Thanks for the replies guys. Apropos the XML templating system, what made you choose to set it up that way? While I know you’ve said it increases flexibility, it does only allow more experienced users to reap the benefit of the added flexibility. Everything is incredibly well designed and it has a great deal of appeal, but in a situation such as mine, Magento doesn’t cut the mustard because of the steep learning curve. What audience was Magento designed for? Fellow developers? I’m a front-end web designer who is looking for an ecommerce/CMS solution that makes use of web standards and best practices, which Magento appears to do. I think it’s shortcoming however is that it can’t be easily customized.
Anyway, great work with what you’ve done. Hopefully I can revisit Magento in the future when it’s front-end is more easily customizable. I don’t think most people looking for a nice ecommerce/cms solution have the time or patience to learn XML or the XML templating system you’ve devised. I think there will be many designers, like me, who have an XHTML/CSS based design all ready to go and will perhaps be discouraged by the notion of having to learn the templating system. I know that’s how I also felt about Symphony21.
Please don’t take the above as me being destructive or unfair. I was merely attempting to offer my opinion as a front-end web designer so that you better understand the perspective of some of your prospective users.
I just want to add that the demo store design and implementation was done by our front end HTML/CSS developers. This approach had in mind front end developers from the start. Don’t let the XML scare you it should make things much simpler. There is no need to learn XML to customize the store front end. I am sure once the design packages documentation is released you will find this a very easy and fast way to customize and work with the system .
Amen! The templates look overly elaborate, but the more I look at the more I’m glad its broken up this way. For things I want to do, I would need to rewrite html. This seems more flexible in that.
austinstorm - 31 August 2007 02:45 PM
No way, hose. I hate it when web apps say “customizable with CSS”. Well, I want to move everything around, remake the design from the ground up. And my CSS skills are not akin to the designers who contribute to the CSS zen garden. I can’t do that much with CSS. I need to actually be able to tweak with the HTML.
So, I’m going to give it a shot and I will contribute what I learn to the wiki. =P
The new release is much easier to use, it’s changed the templating and made it much simpler compared to the old version. As a developer/designer I find it quite straight-forward to modify and have posted my dev site so you can see what can be done: http://ocbutcher.igentics.com/
I understand your point too but from my experience in templating this site I’ve not had too many problems and even the release of the new version yesterday wasn’t too much of a change. I agree with you it would be nice to get some confirmation about how much it is likely to change BUT I think it’s well worth people starting to play with designs so we can really explore how Magento could be used.
Conceptually I really like the idea of xml defining the “template”, the update approach is cool to.. To surmise in my own vernacular… the XML defines what goes on the page, the updates tell the page what to add and remove for the various views in the flow, it presumably applies the xhtml to wrapped around the logic and leaves CSS handle the presentation finesse.
Having the underlying “template” defined in XML opens the door in my mind for some awesome cool features to come, like a really powerful theme editor in the backend in a drag and drop style, maybe even a fully customisable, hosted, store as a service type affair… No need to know much at all about code or anything, good for user adoption (migration scripts please), good for all the devs out there as the prospective customer base explodes and great for Varien as big hosted store providers and the successful stores look for heavy duty support services, the kind they can point the finger at when the bean counters come to mess things up.
I’m excited folks, this is shaping up to be awesome… not least the previous mention that the framework can turn out JSON or XML, not just feed web pages to browsers. We might just see some really great experiences build with Flex/Flash as well as loads of AJAX embelishment of Magento powered stores. For developers looking to provide the full service to e-tailers and build in some serious added value Magento looks like the smart option, throw in some Adobe AIR backend apps, dashboards for the managerial types, there’s life outside dreamweaver folks, put your skills to the widest possible use.
Looking forward to working on Magento apps for a long time.