2020 Follow Up: Will Node.js-Based eCommerce Applications Become Magento-Killers?
Four and a half years ago, I responded to a question from Quorum on our blog about Node.js ecommerce applications becoming Magento killers. As predicted, they did not, however they definitely have a place in the greater ecommerce world.
Is Magento Waning in Importance?
This is really a question of how you look at it. Since my initial response, Magento 2 launched, which despite a couple of tough years due to bugs and initial design flaws, is getting better. Magento Commerce (formerly Enterprise Edition) and Magento Open Source (formerly Community Edition) have launched new features like components for headless implementations (PWA Studio, GraphQL) and Multi-Location Inventory (developed by the community).
Additionally, Magento has pushed merchants to their cloud hosting platform, ensuring better stability for many merchants, and created lower pricing tiers of Magento Commerce Cloud to appeal to lower mid-tier merchants.
Adobe has since acquired Magento. [read our article]
This led to what appears to be a shift in strategy - more attention to the enterprise segment of the market and less to the middle and lower tiers.
Filling The Void
While Reaction Commerce claims to be the fastest growing ecommerce platform ever (and is js-based) many other candidates seem to have fallen by the wayside.
So, in short, the opportunity at which most of the Node.js platform candidates were pointed to was filled with SaaS offerings, thus decreasing the opportunity space for them.
Node’s Role in eCommerce
Saas platforms still have gaps in flexibility and feature sets that require middleware. Many agencies are using Node.js either on a host or via hosted functions (Google’s Firebase or Amazon’s Lambdas) to fill in the gaps.
Nodejs has distinct advantages for middleware developers:
- More and more professional developers are starting off in boot camps and it is often the only server-side language taught.
- The Express framework is well-maintained, lightweight and easy to learn.
- Node Package Manager (NPM) has thousands and thousands of libraries available and is included with Node.
- Node is extremely well-suited for efficiently managing datastreams. In fact, one might argue this was the original idea behind the language. In any case, much middleware engages in stream management.
- Google Cloud, Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure all support hosting functions with Node/Express.
For these reasons, while other languages will continue to be important (like Go, Elixir and PHP), I believe the role of Node in middleware will continue to increase over the next few years.