the blog

Frontend Themes for Magento 2 Developers: How to Choose the Right One?


Themes are an integral aspect of Magento website development that combines custom templates, layouts, styles, and images to provide a consistent visual design. Designed particularly to customise view layer resources that modules or libraries provide, frontend developers implement these themes.

In this blog, we have enlisted some of the popular frontends for you to choose from.

Frontend for Magento Development

  1. Luma: This is an in-built and pre-activated frontend available in Magento 2 by default. Luma, a successor of the Magento 1 frontend comes with advanced technologies.

Luma: Features

  • Traditional/Non-headless CMS: Also known as ‘monolithic’ CMS, you need to install and manage non-headless software on your own or have a self-managed server environment, unlike headless CMS.
  • LESS: Leaner Style Sheets, abbreviated to LESS- a language extension for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that is backwards-compatible. Using LESS, Magento developers can create scalable and manageable style sheets for your eCommerce store.
  • For dynamic content, Luma uses RequireJS, Knockout, jQuery, and Custom Javascript framework.
  • For layout, Luma uses CML and PHP templates.
  • Along with Magento’s quarterly core updates, Luma’s maintenance includes bug fixes only.

Luma: Pros and Cons

Luma is fully compatible with all Magento 2 extensions, which is its biggest advantage. Also, there are no additional licence costs involved.

At the same time, its low-base performance and outdated tech stack are its biggest disadvantages that impact its efficiency compared to other modern solutions. Since the theme comes with several additional codes and modules, it bloats the store, making it slower.

  • PWA Studio: Another default frontend option developed by Adobe is PWA Studio which comes with a headless framework. This individual software interacts with Magento through GraphQL. PWA Studio comes with tools that help set up development environments and libraries to libraries to create individual storefront components and extensions.

PWA Studio: Features

  • PWA Studio is fully responsive
  • It is compatible with all browsers
  • Magento PWA Studio is fast and secure
  • You can work offline with PWA Studio
  • It is cost-effective, time-saving, and involves less data usage

PWA: Pros and Cons

PWA studio comes with a set of components and offers full support of both Adobe Commerce and B2B suite. The individual frontend designs offer immense flexibility for Magento 2 developers for implementing a PWA Studio frontend. Since you would have to put in extra effort to design your frontend, you will require a designated frontend development team, especially because the frontend development and backend development run individually. On the bright side, the frontend development team need not possess extensive Magento know-how.

Talking about the disadvantages, one of the biggest drawbacks of PWA Studio is the lack of support from third-party extensions.

  • Hyva: Created by Williem Wigman in 2020, Hyva is a third-party theme that incorporates the same backend functionality that Magento’s default frontend Luma uses.

Hyva: Features

  1. Simple: Hyva is a simple substitute for headless/PWA solutions that uses Magento’s PHP templates. Since the frontend is built from scratch, there are fewer complexities involved, and is hence comparatively simple.
  • Optimum Performance: Since the amount of code is reduced considerably, it offers maximum performance, scoring a good 100 in Google PageSpeed and passing Core Web Vitals on all metrics. Optimum performance ensures enhanced user experience and higher conversion rates and SEO rankings.
  • Time-to-market is Reduced: The availability of several new and constantly changing technologies makes it difficult to predict the estimated time to build a project. Since Hyva is built on a PHP framework, it is more likely to be opted for by Magento 2 developers. This helps save not only time and money but also minimises the time-to-market.
  • Maintenance: Hyva releases regular maintenance versions focussing highly on backwards compatibility.

Hyva: Pros and Cons

The biggest advantages of Hyva are enhanced productivity and development speed. Also, it provides commendable frontend performance. Since Hyva is compatible with Magento Open Source, it supports all Adobe Commerce features too.

Hyva offers limited support for Adobe commerce features and limited third-party extension compatibility. However, compatibility with third-party extensions has been enhanced drastically both by extension providers and the Hyva community.

How to Choose the Right frontend framework?

Even though there is no hard and fast rule to choose the perfect frontend for your Magento-based projects, you can make your decision based on every project’s requirements.

  1. More Features on a Low Budget: In such a scenario, Luma is the perfect theme you can opt for. You can rely immensely on third-party extensions, but low site speed is going to be a drawback. Also, a third-party theme coupled with multiple extensions would impact the website’s speed.
  • Individual Requirements and a Huge Budget: You can use PWA Studio if you have the support of an extensive budget and wish to utilise all Adobe Commerce features, including the B2B Suite. However, the implementation would require immense effort. Also, when it comes to the site’s speed, it might be a tad slow since it has huge Javascript that needs to be loaded at the initial stage itself.
  • Others: For the frontend framework, experts mostly recommend Hyva despite its licence fee due to its advanced tech stack and lean base, reducing the overall implementation time. Since Hyva already supports many Magento features, you can use it easily for Adobe Commerce projects.

Wrapping Up,

In the ever-evolving world of Magento, teamed with several popular frontends, it is quite challenging to choose the perfect option to meet the requirements for every project.

For efficient Magento website development, contact us at 18th DigiTech, an award-winning digital agency with operations in Australia. Our experts will support you with extensive research and effective implementation of unique designs that will help you create an unmatched commerce experience.