Magento Connect, which has for many years been the official source of Magento extensions, will shut down in September. The role of Magento Connect will be taken over by the Magento Marketplace, which was introduced a year ago and will become the official Magento-sanctioned repository of extensions.
Magento’s extensions are one of the most important contributors to its power and popularity as an eCommerce application. Magento would be a fraction as flexible and functional without its extension ecosystem. While Magento Connect has served merchants well for many years, it is not without problems. The new Magento Marketplace applies the lessons learned from Magento Connect to offer an improved experience.
Magento Marketplace introduces a brand new interface, enforces stricter guidelines for extension submission, and provides a modern and approachable solution for extension management, promotion, and discovery.
Major improvements to the experience include the rationally architected site layout and enhanced search. It’s easier than ever before to find best-in-class extensions and searching produces relevant results, something that wasn’t always the case on Magento Connect. Magento Marketplace also offers a number of other store-like features, including accounts that track purchases and other information.
But one of the most important improvements introduced for the Magento Marketplace is comprehensive reviews of submitted extensions. Quality control was a problem on Magento Connect. Under the review guidelines introduced last year, all extensions are submitted to a three-phase review process.
The phases assess the business, technical, and marketing qualities of extensions, which must complete all phases before they are eligible to be part of the marketplace. The business review guidelines ensure that extensions solve a real problem, reducing the presence of extensions with trivial functionality or that exist solely to fulfill the marketing imperatives of their creator. Extensions will be removed from the marketplace if they don’t generate sufficient interest, incentivizing developers to improve and promote extensions.
The technical review checks whether the extension conforms to various standards. Automated QA testing assesses whether the extension meets minimum technical expectations, such as whether it installs cleanly and integrates well with Magento. The marketing phase is intended to ensure that accompanying marketing materials conform to the high standards expected in the marketplace, including checks for proper spelling and grammar in extension descriptions and documentation.
The overarching goal of these reviews is to provide a positive experience to merchants and developers. Merchants will be able to more easily find the extensions they need, and more importantly, they can be confident that the extensions function as advertised and won’t cause problems. A better extension marketplace can only improve the brand perception of the Magento project.
Although the reviews put more of a burden on developers, the creators of high-quality plugins will benefit from enhanced discoverability and a marketplace that establishes trust and confidence in retailers.