resulted in enhanced performance for the platform.
The Need for Best Practices in Magento 2 Development
While these upgrades inevitably put Magento 2 at the top of e-commerce, they also introduced the need for advanced technical skills. These skills are necessary to unleash the true powers of Magento 2 for any business.
Therefore, to help businesses in harnessing the true potential of their online retail business with Magento 2, we have compiled a list of best practices for Magento 2 development.
The Magento 2 development guide provided in the subsequent sections is backed by our years of expertise in Magento website development. For a newbie as well as an experienced Magento developer, these guidelines will open new doors of optimization.
1. Maintaining the standard of your code
The world of e-commerce moves too quickly. Therefore, it is very common that most developers have short deadlines which cause them to ignore the coding standards. While it serves the purpose in the short term, the long-term situation becomes worse.
Not following the coding standards mean that your code is vulnerable to bugs and complex upgrades. Due to a lack of quality, the performance of the code is also influenced.
As an added advantage, following the code standards gives a professional look to your code. The common coding standards that you can choose to maintain are PSR1, PSR2, and PSR4.
2. Understand the upgrades in Magento 2
Having extensive expertise in Magento 1 does not necessarily mean that you carry out an efficient Magento 2 website development as well. As mentioned before, Magento 2 comes with advanced technical concepts, and understanding their appropriateness should be your number one task.
3. The power of re-usable code
Reducing the redundant code is the most basic and most effective method of increasing the performance of any code. Therefore, writing reusable code is one of the most essential best practices for Magento 2 development. Instead of using the same code in multiple places, a single class or method can be created containing that code. This class or method can be referenced at all the places where the code is required.
Another key consideration here is to write generic code. Many times, we write a code specific to a function but if we take a closer look, a generic solution can be used in most places. Performance and storage are just the obvious advantages and there are many more advantages for the same.
4. Helper classes are not so helpful
Helper classes or utility classes contain static methods that are specific to those classes meaning that they cannot be used in other classes. However, most of the time, the static methods in a helper class can be refactored into a function for another class. This should be an ideal approach because it creates an object-oriented code.
Moreover, the helper class which contains multiple functions to solve multiple issues ends up eradicating the principle of single responsibility. Therefore, the code should be written in such a way that each class contains only the appropriate functions for that class.
5. Observer Overriding
Observes are dynamically injected into the execution flow of the Magento code. Therefore, they have the capability of modifying the Magento application. If the observers are designed poorly, they can break the code while running or cause issues such as instability of the code.
However, just ensuring that the efficiency of the code of the observer is not sufficient. The following tips can ensure that the observer in your Magento application will run seamlessly.
- Avoiding complex computations in the code of observer can increase its efficiency. Especially in a scenario where the observer is frequently listening to a dispatched event, efficiency will play a great role. If complex computations are included, they will slow down the observer which in turn slows down the application.
- Including unnecessary logic inside the observer code is another common mistake. The classes used by the observer should only contain business logic.
- The location of the observer also plays a great role in defining its efficiency. The location of the observer declaration depends on its use. For instance, if the observer is needed only for the events on the front-end, it should be declared in /etc/frontend/events.xml file instead of the global /etc/events.xml file.
- Cyclical event loops refer to a state where an observer is stuck between a recurring task. This is generally caused due to several interlinked events that are being called by the same observer. Therefore, it should be a best practice for Magento 2 development that the observer should not dispatch an event that it immediately listens to or will listen to in the chain of events.
- Observers listening to the same event should not be invoked in any specific order. If there is an invocation order, the execution of one observer may rely on another which can cause delays in the overall function.
6. Extend Layout
Extending layout assists in the faster development of an application on Magento 2. Rather than duplicating the existing layout and then making extensive modifications to fulfill specific requirements, an extending layout file can be created.
For example, to customize the layout defined in /view/frontend/layout/catalog_product_view.xml, you need to add a layout file with the same name in your custom theme, like following:/Magento_Catalog/layout/catalog_product_view.xml
7. Override Layout
Extending layouts may seem a viable option but different scenarios require different solutions. In cases where the need for customization is more, overriding functions should be preferred. With override functions, a new file placed in the theme will be used by the application, instead of the parent theme layout file.
8. Clearing the cache
Caching is one of the most common reasons behind the confusion during development. Visual spot checks on rendered content are unreliable when the content being displayed is retrieved from the cache.
Therefore, it is recommended to clear the cache before doing any visual checks for the theme to ensure that the displayed content reflects your latest code.
While clearing the cache is essential for every developer, Magento 2 development should undoubtedly include this best practice. As there are many components in Magento 2 such as modules, themes, and language packages, clearing the cache becomes necessary. If not cleared, the cache will result in improper function of the code or confusion for the developer.
Apart from the aforementioned practices, there are some general tips that should be followed to ensure an optimized code for your Magento 2 website.
- Always use git to version your code, use an automated deployment tool like Capistrano, and use a local virtual machine for development (vagrant or docker can be good tools).
- When working with third-party integrations, make sure to test them thoroughly before adding them to the production environment.
- Understand the changes in the new framework before the actual development.
- Choose the best testing practice as per your use case. It can either be unit, functional, or integration testing.
- Use an appropriate IDE such as PhpStorm.
- Understand the difference between the developer mode and production mode and identify which mode is appropriate in which situation.