Ever since it was established in 2002, Netgen worked on web projects. In the beginning, our focus was on delivering information (content) to end users. We soon realized the importance of content management and chose eZ Publish as a CMS to base our projects on. In the meanwhile the market started to demand more and more capabilities for web projects, one being selling of products (e-commerce). Specialized tools emerged for this purpose, with Magento being the most prominent one.
Given that CMS and e-commerce use cases are complex enough on their own, it was difficult to bring one native solution to the market which would be very good in both cases. So even today, there is a divide between systems that are primarily CMS and those that are primarily for commerce.
A pursuit for great users and customer experience
In this decade though, the market is pushing for seamless customer experiences and having 2 facing systems completely separated is not going to be enough anymore. Also, various new challenges emerged, like selling content (a CMS needs shop features) and content marketing (a webshop needs content features).
Vendors reacted in two different ways:
- building missing features - which proved very hard and resulted in very unbalanced products
- buying products and assembling suites - a recent example is Adobe buying Magento, but the question is always going to be how well those products are integrated into the suite
“Why so Sylius?”
For Netgen as an implementation agency, a big change came with eZ Publish choosing Symfony as an underlying framework back in 2012. I wrote about Symfony being a great choice for more complex and long term projects in 2014. While eZ was refactored to new stack and Symfony, it lost the simple shop feature it had in the legacy which we used occasionally. To replace this missing part, we searched for alternatives in the Symfony space. Choosing from various options, Sylius seemed to be the best fit for our needs, even though it was an early version 0.14.
So roughly 4 years ago, we got the opportunity to work with Keyteq from Norway on a project that required CMS and e-commerce combined. We took Sylius and installed the whole system on top of eZ's Symfony instance. We got a lot of help from Locastic from Croatia, early adopters of Sylius. Later, we open sourced this integration and we did a lot of engaging things together: blogging, more blogging, conference talks, exhibits, interviews, workshops, hangouts, webinars, ad-hoc meetings, and so on.
Over the years we supported several other agencies like Infolox from Germany with similar endeavours. Last year we joined forces with Reichl und Partner eMarketing from Austria and once again Locastic to work on a new commerce+content project which is going to be live soon. This time we chose to have eZ and Sylius in separate Symfony instances.
Besides doing projects, open sourcing, blogging and presenting, we initiated and co-organized 3 Sylius Croatia meetups, that became an annual event.
So when Pawel, founder of Sylius, announced the partner program, we knew we will join - it was just a matter of time :). Experience from the last project pushed us to finally make it happen and we are super glad to be part of the group.
Sylius joining our Netgen Layouts efforts
At the same time, Sylius joined our Netgen Network, a community of users of our technology and our flagship product – Netgen Layouts. Layouts have been integrated with Sylius on the backend level (products and taxon can be selected for manual and dynamic queries, etc). Infolox, a Netgen Network member, already has half a dozen projects implemented with eZ, Sylius and Layouts integrated into one solution.
In our opinion this is the way to provide value to our clients, using decoupled parts to assemble the optimal solution for omnichannel experiences. For us, Sylius will be the e-commerce system of choice in the following years, especially bundled with Layouts. Will it be deeply integrated on one Symfony instance or loosely coupled via REST (headless), depends on the project.
Sylius has great potential to become a serious player due to its flexibility. It might not have all the features that Magento has now, but it’s going to get there with the growing community and partner network.
What Netgen brings
From our side we can offer various tools and experiences to the Sylius community:
- quick building and easy maintaining of websites powered by Layouts, especially fit when there are more backend systems used (like CMS, PIM, etc.)
- experience in tight integration with eZ Platform
- meetup organization
- and more :)
If you identify a potential project or model of cooperation that our offerings fit, let us know!