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I am just about to start a new project and Craft seems the best fit as a CMS. The projects timescale is 3 months.

I understand that a beta for Craft 3 is due out at the end of this year (2016). In view of this, should i start development on Craft 3? Or run with Craft 2 for now?

The project will involved bespoke plugin development and use of the Commerce plugin. Is there any timeframe in place for updating the Commerce plugin to run on v3?

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My recommendation would be to go with Craft 2:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

There is no doubt that Pixel & Tonic has turned their focus to Craft 3, but software projects are complex and often take longer than expected and Craft 3 currently only has speculative release dates. It has also had speculative release dates in the past.

If you've made the decision to go with Craft it's likely your additional costs based on the Craft 3 transition will either be to deal with uncertainty and moving targets while developing on Craft 3 for the next several months or to go with the stability of Craft 2 and deal with some extra costs of upgrading to Craft 3 when the transition is well documented and Craft 3 is stable.

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Ben's answer is excellent, and should be marked as correct. This is simply some additional information to reinforce the decision to use Craft 2.

The current version of Craft 3 is a developer preview beta (thanks Simon)... This means that there are no implicit claims of stability, and anything could change at any time. Similarly, there is no guarantee that you will be provided with a clean migration path for your data, if something were to change internally.

As you noted, Commerce is not yet compatible with Craft 3. It's possible that Commerce won't be adapted to C3 until the official launch of C3 (tentatively slated for late 2017).

Finally, upgrading your completed site from Craft 2 to Craft 3 should be (reasonably) painless. The facets of the site which do not directly depend on plugins should be a nearly seamless transition to C3. For the parts of your site which do depend on plugins, it will mostly be a matter of adapting those plugins to the new C3 architecture. While this will probably amount to a small-to-medium sized challenge, it will require the exact same learning curve as you'd be taking on if you were to jump into Craft 3 now. In fact, the learning curve would (theoretically) be easier if you waited, since the Craft build would be considered stable, and there may even be some documentation (and/or tutorials) available at that time.

In summary, definitely go with Craft 2 for now.

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  • It's now in beta instead of Developer Preview so it's getting closer. – Simon East May 1 '17 at 22:25
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If you use a lot of third-party plugins, it can be more risky to start the project in Craft 2. Because you never know whether and if when an upgraded Craft 3 version of the plugin will be available.

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  • 1
    If you intend on using a lot of third-party plugins, you'll find most of them are not even available on Craft 3 yet. ;-) – Simon East Dec 8 '16 at 0:40

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