Magento is an open-source ecommerce web application created by Varien which was later re-christened as Magento Inc. It was launched on March 31st 2008 and it is built on the components of Zend Framework. Magento is available under the Open Software License version 3.0. The Magento Enterprise Edition (paid edition) which is aimed at larger companies was launched on 15th April 2009; this version provides a service agreement with Varien.
Those involved in eCommerce need an affordable, flexible design option when putting up their online stores. Magento was designed to meet this need. This open-source eCommerce solution is offered for free download and allows users to design, set up, and run their own eCommerce stores with great flexibility. Magento supports installation of modules through a web-based interface accessible through the administration area of a Magento installation. Modules are hosted on the Magento eCommerce website as a PEAR server. Magento formerly worked with osCommerce. They originally planned to fork osCommerce but later decided to rewrite it as Magento. Magento officially started development in early 2007. Seven months later on August 31, 2007, the first public beta version was released. On May 30, 2010 Magento mobile was released, it allows store owners to create native mobile storefront apps.
Magento uses PHP as a web server scripting language and the MySQL Database. The data model is based on the Entity-attribute-value model that stores data objects in tree structures, thus allowing a change to a data structure without changing the definition of the database. Any community member can upload a module through the website and is made available once confirmed by a member of the Magento team. Modules are installed by entering a module key, available on the module page, into the web based interface.
There are three categories of modules hosted on Magento Connect:
1. Core Modules
2. Community Modules
3. Commercial Modules
Core and Community modules can be installed from the administration area. Commercial module pages provide price information and a link to an external website. There are no limits to creativity with Magento. Magento is easy to install and at the same time easy to use. Magento is used in many websites and online stores and has been a one of the most used ecommerce web application since its release.