Alokai Open Source vs Alokai Enterprise. What are the differences? [UPDATE 2022]

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Alokai Open Source vs Alokai Enterprise. What are the differences? [UPDATE 2022]



February 19, 2021

Alokai is a Frontend Platform that is the best choice for many familiar headless eCommerce Platforms, such as commercetools , BigCommerce , or Elastic Path ( the list of integrated eCommerce Platforms is growing). Our Frontend Platform for Headless Commerce provides full coverage of the default features with each integration. What resonates even more with the proponents of our solution is the MACH-oriented approach . Alokai’s architecture embraces modularity - one of the main tenets of the MACH Alliance - and as such, is designed to overcome the limitations imposed by a more traditional tech stack. It is available in two versions: Open Source and Enterprise. Since many changes have been applied, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the differences between them. 

Technical Whitepaper


What is Alokai?

In a nutshell, Alokai is a Frontend Platform for headless commerce. It was designed and developed to help eCommerce to overcome obstacles caused by legacy stacks and to keep up with everyday requirements dictated by users and external environments.

The foundation of Alokai is the same, but what differentiates it is the approach to further development, hence we distinguish between two versions — Enterprise and Open Source.

What is Alokai Enterprise?

Alokai Enterprise is the Frontend Platform for headless commerce that provides flexible components that connect with each other:

  • Full eCommerce theme Design System – Storefront UI. Alokai assists you at the very beginning of your front-end development journey. We’ve taken care of a lot of repetitive groundwork that needs to be done. We provide a full eCommerce theme: a whole design system and UI built with a PWA approach, that’s SSR ready with almost all the code exposed, and ready for scaling in any direction merchants wish to take it.
  • Ready to use integrations – Full coverage of features for eCommerce platforms like commercetools, BigCommerce, and Elastic Path. Fully developed integrations save businesses time. We did the groundwork, so eCommerce operations can focus on scaling and advancing. We created all the necessary API integrations with mentioned eCommerce Platforms. In addition, we covered headless CMSs (among them Contentful, Contentstack, Amplience, Bloomreach, Storyblock, and more ) and other third-party services such as payments, search, loyalty systems, and more. Alokai has got all this covered, but - and we can’t stress it enough - this is not all our solution provides.
  • Cloud hosting – ​​We offer the best-optimized infrastructure for VSF.  One can bootstrap a new project connected to your services and deploy it to VSF Cloud. Testing, staging, and production – all environments are available. In addition, we covered out-of-the-box development workflows for CI/CD, testing, performance checks, and more.

The enterprise version of Alokai was initially focused heavily on commercetools. Now, thanks to investments , further development got a solid boost. As a result of that, in 2022, we happily announced two new integrations, in March with BigCommerce and Elastic Path.

We share beliefs in the API-first and MACH-oriented approaches, making Alokai and commercetools, Elastic Path, and BigCommerce a perfect combo. At the same time, our growth doesn't collide with the promise we made at the very beginning. We still want to maintain and develop the open-source version of the product.

What is Alokai Open Source?

Alokai also provides the core of the product – the code – as an Open Source. It is designed to integrate easily with any smaller eCommerce platform and most of the most popular third-party services, since flexibility is and always will be one of our core values. We support Magento & Shopify under our maintenance and allow the community to build many integrations which we have on a vuestorefront-community repository.

As such, the dependency between our core code and the quality of external implementations is huge, and - despite our continuous offer to support our community engaged with adding bricks to the VSF ecosystem - the standards provided by external implementors may be different from ours. Still, we want to keep the product broadly available, that’s we are super proud of our engaged and active community (you can

  join our Discord  to explore it).

That’s why we set ourselves the goal of establishing a standard of implementation and building a service consisting of both software and infrastructure to showcase the full possibilities of Alokai.

What are the differences between Alokai Enterprise and Alokai Open Source?

Enterprise - Dedicated to businesses that use or are considering re-platforming to commercetools, Elastic Path or BigCommerce. Willing to lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) with a very flexible Frontend Platform able to easily integrate with headless CMSs and 3rd party applications while remaining open for customization. 

