Magento community edition version 1.8 has been released over a week ago now. So it’s about time that we have a closer look at it. Yes, the timing isn’t optimal, because lots of users would not be willing to update now that the busiest period of the year is starting.
Since Magento was acquired by eBay the Magento community got worried about the progress and future of the software. Of course, being part of a company as eBay is not the first thing you would expect for an open source solution. Anyway, since that moment the development of Magento still continued. Although we think it’s moving way too slow. It’s good to see that 1.8 has been released, but really, 2.0 should already have been available. We expect that this might take another year or so…
New in Magento 1.8
Ok, let’s see what this new version 1.8 of Magento will bring us.
The Tax calculations have been improved. Exciting! Ok, maybe not, but on the other hand, little problems in tax calculations can give you a real headache. The accuracy has been improved and small rounding errors should no longer occur. There really are a lot of changes in this area. If you’re upgrading from an earlier version, make sure to test everything thouroughly, but especially pay attention to your tax calculations. Look here for a complete overview of all Tax changes in Magento 1.8.
Performance improvements. Magento has never been known for its speed. On the contrary, we all know that Magento requires quite a bit of resources to be able to perform. Any improvements in this area are of course always welcome. This time we may expect a faster checkout process and optimized cache adapters for single servers. For multi server systems the Redis cache adapters have been updated. If you’d like, you can read more about using Magento and Redis.
Security improvements. Wiht over 200.000 Magento store owners, security becomes more and more important. Fortunately, Magento recognizes this and keeps on paying attention in this area. In Magento 1.8 we see several security improvements. One of the simple ones is that browsers are no longer allowed to store usernames and passwords. Maybe not convenient for everyday users, but an oh so important step to improve the overall security. And besides that there are securirty improvements on the technical side as well of course.
Functional fixes. Lots of functional fixes from the former version have been applied. There are fixes in the areas of Price Rules, Credit memos, payment methods, data import and the Shopping cart.
USPS Update. In july 2013, USPS changed the names of some of their services in their API. Therefore Magento needed to be patched immediately. Of course this change has now been added to Magento version 1.8 as well.
From the functional point of view there’s nothing really special in this release. However, it would still be a good idea to keep your Magento version up to date. Always use a test environment first, but if you’re already working with Magento for a while, you’ll know how important this is.
Meanwhile we’re still waiting for Magento 2.0.