Programming

Evaluating and improving accessibility of eCommerce websites

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee once said that “Access (to the Web) by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”. We, as developers, always strive to create a website which looks and feels good on a wide range of devices, resolutions, operating systems, network speeds, etc., but how often do we consider designing or creating a website for a wide range of people? In this article, we’re going to cover some basic frontend principles of improving accessibility and what that means in context of a Magento website.

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Push notifications in Magento

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When running a web shop there is always need to somehow keep your customers posted with the new information. It can be done in different ways, but using push notifications seems like a pretty neat and convenient way to do it. This technology has been around for some time now but unlike mobile apps, there aren’t many websites that actually utilize it. There’s probably not enough buzz about it out there and to be honest, for certain channels, the technology is not quite ready yet in terms of development. Nevertheless, let’s check it out.

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Changing default category sort direction in Magento

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While Magento offers a lot of power when you want to customize category pages and their impressions on your users, there are still some options that are not provided but would come in handy. One common desire is to promote expensive products and ability to reverse sort direction of products in category is a simple way to achieve that.

Functionality like that will require some custom coding, but no fear – it is rather straightforward. 🙂
Prerequisites: Magento module creation, setup scripts, block rewrites.

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Adding static blocks to specific CMS pages with Magento layouts

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While working on a project, I had to add a unique static block between header and main content of the CMS page on each CMS page. Element had to be fully customizable via Magento admin panel and it had to be easy to create on new CMS pages, easily modifiable and removable. Since that element needed to be placed outside of the main content, it couldn’t have been added using CMS in Magento admin. It had to be added using Magento layouts. Here’s how I achieved that.

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Large number of input variables in Magento

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UPDATE: The issue described in the following text has been taken care of in Magento EE 1.14 / CE 1.9

Recently, a pretty strange issue occurred on one of our projects. Our client reported that when trying to assign products to a category, only a thousand of products got saved while the other ones were ignored. To deal with this issue, I decided to jump to the category save action and check for any problems with the code that may cause this behaviour.

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Creating EAV based model(s) in Magento

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Magento EAV (Entity Attribute Value) data model is used to get flexibility for your data, but it brings more complexity than relation table model. If you need data model that will have flexible attributes which can be dynamically added, for example from Magento admin panel, then EAV is the best solution for you. If using EAV, you don’t need to change table structure for every new attribute like you do on flat tables (creating new colums).

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Programmatically create a configurable Magento product

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I already wrote about creating a simple product programmatically in Magento. For configurable product, however, things get a little bit complicated.

As you already know, a configurable product is merely a product with simple products that differ in some option (attribute) assigned to itself.

We can use this conclusion to extend our code for creation of simple products to work with configurable.

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