Magento Themes and Magento Extensions

Magento: Configurable Products VS. Grouped Products

Posted on May 31st, 2011 | Posted by admin

Magento’s configurable products are great. But I’ve run into some things about them that I do not like. If you are just selecting colors, sizes, or simple options where the price doesn’t change, or it changes very little, then configurable products are awesome. When you run into an instance where there are significant price differences, then configurable products can really stink.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve got some large rolls of paper being sold. There are 3 different sizes of the same paper. The 32″ is $365.95, the 40″ is $411.30, and the 48″ is $486.73. If you aren’t that familiar with configurable products, you have to set a price for the configurable product, then if any of the options have a higher price, you have to figure out the math and add the difference. So, in this situation, if I set my configurable product to $365.95, I would have to mark the 40″ as $45.35. So, the pull down would say something like ’42″ (+45.35)’. I wouldn’t know the true price until I selected the 42″. And, if the price ever changes for any of these different sizes, I have to do the math every time and I can only update the prices through the configurable product. The prices for the simple products have no effect for a configurable product. Understand the issue here?

So – there’s a better option, namely, grouped products. Grouped products do act differently, but once you figure them out, I really like using them for situations like this. Grouped products are mainly meant to “group” different products together. Magento’s example is if you are buying a men’s suit. You’ll need a jacket, pants, button-down, tie, etc. You can group all those together. This is beneficial because you can not only sell a single button-down shirt individually, but you can also sell that same shirt (same SKU) in a suit set and still maintain the SKU, price, etc. just with one simple product.

In our situation though – we can conform our grouped product to have basically the same “product” in a sense, but just different sizes. So, we can make our simple products for the 32″, 40″, and 48″ rolls of paper, set them all to have visibility of “nowhere”, and associate them with our grouped product, and then you’ve got a “single” product with 3 different sizes of paper with a nice display of how much the different sizes cost. So – if the price changes for the 48″, simple change the price for the 48″ simple product and the grouped product shows the new price.

So, if you’ve been frustrated with configurable products that have different or odd price differences, consider trying a grouped product.

Magento: Product Import Script Design Contest

Posted on May 31st, 2011 | Posted by admin

I am a developer, and definitely not a designer. That said, it would be wise for me not to attempt to make this script look good. So, I am opening up a competition for any of you who are interested. Below, you will see a screen shot of the form that will be used for the import script. Here are the details of the contest:

Magento: Add Instructions to Form Field in Admin Product Add/Edit

Posted on May 30th, 2011 | Posted by admin

I made some custom functionality that can happen with a product’s Short Description. Depending on what is put in that textarea, icons and special product-specific links can be displayed on that product’s view page. It requires a specific format though for it to work – and instead of emailing the client and having them forget how to do it correctly, it would make more sense to put instructions next to the Short Description field in the Admin product add/edit page.

For this example, we’ll be adding instructions to the Short Description. If you take a look at the source code, you’ll see that the short description is displayed with this code:

    <td><label for="short_description">Short Description <span>*</span></label></td>
    <td><textarea id="short_description" name="product[short_description]" type="textarea" ></textarea></td>

Magento: Add Custom Module For Custom Admin Config Options

Posted on May 30th, 2011 | Posted by admin

In my previous post, I showed you how to add instructions to the Short Description on the product add/edit form. While this is useful, if you ever wanted to change the instructions, you would have to open the template file and edit it manually. Wouldn’t it be nice to edit those instructions right in the admin configuration options? Yes, it would!

It’s quite simple to do – and it should only take you a few minutes to implement this. But, the options are endless. You can add all sorts of custom configurable options that you can edit in the admin panel very easily.

To get started, you’ll want to create a new module XML file similar to this: /app/etc/modules/MyMods_All.xml. Put the following code in that file:

Magento: Add Static Block to CMS Page

Posted on May 30th, 2011 | Posted by admin

There is definitely nothing complicated about doing this. Static blocks are a great way to divide up different types of data blocks to make updating content easier.

There are just two simple steps to adding a static block to a cms page. First, create your static block. You will use the identifier to call it on the cms page. Let’s say, for this example, we call the identifier “home-page-promo”.

Once your static block is created, edit whatever cms page you would like this block to appear on, and simply put this code in right where you want it to show up:

{{block type="cms/block" block_id="home-page-promo"}}

And that’s all there is to it.

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