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Magento Architecture: Understanding Magento ® Terminology

Magento terminology

Magento ® is one of the most popular platforms for web stores. Beginners often feel uncomfortable using it due to lack of theoretical knowledge. Today we will review Magento ® terminology.

Magento Architecture ® terms

There are a lot of terms that have the same meaning in Magento ® as well as in other platforms. We will discuss the most frequently used ones and explain their meaning in detail.

In order to understand some of the terms, it is still necessary to know main principles of Magento ® functionality, Magento ® templates, read the user’s guide. First, let us review the difference between what a website is as it compares to a Magento ® Store.

Websites. On a Website platform, there can be a certain number of web stores which use the same database, customers’ details, and other information sources. You can configure different sites to display the same information.

Stores. This is the part of a site that is visible to customers. Depending on the configuration you can divide the stores but in most cases the stores that share the same database display the same content.

Store Views. Store Views are the parts of sites where the products are displayed. One of the most convenient Magento ® options is that Store Views can be configured to use several languages. This feature is frequently used for Multilanguage stores.

The architecture of Magento ®

The base of Magento ® platform is Zend Framework which is considered to guarantee the security of the site code and your personal information.

What makes Magento ® so convenient:

1. High flexibility. If you are a skilled programmer you will not have a problem opening the Magento ® source code. Otherwise, we recommend that you ask GoMage experts for assistance;

2. You can update the system when you need it, you always have a choice and a right to not use updated versions;

3. High-performance speed and security of your systems are above all competitors. That is why Magento ® is used by the most popular web stores. Despite that, your site can still be attacked by professional hackers but the probability of their penetration into your site data is very low on this platform.

The next block of terms will be used for configuration of any Magento ® site:

Core. The core contains absolutely all necessary site functions.  The source code of the core is a specific set of necessary modules. It is not recommended to change their code because after that you will not be able to install the upgrade and will have to re-install the whole system over again.

Local. Local is the variant of Magento ® configuration which is stored in a separate user’s archive. They are used when it is necessary to upgrade your system or some of its functions. The principle of the Local is equal to the original source code.

Community. A community is the configuration of your web store. You can change them according to your needs.

Extensions. Extensions are the files which serve to improve the functionality of Magento ®, extend the platform options, etc. GoMage Extensions are known for their wide functionality as well as the guarantee that they will not affect the functionality of updates. The extensions can be installed manually or downloaded through Magento ® Connect.

There are several types of extensions:

1. Modules. They improve the standard properties and functions of Magento ®, e.g. payment module or translation module.

2. The interface offers a wide range of visual options. Basically, this type of extension influences the customers’ interface which is configured in the admin panel.

3. Themes. They are templates for Magento ®. They help to make your web store design unique and complete the work of the above-mentioned extensions. Magento ® Themes are also divided into two types - Default Themes and Non-Default Themes. The former ones are built into the system while the latter ones need to be bought or ordered from web designers.

Additional terms

The following terms are very popular not only with Magento ® programmers but with other specialists in this sphere:

Layouts – they are standard XML files which determine the page description, its view, the number of blocks, and general functionality.

Templates – they are PHTML files which include files with the (X)HTML extension and various PHP tags for connection of the other files.

Skins – they are JavaScript blocks, CSS and image files, they serve to make the site pages beautiful.

Blocks help to create a specific set of functions. They are used for configuration of the page layout on web stores and other sites. There are Structural Blocks and Content Blocks. Structural is general blocks that form the site, e.g. sidebar, content column, footers, and Content blocks are what the Structural blocks are filled with.