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Documentation? Dare I ask? 
 
zburnham
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While the forums and wiki are helpful, will there be an official set of documentation put out for Magento developers?

Right now the biggest thing I’m running into is having to reverse-engineer-figure-out the XML format, without really knowing what I’m doing.

Is there something in the works for the RCs?

 
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iblastoff
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are you looking for something like the designer’s guide?

http://www.magentocommerce.com/design_guide

it should explain the xml formatting/blocks/etc to you.

 
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battosai
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The problem is that the Designer’s Guide is out of date and needs to be updated.  I hate reading old material because I’m never sure if the material I read is wrong or not.

I’m an advocate of documenting changes first, implementing next, especially on open source projects.  That way you can be assured that every change is reflected.  If you have 10,000 users spending 100 hours trying to figure out something, that’s 1,000,000 hours wasted versus the perhaps 500 hours it would take to document up front.

I really hope that the documentation will be good when Magento is released because as it stands now, it’s a bunch of pieces and scraps scattered in the forum, Wiki, FAQs, guides, etc.

 
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iblastoff
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actually i asked the same question. only a very minor part of the design guide is outdated and minu, the lead magento designer says this:

---
The only part that is not current with the latest release is the exercise part of the ‘Intro to Layouts’ chapter - main.xml is now obsolete, replaced by per-module layout files such as customer.xml, catalog.xml...etc. You’ll know what I mean when you get to this section.
---

i’m with you on reading outdated info so i didn’t read the design guide until minu gave the aforementioned statement. now i’ve gone through the design guide myself and its still very applicable. the learning curve with magento is quite steep but i’m definitely getting the hang of it.

you’re right though. i do agree info is overly scattered and its hard to discern which forum posts are still relevant (thats why i’ve been tagging my own posts that contain fixes and such with the current magento version i’m using at the time)

 
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zburnham
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OK so I think I have what I need in the Designers Guide… except the directions in “working with magento themes” appear to not work.

Specifically, it says that if you’re developing a non-default theme, you only need to replicate the directory structure, and any files that don’t appear in those directories will be loaded from the default interface and theme. 

For example, you can create a new interface called ‘my_interface’ next to the ‘default’ interface (/app/design/frontend/default and /app/design/frontend/my_interface, respectively), and specify that interface in the admin for that store, and if I understand correctly, if Magento doesn’t find a file it needs in ‘my_interface’ it will fall back to the ‘default’ interface and theme.  So my assumption is that if I have an empty folder in the ‘frontend’ directory named ‘my_interface’ it should take whatever it needs from the ‘default’ interface directory.  At least that’s how I read the guide.

All well and good.. except it doesn’t work.  I get a blank page when I try to load the homepage now.  Apache initially told me that the /app/skin/frontend/my_interface directory couldn’t be found, but when I put an empty folder in there, it stopped complaining.  However, I still get a blank page.

Any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong?  I can’t seem to figure out what else I need to do.  Removing ‘my_interface’ from system->configuration->design under “Current package name” fixes the issue and the page renders as normal.

Edit:  Argh, I figured out what my problem was.  Themes falling back to default only works within a given interface.  So if a file doesn’t exist in my_interface/my_theme, it’ll pull from my_interface/default.  However, it won’t pull from default/default.

The same applies to the app/skin/frontend directory with all the images, css and so forth.  Within an interface it’ll fall back to the default, but not across interfaces.  Hopefully this is useful; perhaps a reminder in the designer’s guide?  Not to sound egotistical, but I’ll bet if I can make this mistake, so can someone else…

 
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Loic_LC
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ok thanks zburnham for that helpful information.
Am I the only one thinking a documentation is needed for the rest of magento features (not only design) ?

 
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zburnham
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Loïc - 22 February 2008 02:41 AM

ok thanks zburnham for that helpful information.
Am I the only one thinking a documentation is needed for the rest of magento features (not only design) ?

Certainly not smile I’m sure we’ll have it as soon as they can write it.

 
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RoyRubin
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We are working on a user guide that will be available in print and eBook formats.

 
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zburnham
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I hate to put you on the spot, but any ETA on that?

 
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RoyRubin
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Not right now :(

 
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mk30
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Will it come out when official release comes out? waiting for it cause now I’m gonna loose all my hair :D

 
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RoyRubin
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Some documentation will be available. The book will probably be available within 8 weeks after the release.

 
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kohril
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@RoyRubin : You’re talking about a user guide, I assume this guide will have nothing to do with modules development and cutom features.  Am I right ? Do you plan to write a developer guide so ? Thanks wink

 
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zburnham
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I’m right there with mk30 and kohril.  I’m running into a bit of a brick wall with some database and module installation issues (that I’ve posted questions about in another thread).  We’re hoping to roll out a storefront shortly after the final release and this would be immensely helpful.

 
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RoyRubin
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@kohril - A developer guide is in the works by a prominent 3rd party - I am not sure when it will be published but I’ve seen some details and it looks great.

 
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