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Latest Magento Headlines, GoMage Updates and eCommerce Best Practices

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  • Output of new products on the home page through XML

    Output of new products on the home page through XML

    In this article we will review how to output a new product on a home page using XML layout in any of Gomage templates. First of all, you should go to CMS > Pages > Home Page and choose Design tab. Then, you should add the following code into ‘Layout Update XML’ field that will allow you add the content blocks to the home page:

    <reference  name="content">

    Between ‘reference’ tags you should insert the code of new product blocks:

    <block  type="catalog/product_new" name="product_new"  template="catalog/product/list.phtml

    The next step is selecting the number of columns. This can be done through the following code which should be added between ‘block’ tags:

    <action  method="setColumnCount"><column_count>6</column_count></action>

    Then, you should set the number of products that will be displayed in the new products block:

    <action  method="setProductsCount"><count>0</count></action>

    The complete XML layout will look like this:

    <reference  name="content">
        <block  type="catalog/product_new" name="product_new"  template="catalog/product/list
            <action  method="setColumnCount"><column_count>6</column_count></action>
            <action  method="setProductsCount"><count>0</count></action>

    If it is necessary to display products of a certain category you should add the following code:

    <action  method="setCategoryId"><category_id>10</category_id></action>

    Here, it is important to make sure that correct category ID is set. You can verify the ID in your admin panel at Catalog > Manage categories.

    Please follow our updates and you will learn other possibilities of Magento stores optimizations in the articles in our blog.

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  • Product Designer 2.0 is released!

    Product Designer 2.0 is released! Several new features have been added to make the process of designing products faster and easier. The text and images can now be moved to front or back, changes can be cancelled on each product side separately, the text can be edited after it has been added on the image. Also, a ‘clock ’indicator has been added to display the progress of image loading. All known issues have been fixed. Install Product Designer 2.0 and enjoy improved extension functionality right now!

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  • Basic enhancement of Magento performance

    Basic enhancement of Magento performance

    In the previous article we have discussed the possibilities of speeding up the process of filling Magento catalog by beginners. Now we will review the ways of basic acceleration of the system work in general.

    The first thing experts recommend is enable cache. This can be done in System – Cache management on your backend. In order to optimize the site page loading time it is necessary to choose all cache types, set ‘Enable’ in Action and save the changes. Do not forget to refresh the cache after new themes or Gomage modules are installed.

    The next step would be to enable compilation. Go to System – Tools – Compilation, launch the compilation process and click ‘Enable’. There is a point you should be aware of. In order to ensure correct system functionality it is necessary to disable compilation before a new extension is installed, and then enable it after the extension is installed and cache cleaned.

    The third step is to enable Flat Catalog structure. It can be done in System – Configuration. In Catalog tab on the left choose ‘Catalog’ and set Use Flat Catalog Category to ‘Yes’. After that, save the changes and re-index Product Flat Data and Category Flat Data.

    The last step recommended by Magento experts is combination of CSS and JavaScript files. This can be done in System – Configuration. In ‘Advanced’ tab choose ‘Developer’, go to ‘JavaScript Settings’, set Combine JavaScript files to ‘Yes’. Then go to CSS settings and set Combine CSS files to ‘Yes’.

    As soon as all modifications are complete the site pages will start loading quicker and the system will react to users’ actions faster. In order to maintain good speed of the system performance, do not forget to make re-index and flush the cache regularly.

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  • How to fill in your catalog faster

    How to fill in your catalog faster

    Magento is a large and scalable system which includes a lot of plugins and functions by default. In order to help beginners fill in their catalog faster and launch their online store, Magento experts recommend the following steps.

    Use product duplicating option

    First, you need to create a basic product. Then you can duplicate it by pressing the corresponding button which is located next to ‘Save’. But remember that SKU and status need to be added manually for duplicated products. Also, it is necessary to insert a new picture. Other fields will be filled in automatically. This option is very convenient for products which differ only in color (clothes) or manufacturer (equipment).

    Disable stock option

    In the first stage of your store development it is recommended to disable stock counting option which requires regular manual update and, therefore, takes precious time. You can disable it by going to System – Configuration – Catalog – Stock. In ‘Parameters’ tab choose ‘Stock management’ field and set it to ‘No’. Then save the changes.

