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Field Notes2018-12-17
A New Website for Cervélo

How We Tackled an Ambitious Challenge

VentureWeb was proud to launch a new website for Cervélo, an industry-leading manufacturer of road and triathlon bikes, now based in California. We built the website on the new Magento 2 Enterprise e-commerce platform. This blog takes a detailed look at the technical requirements of the build and how we dealt with the challenges that arose along the way.

About Magento 2: A New and Different Beast

Magento 2 Enterprise is the platform used by Cervélo’s owner, PON.Bike Group, and was therefore the platform of choice for Cervélo’s new website. Magento is an open source e-commerce platform popular amongst medium to large enterprises. Magento 2, the second major version of the platform, was released in 2016.

We were well accustomed to Magento 1, but we hadn’t yet worked with Magento 2. Development resources for Magento 2 are less available than for Magento 1, as it is a complete rewrite of the platform and requires a different approach to programming.

So, our development team set to work and figured it out. It was an ambitious challenge. But with our clients’ trust and the hard work of our developers, the project has been a huge success and Cervélo now has a highly customized website on an enterprise platform.

Learning a New Way of Programming

Working with Magento 2 posed unique challenges for our developers. As a newer platform, the community of developers working with it is pretty small. Documentation and knowledge about the platform was less readily available, especially compared with the large community learnings behind Magento 1.

Magento 2 also requires a different approach to programming. Older platforms, such as Drupal 7 and Wordpress encourage the use of an older, procedural approach to PHP programming. For Magento 2, developers are required to understand the more modern, object-oriented approach to PHP - a paradigm shift for developers used to the older practices.

VentureWeb’s dev team applied an agile development process, working in focussed sprints, and learnt the new way of programming. They are now amongst a relatively small community of developers experienced in both.

A High Level of Customization

Magento 2 is an open-source, extensible platform permitting custom feature development. That means it encourages people to build plug-ins that solve their problems and can be shared with the open-source community.

However, although Magento 2 allows developers to create custom frontend features, arguably it doesn’t offer the same ease of use or flexibility that other platforms do in how they develop those features. VentureWeb worked within Magento’s set parameters to create many plug-ins for a highly customized user interface. The effect is that the site does not look like the typical Magento site, but has a very high level of customized design and functionality.

Our customizations include:

  • Customization of the Bluefoot Editor, the content management system which is delivered with Enterprise Magento. We developed over 21 Bluefoot widgets of varying complexity, which are used to create fully custom pages.
  • Custom menu system that allows different types of content to exist together in the menu.
  • Store locator: we started with the PON Bike plug-in and extended it further to enable importing from CSV, etc.
  • Blogs: we started with a PON Bike plug-in and extended it to add further fields and filtering as requested by Cervélo. These blog pages are used to service not just the blog itself but all dynamic content on the site.
  • Integration of Motionpoint, a translation service.
  • ERP integration
  • MyCervélo: customer support and product registration

Making it Happen

It was an ambitious project to take on, but the VentureWeb and Cervélo teams worked hard and made it happen together. We are very proud of the end results and the strong, collaborative relationship we built with Cervélo along the way. Bring on the next round of initiatives!

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