My first attempt with Magento was difficult and the store we built ended up on another shopping cart system that I"m more familiar with… I didn’t give up on Magento so I came back with this project and this time it was easier. It took me a little time to get familiar with their logic and layouts. Now that I’ve completed this site I love Magento and the flexibility in design and layout is second to none.
Magento is not anymore difficult to skin than any other app. like Joomla if you have a simple grasp of layouts / themes as well as a working knowledge of CSS.
I use a tool on Firefox called Firebug that allows me to manipulate the CSS and even the html to get a feel for what and where to style things live on any site. This has become my most used tool for sorting out the design and layout.
I also turned ON/ OFF the Template Path Hints dozens of times so I could achieve what I wanted.
I started this project with the sample data so that I could work from a live store with product and categories and strip it down and manipulate the layout to achieve the desired result. It seems easier to do it this way than to try and start from a blank layout & inventory.
The last little bug was getting the images to not distort so I used the extension Direct Resize from Magento Connect.
My Tools For This Project:
Photoshop w/ desired layout
Flash w/ desired SWF’s
FireFox & FireBug
FireFox & FireFTP
WordPad (For editing phtml & css)
** I recommend using Dreamweaver or a PHP/CSS editor so it checks errors to ensure clean and error free code.