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The logic behind “Global, Website, Store” (longish question)
 
Jennifer M
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  21
Joined:  2008-02-18
 

Hello all

Newbie to Magento (v impressed so far). Installed 0.8.16100 last night and had a poke around.

Here’s what I’m grappling with at the moment:

I have this sense that a key to Magento is the logic of “Global, Website, Store”, including e.g.
- how URLs can be mapped onto that structure
- how products sit in the different catalogues.

Most useful documents to me so far were:
http://www.magentocommerce.com/knowledge-base/entry/overview-how-multiple-websites-stores-work/
http://www.magentocommerce.com/wiki/general/multiple-website-setup
http://docs.google.com/TeamPresent?docid=dqr3hjf_51gvm5hpff

From the 3rd of those links, I found this summary especially helpful:

Website is a collection of Store Views that share:
* Common configuration
* Category structure
* Product prices
* Customer accounts
* Session information
* Shopping cart
* Order information

Store View is a composition of:
* Localization setting (language)
* Product visibility settings
* One or more themes.

So far, so good: that makes clear to me that I’ll want to start with one “website” (by magento definition). Even though I have several projects (call them blue, purple and green), each with products on sale, I’ll certainly want the projects to share customer accounts and shopping cart. That way, people can buy from different projects in the same basket, and pay for them all in one go. Otherwise I’m needlessly complicating the shopping experience and adding to the financial transaction charges.

(Also there will be situations where I’d want to say “If you like this purple thing, you might like this blue thing too”.)

But do I want one store with three main categories? Or do I want one website and three stores? From what I understand so far, it seems Magento is flexible enough to do it either way, and I’m not sure what criteria I should be using to decide.

Factors/questions:

1. URLs.

Ideally I’d like to be able to have [the equivalent of] http://www.blue.co.uk, http://www.purple.co.uk and http://www.green.co.uk as separate landing pages. Well, that shouldn’t be hard. But what about item URLs under those, like http://www.blue.co.uk/cat-1/blue-thing-x/ and http://www.purple.co.uk/cat-2/purple-thing-y/? Would Magento support that naming convention
a) if “blue” etc were separate stores
b) if they were separate categories?

c) If yes to (a) &/or (b), would it still work even if cat-1 and cat-2 in the URLs had the same name?  (Not essential, but would be cool.)

(It would be OK if the final checkout came under only one URL.)

2. Languages.

I understand that the “multiple stores” facility can be used for different languages or for some other kind of variation.  But what if you wanted different languages _and_ another variation? Would that mean you ended up with {multiplied-number} of stores in total, e.g.
- blue-English
- purple-English
- green-English
- blue-French
- purple-French
- green-French
?

and if so, how easy would it be to allow customers to select language separately from product strand? since they might easily want to move between green/blue etc, but once they’d set “English” they wouldn’t need to see the “French” store options again every time.

3. Products.

So there’s the base store catalogue and the separate store catalogues, and (if I’ve understood correctly) you can create a product in the base store and then get say the English store to refer to it…

This is what I’m having most difficulty grasping so far. I mean, I have a general (if somewhat vague) sense now of _how_ it works, but I don’t fully understand what it’s meant for / how best to use it.

The main example scenario in the knowledgebase “Overview” (linked above), has two separate “websites” (magento definition) for two separate markets, but selling the same products. That makes sense to me, as far as it goes - but I’m not sure what to learn/copy/transfer from it for my own situation.

By default, if you don’t change your drop-down store thing when creating them, products sit at the Global level, don’t they?  (& is that the same thing as root catalogue and base store?)

This could be all wrong :-) but what I find myself thinking is: “In my case, surely it doesn’t make sense to load up the root catalogue with all the blue, purple and green things.  Because, if at some point I did create another web site, the likelihood is it would be for something completely different and nothing to do with the green, purple & blue projects.  And then it would be more cluttered to mix all the products together.  Don’t I want to be creating these products at the web site level??  (if indeed you can create products at the web site level...?) Or - if I had one store with three main categories - at the store level?”

Or would the idea be that if I had an unrelated project then it would go in a different _global_ setup?

Or is there some reason that I don’t understand yet, why it’s more sensible to have all the products together in the root/global level, even if they’ll each only ever end up in one website?

Or have I completely misunderstood how the root store / other store thing works?

Floundering a bit here as you can probably tell :-)

I feel sure that some elegant logic exists behind all this, but I just don’t fully “get it” yet.

