Despite maintaining an open source version of their code base, there were a lot of things about a pre-Adobe Magento that gave a lot us in the open source world cause for — not alarm exactly — but some heavy side-eye.
One of those was Magento’s approach to composer. On one hand — huzzah! Composer support! On the other hand — Magento distributes code via their own opaque, credentials required, composer repository. This has a few downsides.
First, unlike packagist based packages, there’s no way to quickly know that the packages you get from Magento’s repository match what’s available in their GitHub repository. As I say this I’m struck by the idea for a small side project that grabs Magento’s packages and throws them in a GitHub repo as packagist packages. Please hold while I take that idea out to a farm for someone else to find.
The bigger problem with the custom repository is it’s a private repository. You need credentials to use it. Magento handed these out freely, but that extra step was friction for anyone who wanted to get started with the platform. It helped ensure that the small cadre of Magento developers would remain small. It pointed to a product vision that wasn’t interested in reaching the entire PHP community.
This was, of course, Magento’s right to do, but it did run counter to a lot of their marketing message around openness and platform growth/size. There’s probably a lesson in there about not treating a company’s decisions as though they come from an individual.
It’s unclear what the future of this repo will be, but with Adobe’s intentions for the platform being much clearer than Magento Inc.’s were, there’s evidence that members of the Magento community feel freer to solve their own problems. The folks over at Fooman (a quality Magento extension provider) have created a mirror of every package needed to run the open source version of Magento.
In plain english — all a curious PHP developer needs to do to get started with Magento 2 is type
composer create-project --repository-url=https://repo-magento-mirror.fooman.co.nz/ .
Of course, with Adobe recently announcing a move away from PHP based front end technology, it’s unclear what the future of open source, PHP based, Magento 2 really is. Whatever that long-future is, in the short term this public Magento 2 composer mirror will be a useful tool for on the ground Magento developers just trying to get some work done.