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  • A short review of Magento possibilities and advantages

    A short review of Magento possibilities and advantages

    Magento is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms. Due to its wide possibilities it has been selected as an online store base by such well-known brands as Samsung, Lenovo, Olympus, Gucci, Skype and many others. Using the customization of Magento extensions, templates and blocks, this engine can satisfy the requirements of online stores of any scale. According to alexa.com analysis, Magento has taken the first place among the most popular online store platforms in 2014.

    In order to install Magento on your computer you will need any UNIX-compatible OS, Apache, MySQL version 4.1.20 or higher. You will also need to install Simplexml and email server Sendmail, DOM and Mhash.

    Among general advantages we can distinguish multilanguage functionality, variable payment and shipping methods, a possibility to manage several stores with different level domains within the same admin panel, multiple currencies availability.

    The administrative panel allows configuration of multi-level prices. The final price in the shopping cart may include the shipping price determined by the shipping company as well as extracted discount or percent. It is possible to apply coupons for specific products or product groups. The system has efficient marketing tools in-built. The administrator is able to access sales reports, top-sale products, clients’ carts and feedbacks. The site backend allows us set fixed Tax rates for specific countries, cities or postal codes. The store administrator can create additional users who can access the admin panel with limited rights, manage the content, automatically import and export the database of customers and products. One of undoubted advantages is availability of various ready themes and templates for online stores. There are corresponding templates for any business, be it a jewelry store or motor vehicles components.

    On the frontend, Magento-based online stores have convenient and understandable interface, an option to subscribe to the store news, notifications about product arrivals or discounts. Magento stores also have an easy-to-use search system and the search can even be done by tags. Registered users can specify several shipping addresses. Store users can read product reviews and see the top-sale products for each category.

    Magento platform is huge, so it would take a very long time to list all of its advantages. However, even this system is not deprived of some minuses which we will discuss in future. We must also mention that you can complete the base Magento package with additional plug-ins which will improve the store operation and broaden its functionality. If you have any questions or wish to learn more information, please feel free to contact our Magento development team.

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  • Magento configuration system

    Magento configuration system

    Despite that Magento administrative panel is quite large and complicated the configuration system in it is very simple. Let’s start from the beginning and figure out why we need it at all.

    Configuration system is a universal place where system variables are stored, including modules and plug-ins. It is for 100% sure that one day you will decide to modify some of your Magento extensions. And this will only be possible due to the configuration system, because it allows you not only read the files but modify them, as well. This makes the configuration system so required and appreciated by Magento users.

    First of all, it is very important to know the order of the configuration files upload. They are usually loaded from the system cache. However, sometimes there is no cache, it is outdated or disabled. Then configuration files are created and placed in the root system directories:

    {root_dir}/app/etc/config.xml
    {root_dir}/app/etc/modules/*.xml
    {root_dir}/app/etc/local.xml
    

     

    When it is impossible to upload local.xml, the file {root_dir}/app/etc/distro.xml is uploaded instead. Then, you should upload the configuration files {module_dir}/etc/config.xml for all enabled (active == true) modules. Then the database configuration files are read: information about websites (core_website tables), information about stores (core_store table) and the main configuration (core_config_data table).

    Let us review the changes in the admin panel using an example of UPS module in which we need to add ‘overprice’ parameter with default setting 7. This module adds $7 to each ordered product which corresponds to the shipping price of UPS company. In order to do this, we need to open the file shipping.xml and add the following code.

    <config>
    <default>
    <carriers>
    <ups>
    <overprice>7</overprice>
    </ups>
    </carriers>
    </default>
    </config>
    

     

    In order for this configuration to be displayed in the admin panel, we need to add the following code in file shipping.xml in Shipping methods – UPS section.

    <config>
    <sections>
    <carriers>
    <groups>
    <ups>
    <fields>
    <overprice translate="label">
    <label>Flat shipping fee for all parts/accessories purchases totaling less than minimum 
    order amount for free shipping</label>
    <frontend_type>text</frontend_type>
    <sort_order>333</sort_order>
    <show_in_default>1</show_in_default>
    <show_in_website>1</show_in_website>
    <show_in_store>0</show_in_store>
    </overprice>
    </fields>
    </ups>
    </groups>
    </carriers>
    </sections>
    </config>
    

     

    In order for these changes to be displayed in the admin panel and applied on the site, we need to add the following code in app/Mage.php file:

    public function getConfigData($field)
    {
    if (empty($this->_code)) {
    return false;
    }
    $path = 'carriers/'.$this->_code.'/'.$field;
    return Mage::getStoreConfig($path, $this->getStore());
    }
    

     

    The principle of work of this specific configuration is that, due to the settings in xml files, the system can read all information but show only some specific data to the customers, including the data written in configuration files by default. In this case, it is $7 shipping price of UPS company.

