Posting in the Magento forums has been disabled pending the implementation of a new and improved forum solution which should better serve the community.

For new questions please post at magento.stackexchange.com, the community-run support site for the Magento community. We will be providing updates on the new forum solution soon. For questions or concerns please email community@magento.com.

Magento Forum

Page 1 of 2
Making a template is hard
 
Mark_Kimsal
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  186
Joined:  2007-09-12
Michigan, USA
 

I started working on a template, but man does it takes a lot of work.  I’ll save my craptacular design for later.

http://metrofindings.com/magento/

This is as fast as I can get magento.  I’ve done crazy HTML/CSS/Javascript hacks.  I’ve done PHP hacks.  I’ve added APC to the server.  The only way I can get it faster is to spend a lot more time and place all my hacks 100% through-out the site, switch to mod_fcgi (not possible right now), get more RAM.

So, I’ll post my custom template later, for now just tell me if you think that site is “fast”.  I wanted to keep the default template so that people wouldn’t think that it’s my new design that is making the site load faster.

That machine is…

Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.00GHz
512 Megs of RAM

It’s also doing mail. dns, and hosting for 3 other sites.

I broke most of the Javascript, so I don’t think you can complete an order, but how do I put that orange banner on the top of every page?

When y’all make templates, do you start from complete scratch, do you copy the templates/page/* files?  do you copy most of the css/javascript over to your new design?  How does the basic plan of attack go when making a new design?

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
lkbryant
Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  60
Joined:  2007-09-03
 

Sorry to say but, the site loaded pretty slow for me. I think fast-cgi is a must.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
kameko.rouge
Member
 
Total Posts:  58
Joined:  2007-10-11
 

agree with the topic. i consider myself decent at xhtml/css and passable php knowledge (have built very simple shopping carts, blogs, basic cms’s from scratch) and even going through the ‘design guide’ was an errand and a half. i’ve worked with many cms’s but theming magento in comparison is ridiculously hard and overly complicated.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
Mark_Kimsal
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  186
Joined:  2007-09-12
Michigan, USA
 

@lkbryant As I said, it’s not a speed daemon, but it isn’t terribly slow.  It’s faster than the joomla installation on the same server (probably 2x faster).  I’ll post here when I get my fully magento dedicated server up and running.  It will have mod fast CGI as long as the client doesn’t freak out about it.  Before I posted I went and looked at all the other show-off stores, and I dare say that mine is the fastest, sometimes by only a fraction of a second, sometimes by many times over.  (Gutes-Preistwerter and Shoe Bacca being the fastest in my opinion (I would like to know what hardware they are on))

@kameko.rouge Eh.. I wouldn’t say it’s *hard*, it’s just a lot of work.  A lot of work.  Maybe I would say it’s “a little hard”, but definitely time consuming and involved.

I’m wondering, for the people that have customized a lot (shoe bacca, O&C;butcher, Gutes Preistwerter, 5dnet.de) did you start from scratch, or copy default and start changing from there?

There’s a lot of things that need to be a certain way, and a lot of CSS that’s relying on certain other components to be floats, or lists, or spans, or what-have-you.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
bacca
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  19
Joined:  2007-12-12
 

We @ shoebacca.com started from scratch with a very little of the 3 column template.
We have an amazing graphic designer who gave us layouts that we sliced and created the css for those layouts.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
SeanCulver
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  28
Joined:  2007-08-31
Chiang Mai, Thailand
 

I am too in the process of integrating my theme. It is quite difficult.  The setup is quite confusing. It would be nice if there were a default basic design.  With only the structure and nothing special to make it easy to understand. Trying to understand how the default template works in quite a chore.  I imagine it might be easier if there was api documentation but still.. its quite a process to create a template. 

Guess its just a really huge learning curve.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
SeanCulver
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  28
Joined:  2007-08-31
Chiang Mai, Thailand
 

Hi Minu,

I have read the guide many times over, I think it does a good job at the broad overview, but the specifics is what im having problems with.

The Structural blocks call the Content blocks?  It appears as if the structural blocks call the content blocks and then the content blocks reference the stuff in the structural blocks.  It makes me dizzy.  tongue rolleye

I guess I can’t wrap my head around the relationship between Structural blocks and Content Blocks.  How the main.xml controls the 2columnlayout-left file. and how I might break up my (x)html into proper blocks.

Additionally I believe the homepage is slightly different, or atleast it appears the setup is a bit different.

I don’t get which overrides which. I am trying to setup my front page.  (2 column-left template) Now do I need to add the code for the left and the content in the text area under CMS -> Manage Pages, main page?

I have attached my block diagram for clarification. (hope it makes sense) Structural blocks are in red and content blocks in blue.

I have also attached an image of the template.

Thanks for any clarification I can get.

Sean

Image Attachments
blockLayoutZenables.JPGindex_example.jpg
 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
Mark_Kimsal
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  186
Joined:  2007-09-12
Michigan, USA
 
sublimebreeze - 02 January 2008 04:38 AM

I have read the guide many times over, I think it does a good job at the broad overview, but the specifics is what im having problems with.

The Structural blocks call the Content blocks?  It appears as if the structural blocks call the content blocks and then the content blocks reference the stuff in the structural blocks.  It makes me dizzy.  tongue rolleye

I guess I can’t wrap my head around the relationship between Structural blocks and Content Blocks.  How the main.xml controls the 2columnlayout-left file. and how I might break up my (x)html into proper blocks.

Same here.  I can almost understand how the main.xml affects 2col-right.phtml.  I get it in spirit, but I couldn’t win a quiz show based entirely on layout/main.xml.

