Will Node.js-based ecommerce applications become Magento-killers?

February 15, 2016 by Paul Byrne

eCommerce Technology Ecommerce Security Business Environment

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I came across an interesting thread in Quora about this very subject and couldn’t help myself. Since many of our blog readers do not participate on Quora, I thought I would add my response below.

My View

I don’t really see a Node.js project as a replacement for Magento. Magento bases itself on the idea of a server-hosted ‘instance’ of an application. Much like when you purchase MS Word or another application for your PC. It is a copy of a program that you run on your machine. You can add functionality by purchasing add-ons, but, all of that functionality essentially exists on your machine.


In the case of Magento, you can add functionality by tying into web services via an API. Alternatively, you may use another connection of your own creation. However, it is meant to serve up a store. Users' browsers request pages and Magento builds and serves back HTML (+CSS, +Javascript, etc) to the client’s browser. The transaction takes place while the end user is ‘sitting’ on your url. I.e., they are on a browser (could be any device) and a transaction takes place while they are visiting your web shop.

I believe the walls of the web store will come down in the near to medium future for small merchants. Just as you may sell on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Sears Marketplace, etc., the world of selling locii on the Internet will open up to almost all web sites, just as sites serve up banner ads today.

Currently, those ads link to a web site where a transaction takes place. I believe the next step is for those ads to handle those transactions directly. I.e., when you click on the ad, you will be able to purchase and check out from the content page you are on.


I believe the Node.js may play a role in this. Node.js is an excellent API endpoint server and scales that type of functionality much better than PHP or many other languages. That said, you may see that type of functionality start to break through.

Node proves beneficial for handing off the workload to serverless functionality like Amazon’s Lambda (or similar services). Additionally, it enables infinitely scalable flash sales and other activities that may exist only as pipe dreams of merchants today but will prevail in time.


So, if someone asked me if a Node.js replacement for Magento interested me, I would say no. I do, however, hold interest in building the next wave of ecommerce functionality. I would not spend my resources on building a Node.js Magento killer. Rather, I would spend my resources on building a boundless, ecommerce platform that allows for syndicating transactional functionality across the Internet.

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