Magento Themes and Magento Extensions

How to customize Magento to use a different page template when the cart is empty

Posted on December 31st, 2012 | Posted by admin

Being between projects at the moment and having a bit of beach time on my hands Magento question asked on twitter. So, here’s how to use a different template file when the cart is empty.

First, you’ll have to create a custom Magento extension (if you don’t know how to do that, now is the time to stop reading further and go through some of the Magento documentation and tutorials available). You will only need the etc, controllers and Model directories for this custom extension. As always there are multiple ways to skin a cat, so I will start with the first method:

1. Override the checkout controller’s index action and update the layout

Add the following code to your custom controller class before the call to the renderLayout method

Magento is difficult to modify and customize

Posted on November 29th, 2012 | Posted by admin

I’ve recently started a side project for a friend building an ecommerce solution that requires some customizations.  I’ve read about Magento and attended a presentation about it at ZendCon 2008 by a couple guys from Varien, the company that built Magento, and viewed a few of their sample sites.  Because I have years of experience with oscommerce ecommerce, I was eager to dive right in and customize one of these!  Unfortunately, it turns out Magento sucks to work on.  Yes, I said Magento sucks.


Magento has nearly all the ecommerce features you could imagine.  It has pretty much everything that oscommerce ever had, even after installing a hundred community contributions. They support downloadable products, grouped products, different customer types (retail, wholesale) and pricing for each, and a variety of payment and shipping modules.  Magento has “current” features such as tagging and tag clouds and on the backend also has a caching mechanism to speed things up on the site.

Customize the Content Layout on Magento Category Pages

Posted on October 17th, 2012 | Posted by admin

Add content above and below Magento product listings using the Category Description available in 1.4, then updating where the static block displays on the category page when customizing the Display Settings to include both a static block and products.

The main focus of being able to customize the content in Magento category pages was to add the ability for me to be able to have an introductory paragraph of content, but also add additional content after the product listing. Thus I was able to add a foundation of custom content to main category pages without pushing the products further and further down the page.

First you will want to create a static block that will become the footer content for a category. Once created you can then update your category to call this static block. Navigate to the Category you want to include the content below the product listing and update the display settings. Under ‘Display Settings’, select ‘static block and products’ from the Dsiplay Mode dropdown. Then select the name of the static block you created under the CMS Block dropdown.