An Overview of the Magento Platform, From Small Business to Large

Magento is one of a number of web design platforms designed to provide specific access to ecommerce. It has become a well-known name within the web design and development industry as a result of its flexibility and core design attributes – both of which allow it to serve a very small client business and a very large one, ostensibly in the same universe but without delivering unnecessary functionality to either.


The basic idea behind the Magento platform is that it lets Magento developers create a site that is scaled to the needs and potential future requirements of a client. As such, while the platform is based on the same architecture and philosophy, there are two distinct versions of it (actually, there are three – but we will come to the third later).

Magento Go is designed for small business use. Magento used to define a small business as any enterprise that made less than one million US dollars per year – in its newest incarnation, the platform seems content to let developers and their clients define company size and need for themselves.

In essence, Magento Go can be seen as a lighter version of the enterprise class incarnation of the platform. That said, one of the key elements in the Magento philosophy is that there’s no such thing as a “lite” version of anything – but rather that every business has its own needs, and so development platforms capable of answering those needs are required to move the business forward.

The “larger” version of Magento is designed on the understanding that a client business of an enterprise class size may have a huge number of bespoke web requirements – from maintaining a multiple set of store fronts with a central accounting requirement, to supporting micro sites and splitting revenue out across a number of business arms.

As such, Magento Enterprise opens a doorway into a whole different online world, where potentially vast organisations need a platform that can hep them maintain control of their businesses. It offers a suite of revenue boosting tools, which work both with the client and with the site’s end user to create new ways to make more money; and is also backed up by professional support.

Like all Magento stuff, Enterprise allows third party code to modify and expand it. This is the true nature of Magento, and the third incarnation we have yet to speak of.

Magento is essentially open source, behind the badge – in that developers are encouraged to create bespoke solutions for their clients, and then float them in Magento Community, which is the third version of the platform. Here, add-ons and applications developed by open source creators can be purchased to perform client-specific tasks.

Magento is aimed, essentially, at all ecommerce use. The idea is that a small business, which may one day wish to be a large business, need not bother itself about enterprise class stuff – but, when it gets there, is able to take existing web presence and move it though to another incarnation of the platform.

Thomas Curzon is a professional web designer who has been rendering a fabulous service for 15 years now. In this article he is sharing some valuable information with us on Magento developers.