Akeneo Release 1.0 - Interview with Frédéric de Gombert

The current version Akeneo 1.0 is available as a public download since March 6th, 2014. Frédéric de Gombert, CEO and co-Founder of Akeneo, has told us in an interview about some fascinating details on the new version and on current and future developments as well.

In September 2013, the first version Akeneo 1.0.0-beta1 was launched. Since then a lot has happened. What can we expect in Akeneo 1.0 as important innovations?

During those five past months of open beta we received an very impressive number of great feedbacks and suggestions from our community. We also worked on first integrations with some early adopters. It helped us to facing some real-life needs and to adding some new features to improve the user experience (like the translation mode or the columns picker for the grid). The import / export engine has also been entirely refactored to simplify the creation of new connectors with third party systems. And, last but not least, we made a lot of fine-tuning to significantly improve performances when you have to deal with large or complex catalogs.

For the first time, you've integrated a Magento-connector besides the CSV import & export in Akeneo 1.0. Tell us about the functionalities for this new connector.

This connector was a highly requested feature because a big part of our community is coming from the Magento ecosystem. This connector has two purposes : (1) Enable our users to export very easily their catalog from Akeneo to Magento without complex configuration or installation. With our connector you can natively export products (simple and configurable), categories and attributes without requiring any extension installion on the Magento side. (2) This connector is also a very good example of what you can achieve with our import / export engine. The connector concept is deeply rooted in our product philosophy and we wanted to show that you can easily extend Akeneo to your own needs without complex or heavy developments. This connector is a good starting point for anyone who want to develop their own connector with another system.

What are the plans for the integration of additional connectors or third-party-applications and will there be other formats in addition to the CSV format?

We also published an Excel connector with the 1.0 release. This connector is only usable for imports (products, categories and attributes) right now but we will improve that in the near future. We are also aware of WIP connectors with Drupal, Prestashop or easyCatalog in our ecosystem. Our objective is now to help the community developing its own connectors. We will open before the summer our marketplace to enable members to share their work. We don't have any prerequisites in terms of license, so if someone wants to create a connector and sell it - that is perfectly OK! We really want to give some visibility to anyone who want to contribute, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any help or support!

The development from version Akeneo 1.0.0-Beta1 to the current release is impressive. What features are on your roadmap for the next few months?

Our next release (planned for April) will include the "Views" -feature. Every user will be able to create their own views on the product grid (including displayed columns, active filters, custom sorting, ...) with the capability to mark views as public (shared with every other users) or private. On the technical side we are also working on the MongoDB support for very large catalogs for the 1.1. Then the next big feature will be the Rules Engine to enable automated actions like dynamic associations or smart categories (for instance to create a "RayBan" category including automatically every products with the attribute "Brand" set to "RayBan"). We also have a couple of nice features we want to implement to improve the efficiency of the grid, like the inline editing.

What are the plans for the strategic development of Akeneo? Will there be an Enterprise Edition?

Our only priority is to continue to add some innovative features to change the way retailers are dealing with their product information. We need to stay focused on the product development and help our partners network to provide top-notch service around Akeneo. We never hid our plan to release an Enterprise Edition of Akeneo. We will of course continue to maintain and enrich the Community Edition in parallel. Both products will share the same trunk and we want to be clear on the fact that there will never be any performances differences between these two editions. The Enterprise Edition will come with a support contract and will include some extra features (like a workflow engine) dedicated to the most ambitious projects. This edition should be released before the end of this summer.

Akeneo has received significant interest and can look at a worldwide partner network. How and where can the Community support the development of Akeneo in general?

We have really been amazed by this global positive answer we get from the market and the community. We counted more than 3 000 installations of the Akeneo beta in less than 3 months. 120 countries connected with us. And thanks to our incredible community the tool has already been translated in 8 languages (including german!). We really want to give a warm "thank you" to all the people who contributed to this crazy start! We are really proud and excited to have an opportunity to bring some openness in this closed and sometimes old-fashioned world of Product Information Management and it won't be possible without the support of the Community. There are many ways to be a part of the Akeneo ecosystem : you can join the translation effort here : crowdin.net/project/akeneo , report bugs here : github.com/akeneo/ , do some features proposals here : www.akeneo.com/forums or develop some new connectors or extensions!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Fred for the interview and congratulate the entire team of Akeneo to this Release.

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