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By In Magento

How to choose extension for your Magento store

In the last few years Magento has established one of the best platforms for e-commerce site.
Robust platform with lots of options that could cover almost any type of store. Ordering, payment and shipping process is quite straightforward and requires minimal input from the store owner. Security is also on a higher level, which is very important for e-commerce site.

With platform development extension also come a large number of extensions that can enhance and improve Magento basic functionality. If you need an extension for Magento, than your starting point should be Magento connect site, it is an official marketplace and a most reliable source for Magento plug-ins.

Every extension that is installed in your Magento store must have a precise purpose and that is why the store with too many plug-ins will have lower performance rate and will be slower in general. Also, it is important that all extensions come from a reliable source and have regular updates in case that security issues come up.

Once you define your search terms and lower the number of interesting extensions to a few, it is time to choose one that will be used in your store. Extensions can be classified in two groups: free and commercial. Don’t let yourself be misguided by this classification, there are many extension that are free and quite good, and this is mainly the case with ‘social group’ plug-ins and less complicated extensions. It is always good for you to choose a free extension from a company that also offers commercial extensions, just be sure that their support is available for free plug-ins as well. There is good chance that there will be no free plug-ins that suit your needs, in that case it is time to go for commercial plug-in. Don’t be shy or lazy, do your homework before you decide to buy a plug-in: read the products description and requirements (supported version of Magento, does the extension require additional software on server to be installed), plug-in documentation, check demo site if it`s available and finally contact the company`s customer service if you have any questions. Many companies offer a ‘money back’ policy which is good in case that you made a mistake, however it is even better to check and buy the right plug-in than to rely on a such policy later.

 
Tip:

Installing and testing extensions on a live site (store that already works and have sales) is not recommended even if you have backup and can easily restore to a previous state. Best practice is to have an ‘up to date’ copy of your store on development server and do all the tests there first. Once everything works properly it will be easy to repeat the installation and setup process. 


Trick:

One of most valuable sources for extension research are reviews on Magento connect site, read them and see what customers that already bought the plug-in have to say. Eliminate reviews that look like they were financed to be positive or ‘rage bursts’; look for constructive reviews that describe real issues and situations.

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By In Magento

How to enable ‘Path hint tool’ in Magento

Magento has a built-in powerful tool that will help you inspect templates that are currently loaded on the front end. This is very important if your Magento store uses a custom theme or has installed extensions that overwrite default templates.

In the main menu go to System >> Configuration Menu, then in the left side menu click on ‘Development‘tab (it should be located on very bottom of side menu). Once you are in the ‘Developer ‘section use ‘Configuration Scope’ drop down menu and switch to store for which you want to enable path hints. After that, open ‘Debug’ group panel and set both the ‘Template Path Hints’ and ‘Add Block Names to Hints’ to ‘Yes’ value, don’t forget to hit ‘Save’ button or changes will not be saved.

 

screen-12In this link you will find a video explaining how to enable Path Hints in case you didn’t succeed by following instructions from above:http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/template-path-hints-tutorial-video/

It’s not possible to setup Magento Template Path Hints globally so you will need to choose the store before option appears in ‘Debug’ panel. Once Path hint tool is active your site will look broken, which might confuse your customers and prevent them from navigating normally or shopping in store. To prevent this, use the ‘Developer Client Restrictions’ setting, which is located in ‘Developer’ section. Enter your IP address (multiple addresses can be added separated with comma) and that will limit the path hint tool to the clients with only that IP address, while all the other visitors will not see any change.

screen-11

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By In Magento

How to disable module in Magento

One of the true powers of Magento platform is a great number of available extensions. And with Magento Connect as official marketplace and built-in Connect Manager it is easy to install and manage various plug-ins.

It is quite common that extensions are not compatible with each other and can create various conflicts. In some cases extensions overwrite each other and only the output of one of them can be seen on the front end. That is minor conflict and will have no impact on the functionality of your store. However, it is possible that the conflicts between extensions can cause a larger issue and crash your Magento store completely. In such cases, you will need to disable the modules and turn them off, one by one, until you find which one is causing issue.

Modules in Magento can be disabled using several methods, it is important to use an appropriate one according to the situation:

– If the module has administration settings then you should check there first. This is the easiest way to turn off the module but in most cases it will continue to load some files, so this method isn’t the most reliable. This method should be used when you want to turn OFF the extension at that particular moment and have plans to enable it later.

Go to System >> Configuration section, then in the left sidebar menu click on ‘Advanced’ tab (it should be located on the very bottom of the side menu) and there you will see a list of all installed modules with ‘enable/disable’ drop-down option. Be careful not to turn off Magento core modules since they are also listed there. They usually start with ‘Mage’ prefix. If you disable the module using this method it can happen that some parts of the plug-in stay active.

– There is one more way to disable the module from administration, this method can be useful if you can’t access Magneto admin for some reason or in the case when you want to disable the module completely. You will need an access to the files and a simple text editor. Connect to server using FTP/File manager, navigate to Magento`s root folder and from there go to app/etc/modules/ sub-folder. There the configuration files for all modules should be located (same list as in System >> Configuration >> Advanced section). Open the module config XML file, find the code ‘active’ nod and change value from ‘true’ to ‘false’, this will turn off module completely.

Tip:

Be sure to turn off Magento caching under System >> Cache Management tab, otherwise changes you make will not be visible.

Trick:

In the current version of Magento 1.7, it’s possible to disable Magento core modules, of which the settings are saved in file app/etc/module/Mage_All.xml. By changing this file you can disable the core module but be sure that you know what you are doing since your store might stop working after those changes.

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