8/20/18 11:45 AM

Ecommerce Developer Upgrade: From Magento Dev to Workarea Expert

Many Workarea developers were introduced to the wonderful world of ecommerce through other technologies. Magento, with their widely available community edition, has an impressive developer community. With the increase in interest in the Workarea Commerce Platform by innovative brands and retailers, we often get questions around the learning curve in moving a developer’s focus from Magento to Workarea.

Whether training internal engineers, or supporting our solution partners or tech-savy customers, the transition from Magento to Workarea is easier than you may think. Learn how Ryan, ex-Magento developer ramped up quick on the Workarea stack.

Q1. How long did you develop on Magento? Why did you decide to learn another platform?

A1. I launched my first Magento build in 2012 and over the next four years I helped to launch dozens of other webstores ranging from a local bakery to national fashion brands.

Around 2015, while I was working for Magento, they hastily released 2.x causing many of our clients to renew their 1.x licensing due to the higher cost of hosting and limited technical resources for 2.x. I worked for the company that used to own Magento and the cost of retaining and training developers became prohibitively expensive due to an increased learning curve and infrastructural overhead. As a result I began to seek out companies trying to break into the mid-market void left by Magento. That is when I discovered Workarea.

Q2. How long did it take for you to learn Workarea?

A2. I started learning Ruby a year prior to coming to WebLinc, the parent company of Workarea. The Workarea platform does a great job of following Rails conventions which makes it easy to ramp-up and become productive. I'd say it took me about six months to go from constant learning to mentoring others.

Takeaway: In addition to confirming the programming language, do your research. How popular is the programming language? Is it declining or expanding? These will help you determine if more developers are out there.

 Q3. What do you like about developing on Workarea over Magento?

A3. Convention over Configuration. In an attempt to be a one-size-fits-all solution, Magento has become a beast of convoluted configurations. Every functional decision requires the inclusion of heaps of boilerplate which makes designing complex features both tedious and problematic; especially for beginners.

Workarea on the other hand puts convention first. The Rails doctrine says it best, "Part of the Rails’ mission is to swing its machete at the thick, and ever growing, jungle of recurring decisions that face developers. There are thousands of such decisions that just need to be made once, and if someone else can do it for you, all the better. But beyond the productivity gains for experts, conventions also lower the barriers of entry for beginners. There are so many conventions in Rails that a beginner doesn’t even need to know about, but can just benefit from in ignorance. It’s possible to create great applications without knowing why everything is the way it is."

This means I can spend more time implementing and less time architecting. Even better, I can spend more time writing detailed descriptions and delegate the work to junior developers.

Takeaway: Ask the commerce software provider what support they can offer for transitioning your team.

Q4. What about the Workarea product excites you the most from a developer standpoint?

A4. I get more done, I write less code and I'm not sacrificing quality or readability. Projects are easy to navigate and the time it takes to reproduce an issue is significantly less due to the flexibility of our development environments. In real world terms - I can receive a defect ticket, reproduce it, write a test, apply a fix, and submit a pull request all within an hour. This means I have more time to document the issue and reach out to domain experts for advice and feedback.

Takeaway: Get your technical team involved. What are the current challenges they face and how might this new platform alleviate them.

 Q5. What are the benefits and/or advantages for using Workarea over Magento?

 A5. The cost of maintenance. Whether it be security vulnerabilities, degraded performance, or the build up of side effects due to years of technical debt, you need developers to keep your webstore running smoothly and processing orders. Our teams here proactively monitor every project and occasionally perform audits to ensure that systems are healthy and clients are happy. On top of that we ensure code quality through code reviews and rigorous QA testing.

Takeaway: Ask to see what the project roadmap looks like as well as how often the company innovates its technology.

Q6. What are your top 3 suggestions for a Magento Developer interested in learning


A6. Learn Ruby on Rails.2. Put away your Magento swag.3. Send us your resume!

Takeaway: Learn about the Workarea technology stack here.



Workarea has helped our customers grow by giving them the most complete commerce platform. No other platform combines enterprise commerce, rich content management, search, and merchant insights into one high-performance system to power both ecommerce and retail experiences.