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What is Sylius and How to Use It?

When it comes to open source ecommerce platforms, there are quite a few solutions to choose from. You may have heard about Magento or PrestaShop. But have you ever seen something about Sylius? If you haven’t, in this article, you’ll learn how it works and what features it has. We’ll also explain to you how to start with this tool and the possibilities to extend it.

What is an open source ecommerce platform?

The open source ecommerce platform is software for running and managing an online business, with direct access to the source code. These solutions are usually free. The costs you need to bear concerns hosting, development, and customization. However, you decide how much you’ll spend on every process and thus can better control your finances. Another aspect you can impact is the functionalities. You aren’t limited to the ones available out-of-the-box. Considering the fact that you can access the source code, you’re able to add the features you need or modify the existing ones. It gives you great flexibility and scalability and ensures that a particular solution meets your business requirements. Like other open source platforms, the ones related to ecommerce are backed up by the communities that can support you.

Sylius for ecommerce

Sylius is an open source ecommerce platform based on the Symfony framework. It’s built from decoupled components that can be used independently in any PHP application even if it doesn’t use Symfony. Then you can decide whether you’ll use the complete platform provided by its creators or take advantage of standalone elements to create a custom solution.

Shipments and payments in Sylius, an open source ecommerce solution

Source: Sylius

This ecommerce tool is an API-first solution. It means that Sylius can be used as a backend for implementing JavaScript ecommerce software like a progressive web application, single-page application, or a native mobile app. You can build an online shop that can be suitable for any size of business - a small, medium, or large enterprise.

Is Sylius free?

Sylius is available in two versions - Standard (free) and Plus (paid). The free option uses the open source MIT license. The second one has a commercial license with an annual subscription. Its amount depends on the Gross Merchandise Volume you achieved with this ecommerce platform. Besides the standard Sylius functionalities (that we’ll cover later in the article), the paid version contains enterprise-grade features like multi-store (letting you sell products from multiple business units or legal entities), a loyalty system, and returns management. Now let’s take a look at the functions of an unpaid solution.

Features of the free version

With the Sylius Standard, you can create a fully functioning online store with many useful features.

  • Order management - every order is linked with the channel (e.g. webstore, mobile application) it came from and the language the customer used to make it.
  • Taxation - you can use the right taxes for different products and billing zones.
  • Payments - support for many payment providers.
  • Shipments - possibility to attach multiple shipments per order.
  • Product reviews - thanks to this feature, your customers can leave opinions about the products they purchased.
  • Product association - you can suggest to customers the items complementary to the one they’re currently viewing.
  • Sylius themes - it’s a great option when you have more than one channel for a single instance and you want every channel to have a different look and feel.

To discover more features and possibilities of this ecommerce solution, visit Sylius Documentation.

Why use Sylius?

Knowing the main functionalities of this tool, you may still wonder why it’s worth using it. Below you’ll find six reasons.

  1. Scalability. You can deploy Sylius on a single server or in the cloud on a multi-server architecture that is autoscaling. This provides great efficiency for large projects.
  2. Flexibility. You can customize every part of this platform, thanks to its well-thought-out and modern architecture, and the usage of the Symfony framework.
  3. Possibility to apply it on multiple devices. You can easily create native mobile apps for iOS, Android, or a progressive web app, due to built-in ecommerce application interfaces in Sylius.
  4. Developer friendly. This ecommerce platform ensures the highest code quality, has a strong testing environment and uses Business-Driven Development (BDD). It means that the tests are written in a business language which accelerates the application’s testing. An example of Business-Driven Development (BDD) testing in Sylius

    Source: Sylius Documentation

  5. Community. There are more than four thousand developers, product owners, and other specialists working with this tool gathered on the Sylius channel on Slack. You can join them to ask for support or help others in solving their issues.
  6. Open source. You can participate in the development of this tool.

Sylius plugins

The organization behind this platform developed six open source plugins. One of them is the Invoicing Plugin which creates an invoice after a customer creates an order. Both them and the admin can download this document.

In the Sylius Store, you can find more than 80 different plugins, and the majority are free. There’s the Elasticsearch plugin that provides the complete search mechanism, separate from the database. It allows you to relieve the store's resources. What’s more, Elasticsearch enables smart search and gives product filters. A developer can easily create new ones, as they get examples of how to write them. Another handy extension is the CMS plugin which lets you add a content management system to your store. Thanks to that, you can create e.g. a subpage with your online shop’s regulations, or a better homepage.

With the SyliusReportPlugin by Odiseo, you can add a reporting interface to the platform’s administration. It’s also possible to easily create custom reports. Regarding statistical data, you can also use the Analytics Plugin that adds Google Analytics tracking to your shop, or the Facebook Tracking Plugin which enables you to add Facebook Pixel to track visitors coming to your website from this social media channel.

We’ve already covered Sylius plugins, and what about integrations with external systems? You can perform it through plugins (e.g. the already mentioned Analytics Plugin) or write your custom integration.

Custom online store

In our article, we placed flexibility among the reasons why use Sylius. The customization possibilities of this ecommerce solution are its greatest advantage. With the help of Sylius experts, you can have an online store entirely tailored to your business needs.

A home page of Mom O'clock, a multi-vendor marketplace based on Sylius

Source: Mom O’clock

We’ve been using this platform to develop a multi-vendor marketplace. Mom O'clock is a store offering products for mothers and their babies. With Sylius, the merchants selling there can access their orders, payments, and shipping methods. Every vendor also gets a notification when a new order appears. As a result, the Mom O’clock team doesn’t have to spend time managing orders.

3. Best practices for software development teams