With the upcoming release of PrestaShop 1.7, you might think it’s time to drop 1.6 and focus on the new version. Wrong! Let’s see why PrestaShop 1.6 will still be the best choice to start your e-commerce business for the next couple of years.
1. PrestaShop 1.6 is stable and Thoroughly tested
While PrestaShop 1.7, with its all-new architecture, will initially be full of bugs and missing features, 1.6 is now a playful two year old kid who is finally getting comfortable and fluent when talking. Most of the bugs have been fixed (the critical ones, for sure) and it’s now ready to be called “stable” with its 126.96.36.199 release.
2. Countless addons and templates
At the time I am writing this article, the official PrestaShop Addons marketplace counts more than five thousand modules and themes. If you also consider most of the developers have their own site (Like my modules store), this expands the choice to double that number, if not more!
Given that plenty of the available modules (and all themes) will not be compatible with 1.7, PrestaShop 1.6 will remain unbeaten on the side of customization for years, allowing us to find almost any kind of extra feature we might need, without having a developer craft it specifically for us (you can imagine the extra cost it would mean).
3. Plenty of Tutorials and guides
In two years of life of PrestaShop 1.6, we, contributors, have published a number of articles and guides that help merchants and other developers to manage and customize their stores. Apart from my own PrestaShop Tutorials and my PrestaShop Modules Course, there are a number of resources like Dh42 and MyPresta, only to mention a couple.
4. Qualified developers and agencies
PrestaShop 1.6’s architecture is pretty much the same as 1.5. This means all developers (including me) have gained great experience with it, having fixed bugs and extended the same software for four years.
5. PrestaShop 1.6’s default theme looks better
Let’s face it. At the current state of development, the “classic” (that is, default) template for PrestaShop 1.7 looks totally cheap and unprofessional.
6. You know what to expect
Development-wise, PrestaShop 1.6 is a lot more reliable than 1.7. You can develop a module for 1.6 and you are sure it will keep working on 1.6. However, PrestaShop 1.7’s mixed architecture (Symfony+Twig/Smarty) puts a big question mark on whether our modifications will keep working in the next subversions (1.7.2, 1.7.3, and so on)
The Bottom Line
No PrestaShop developer (that I know) is currently enthusiast of the changes 1.7 will bring, and the effort that will be required to make all of our extensions compatible with it. However, considering some users are still using PrestaShop 1.4, and many (including me) 1.5, I bet PrestaShop 1.6 will sit on its high throne for another good couple of years at least. If you want to make money with PrestaShop by developing and selling extensions, there is no better time than now.
On the other side, if you are a merchant, given that 1.7 will remain unstable for at least one year, you should still consider using 1.6 for your business.