With Adobe taking serious steps towards transforming its eCommerce products into Saas, many felt that the future of Magento open-source was uncertain. So, on 11 February, during the Adobe Developers Live: Commerce meetup, Adobe shared some interesting news, which we will try to showcase in this article.

If we are to talk about the history of Magento with regards to its ownership, in 2018, Adobe acquired the platform for $1.68 billion to complete their commerce loop and turn it into the engine for Adobe’s end to end online-shopping system, Adobe Commerce. Over the course of the last years, Adobe have been running the two products – Magento Commerce and Adobe Commerce – simultaneously, until deciding to stop offering Magento Commerce as a stand-alone product, and focus on Adobe Commerce as their sole product. During all this time, Magento open-source was still available to download freely.

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The community responded with the intention of branching Magento to a new community-managed form, completely independent of Adobe. But the reality was that, as Adobe were the rightful owners of the platform, its future sat with Adobe and it was dependent on what they decided to do with the software. Since then, the community has been longing for some official response, which finally came in the Adobe Developers Live: Commerce meetup.

The first notable piece of news is that moving forward, Adobe Commerce will be moved into Experience Cloud, eventually turning into a SaaS. All significant developed capabilities done by Adobe will be delivered outside of that traditional installed application. New features will come in the form of SaaS add-ons or microservices and will not be applied to the current Magento code base.

The smart Live Search feature and Product Recommendations, which use AI and the machine learning system Adobe Sensei, have already been introduced as SaaS, with the scope to eventually turn all functionalities into SaaS micro services. At the same time, massive areas of functionality like Catalogues, Inventory, Pricing, will also be converted into SaaS services.

As a result of decoupling all other parts from the core, Adobe will be able to start streamlining the core release strategy.

Therefore, with regards to software updates, Adobe are exploring a new release strategy based on short term and long term support methods, resulting in better transparency and regular updates. The Quality Patches tool will be used to deliver short term releases which will be non essential core changes, including community contributions. Long term releases will come in the form of security compliance and high priority quality fixes. An important thing to note is that these essential long-term fixes will also be applied to the installed Magento Commerce or the Magento open-source products.

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The move to offer new features and functionalities as microservices will be done gradually, to provide the developers flexibility when working to customise their projects to meet the ongoing demand of their customers. Therefore, developers will either have the choice to adopt the new SaaS microservices or to continue to use the existing modules available in the Magento code core base in the event of business critical customizations. 

At the same time, developers will still be able to build custom modules that can be seamlessly integrated in the storefront or back office.

The extent to which that will be possible will be much lower than what it is at present, as there will be no access to the core code base, or the access will be limited to what Adobe provides via the API. 

Adobe have already announced that they are working towards a unified Developer Experience and extensibility framework that leverages Adobe IO. Developers will be restricted to using specific toolkits, which allows customizations but only limited to their boundaries. This translates into Adobe’s aim to spend as little time on maintaining the services that they offer, restricting levels of customization, but focusing on making sure that the platform works as intended. So, a massive plus will be that we will see less issues with upgrades, but a huge loss will be the lack of flexibility and ability to customise.

But the most interesting news, and the ones awaited by many were the ones related to the future of Magento open-source. Adobe announced that they will continue to provide the long term foundation for open-source development, while giving the community the ownership and the flexibility to contribute to releases and support their own short term support versions, independent of adobe resourcing and road map. That is confirmation that they are handing over control of Magento open-source to the Magento Association, but will still continue to support Magento open-source with critical and security fixes.

Entrusting Magento open-source back to the community is a good move that gives a huge amount of freedom for future direction of development for Magento. And it also creates a separation. Magento now has the freedom to develop new features without any ties or dependencies to Adobe. As a separate product, it is positioned really well to cater for the huge number of enterprises that want that full level of customization which Magento in its current form offers.

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