    All configuration modifications are stored in core_config_data table. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to leave your comments or contact us directly, and our Magento experts will do their best to assist you.

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  • Magento Core Directories

    Magento Core Directories

    Magento is one of the biggest management systems for business development. It will be difficult for a beginning user to understand and use all of its functionality. In order to make new users feel comfortable using the system we have explained the functions and purposes of the core files in one of the previous articles in our blog. Now we will review the core directories and their content:

    • 404 directory contains the modules for 404 page;
    • app directory contains all modules, themes, files and configurations used by the system. All changes and modifications are done in this directory. It also contains the settings and design of the admin panel;
    • downloader – it is the file for downloading and installing the system upgrade without using SSH;
    • js directory contains all JavaScript files and precompiled JavaScript libraries;
    • lib directory contains all PHP libraries of the system. This is the core of Magento code which joins the different elements into one system. Zend Framework is also located there;
    • media directory contains all media files. It stores the product images and generated preview images;
    • pkginfo directory contains text files which inform users about all changes made during the automatic or manual upgrades of the modules;
    • report – this directory contains templates and skins for reports which Magento displays in case any errors occur.

    Now that you know what core Magento files and directories are, you can modify the system, add or remove extensions, change design and settings, without being afraid to damage Magento operation. However, if anything has gone wrong, we recommend you contact GoMage support team. Our Magento experts will provide professional help regarding any issues you may have with Magento system.

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  • Magento File Structure

    Magento File Structure

    Magento architecture is known for its strictness and straightforwardness. Due to that, this platform is chosen by many online store owners as the base for their business. However, the file structure is quite extensive and it is very important to understand the purpose of each folder in the system core. It is necessary in order for the new files for Magento plug-ins you may install to be properly processed by the system.

    Magento system has a specific set of base files and directories which perform different roles. Below, we will review the main files, the purpose of which you should know in order not to damage the system operation in case you need to modify those files.

    The list and purpose of the core files:

    • .htaccess – this file controls mod_rewrite fancy URL. It also serves for the server configuration and adjusting PHP settings (e.g. setting up maximum response time). This is necessary to make Magento work faster;
    • .htaccess.sample – the copy of .htaccess which serves as a backup for default .htaccess file;
    • cron.php – this file regularly checks whether the system cache influences the speed and quality of its operation;
    • favicon.ico – small image ‘favicon’ which is located at the top of a browser tab and in the beginning of the site URL in the address bar;
    • index.php – the main loading file and the full initialization file;
    • index.php.sample – backup file in case the default index file is modified or corrupted;
    • LICENSE_AFL.txt - text license file of Academic Free License under which the system is released;
    • LICENSE.txt – Software License under which Magento is released;
    • pear – this file controls automatic system update with the help of downloader and SSH. This file also serves for initialization and control over separate system modules;
    • php.ini – a sample file of an un-configured server. GoMage specialists recommend using it for installation of Magento on your server but do not rewrite the similar file which already exists there. So, you can use it as a reference if you need to replace some of the lines in php.ini file on the server.

    You may find a lot of interesting information in our blog, please read the articles and share the most interesting of them with your friends. Stay with us, and in the next articles you will learn the purpose of the main core directories in Magento

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  • Limiting the number of products in the shopping cart

    Limiting the number of products in the shopping cart

    In the 21st century eCommerce has grown extremely popular and it does not look like it is losing its popularity. Small entrepreneurs and businesses of the marketing sphere rarely encounter any problems with the site operation directly in the process of selling products through an online store. However, the sites of large suppliers and retailers whose orders’ count reaches several thousand a day often stop reacting to any manipulations or commands. In this article we will discuss how to create a module for Magento that will limit the number of products allowed to be added to the cart by one customer. This extension will only affect the products with different SKUs while multiple items of the same products can be added without any limitations.

    So, the first step will be creation of a quote (limit) file, it will be at app/etc/modules/Obiwan_QuoteLimit.xml:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <config>
        <modules>
            <Obiwan_QuoteLimit>
                <active>true</active>
                <codePool>community</codePool>
            </Obiwan_QuoteLimit>
        </modules>
    </config>
    

     

    Then, we use event/observer mechanism with the help of which we can inform users that their products limit has been reached. But first, we need to identify that limit. You can set any number in your admin panel, and set a default value, e.g. 100. Then you need to create a configuration file for your module: app/code/community/Obiwan/QuoteLimit/etc/config.xml.

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <config>
        <modules>
            <Obiwan_QuoteLimit>
                <version>0.1.0</version>
            </Obiwan_QuoteLimit>
        </modules>
        <global>
            <models>
                <obiwan_quotelimit>
                    <class>Obiwan_QuoteLimit_Model</class>
                </obiwan_quotelimit>
            </models>
            <helpers>
                <obiwan_quotelimit>
                    <class>Obiwan_QuoteLimit_Helper</class>
                </obiwan_quotelimit>
            </helpers>
        </global>
        <frontend>
            <events>
                <sales_quote_save_before>
                    <observers>
                        <obiwan_quotelimit_singleOrderLimit>
                            <class>obiwan_quotelimit/observer</class>
                            <method>singleOrderLimit</method>
                        </obiwan_quotelimit_singleOrderLimit>
                    </observers>
                </sales_quote_save_before>
            </events>
        </frontend>
        <default>
            <obiwan_quotelimit>
                <general>
                    <active>1</active>
                    <single_order_top_items>100</single_order_top_items>
                    <single_order_top_items_msg><![CDATA[No single order allowed with items 
                    over %s.]]></single_order_top_items_msg>
                </general>
            </obiwan_quotelimit>
        </default>
        <adminhtml>
            <acl>
                <resources>
                    <admin>
                        <children>
                            <system>
                                <children>
                                    <config>
                                        <children>
                                            <obiwan_quotelimit translate="title" 
                                            module="obiwan_quotelimit">
                                                <title>Maximum Quote Items</title>
                                            </obiwan_quotelimit>
                                        </children>
                                    </config>
                                </children>
                            </system>
                        </children>
                    </admin>
                </resources>
            </acl>
        </adminhtml>
    </config>
    

     

    Using the above code we have identified the event sales_quote_save_before which was created to preserve the ‘quote’ during the process of filling the shopping cart. Also, you can set a maximum default number in this file. Besides, you can make a message indicating that the limit is reached editable.

    The next step would be creation of a file for configuration of a maximum number of products by the store administrator in the admin panel: System->Configuration->Obi-Wan->General->Maximum Quote Items. We should create a file app/code/community/Obiwan/QuoteLimit/etc/system.xml:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <config>
        <tabs>
            <obiwan translate="label" module="obiwan_quotelimit">
                <label>Obi-Wan</label>
                <sort_order>150</sort_order>
            </obiwan>
        </tabs>
        <sections>
            <obiwan_quotelimit translate="label comment" module="obiwan_quotelimit">
                <class>separator-top</class>
                <label>Maximum Quote Items</label>
                <tab>obiwan</tab>
                <frontend_type>text</frontend_type>
                <sort_order>100</sort_order>
                <show_in_default>1</show_in_default>
                <show_in_website>1</show_in_website>
                <show_in_store>1</show_in_store>
                <groups>
                    <general translate="label">
                        <label>Maximum Quote Items</label>
                        <sort_order>51</sort_order>
                        <show_in_default>1</show_in_default>
                        <show_in_website>1</show_in_website>
                        <show_in_store>1</show_in_store>
                        <fields>
                            <active translate="label">
                                <label>Enable</label>
                                <sort_order>10</sort_order>
                                <frontend_type>select</frontend_type>
                                <source_model>adminhtml/system_config_source_yesno
                                </source_model>
                                <show_in_default>1</show_in_default>
                                <show_in_website>1</show_in_website>
                                <show_in_store>1</show_in_store>
                            </active>
                            <single_order_top_items>
                                <label>Single Order Maximum Items</label>
                                <comment><![CDATA[No single order can be placed over X items, 
                                where X is an integer value which defaults to 100.]]></comment>
                                <frontend_type>text</frontend_type>
                                <sort_order>20</sort_order>
                                <show_in_default>1</show_in_default>
                                <show_in_website>1</show_in_website>
                                <show_in_store>1</show_in_store>
                            </single_order_top_items>
                            <single_order_top_items_msg>
                                <label>Single Order Maximum Items Message</label>
                                <comment><![CDATA[Message to be displayed to customer when 
                                "Single Order Maximum Items" condition limit is triggered. 
                                Defaults to "No single order allowed with items over %s.". 
                                Please use "%s" to position the amount items within the 
                                message string.]]></comment>
                                <frontend_type>text</frontend_type>
                                <sort_order>30</sort_order>
                                <show_in_default>1</show_in_default>
                                <show_in_website>1</show_in_website>
                                <show_in_store>1</show_in_store>
                            </single_order_top_items_msg>
                        </fields>
                    </general>
                </groups>
            </obiwan_quotelimit>
        </sections>
    </config>
    

     

    The next step is creation of an auxiliary file ‘helper’. It will help to get the data for various configurations. Create the file app/code/community/Obiwan/QuoteLimit/Helper/Data.php:

    <?php
    class Obiwan_QuoteLimit_Helper_Data extends Mage_Core_Helper_Abstract
    {
        const XML_PATH_ACTIVE                     = 'obiwan_quotelimit/general/active';
        const XML_PATH_SINGLE_ORDER_TOP_ITEMS     = 'obiwan_quotelimit/general/single_order_
        top_items';
        const XML_PATH_SINGLE_ORDER_TOP_ITEMS_MSG = 'obiwan_quotelimit/general/single_order_
        top_items_msg';
    
        public function isModuleEnabled($moduleName = null)
        {
            if ((int)Mage::getStoreConfig(self::XML_PATH_ACTIVE, Mage::app()->getStore()) != 1) 
            {
                return false;
            }
    
            return parent::isModuleEnabled($moduleName);
        }
    
        public function getSingleOrderTopItems($store = null)
        {
            return (int)Mage::getStoreConfig(self::XML_PATH_SINGLE_ORDER_TOP_ITEMS, $store);
        }
    
        public function getSingleOrderTopItemsMsg($store = null)
        {
            return Mage::getStoreConfig(self::XML_PATH_SINGLE_ORDER_TOP_ITEMS_MSG, $store);
        }
    }
    

     

    The last step is creation of a file which performs all the main work to limit the number of products in the shopping cart - app/code/community/Obiwan/QuoteLimit/Model/Observer.php:

    <?php
    class Obiwan_QuoteLimit_Model_Observer
    {
        protected $_helper;
    
        public function __construct()
        {
            $this->_helper = Mage::helper('obiwan_quotelimit');
        }
    
        /**
         * No single order can be placed over are items of X
         * @param   Varien_Event_Observer $observer
         */
        public function singleOrderLimit($observer)
        {
            if (!$this->_helper->isModuleEnabled()) {
                return;
            }
    
            /* @var Mage_Sales_Model_Quote $quote */
            $quote = $observer->getEvent()->getQuote();
            $store = $quote->getStore();
    
            if ($quote->getItemsCount() > $this->_helper->getSingleOrderTopItems($store)) {
    
                $topItems = $this->_helper->getSingleOrderTopItems($store);
    
                Mage::getSingleton('checkout/session')->addError(
                    $this->_helper->__($this->_helper->getSingleOrderTopItemsMsg($store), 
                    $topItems));
    
                Mage::app()->getFrontController()->getResponse()->setRedirect(Mage::
                getUrl('checkout/cart'));
                Mage::app()->getResponse()->sendResponse();
                exit;
            }
        }
    }
    

     

    How does it work? First, the system determines the value of the ‘quote’, then checks the number of products in the cart and compares the numbers. If the product number limit is not reached the purchase is made properly, but if the number has exceeded the quote set by the administrator, a customer will see a message that the limit has been exceeded and then the system will return them to the cart without saving the order, i.e. the cart will be cleaned.

    You can find more information about the most interesting and sometimes irreplaceable extensions on GoMage site and in our blog.

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  • GoMage FeedPro 3.4 is coming soon!

    GoMage FeedPro 3.4 is coming soon! New exciting features and improved functionality will help you advertize your products through the most well-known shopping systems with much better efficiency. A few known issues will be fixed. Expect the FeedPro version 3.4 released by the end of this week!

    Read More
  • Nofollow and Noindex: how to configure them in Magento

    Nofollow and Noindex: how to configure them in Magento

    Today many SEO specialists often use Nofollow and Noindex tags in order to distribute the weight of pages and also to hide some unnecessary parts of content or html code. What is the difference between noindex and nofollow?

    The first term is a tag which hides a part of text or the whole page from the search engines indexation, the second one is an attribute of <a> tag which helps to regulate the weight of a page by prohibiting to send it to the site being accessed.

    Noindex is used to hide some unnecessary information from the search engines, e.g. site visitor counter codes, non-unique content, frequently updated information.

    The main role of Nofollow is preservation of the page weight. This attribute is needed if you do not wish to transfer a part of the page weight to an unconfirmed source, in case you link to such popular sites as Google or Subscribe. This tag will also be useful if a page contains too many outgoing links. Besides, you can also use Nofollow to hide the links in comments.

    You can configure Nofollow and Noindex in Magento by yourself. Gomage Magento experts recommend two possible ways:

    • by placing a file robots.txt in the root directory of your site;
    • by using meta name="robots" tag.

    In the first case, you need to update the file robots.txt with the names of pages you wish to hide using the following code:

     

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /myfile.html
    

    This method is basically used to prohibit indexation of the whole page instead of a specific part of text or unnecessary code.

    Correspondingly, if you do not wish to transfer a part of the page weight, you should use nofollow instead of noindex.

    The second variant of indexing prohibition may look as follows:

     

    <html>
    <head>
    <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”/>
    <title>Site page title</title>
    </head>
    

    The attribute ‘content’ can have the following values:

     

    <meta name="robots" content="index, follow" />
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" />
    <meta name="robots" content="index, nofollow" />
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" />
    

     

    INDEX, FOLLOW Means that you “tell” search engine robots to index the certain site content and then come back and check for changes later.
    NOINDEX, FOLLOW Means that you “tell” search engine robots not to index the certain site content, but come back and check for changes later.
    INDEX, NOFOLLOW Means that you “tell” search engine robots to index the certain site content only once and don’t come back and check for changes later.
    NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW Means that you “tell” search engine robots not to index the certain site content and don’t come back and check for changes later.

     

    You can choose the content to hide in the Magento admin panel: System -> Configuration -> Design -> HTML Head -> Default Robots

    In order to set noindex and nofollow on static pages you can use layout update. In CMS – Pages tab choose the necessary page, then locate the field Layout Update XML and paste the following code:

     

    <reference name="head">
     <action method="setRobots"><value>noindex, nofollow</value><name>robots</name></action>
    </reference>
    

     

    This code can also be used in any template you choose. If you have any problems or questions we recommend you to contact Magento development team. We will be glad to assist you.

     

    You may also be interested in:

    Hreflang and Canonical URLs in an Online Store

    3xx Redirects: Rules of the Game Have Changed

    How to Deal With Old Product Pages in an Online Store

     

    Nofollow and Noindex in Magento 2

    The procedure described above is absolutely acceptable for Magento 2. You should follow the same logic to configure noindex, nofollow tags and robots.txt.

    You need to go to your Magento admin panel, then choose “Stores” >> “Configuration” section. On the left side under “General” option you should choose “Design”. Open the “Search Engine Robots” tab and configure the necessary settings.

    img_noindex_nofollow_Magento2

    By perforce, you can set your own custom instructions in the Edit Custom instruction of robots.txt file option. For instance, you need to disallow access to all folders while your online store is in development.

    There are examples of custom Instructions:

    If you want to allow full access

    User-agent:*
    Disallow:

    If you want to disallow access to all folders

    User-agent:*
    Disallow: /

     

    Default Instructions

    Disallow: /lib/
    Disallow: /*.php$
    Disallow: /pkginfo/
    Disallow: /report/
    Disallow: /var/
    Disallow: /catalog/
    Disallow: /customer/
    Disallow: /sendfriend/
    Disallow: /review/
    Disallow: /*SID=

    There are not only technical reasons why you need to close your content from being indexed by search engine robots. Noindex tag can help you in some cases:

    • you need to quote a part of the law or a passage from the book and such content can’t be unique;
    • you need to place an interesting article that was published on another site. Why not? If such content may help to keep visitors in your online store longer, you may use it;
    • technical texts or instructions may contain examples of code which can’t be unique, either.

    In all these cases, you may prohibit indexation of a specific part of the text or of the whole page.

    We hope that our tips will be useful for you. Our GoMage team is ready to assist you, if necessary. Please, contact us at sales@gomage.com.

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  • GoMage LightCheckout 5.8 released!

    GoMage LightCheckout 5.8 released! Fully supported Magento 1.9 now! The extension functionality has been improved, several known bugs have been fixed and new features have been added! Download the LightCheckout 5.8 in your GoMage account and explore the updated checkout options on your site right now!

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  • Magento - how it began

    It is hard to believe now but seven years has passed since Magento was first released back in 2007. There have been many successes and failures, many problems and solutions during these years, three Magento editions have been developed constantly upgrading their versions. Let us remember how it all began, what were the expectations when the new eCommerce CMS was making its first ‘beta’ steps. The following interview with Roy Rubin, now former Varien CEO, was published on www.ecommerceoptimization.com in July, 2007.

    Magento eCommerce Solution Overview & Introduction:

    Many eCommerce developers, along with merchant sellers, have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming release of Varien’s new Open Source eCommerce Solution named Magento (like the color magenta, not magneto of x-men). Varien is currently one of the most renowned osCommerce development companies in existence and continues to set industry trends, build better strategies and help their customers improve the way they do business Online.

    Magento is the open-source eCommerce platform that promises to revolutionize the industry. It’s modular architecture and unprecedented flexibility means your business is no longer constrained by your eCommerce platform. Magento is total control.

    With the many changes in eCommerce over the years, developers and merchants have seen a huge need to build on a more flexible, robust, scalable eCommerce platform. Varien is hoping to fill that need by releasing the mother of all open source eCommerce solutions. Will Magento live up to all the hype? Definitely! I can tell you from what I’ve seen of their platform, that it is no joke. These guys have put in tons of man hours, have dedicated years of industry experience, provided unique insights and received mass amounts of feedback from the ones who matter most, users. One thing is for sure, they really understand the needs of the merchants, search engines, customers and many of the other aspects that make up the world of eCommerce. Varien has great customers, who make money. Plus, they have built some of the nicest osCommerce powered sites and Wordpress powered eCommerce sites I have seen. I can’t imagine what they can accomplish without limits - let’s see a glimpse!

    Roy Rubin, Varien CEO, Answers 10 Important Questions About Magento:

    How long has Magento been in delevopment? What’s the expected launch date?

    Magento has been in development since January 2007 and a beta is expected to launch in August.

    What are the main differences between Magento and oScommerce?

    There will be many differences, I’ve listed a few highlights below:

    • Architecture - one of the biggest issues with osCommerce has been upgrades. Once custom modifications are done, there is no way to upgrade. With Magento customizations to existing functionality simply extend the base, making upgrade a possibility.
    • Plug-in/modules/packages - osCommerce has no real good way to install new features. You have to go through the code and add/edit lines, making this an almost impossible task if any changes have been done to the code. With Magento, you’ll be able to install new modules relatively easily without getting into the code much.
    • Templating - a true 100% template system making any design and functionality requirements possible. No limitation whatsoever.
    • Enterprise level code and scaling - performance has been a huge issue we wanted to address.
    • A truly flexible system.
    • Since Magento will be backed by Varien there will be a clear roadmap and transparency to the project. Companies can count on the continuation of the project and enterprise level support and services.

    eCommerce platform providers are popping up all over. What are some of the things that make Megento different from other shopping carts.

    See some of the highlights above.

    How easy will Magento be to use? Should merchants know programming, theming or have other technical experience?

    Magento can be used out-of-the-box as is in many cases. We’ll provide a number of themes/templates to use so that merchants can apply a look-a-feel they prefer. We also expect the community to contribute layouts as soon as the project is launched. In order to benefit from the true power and flexibility of Magento, technical knowledge will be required. If you are looking to change the layout/design - HTML knowledge should be sufficient.

    What impact do you think Magento will have on the industry and especially Open Source delevopment?

    It is our hope that Magento will lead the open source eCommerce space. Based on the feedback and response we have received so far, we feel confident in making this happen. We have a long road ahead of us, but with the community’s help and our team’s dedication we feel Magento will make a huge impact in the eCommerce world.

    What do you mean by Magento gives “total control”?

    Total Control is 100% flexibility. Many eCommerce solutions have inherent constraints and business owners have traditionally tailored their business to the eCommerce platform of their choosing. With Magento it will work the other way around, putting the merchants back in control. No more constraints and no more limitations. That is our goal.

    Do you plan on running a Magento powered store yourself?

    Absolutely. We’ll have a store at some point in the next few months to illustrate just that (selling Magento gear). We feel confident in our solution and so do the hundreds of merchants that have contacted us so far.

