Having the same problem. So far I haven’t found a way to make effective changes to the layout. Everything I’ve tried to modify the layout has either had no effect or just broken something. I’ve tried following tutorials from the Designer’s Guide in Magento’s Documentation, Magento 1.4 Theme Design and Mastering Magento(both from Packt Publishing).
Here’s the code I’m trying out:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!--mark root page block that template is applied-->
The only thing I’m expecting from this code is to remove the callouts and paypal logo, neither of which happened. This xml file is located in magento\app\design\frontend\default\m2\layout and there’s a css file in magento\skin\frontend\default\m2\css
Also from the Magento documentation, I tried moving the shopping cart to the other column, which failed. When I tried renaming the reference like it suggested, it just disappeared. Then I tried moving something from the left column to the right, and it ended up getting duplicated.
My cache has been flushed and disabled from the backend cache management tab. I’ve tried setting both ‘default config’ and ‘main website’ themes default and layout fields to m2(the name that matches the folder of this theme).
I realize I may be running into version issues with the books from Packt, but I haven’t found up-to-date theme design tutorials anywhere. I’ll try the same kind of changes on version 1.6.2 and see how that goes. If anyone has more input it would be greatly appreciated.
UPDATE: Showed it to a friend and he found my problems right away. If a moderator wants to remove this post go ahead. But just in case anyone else is running into similar problems, make sure the XML is valid by running it through an xml validator like w3schools. My problem was I forgot a closing tag
Also was having issues with some of the sample data appearing in the content block rather than being dynamically input through the layout. So I was trying to remove something from columns that weren’t there.
Only thing to do now is figure out how to get it running locally. But that’s a question for another thread.