Since sharing knowledge helps you learn better I decided to make a short list of the best Magento ecommerce platform tips & tricks I’ve gathered in time. If you are a beginner in developing for Magento these advices will help you save a lot of time:
1. Software to use when editing Magento files: SciTE or Notepad++ for php, html , css files and OpenOffice for csv files (language and import files); they’re all free. Download links: http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html ,http://notepad-plus-plus.org/, http://www.openoffice.org/ .
2. Best server for local Magento development: in my opinion Uniserver is a great local server, very easy to setup and use. Also it’s portable so you can take the Magento installation on a memory stick and run it on a different computer. The other option is XAMPP (for PC developers) which seems to be more configurable but a little less ergonomic. Uniserver can be downloaded for free from http://www.uniformserver.com/ and it always contains updated server components: Apache, MySQL, PHP.
3. Best themes for Magento: can be found on Themeforest.net; for me a good theme besides great design, seamless functionality and rich features has to come with prompt support from the developer and from personal experience I can say that Themeforest gathers the most supportive Magento theme developers on the web; they constantly work on improving the themes and release updates if customers discover bugs or if they stumble into “factory” design problems.
4. Magento “Select Size” box for fashion/apparel store (and other uses): Need a special field where your visitor/customer can select the size for the garments you sell? When you create the product go to Custom Options (last entry in the left side-bar) and create a “Drop-down” Input Type. The list should contain an entry/row for each size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL… Don’t forget to mark “Is Required ” with Yes if you want to force your customer to select a certain size before adding the product to the shopping cart. It will be time consuming for the first products but after you will get used to automate your imports with “.csv” files it will be just as simple as Copy&Paste.
5. Magento Romanian localization: want to install the Romanian language pack through Magento Connect service but you get stuck when entering the extension key? Magento Connect web page provides only the Magento Connect 1.0 key like:
But you need the Magento Connect 2.0 key which you can interpret by comparing another extension that offers both keys. In our case, the good key is:
This solution works also for other extensions that don’t provide Connect 2.0 keys.
6. Magento – different language for the backend (English): if you are not used to work with apps translated in your native language (like me) you will start searching for a solution to permanently change the backend language to English as soon as you install your desired language pack. Go to Admin -> System -> Configuration -> General -> Locale Options and set “Locale” to English US. Then Save. Now in the same page select your store view from the top left selector and set locale to the language you just installed. In my case it was “Romana”. Save again. Also trying to learn from tutorials and forums with a translated backend is a real pain.
7. Magento – how to translate interface elements (frontend). Installing the desired language pack does a good job for most of the elements on the front end but you will still find words in English that you will be wanting to translate in the required language. In order to do this you should edit the files below by adding at the end of the entries the English word(s) in the first column and the required translation in the second column. You should edit the csv files with OpenOffice not with Excel and make sure the following option is selected when opening: Character set – Unicode (UTF-8). The location of the files is:magento\app\locale\ro_RO\ where ro_RO is your language pack.
– Mage_Catalog.csv for the homepage, category view and other locations;
– Mage_Checkout.csv for the checkout stages
Be very careful in the first column (English) when entering the English words, they should be identical to what you have on the frontend: case sensitive, punctuation like :;,.!? Safest way is to Inspect Element with right click in Chrome and copy the content. One last thing: always refresh the Cache (System – Cache Management, Select All, Submit) in order to see the changes on the frontend.
8. Multiple Flat Shipping rates: usually you will want to provide your customers with more than one Flat Shipping rate: for example Postal Service or Fast Courier Service. To achieve this you can install and configure Multi-Flat Shipping extension offered free by MageSpecialist at http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/IDEALIAGroup/extension/3224/ig-multi-flat-shipping . The developer recommends installing the extension with the cache disabled and usually you should re-login in the backend to see the new options in System – Configuration – Sales – Shipping Methods (Flat Rate 1, Flat Rate 2…)
9. Facebook Share button for all products. Sharing your products on Facebook can attract potential buyers from your friends list and is very easy to implement. Find the file view.phtml frommagento\app\design\frontend\default\your_theme\template\catalog\product\ and after the Product Code line add the following code:
<a name=”fb_share” type=”button”></a>
<?php if($_share == ‘facebook_like’): ?>
<script src=”http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1″></script><fb:like show_faces=”true” width=”450″></fb:like>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php $_product = $this->getProduct(); ?>
Refresh the Cache and you’re done. It’s as simple as that. Of course you have to be logged in to your Facebook account in order to share the product.
Any questions? Get in touch through the contact page