    How did you get into eCommerce and what’s your favorite thing about this industry?

    Varien started as a web development and design firm and we stumbled across eCommerce back in 2003. We’ve been providing industry leading solutions ever since. The industry is very dynamic and we’ve been fortunate to work with very large clients that have incredible insight and drive in this industry. We have become passionate advocates.

    What do you think the future of eCommerce will look like and where will Magento be in 5 years?

    Well - it will certainly continue to grow. Demand for eCommerce services will certainly grow as the industry matures. In 5 years, Magento will be the standard of open source eCommerce and have thousands of sites across the web.

    What rough percentage of merchants will be able to use Magento and have it meet ALL their needs?

    “ALL” is a tricky word. I don’t feel there is one eCommerce system that meets every single need of every single merchant. Magento will be very close (and certainly closer than others) - the difference is that with Magento, the merchant has the control and possibility to complete anything they see as missing. With other platforms it’s simply not possible.

    As we can see now, Varien developers were right about the popularity and the impact their innovational eCommerce system would have. After 7 years and despite numerous competitors, Magento is still popular and used by merchants all over the world. Although, it is owned by eBay as of June 2011, it keeps growing and providing online business owners with powerful and easy-to-use platform for building their online stores. Many companies have built their business developing plug-ins and modules for Magento which extend the system functionality and provide new features to the online stores. One of these companies is GoMage. And until there is at least one single user of Magento we will continue provide quality extensions and services to our customers all over the world.

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  • Maintenance mode for Magento system

    Maintenance mode for Magento system

    Working with the site engine is quite a difficult task which requires attention and responsibility. Let us review how to configure maintenance mode option for Magento system.

    What do to if you need to close the site

    Let’s suggest your store is unavailable due to some external reasons (e.g. hosting server issues or some of Magento extensions do not work properly). In this situation it is most logical to close the store until the problem is fixed, otherwise you may lose many customers including your permanent ones.

    What is NOT recommended when you temporarily close the site:

    1. Close access to the site and do not display any information as to the reasons and terms of the site being unavailable. Put yourself in customer’s shoes – they have just ordered a product and suddenly the site is closed. They will hardly come to your store again.

    2. Blame someone else (e.g. your hosting company). They may be guilty, of course, but you should simply explain your visitors that the site is unavailable due to external reasons which are not under your control and everything possible is being done to fix the problem in the shortest time.

    3. Do not specify any approximate time of maintenance period end. If you need to edit your online store you may ask Magento development team to help you calculate the necessary time.

    Configuration of the maintenance mode

    The online store administrators often need to configure the front-end interface to inform their visitors about the technical work in progress. This is called ‘maintenance mode’ in Magento system. A step-by-step instruction to enable it is below:

    1. It order to put your site into maintenance mode create a new empty file called ‘maintenance.flag’ and upload it to the server;

    2. You must understand that when maintenance mode is enabled even the administrator will not have access to the admin panel. If you wish to allow the administrator to be able to access the admin panel and make some configurations you need to edit the file index.php. Open it using an editor, or download it to your computer and then open with the help of Notepad. You need to replace the line 47 with the following code:

    $ip = $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'];
    $allowed = array('69.65.23.100','2.2.2.2');
    

     

    In the line $allowed = array(‘69.65.23.100′,’2.2.2.2′); you will need to specify to which IP addresses the store will be available (here you need to specify your administrator’s IP, webmaster’s IP and your own one).

    3. After that locate this part of code:

    if (file_exists($maintenanceFile)) {
    

     

    and replace it with:

    if (file_exists($maintenanceFile) && !in_array($ip, $allowed)) {
    

     

    4. Save the changes and refresh the store page. If the site is available to you then you have done everything correct, if not – you should check correctness of the data you have added to index.php.

    You can use any other text beside the default ‘The site is under construction’, etc. Just go to the file errors/default/503.phtml and change the text. Do not forget to save all changes you make. Try to address your visitors not too officially but without excessive familiarity. Besides, if there are not processed orders remaining when your site has gone into maintenance, make sure you inform your customers that you are working on the problem and they will soon receive the products they have ordered or will be issued a refund. Some marketing specialists even advise to use infographics or just an appropriate image with the explanation of the situation.

    If you have any questions please feel free to contact us by leaving a comment to the article or directly by email. We also recommend you to read other articles in our Magento Blog and share the most interesting of them with your friends and colleagues.

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