First of all lets start with the install, remember I am not a novice, I've been doing this a long time. I downloaded the latest version and unzipped the file to have a look, and was astonished to find that there were around 12,000 files!!!!!! 12,000 files!!!!!!!! Compare this to Wordpress 3.4.1 for instance that has under 1,000 files.
I wanted to install sample data so I could get a sense of how the store works right off the bat, so I find the sample data file (its a separate file). After searching for about an hour, i find some instructions on how to install the sample data, you have to create a database, then install the sample data BEFORE you install the actual cart software, strange way to go about it but ok. Then I install the cart following the instructions to a T. Guess what, it doesn't work, gives me some strange error when I try to access the site, so I then spend at least 2 more hours trying to figure out how to get past this error, there are a bunch of people on the forum with similar issues, but I could not find one clear answer anywhere! Seriously! Two hours of searching, nothing... Turns out they keep an older copy of their instructions where everyone can get to them along with an outdated download of the sample data file for everyone to download that apparently isn't compatible with the latest magento install files I installed. Everyone of their instructions are very cryptic and unclear with links that lead to dead pages, and outdated download files. The "support" forums give 30 different answers, none of them seem to work.
So I scrap the whole idea of using sample data and decide to start over with a fresh install... After standing on one foot, wearing a tinfoil hat, and using my left hand on the mouse while whistling the sound of music and drinking a glass of water through a straw, I manage to get it installed. This process took a long time.
So now I have a site with no sample data to play with so I decide to go exploring. A lot of the admin panel is not intuitive at all, and I encountered many bugs and several 404's while clicking around. There were a bunch of things that didn't work, and overall even without any products in the store, it was super super slow.
As soon as I login after installing the latest most up to date version I could find, i see this "You have 1 critical, 4 major, 19 minor and 52 notice unread message(s)". The 1 critical is a Zend platform security issue, the instructions involve going into the framework files and commenting out some actions. Why not just fix this and make an updated version of the software for people to download?
Then I try making a backup of the existing client's site. The backup functionality eventually just times out and doesn't work at all. I finally use phpmyadmin to get a backup of the database, but this results in downloading when uncompressed a close to 300 meg database!!! Crazy!!!! There are something like 67 different tables just to manage products!!! Super crazy!
If you want to try to customize any of the look or layout of Magento, forget any of the typical ways of doing things. This from what I can see so far, and by now I am into it for about 10 hours, is that everything is done with uploading snippets of xml code into the admin panel. There are no drag and drop widgets, or simple divs with css, ala Wordpress, no no, that would be too easy :) It's complicated, and takes many many hours of digging and learning, and learning, and reading, and hitting up forums, and hiring experts, etc. etc. Not simple, not intuitive, in fact its starting to be pretty obvious, that this so called "community" open source edition, is purposefully, and intentionally convoluted, complicated, and confusing, in nearly every way. Sure there are some nice features, but from a developers point of view, you better be prepared to spend multiple hours and hours, potentially weeks and weeks to get anywhere near comfortable to work on this. That's my experience anyway. Apparently this is an industry leader and a standard go-to platform for large corporations. I actually don't buy that, I think it's propaganda from their marketing team. If you have big bucks, and a dedicated team of magento experts, or are willing to dish out bucks for their support, while purchasing the paid for version, then I would suggest you find a different platform! You could do much better than this. Woocommerce (free), or Interspire (paid).
There is so much more, I could go on, but I won't, i just tried creating a development site to test updates and modifications on, but that didn't go so well. I was able to duplicate the existing site, but when i restored the database there is no data in the tables, nothing, not even admin login information. Anyway, enough said, Magento sucks :)
Check out these other articles: