Last week Flagbit as Akeneo Solution Partner attended the Akeneo Hackathon aka „Hackeneo“ at the Akeneo headquarters in Nantes (France). Since Akeneo released the newest Akeneo PIM 2.0 last week of September, they decided to organise a week long Hackathon. The goal was to let significant Akeneo partners know most important features of the new 2.0 version and invest most of the week on migrating own partner projects to the new 2.0 version with the support of the Akeneo Core Dev Team.
What about Akeneo Headquarters
Once we arrived in the Akeneo HQ for taking part of the Hackathon, we were welcomed by François Chaix, Channel Manager Northern Europe at Akeneo. The offices are located in a reconditioned pretty old military building in the center of Nantes. After a delicious breakfast, full of french specialities, we were invited to a guided tour around the office. It was pretty funny what was waiting for us in the main room . A huge picture of the whole Akeneo Team attached with some kind of middle age costumes taken somewhere in the south of France, something similar to „The Last Supper“.
The Akeneo Team
Apart from the office building there is a small house and a garden, where you can take the lunch. And, if you prefer a even bigger garden, there is another one including a pond, where we got the pleasure to see a real heron. Honestly, I’ve to say I was pretty impressed by the offices and the atmosphere around this place. The Akeneo Team co-workers are not just seated in their rooms typing in front of the computer as you imagine, instead all them work together using the full space of the offices, what includes sofas or even the deckchairs in the garden. Really impressive!
Introducing Akeneo PIM 2.0
Before starting the Hackathon itself, Emilie Gieler, Head of Product at Akeneo, guided us into a short introduction to Akeneo PIM 2.0. Its new user interface is way better than previous versions, a lot more user friendly. Even if it’s the first time you login into the PIM, you’d find every option being located in the right place. But the UI is not the only part affected, the Catalog Modeling has been improved as well and now there is no need to use some additional bundles like for example the InnerVariationBundle, since now this functionality is included out of the box in the Akeneo PIM Community Edition and the best of all for free! Isn’t that good news?
I really loved the new UI „much user friendly“ and the inclusion of variants in the CE is as well a really nice improvement.
Another important improvement introduced to 2.0 version, is the new API, which was extended to fulfill more use cases, as well as a totally new API client. Furthermore everything is not about code, they tried to make life easier for developers with a fancy API documentation website, where all API endpoints are not only well documented, but you can find many other resources related like e.g. some kind of tutorials. I personally think this is one of the key points to success of any open source technology: documentation, documentation and more documentation!
The extended API opens a ton of new doors & the reinvented variations are fitting like the beer to germans. And the best thing, we could delete a bunch of custom developments. Loving it!
One more thing I found during my work with the new Akeneo PIM 2.0 is that this new version is now „dockerized“. I mean it provides a docker-compose file, which takes care of creating and orchestrating a set of docker containers, where the PIM is gonna be executed in a isolated environment, at least pretty usable for development.
Finally it’s something to thank Akeneo, they worked hard for providing a migration tool, currently as an alpha release, named „transporteo“. This tool currently makes the migration of the data from 1.7 to 2.0 version easier, but it’s planned to help you to migrate your custom code as well shortly.
Migrating to Akeneo PIM 2.0
Most of the week we were totally focused on migrating the PIM of one of our customers, Bauzentrum Kömpf, from the 1.7 to the 2.0 version. Briefly described, it’s a project based on the Akeneo PIM Enterprise full of customisations to match our special customer requirements. If you maybe take a look on the numbers of this project, it currently manages 140K products, 5K categories, 700 attributes and 70 families.
I honesty have to say that migrating the project to Akeneo 2.0 was easier than what I initially expected from migrating to a new major version. Most of the Akeneo models didn’t change, so adapting the Magento export for the Akeneo import was pretty straightforward. Afterwards we had to migrate some customisation related to categories, just affected by changes caused by the inner upgrade of Akeneo to use Symfony 3.3 instead of 2.7 as in previous versions of Akeneo, so second goal done!
Finally at the same time one of the most important parts to migrate was a custom bundle we developed which implements a new attribute type for Akeneo. This should be the biggest deal of our project since it affects parts of Akeneo that are not usually customised, it’s deep and has many UI components which have been modified in this latest version of Akeneo. At some point we feel a bit lost, since the 2.0 version of Akeneo is at the moment not really well documented at a technical level, but wow! there was the Akeneo Core Dev Team, that guided us and we finally reach or goal as well in this case. Code successfully migrated!
We have to thank the Akeneo Core Dev Team for supporting us during the whole week. It definitely was a pleasure to work together with all of you guys and I’m already looking forward to the next year „Hackeneo“ edition.
Best 2.0 Migration Ever Award goes to…
During the Akeneo PIM Hackathon they organised a contest called „Best. 2.0 Migration. Ever“ were the migration of different Akeneo partner projects would be evaluated to announce a winner on the final day. On Friday, the last day of the Hackathon, we had to prepare some slides and tell Akeneo how successful our migration was. Key points were e.g. which percent of the data was properly migrated, which custom implementations were migrated, which troubles we faced and so on.
The whole Flagbit Team was motivated and kept working really hard, almost until midnight every day for being the best and be able to win this special contest. So the time to reveal the winner was there, I was pretty excited, because I really though we had big changes to win, but oh! Synolia won the award. For this time we have to be proud to be amongst the last two finalist.