    Make secondary fields not mandatory in the product settings

    Go to Catalog – Attributes – Manage Attributes. Choose ‘Yes’ in the table filter and click ‘Search’. This will show you all mandatory attributes. After that you can choose the attributes which are unnecessary, in your opinion, set the option ‘No’ for ‘Mandatory’ field and save the changes. For example, you can disable Tax Class (tax_class_id), weight, short description, etc.

    Please read other articles in our blоg and you will learn other ways of Magento CMS functionality optimization.

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  • Displaying new products through widgets

    Displaying new products through widgets

    As we know, Magento offers a feature of inserting blocks with the necessary content on any website page. In this article we will review how to place new products on the main page of any Gomage Magento theme with the help of widgets.

    The first thing to do is go to CMS > Pages > Home page. Here, open Content tab. Press the button Insert Widget at the top.

    Then, choose ‘Catalog New Products List’ in Widget type. Here you can set the desired quantity of displayed products and the layout type. Once the changes are done, click Insert Widget. The last step is clicking ‘Save’ button to save the changes.

    If you have any other questions or issues, Gomage experts will be glad to help you. Please feel free to contact us directly or leave your comments to this article. Follow our updates and in the next article you will learn how to display a new product using blocks.

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  • Magento Imagine eCommerce Worldwide Conference in Las-Vegas

    This April appears to be rich in events related to Magento. In the previous article of our blog we mentioned a webinar that is going to take place soon, now we will discuss a world-wide offline conference that will take place on April, 20-22, 2015.

    The event managers invite all interested retailers to attend the conference called “Sparking Curiosity & Lasting Connections through Personalization: A Great Courses Case Study” in Las-Vegas.

    The general director of the conference Jason Meugniot describes the event as follows: “Magento is considered to be one of the most flexible and scalable admin panels for eCommerce. However, it is not so well-known that Magento is also an automated manager and a powerful personalization tool. Our presentation will show, on example of one large site, that personalized strategies and modules of Magento are always oriented to increase your online sales.”

    The speakers of the conference will be representatives of Harbor Freight Tools, Johnny Was, Pam & Gela, Ray-Ban, Relax the Back, Robert Graham, Silver Jeans, Sole Society, Tacori, TOMS Shoes. They are considered to be the most experienced Magento users who managed to build successful channels of retail sales based on the web solutions offered by the system for realization of possibilities in the sphere of eCommerce.

    If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. In order to learn the latest news about the conference follow @guidance and #MagentoImagine in Twitter.

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  • Free Magento Webinar will take place on April, 15

    Free Magento Webinar will take place on April, 15

    Good news for Magento store owners and beginner users: on Wednesday, April, 15, a free webinar on administrative panel usage will take place. In order to take part in the webinar it is necessary to register first. The webinar will be held at 11:30 AM UK, 2:30 PM UAE, 12:30 PM Europe, 4:00 PM IST.

    The webinar will be conducted by Fulcrum Worldwide representatives - Vivek Kumar and Pawan Choudhary. Vivek Kumar has 11-year experience in leading open source technology solutions. He states that he enjoys working with complicated projects and realizing the best clients’ expectations.

    Pawan Choudhary is the head of the initiative department working with clients directly. His plans and solutions have helped many clients all over the world to develop successful businesses.

    The webinar program includes discussing of an e-commerce solution which can meet any requirements you could think of – attract and maintain customer base, work of both stationary and mobile devices, etc. They will also review the system possibilities which will help your business survive and continue to grow even in terms of tough competition on the market. The other important points to be reviewed are personalization of customer’s profile, usage of the order history as well as systems of individual discounts and coupons.

    Fulcrum Worldwide understands how important it is for each store owner to turn clicks into conversions and explore new horizons in their spheres. The main purpose, though, always remains satisfaction of customers’ needs.

    Follow our blog to read new interesting articles and announcements of future events in the eCommerce world.

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  • Configuration and storage of session files

    Configuration and storage of session files

    When online merchants make their first steps working with Magento, they have to spend a great deal of time configuring the admin panel, setting desired parameters, installing extensions, uploading products into catalog. Sometimes, their session expires and interrupts the work, which makes them re-login and start anew.

    However, it is quite easy to configure the session life time. Go to System → Configuration → Admin → Security → Session Lifetime and set the desired time. It is important to remember that time is counted in seconds on the server. So, the value 1800 (seconds) will allow you work in the admin panel for 30 minutes.

