This article is a summary of Ben Marks' 'Magento U - Managing Your Magento 2.0 Store: An Introduction'course given at the Magento Live conference in Paris February 2016.
This article is work-in-progress. The more I learn about Magento 2, the more I will write about it...
NEW ADMINISTRATION PANEL
The main administration panel has been redesigned and is now displayed vertically on the left hand side of the admin. The menu icons are very prominent (and large) and this is because the entire navigation is touch friendly and responsive. This is a welcome UX improvement and should definitely help those merchants who spend their days running around with an iPad in hand.
Buried under Stores > Settings, the revamped Configuration section (aka System Config in Magento 1) allows you to configure key store settings such as Base URLs, Cookie Settings, Session Settings, Currency Setup, Store Email Addresses, Design Theme, New Relic Reporting, etc. Aside from a change in layout, there isn't much else to report here.
(new!) new relic reporting
New Relic is well known monitoring and troubleshooting tool widely used by small and large businesses alike to improve the performance of their applications. An extension is available to connect your Magento 1 store with New Relic, but in Magento 2 this feature is now available out-of-the-box. If you have an existing New Relic account, you'll be up and running in no time as the configuration takes under 2 minutes to implement.
new sales orders grid
By far one the best improvements in the admin is the revamped Sales Orders grid system. As well as being a lot more intuitive to use, you can also add or remove sales data from the grid, and this without having to get a developer involved. This can be done through the new Columns dropdown:
Once you've added all relevant data to the Sales Order grid, simply use the drag-and-drop feature to re-arrange the order of your data. Finally, once your new Sales Order grid view is complete, you can save the view so you don't have to re-built it the next time you need to run a sales export. This can be done in the Default View navigation item:
The improved filtering layout in the Sales Orders grid is also worth a mention as Magento have finally decided to follow a more conventional way of displaying filters. Filtering by attribute is also a thing, Hurray!
Magento 2 now allows you to upload Vimeo or YouTube videos to your product pages. I particularly like how it auto-populates the title, description and image preview fields as soon as the Vimeo URL as been pasted into its field.
improved product creation process
The product creation process in Magento 2 has been streamlined and it took me the best part of 2 minutes to get my first product live in store. Let's take a look at this process for creating a simple product:
In the admin go to Products > Catalog.
Once you're in the main catalog area, click on the small arrow next to the add product button and select simple product.
You start the creation of a new Simple Product by filling out the information found in the Product Details tab.
The Product Details Tab has been stripped back and only the mandatory fields are now visible by default. Let's take a look at a couple of nice enhancements that were made to this tab...
The Product Online toggle lets you enable or disable a product from the frontend of the website.
Arguably one of the best enhancements is the Add Attribute feature which allows you to add existing attributes to a new product, and this straight from the Products Details tab. Simply click the Add Attribute button and select an existing attribute i.e Color.
It gets better, you can also create a new attribute on the fly by clicking on the New Attribute button. This will open the following pop-up.
The properties of the attributes in Magento 2 are are very similar as to what they are in Magento 1. You'll need to select an Input Type (i.e text field, dropdown, etc), the scope of the attribute, whether or not you want it to appear in Search or Layered Navigation, etc. Once the attribute setup is complete and the attribute has been saved, it will automatically appear at the bottom of the Product Details section.
The same process applies when associating products to categories. Just start typing the name of the category you're searching for (i.e chairs) and if that category exists it will automatically appear in the category search field.
If the category you're searching for doesn't already exist you can create it on the fly by pressing the New Category button. This will open the following pop-up.
Enter the name of your new category (i.e Dining Chairs) and if relevant, associate it to a parent category page (i.e Chairs).
Configurations (configurable products) - There's a really cool new option on the Product Details tab that allows for the creation of configurable products during the process of setting up a simple product. Let me explain...
Let's say you want to add a product to your store (i.e a hat) and this product is available in two colours (i.e green and orange). To create such a product in Magento 1, you would have to create two simple products, one for each colour variant (i.e sku1 = HatOrange sku2 = HatGreen). You would then create one parent product (configurable product) and finally you would associate the two simple products to that configurable product.
In Magento 2, the process of creating such a product is a lot more intuitive and therefore a lot quicker...
Let me walk you through this process by creating the hat product:
- In the admin go to Products > Catalog > Add Product
- Fill out the relevant (mandatory) details in the Product Details tab (i.e Name, SKU, Price)
- At the bottom of the Product Details tab you've notice a section called Configurations. Click on that link, there's where all the magic happens.
The first thing you'll notice is that there are 4 steps involved in Create Product Configurations process:
- Select Attributes
- Attribute Values
- Bulk Images & Price
- Step 1: Select Attributes - This is where you select the attribute(s) which are relevant to your product setup. In our example, the attribute named 'Color' is the one we're interested in.
- Step 2: Attribute Values - Select values from each attribute to include in this product. Each unique combination of values creates a unique product SKU. You can also create new values on the fly by clicking on the Create New Value link.
Step 3: Bulk Images & Price - Based on our selections 2 new products will be created (one for the Green hat, and one for the Orange hat). We'll use this step to customize images and price for our new products.
Images - Because we want to upload separate images for each product, let's select the Apply unique images by attribute to each SKU. We can then drag-and-drop the relevant image(s) into the relevant attribute option.
Price - In our example, both hats are going to be retailing at the same price, therefore let's select Apply single price to all SKUs.
Quantity - Same as for price, both hats will start with the same available quantity, so let's choose the Apply single quantity to each SKUs.
- Step 4: Summary - Review your product setup and once you're happy with everything hit the Generate Products button.
That's all done. You can see the two simple SKUs have been created and they have been associated to your parent product.