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A Handy Guide for Magento Developers – What Developers Can Learn From the Basic Magento Facts

Being a Magento developer you are definitely on the search of new avenues to expand your knowledge regarding the structural working and functioning of Magento platform. Due to the flexible nature of Magento, it is not possible to drive a single way in which it could be customized. And since, it’s a constant revolving platform, designers and developers want to profit them by getting a good grasp of the terminology and the basic concepts that underlie the multiple aspects of Magento.

In this article, we are introducing you about some basic concepts that you should know being a Magento developer. All the tips are easy to understand and will surely help you to understand what Magento is all about.

1. Websites and Stores

As we know that Magento is a great platform for the creation and management of multiple stores in a single installation, the platform basically deals with a hierarchy of concepts that establishes a clear line a distinction between individual stores under the entire installation.

There are mainly three concepts that you should know about the platform:

  • Website- made up of a single or multiple stores which share same data, information, order fulfillment, and shopping cart.
  • Stores- they are a suite of different store views, which provide a multiple ways for installation. The main objective of the stores is to allow owners to group related store views in a single website.
  • Store Views- they are the main store instances in Magento. Generally, most of the stores have only a single store view associated with them. Although, we can relate them with many as well to display them in different languages.

Therefore, for those who want to display their store in multiple languages, could create a store with two different store views related to that particular store.

2. Magento Observers

Magento is an event driven application, so it observes patterns. This maintains the list of its all observers and notifies them as and when any change is introduced. So, this way, it could be said that using only hack and slash concept of rewriting Magento’s functionalities is not enough to make your platform do anything you want. Instead developers should know about the ways a piece of code actually works. From the below example, you will get the clarity about it.

3. Magento Layouts

While looking at the layouts of Magento, you’ll get assured of the power and capabilities the platform has to offer. With its catalog/product/view.phtml , you’ll get a pretty good idea about about how products are viewed and managed. These layouts are extremely flexible in nature and have the ability to manage an extensive range of products in the manner most effective.

4. Magento Themes

A Magento theme is made up of multiple templating files (layout, template, locale) and skin files which include CSS, images, and JavaScript, that together work on enhancing the appeal of your store.

Magento splits its theme files into saperate directories so that you enjoy a high end control over the directory’s server. It is crucial to make these files workable over multiple browsers and need to integrate rugged settings to unlock them.

For more information, we are providing you a better explanation of each directory:

Templating files generally reside like this:

app/design/frontend/<designPackageName>/<themeName>/  directory, where the following sub-directories are organized.

Layout- a basic XML file that determines the block structure for multiple plages and control meta information and page encoding.
Template- A PHTML file that contains Xhtml markup and PHP to give a visual appeal.
Locale- Contains a basic CSV text document that are organized on the basis of language categorization and translation strings for all the text produced by Magento.

5. Magento Files

indexer.php , log.php  and compiler.php  are some of the important files of Magento. They offer a great deal of features to make your platform truly stand out. There are some other important Magento files and folders that are essential and you need to know if you want to make any customization to your Magento site.

  • .htaccess - contains mod_rewrite rules, which are essential for the Search Engine Friendly URLs. There you can also find standard web server and php directives that can improve your web site performance;
  • .htaccess.sample - this is a backup of the .htaccess
  • 404 (directory) - 404 page’s template and skin are stored in this folder
  • app (directory) - This folder contains the modules, themes, configuration and translation files. Also there are the template files for the default administration theme and the installation;
  • cron.php - a Cron Job should be set for this file.
  • downloader (directory) - This folder contains web downloader files. They are used for the installation and upgrade of Magento through your browser;
  • favicon.ico - the default favicon for Magento.
  • index.php.sample - A backup of the default index file.
  • js (directory) - Contains the pre-compiled libraries of the JavaScript code included in Magento;
  • lib (directory) - The Magento core code is located in this folder. It contains the software’s PHP libraries;
  • media (directory) - This is the storage of the Magento media files
  • php.ini.sample - backup for php.ini
  • pkginfo (directory) - stores information regarding the modules upgrades’ changes;
  • report (directory) - Magento errors reports’s skins are stored here
  • skin (directory) - There are located the themes files – images, JavaScript files, CSS files, Flash files. Also there can be found the skin files for the installation of skins and administration templates;
  • var (directory) - Cache, sessions, database backups, data exports and cached error reports can be found in this directory;

So, here are some basic concepts that you should be familiar whenever you start your Magento endeavor. Hopefully, you find them useful and understand them carefully.

About Sarah Parker

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Give your website an appealing look with PSD to Magento theme conversion, and maximize the profits by adding new features in the website. Hire experts at Designs2HTML Ltd for 100% handcoded, cross browser compatible and SEO friendly website

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