Witty and insightful observations on the world? Sorry to disappoint, this is a techie blog purely for self reference - published online in the hope it will help others!

Magento Base url Markup Tag

A wee shorty here (that might well turn into my own personal wiki). The Magento markup tags are very useful to use within CMS pages and static blocks. The wiki for it is great too. However the store url tag is no use if you are running Magento with multiple store views and you have cms pages or static blocks which cover multiple views. In this case the store url will include (now I'm incorporating the store view into the url here, see this post for details) the store view code. So if you are sharing CMS pages across multiple views you are going to need to ... Read more

Magento urls – remove the appended ?___store=

A typical Magentoism. If you are setting up multiple shop/store views within a website in Magento then you'll notice if you use the store switcher to switch between them that Magento (by default) will append a pretty horrible looking; parameter on the end of urls. Their alternative store will be http://www.myshop.com/?___store=otherstore but even worse, the default store when switched back will be http://www.myshop.com/?___store=default Not only does it look bad seeing that sitting in your browser address bar but it's not good from an SEO point of view. If you are Googling about this then you'll probably see a raft of forum threads from Google Base / Google Merchant Centre users whinging mercilessly about this 'Bug' which Varien has neglected ... Read more

Payment Sense – “Transparent” redirect

I've just launched a Magento site that uses Payment Sense as the payment gateway. I was really impressed by Payment Sense, and wrote another blog post about it here. However now that it's all up online, and working I have to admit to being a bit disappointed by the so called 'Transparent Redirect' they do, and can't help but think it will result in lots of abandoned carts right at the end of the checkout process. After final review in the Magento one page checkout, the user (who has entered their card details in the payment section) has their payment information passed across to Payment Sense who verify it, process the transaction and redirect back ... Read more

Magento VAT setup for companies trading worldwide

I have just finished setting up a Magento site with all the tax rules applicable to the client. They are a VAT registered UK company who are shipping worldwide, so it's not totally straightforward to set up. For those new to this there are a few points you might want to bear in mind; You only charge VAT within the EU. For EU VAT registered businesses outwith the UK you don't have to charge VAT, but you would need to verify that they have a EU VAT number or you will be liable for it. No VAT is charged to customers (business or consumer) buying from outwith the EU. VAT is chargeable at your local tax rate. You don't ... Read more

Magento integration with Payment Sense

I recently had a client who decided to change their mind at the last minute and go for Payment Sense as their payment services provider for their Magento installation. No problem, Payment Sense have developed and released their own module for Magento, they have their own variants of the payment methods (similar to the others ie Direct, Form and a Server-Server method they call transparent redirect). It was really easy to install, as I normally download the tarball rather than pulling the PEAR package in via Magento Connect. Uploaded it and it was installed fine. Only gotchas were that the user name and passwords I was initially using were completely wrong - you need to login to your MMS panel ... Read more

Sagepay – Sanctioned Countries

I always forget where I've filed these. When you are setting up a Magento store you have to set up the list of Allowed Countries. Do you want to ship to Tokelau, the South Sandwich Islands or Wallis and Futuna?? I don't know, I've never even heard of any of those places but that doesn't mean they should be struck off the list. Maybe there are a whole gang of bored, rich people living in the capital of the South Sandwich Islands who like nothing better than to spend vast sums on internet shopping (OK, just checked on Wikipedia - it's got no native population...Magento, I think we can safely remove that one). Anyway, some payment services have ... Read more

Heavily Customised Magento

This is more of a general post relating to Magento and e-commerce development than a Magento technical post. In the past week I've been involved on one capacity or another with two big Magento sites that have been heavily customised to suit the particular needs of the two clients. I'm not going to name either of them because both sites have been a bit of a disaster. In both cases I was involved reasonably early on - in one case I took over from the initial developer who didn't have a clue and handed on to a bigger Magento agency to handle the custom work, in the other case I just did the Wordpress work for it. Now ... Read more

Magento Breadcrumbs in phtml file

Breadcrumbs in Magento. OK, first issue is that it's not as obvious as it might seem - for a start a product can exist in more than one category, so for any given product URL there is no way to know which the 'best' or most appropriate breadcrumbs trail is. There are a few great resources on it. First one is this thread - what a classic, some really great input from 3 or 4 developers here that will teach anyone reading it how to set up their own module. http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards/viewthread/176389/ Handy tip on it all the way from Kathmandu on the code to add to your template phtml files; http://blog.chapagain.com.np/magento-easily-add-breadcrumbs-to-any-page/ To save you reading it, it's this ;-) ... Read more

Magento url and skin url for templates

When you're working with CMS templates you don't want to hardcode any urls because when you move it from the development server to the live one you have to go through and change them all again. And then when they move it from the .co.uk to the .com you go through and do it all again. In Wordpress you can add in the following in-built method to automatically output the base url for the site; And for your base url of the active template; So what are the Magento equivalents? Base url; So to access the jQuery.1.7.2.min.js file in the JS directory it would be; And skin url; Read more

Adding the top.phtml navigation in a Magento CMS Page

Sometimes it can be pretty frustrating trying to remember how to do something (start a blog like this - that's what I do, these posts are for my benefit, if anyone else reads them it's a bonus!). Like simply calling the top menu in Magento from a CMS page. I'm doing a Magento site which has the navigation in the home rendered differently from the rest of the site. Simple task, but I couldn't off the top of my head remember the block type. Try Googling it, if you find it quickly you are doing better than me. Anyway here it is, it was just catalog/navigation (D'oh). Simple, no need for a custom navigation template at all. {{block ... Read more