Magento Design Dummy Questions

1. Everyone says you can turn on Template Path Hints at “System-> Configuration->Advanced-> Developer”, but why I could not see that option?

Because you did not select “Current Configuration Scope”, which is located at left-top of your admin panel. I know you have only store at this point, however Magento would not pick a current scope for you. You have to select “Default Store View”, and then you will see “Template Path Hints” shows up at Debug section under Developer.

1. Everyone says you can turn on Template Path Hints at “System-> Configuration->Advanced-> Developer”, but why I could not see that option?

Because you did not select “Current Configuration Scope”, which is located at left-top of your admin panel. I know you have only store at this point, however Magento would not pick a current scope for you. You have to select “Default Store View”, and then you will see “Template Path Hints” shows up at Debug section under Developer.

2. How to prevent my changes to Templates/Layout/Skin, etc from being overridden during the future Magento upgrading?

The solution is do not edit those default files, instead create your own design. Note that there are two main folders controlling what your store looks like. One is under app/design/frontend/ (template and layout) and the other one is under skin/frontend (containing css and images). Don’t worry, you don’t have to create all of those file from scratch. You actually only need to copy the files which you want to update and edit from there, but you do need to keep the path exactly same. For example, the default right_col.phtml is under fontend/base/default/template/callouts, and you want to edit it, then you have to create a path like fontend/default/yourtpl/template/callouts (note that the bold portion must be the same.), and then you can copy right_col.phtml to new created callouts folder, and do whatever change you like to make.

3. I already did whatever you said in the Question 2, why I still see the default theme?

Sorry, but you have to enable your theme at the admin panel. Go to “System->Configuration->Design”, on the right panel (Note: if you see all fields are grey out, then you have to select “Default Config” from the left-top Current Configuration Scope, which is an opposite of what you mentioned in Quesion 1) select your Package (most likely, it is default and you don’t need to change it. ) And in the Themes section, you can change Translations, Tempaltes, Skin, and Layout to the name of your new create design separately, or you can just set default to your new design. How this works? Basically, what you defined here has higher priority, so when Magento renders the page, it checks what you define first, if find it, it will ignore the lower one, if not, it will check the lower one until it find it.

4. How to remove default ADs, like “Did you know?”,  “Back to school”, “Now accept Paypal”, etc. from left and right column?

You should be able to do this if you read Question 1 to 3. If not, let me repeat it. In short, you can go to app/design/frontend/base/default/templates/callouts/, then you will see two files, left_col.phtml and right_col.phtml, open them in your desire editor and comment the whole files and saved. But I suggest you to create your own theme as I described in the Question 2 to prevent the changes from being overridden in the future upgrading.

5. How to add categories and products.

  • Go to “Catalog->Manage Categories”, on the left panel, click “Add Subcategory”, and add some categories under Default Category, which is Root Category.
  • Go to “Catalog->Manage Products”, on the right-top, click “Add Product”, and following the instructions to add products. (Note that by default the product you add is “Out of Stock”, so got to Inventory and add Qty and set Stock Availability to “In Stock”)

6. I have added some products, why my home page is still empty?

Because you have not added any content to your home page yet. Go to “CMS->Page”, and click on “Home page”, then on the left panel, you select “Content”, and then add something. You can add static content, like one image or a few words to introduce your business.  You can also add some dynamic module, for example, you can add block to show random products on the home page, you can use the following code.

{{block type="catalog/product_list_random" name="product_random" template="catalog/product/list.phtml"}}

7. How to disable Magento Modules?

Magento provides a lot of modules to make your job easier, but you may not need them, like newsletter, wishlist, poll, etc. If you want to disable them, then you can go to “System->Configuration->Advanced->Advanced. Again, if you see all fields are grey out, then you have to select “Default Config” from the left-top Current Configuration Scope. And then you will see the list of mage_modules. By default, they are all enable, go ahead to disable some you don’t need and save.

8. Why Magento is so complicated?

Because Magento is so powerful. Powerful and Complicated are twins.

You may hope there is lite version of Magento, unfortunately, there is not. But I think Magento is worth to spend some time to dig into, for it is a powerful E-commerce open source cart.