What I’m craving is some more of those specific-&-detailed examples like “suppose you had (let’s say) sport products like ABC, and music products like DEF, and different markets blah blah and blah, then the optimum way to use the global/website/store structure would be...”. I know if I saw a few more of those, selected to contrast with each other, I’d have a much clearer sense of the system as a whole.

&/or more explanations like “Well the reason we designed it like this is to allow for scenario x, and the advantage in those cases is y, but in other scenarios you may as well do z”

Thanks in advance for any words of clarification coming my way…

 
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YoavKutner
Guru
 
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Total Posts:  491
Joined:  2007-08-08
 

1. URLs.

Ideally I’d like to be able to have [the equivalent of] http://www.blue.co.uk, http://www.purple.co.uk and http://www.green.co.uk as separate landing pages. Well, that shouldn’t be hard. But what about item URLs under those, like http://www.blue.co.uk/cat-1/blue-thing-x/ and http://www.purple.co.uk/cat-2/purple-thing-y/? Would Magento support that naming convention
a) if “blue” etc were separate stores
b) if they were separate categories?

c) If yes to (a) &/or (b), would it still work even if cat-1 and cat-2 in the URLs had the same name?  (Not essential, but would be cool.)

(It would be OK if the final checkout came under only one URL.)

2. Languages.

I understand that the “multiple stores” facility can be used for different languages or for some other kind of variation.  But what if you wanted different languages _and_ another variation? Would that mean you ended up with {multiplied-number} of stores in total, e.g.
- blue-English
- purple-English
- green-English
- blue-French
- purple-French
- green-French
?

and if so, how easy would it be to allow customers to select language separately from product strand? since they might easily want to move between green/blue etc, but once they’d set “English” they wouldn’t need to see the “French” store options again every time.

One new feature we added in the last release (the documentation will get updated soon to reflect this change) is what we call store groups.

This feature allows to group together a few store views under one website.

So for the scenario above one way (there might be other ways of achieving this since Magento is so flexible) of setting this up is to have one website (since you wanted customers to share accounts, shopping cart and session information). Then to create two store groups for Blue and Purple (or 3 with Green as another group). Each group will have two store views under it one for English and one for French. The URL’s for each store can be different.

3. Products.

So there’s the base store catalogue and the separate store catalogues, and (if I’ve understood correctly) you can create a product in the base store and then get say the English store to refer to it…

This is what I’m having most difficulty grasping so far. I mean, I have a general (if somewhat vague) sense now of _how_ it works, but I don’t fully understand what it’s meant for / how best to use it.

The main example scenario in the knowledgebase “Overview” (linked above), has two separate “websites” (magento definition) for two separate markets, but selling the same products. That makes sense to me, as far as it goes - but I’m not sure what to learn/copy/transfer from it for my own situation.

By default, if you don’t change your drop-down store thing when creating them, products sit at the Global level, don’t they?  (& is that the same thing as root catalogue and base store?)

In Magento we have what we call store 0. This store has all products and has the default values for the products attribute. The idea for this is that a product can exist in the system without belonging to any website/store for sometime and still be available for future use. Without store 0 this product would have had to be deleted and the default values would be lost.

I hope this makes some sense.

Thanks for the good questions

yoav

 
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Jennifer M
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  21
Joined:  2008-02-18
 

Thanks Yoav for that fast & informative reply…

two store groups for Blue and Purple (or 3 with Green as another group). Each group will have two store views under it one for English and one for French.

Oh cool!  ::admires solution::

The URL’s for each store can be different.

OK.

To clarify, though: is it also possible to have different URLs mapped onto different categories?  Or would the URL mapping I want to do be a compelling reason to choose the “1 store per project” method over “1 category per project”?

And a related question:  could say http://www.pink.co.uk/flowers/ and http://www.pink.co.uk/clothes/ map onto two separate websites?  I seem to think from the wiki page that they could, but just want to be sure.  That might be useful to me too (for a whole other idea which has popped into my head :-) ). 

The idea for this is that a product can exist in the system without belonging to any website/store for sometime and still be available for future use. Without store 0 this product would have had to be deleted and the default values would be lost.

I hope this makes some sense.

Aaah yes that does make a lot of sense. 

Products can be disabled/invisible in stores too, though, can’t they (or am I wrong?).  So I guess the delete-back-to-root method is only one way of treating the various possible kinds of non-current product status… maybe depending on the implications for back end management / stock control or something… (just pondering out loud here).

Thanks for the good questions

::grins::

I’ll just add as well that if anyone else wants to share their ideas/reasoning/considerations on product/audience divisions at website level vs store level vs category level, then I’d be very interested.

 
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