    All sessions are stored in the file system by default. This is very convenient for users. Besides, all sessions can be checked using FTP access to the server. However, there is one significant disadvantage in this way of session storage: after some time, the amount of files may exhaust allowed server space. The path of the storage is specified in local.xml file:





    The users may choose to save the session files in the database. The database is stable even in case of unexpected system downtimes or overloads. But, when this method of the data storage is used the general system load is increased. So, this way is better for small online stores, since the stores with large amount of products may encounter MySQL server performance issues.

    In order to set the path of the session files storage it is necessary to access app/etc/local.xml file and add the following:





    When the data are transferred from the file system to the database, it is necessary to edit the file config.xml and remove the following line:





    Of course, each user is free to choose the way of session data storage which is the most convenient for them. If you have any additional questions, please contact Magento experts directly and they will do their best to assist you.

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  • Events and observers: principle of work

    Events and observers: principle of work

    Today we will review such method of modification of basic Magento functionality as “design pattern”. This method is considered as a standard one and it is necessary to understand it in order to work with the system successfully.

    The principle is based on creation of a module using so called ‘event’ and ‘observer’ files. The ‘event’ suggests an action which leads to modifications in the store, e.g. when a user presses ‘Checkout’ button. ‘Observer’ monitors the changes and then passes them to the system to make it perform specific actions in a certain order.

    In order to create a file Observer.php it is necessary to go to /app/code/local/Pfay/Test/Model/ and insert the following code:

    class Pfay_Test_Model_Observer extends Varien_Event_Observer
       public function __construct()
       public function saveCmsPageObserve($observer)
             $event = $observer->getEvent();
             $model = $event->getPage();


    This observer is created with ‘SaveCmsPageObserve’ function due to which the events will be fixed after a CMS page is saved on Magento backend.

    As you can see, this file will monitor the events using ‘getEvent’ method that will send all the modified parameters automatically.

    In order to make the observer work properly, it is necessary to inform the system about its existence. Go to /app/code/local/Pfay/Test/etc/config.xml and edit the file config.xml. Add the following code:

               <method> saveCmsPageObserve</method>
               </ Pfay_Example_Model_Observer>


    The part of code <strong> <cms_page_prepare_save> </strong> represents a controlled event in this example. In order to launch saveCmsPageObserve, the observer should wait for the action cms_page_prepare_save to start.

    The process of completing the task in Observer is controlled by dispatchEvent which generates events. It is located in \core\Mage\Adminhtml\controllers\Cms\PageController.php and should look like this:

    Mage::dispatchEvent('cms_page_prepare_save', array('page' => $model, 'request' => $this->getRequest()));

    It is possible to create separate files ‘Event’ and ‘Observer’ for each group of actions or processes in Magento. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact our experts, they will be glad to assist you.

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  • Magento 2 – coming soon

    Magento 2 – coming soon

    Web marketing manager Owen Radford who is specialized in Magento and Wordpress sites has recently announced soon release of Magento 2. Besides, he has announced a preliminary plan of beta-versions launch.

    According to Owen Radford, the first rumors about a new engine were heard back in 2010 and this topic was discussed during 2011, but the development was moving forward slowly. At last, it is time to present Magento 2 to the system users. This is going to happen in the end of 2015. This December, Magento development team began testing of the beta-version.

    Image from:

    The following stages are still to be performed:

    • Q1 – testing of the candidate release by the developers for the end users;
    • Q3 – presentation of beta-version to the end users;
    • Q4 – launch of complete new engine version and mass release.

    What’s new should the users expect from Magento 2? It will include update of the technological possibilities, optimization and simplification of installation, configuration and update processes, simplification of Magento integration, higher capabilities and scalability.

    “Now we work with the up-to-date technologies only: HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery. One of mischievous commentators called creation of new Magento 2 ‘no more that its rewrite on JQuery’, however this is absolutely not true. In any case, the efforts taken to update and optimize the system are also very important”, Owen says.

    Closer to the release date the other changes and new features will be announced. The developers indicate that it will be difficult for Magento 2 to compete with well-known and long used Magento 1.x, but they still hope for success.

    Switching to Magento 2 will be done gradually. The new version is not yet available for mass usage. First, the developers plan to implement it through the upgrade process from the older versions, but the possibility of backup will be preserved.

    As soon as any new information about Magento 2 is available, you will see it in our blog. Watch our updates and do not forget to share them with your friends!

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