10 tips for Magento website audits [PART 1]
*Cet article est disponible en français*
The overhaul of Magento websites has always been tricky to evaluate. Before getting into the project, a general audit must be carried out. Whether it is a version migration, a design rebuild or just technical development, it’s crucial to have a deep analysis of the current state of the project. Potential snags will be highlighted and the assessment for the undergoing project will be more accurate. Producing an extensive report of how your Magento code is built is fundamental to estimating the tasks necessary for a full overhaul of the project. In this first part, we will present some tips related to performance and quality auditing.
1. Build a goal-oriented report
The first step is to determine the scope of your report. The audit is produced in order to reply to specific questions: Which difficulties will appear if I implement a new theme? How can I optimize the performance of my website? Is my project scalable and maintainable in the mid and long term? The report must follow a clear path that will lead to a clear answer. Before starting a report, take the time to identify accurately what is being asked of you and adapt your audit accordingly. For example, it’s worthless to determine potential migration issues in a performance optimization project.
2. No work prior to safety: check the applied security patches
Before diving into the abyss of the code, it’s a good idea to evaluate which version of Magento you’re dealing with and which security patches are installed. The famous Magereport.com tool will provide you some of this information. If your need a complete security checkup, you can download the patches on magentocommerce.com and check the missing ones by looking into the patch files and seeing whether they are applied or not. With all the security patches installed for the right version of your Magento, you will get rid of major safety issues. It’s a small task in exchange for substantial protection.
3. Code quality is not an option
When you start to analyze a website’s code, it doesn’t necessarily involve the critical eye of a code master. Checking whether the code standards are applied is a good start. Magento good practices cover local modules, template and skin files. It concerns proper indentation, naming conventions, functions comments and all the other rules that you can find on the web.
It’s very important to have clear, standardized and human readable code for future purposes. Working on confusing, fuzzy code will grow tedious; highlighting the code quality in an audit will help you evaluate more accurately the forthcoming tasks.
4. Performance is essential
Magento solutions are known to be energy intensive. It’s a fact, even Magento evangelists will admit it. However, Magento’s intense working process is necessary to meet all the needs of a complete E-commerce system. Many optimization tricks are commonly used in Magento solutions; the goal of this article is not to list them, as plenty of tutorials and blog posts are available on the web. Your report can combine all performance-oriented jobs of the project. The implementation of cache systems like Memcached, Redis or Full Page Cache is a good start for your performance analysis. Going through the code to evaluate back-end performance is easy and can reveal the application of good practices. For example, too many Mage::getModel('catalog/product')->load($_productId) in the code files will decrease server performance.
New Relic is a brilliant tool to check the back-end performance of your online store through transaction tracking and scenario implementation.
Front-end optimization is also crucial for your report. Many report websites like Google Page Speed, YSlow or GTMetrix will help you to hunt commonly made mistakes. These reports will provide you a list of points that can lead to front-end performance decreases. Optimization tasks will be easier to target with these online tools!
5. A neutral mindset will prevent value judgements
Some companies try to produce audits internally. They ask the developers who will work on the project to analyze the code quality impartially. Even for the most open-minded people, it’s hard to distance themselves when it’s matter of judgement. If the auditor doesn’t like some aspects of the website or even just the customer who brings the project, his perception will be blurred. He’s going to be stuck on pointless details and develop confirmation bias reflexes. In order to prevent this, ask a third party to write the audit. At Blackbird Agency, we have a wide range of audit offers available for Magento projects.
In the next part, we will present our Magento 2 migration audit offer and E-commerce & UX audit offer through various tips.