My main problem is this.  If I start with a clean design (keeping layout/main.xml) I end up with so many errors that I have to simply copy and paste 90% of magento’s default templates and CSS that… well, so much so that I’m not starting with a clean slate.  Should I just dump the main.xml and start from absolute minimum?

Or, do people slowly change each template file piece by piece and make sure all the CSS is correct.  I have a half-done template (taken from OSWD.org) and it just seems like it’s a horrible mish-mash of Magento’s DIVs and CSS mixed with the original design’s DIVs and CSS.  I can’t believe it actually renders at all.  (p.s. I hate overly complicated CSS, can’t we just inline it all?)

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
pwebdev
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  21
Joined:  2007-10-26
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
 

I don’t have trouble installing Magento or making it work, but in frustration, I have done all of my prospect demos wrapped around heavily modifying the demo template with trial and error, where as with other e-commerce solutions it is a whole lot easier.

So why bother?

It’s all about the back end. In the admin settings the features and featureset are very, very attractive to customers. The product management is very intuitive. On the front end the appearance and function of everything makes perfect sense to customers. Its easy for clients, its easy for customers but, at this point its a pain in the butt for developers such as us. 

Of course I am generalizing here. I know that this bus has already pulled out of the station, what we have is what we have, however maybe in 1.5 or so on we could get a template system that makes a bit more logical sense like most other things in this software. Like stated above, I have given up building a template from scratch and at this point am just doing the trial-and-error dance. Quite frankly, the designs I have gotten to work on Magento would not work anywhere else.

However, I am committed to see Magento through to release, I have clients hooked on it and when one rushed me, I said Okay, fine, here’s what Magento Looks like, here’s OSCommerce, and here’s Zencart, I can make them look similar up front, would you like any of these other two backends, the response was a flat out no, we’ll wait. Who wants that disgustingly complicated backend. They feel like they can get their hands dirty with their own products in Magento.

And I will deal with this confusing block scheme the paradoxically references itself and continue looking at how I can make it easier on myself…

Because it is wicked easy for my clients and their customers. I can put up with the pain for bubbly clients who sing my praises to their friends and earn me more business.

Thanks,

tim.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
SeanCulver
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  28
Joined:  2007-08-31
Chiang Mai, Thailand
 

pwebev,

Just found this resource, I hadn’t looked at it for a long time, combined with the Design guide it has helped me alot

http://www.magentocommerce.com/wiki/how-to/designing/designing-for-magento

It helps clarify a bit about the xml and the phtml files.

Sean

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
Mark_Kimsal
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  186
Joined:  2007-09-12
Michigan, USA
 
pwebdev - 02 January 2008 01:23 PM

I don’t have trouble installing Magento or making it work, but in frustration, I have done all of my prospect demos wrapped around heavily modifying the demo template with trial and error, where as with other e-commerce solutions it is a whole lot easier.



Of course I am generalizing here. I know that this bus has already pulled out of the station, what we have is what we have, however maybe in 1.5 or so on we could get a template system that makes a bit more logical sense like most other things in this software. Like stated above, I have given up building a template from scratch and at this point am just doing the trial-and-error dance. Quite frankly, the designs I have gotten to work on Magento would not work anywhere else.



Thanks,

tim.

I think what we need is a sort of Wordpress “Kubrick” to Magento’s theme engine.  Something that is not the default (but should be), and it is stripped down enough that you can go ahead and do trial-and-error with it as a starting point.  Maybe something that intentionally looks horrible, like black on white with every div outlined in red..?  Or just a simple design with a minimum of CSS and JS files.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
SeanCulver
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  28
Joined:  2007-08-31
Chiang Mai, Thailand
 

I think what we need is a sort of Wordpress “Kubrick” to Magento’s theme engine.  Something that is not the default (but should be), and it is stripped down enough that you can go ahead and do trial-and-error with it as a starting point.  Maybe something that intentionally looks horrible, like black on white with every div outlined in red..?  Or just a simple design with a minimum of CSS and JS files.

I fully agree and it appears magento will have such a template… I hope. and I hope they release it soon too.

http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/magento-behind-the-scenes-product-pages/

Sean

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
SeanCulver
Jr. Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  28
Joined:  2007-08-31
Chiang Mai, Thailand
 

Unfortunately, the wireframe template shown is just a jpg.  no wireframe template downer  maybe that will be for the release version (hopes) or a community contributed theme.

Sean

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
lkbryant
Member
 
Avatar
Total Posts:  60
Joined:  2007-09-03
 

is it just me or do you guys also wish there were some header and footer files that you can just hack up really quickly to skin a site?
perhaps an option to either edit header/footer or use the template system magento has now?

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
Mark_Kimsal
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  186
Joined:  2007-09-12
Michigan, USA
 

To answer my own question, I find it’s much easier to start with a clean slate.

Clean out the layout/main.xml file of everything that is not under <default>.
Clean out all <reference> tags.
Clean out all references to callout.

This will greatly reduce your errors while building up your template’s functionality to match magento’s.

I made a kickstart starter template, but I can’t seem to attach it to this post.

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
 
rvelton
Sr. Member
 
Total Posts:  82
Joined:  2007-09-07
 

Don’t feel bad, Magento has completely over complicated the template system and the learning curve for about 95% of the users is going to be pretty much impossible.  It is to bad they didn’t take the vBulletin template system and upgrade system.  Going to be a long year for magento support but I guess that is where they are planning on making there money. wink

 
Magento Community Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
Magento Community
Back to top
Page 1 of 2