Why Magento Integration Is Such a Hell

Published 9 December 2015 | Updated 4 May 2020 |

magento integration

A growing number of entrepreneurs implement eCommerce platforms as a part of their business systems. One of the biggest and most appreciated shopping cart solutions is Magento. It has stood the test of time and competition and is today an industry leader powering over 26% of all online stores worldwide. It equals to 250,000 active users. And all this crowd can turn into hundreds of thousands of potential customers with Magento integration performed.

Magento is trusted thanks to its being reliable and feature-rich. It is safe and search engine friendly, which facilitates indexing in such sites as Google or Yahoo. The main disadvantage of this platform is the coding part or, in other words, the complexity of integration with it.

What is Magento Integration?

Magento integration means the process of tying any software like shipping management, order management, marketing automation, dropshipping, etc. with this platform's API for getting access to the necessary data from e-stores based on it.

Magento is an intricate platform that does many things in its own way. It is programmed on the basis of the Model View Controller (MVC) approach and requires the best web programming expertise and skills. For these reasons and others, Magento is not easy to work with.

So, let’s take a deep breath and try to figure out why Magento is so complicated and why integration with this platform might become a serious challenge.

Developer Requirements

First of all, good Magento developers are rare, and thus it would be hard for SaaS app owners to find an experienced one to do the integration part. The reason is that those, who haven’t worked much with genuinely object-oriented, quality enterprise frameworks like Magento, would meet many challenges and need to put a lot of effort not to stuck. It would be much easier to work with the platform for those PHP developers who have used such serious frameworks like Zend or CakePHP previously. Nevertheless, it would also require much time to elaborate integration module and wouldn’t be done without any headaches. Hence, such developer’s work would cost thousands of dollars per month.

Now let’s dwell on why even experienced developers don’t like to work with Magento and why its architecture is so scary for those who are just beginning their acquaintance with the platform.

Magento Anatomy

Most eCommerce solutions use one database table that contains info on products, another one shows info on categories, and the third one connects them with each other. Instead of this, Magento has an EAV (Entity-Attribute-Value) database model and uses over 40 various tables with info on products and categories. Complexity is not the only minus of this model. It also causes at low speed as a result of SQL query complexity.

Another disadvantage of the Magento structure lies within how it processes the import. After you pushed the “import button”, technically it has to be already occurred. But if to look at the info contained at imporexport_importdata, we will find the data from the file that was just validated. It is a result of that when we validate the file, the platform process and put its data into this table for quick access to the real import and this table is erased before it runs through the file. Therefore, errors might happen because of the way Magento validates the data.

Common Issues During the Developing Integration with Magento

  • Some objects are supposed to be returned in an array format. But if there is only one item, it gets returned as a single item rather than in an array. So, you might need to add a function that would check if the information is in an array format, and if it’s not, transform it into the one.
  • Other issues will wait for you when you send information to Magento. For example, when you sending hash objects to the platform, and the key contains an underscore inside its name, you’ll need to contain that key inside two quotation marks. Sounds pretty easy, but to find such little tricks will get much of your time.
  • Another challenge is about the accuracy of API documentation. Sometimes it isn’t correct. For instance, when creating a product with the help of the API, you will need to specify the websites to which it is to be assigned. The documentation mentions a parameter - website of type ArrayOfString that is supposed to contain this info. But if you send it in such way, you won’t be successful because the parameter key has to be website_ids, which must be an array of arrays format that contains the website id info.
  • The problem with the reindexing process is the next to be mentioned here. When you try to reindex from the platform admin panel, not all the options are reindexing, and there might occur product flat data, category flat data and product prices reindex errors.
  • The last thing that might cause a headache for programmers is that the default values in Magento are not stored in the database or in the system.xml files used to configure the interface. Therefore, module developers need to add a <default/> node to the global configuration tree via the module’s config.xml file. Hence, values stored here become the default and the core_config_data table only stores those that are distinctly set, together with a scope they are set at (default, website or store).

Summing Up

To resume all the above-mentioned, if you’re a SaaS app provider like order and inventory management, shipping management, WMS, ERP, repricing, marketing automation, you’ll need to spend much time and pay an arm and a leg to perform the integration with Magento. Fortunately, there is an alternative to this complex and time-consuming way to get connected to Magento that you might be interested in.

API2Cart is a service that can help you to avoid much of this unpleasant experience. It is integrated with 40+ popular platforms and marketplaces. Thanks to its unified API, it enables you to get connected with not only Magento but also with all of these platforms via one integration. Among these eCommerce solutions are such as Bigcommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, PrestaShop, 3dcart, Amazon,eBay, etc.

So, consider the possibility to enhance your business by performing integration with Magento in a reliable way and get a connection to 40 other shopping platforms as a bonus. In case you’re interested in this, feel free to schedule a FREE consultation with our expert and discuss the details.