Enterprise VSF saves hundreds of development hours needed to build a fully scalable eCommerce business, thanks to robust API, cloud hosting, regular support, native integrations with best-of-breed eCommerce solutions, and ready-to-use features, without which no modern store can operate today.

Open-source - A frontend that can be easily placed on top of any headless platform.

It is a great choice for small and medium-sized businesses, yet, building more complex stores will require a lot of custom development. It will take much more time to get to the level of advance that Enterprise is offering out-of-the-box.

Supporting the community dedicated to the development of Alokai remains one of our top priorities, and it won’t change any time soon. We grew from open source, and it will always be in our DNA. However, on top of the open-source version, we built a whole ecosystem of solutions to make it even easier for clients to work with Alokai.

Filip Rakowski, CTO at Alokai. 

The open-source version enables the building of a simple store with basic functionalities. The Enterprise version is dedicated to clients looking for more advanced, out-of-the-box features and ready-to-use integration with market-leading vendors.

Patrick Friday, CEO at Alokai

What is the story behind Alokai's creation?

It started with Alokai 1. The very first version of Alokai was dedicated to work with Magento. 

It was a dominant eCommerce platform in its early days, but soon things started to change. While Magento integration was already working, we were starting to get a lot of questions about the possibility of using it in pairs with other platforms. It was possible, but not as easy as it could be because the Alokai architecture was firmly embedded in Magento’s demands.

To keep up with expectations, we decided to do thorough research over ten eCommerce platforms with which we could potentially integrate. commercetools was first on the list (but soon Elastic Path and Big Commerce joined), and we decided to rebuild Alokai, this time thinking more of it, but - as this platform is truly headless and API-focused - this choice enabled us to establish an architecture that can work with any other eCommerce platforms providing an API. 

The next version is upgraded in every respect. Since we learned a lot while working on “number one”, we were able to implement field-tested practices that significantly increase performance, improve the architecture to make it even more modular, and provide a fully customizable UI/UX layer with a low-code approach. 

We started to develop an R&D project called Alokai NEXT in 2018 and it soon turned into the foundation of the Enterprise version, currently available for commercetools, Elastic Path, and BigCommerce.

Alokai is the ultimate Frontend Platform for any ambitious eCommerce regardless of size

Alokai Enterprise is a paid (the base payment model will be a paid license) service available to customers interested in a seamless integration of VSF as their frontend solution .

The Enterprise version is built “on top” of the open-source project while expanding the tech stack by introducing two crucial components:

  • Cloud infrastructure, which provides an optimized, tailored environment for VSF that will help us deliver top-notch frontend performance;
  • Proprietary integrations with popular headless stack components (eCommerce, payment, CMS, search, etc.), developed by our own team to provide the best possible efficiency, stability, and feature range.

Discover the entire ecosystem of tools for front-end developments
Alokai provides!

It is safe to say that the foundation of Alokai is the same. With the flexibility provided, companies currently have two options: the Open Source version for small and mid-size businesses and the Enterprise version for big players willing to focus on customization. 

The Enterprise version can be thought of as a more business-oriented solution, focused heavily on three main aspects:

  1. Shortening time-to-market (as it provides plenty of out-of-the-box features and native integrations)
  2. Boosting site performance
  3. Providing flexibility and freedom for developers

To secure and give the stamp for approval to our Enterprise integrations, Alokai covers the entire process of development: creation, testing phase, maintenance (updates, and repairs if the issue is caused on the VSF side), business value delivery (performance and quality), and further support (we resolve client issues with provided integrations and actively back each project).

We aim to deliver a solution that enables merchants to reduce the time needed to go live with a fully working e-store, but our role doesn’t end in providing a product. We also hold responsibility for how it works, taking care of the integrations and cloud-native environment maintenance.

What is the predominant advantage merchants get with Alokai?

The most important and crucial advantage of Alokai, in the long run, is its API-first, modular architecture that enables businesses to customize their online entities freely both in terms of UI/UX layer and adding (or removing) any external services. It significantly speeds up time-to-market, as no update can interfere with and jeopardize the stability of the system. That was a founding idea of the entire project and nothing has changed in that respect. 

Get in touch to learn more about Alokai!



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