Last November, Magento released their Community Edition 1.9.1. This new and improved version comes with a host of features aimed at creating flawless cross platform journeys for customers. For the last few months, our certified Magento developers got to know this versatile platform inside-out. Today, we’ll be presenting a short review of version 1.9.1 to pinpoint the key features Magento merchants should keep an eye out for.

CONFIGURABLE SWATCHES

Configurable swatches are meant to enhance the way products appear on your website. The big idea is to give access to key information (sizes, colours, fabrics…) so as to ease shoppers’ decision making process. Here are a few things we learned about these swatches:

  • They replace default drop-down select (traditionally used to choose color or size) by visual samples on the product page.
  • They enable consumers to select attributes at random. Previously, you needed to respect the order of display. Now, you can simply start by selecting the size, then see the colours available for that specific size.
  • They give you the possibility to display available colours for a product: directly from the category page.

What we would have love to see:

  • A feature to redirect users towards the product page, with the right color selected, simply by clicking the swatch from the category page.
  • An easier way to manage swatches in the admin interface. Right now these swatches are treated as product images (associated through the image’s label).

RESPONSIVE DESIGN IMPROVEMENTS

Finally. Magento’s initial templating structure hadn’t been updated for years! As a result, this much-needed improvement saves countless hours of template remodelling. Let’s just say the lives of front end developers just got easier.

  • Since the introduction of SASS technology, merging CSS styling and programming (using variables and conditions) is easier than ever.
  • Dividing and classifying modules into folders, eases CSS manipulations while simplifying collective development  processes.
  • On top of being cross-platform-friendly, responsive email templates are quicker to integrate for devs.

What we would have love to see:

  • To have this upgrade one year earlier…
  • Jquery to replace the Javascript Prototype library. We’ll have to wait for Magento 2.0!

TECHNOLOGY UPDATES

Magento’s 1.9.1 tech updates were geared for performance. Enhanced performance is always something we look for in Magento updates. So, these are the features we really enjoyed this time around:

  • Version 1.9.1 offers support for MySQL 5.6, which translates into higher database efficiency. Concretely, this allows for faster query requests (within databases), fewer resources consumed and improved traffic capacity (with the same infrastructure).
  • Universal Analytics integration is a big step forward in the analytics game. Merchants can now easily transfer inventory, cost of goods and other key data from Magento to U.A.  This data will help pinpoint consumers’ behavioural patterns within the U.A tool.

What we would have love to see:

  • That previous versions (1.7 / 1.8) would be compatible with MySQL 5.6, so as to enhance their performance.
  • A better integration of Google Analytics tags for the e-commerce flow.

We hope you’re enjoying version 1.9.1 as much as we are! That being said, count on us to keep you posted on Magento’s latest updates.

You can still download Magento’s Community Edition 1.9.1 here.