Magento eCommerce Review: Platform Perils and Impressions, Three Months In

It’s been about three months since I broke into Magento for my first project here at Synapse Studios so I thought I’d give my impression on the shopping cart tool having gotten to know it a bit better.

Obviously a free, full-featured, shopping cart and e-commerce solution is great concept. I mean, really, one can’t bitch too much about something that is free (notwithstanding, say, venereal diseases or OScommerce…) Magento’s feature list is comprehensive: coupons, specials, multiple checkout and shipping options, tiered pricing, layered navigation, etc. Unfortunately, when you are neck-deep into anything, you get a better sense of the minor and major flaws lurking just under the rosy surface. Take a look after the jump at some of its more vexing problems.

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Posted in: Development, Reviews

Get your X outta my HTML

As the guys around the office are well aware, I tend to obsess over minor details in our code. Whether it be fixing code formatting to be tabbed properly or renaming variables to better fit naming conventions of a project, the developers hate when I meddle in the codebase. Is it my fault that sometimes I miss a few when I go through and rename variables, functions, methods, etc? Clearly, no. The joys of being the boss.

But what I really want to discuss is something I don’t consider so minor, complying with web standards. Most times when I am doing web development I prefer to go with the HTML 4.01 strict doctype. We try to observe strict standards wherever we can, and they have helped us to avoid patterns of behavior that are more prone to errors. We make sure that notices and E_STRICT are enabled on the PHP side. While developing, our templating system is set to validate our markup against its doctype in a very angry way that we both love and hate. The added benefits of sticking so closely to the standards is that you can pick up errors through malformed output that browsers obfuscate, and you can achieve a greatest amount of compatibility between browsers. As any good website designer knows, creating web pages that render the same in every browser can be a royal pain (thanks Microsoft).

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Posted in: Design, Rants