Magento E-Commerce

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Written By Ryan Rana





I’ve been involved with Magento since version 1.3. *Edit – since I wrote this post I did some work on a fully operational 1.0 site – a grand old lady of the Magento world!* I deliver custom Magento builds with bespoke, standard implementations using themes, and also handle updates and rescues on existing Magento sites.


If you’ve been involved in e-commerce for a while then there’s a chance you’ll already have been introduced to Magento, or have heard a thing or two about it. If you are venturing into e-commerce for the first time then let me introduce you – Magento is an open source e-commerce platform which comes in three flavours….the free community version, the professional version and the enterprise edition.  The Magento Corporation makes it’s money through the professional and enterprise editions, but made their name through the community version.

Many software houses release ‘free editions’ of software that are either seriously crippled or carry branding that cannot be removed.  Magento’s genius was to release a free edition that was virtually identical to the paid-for version, but just didn’t qualify for any support or guarantees.  This means that anybody and everybody has access to a powerhouse of an e-commerce system without having to pay a penny – but only if you have the expertise to install and deploy it.

And this is the crunch – it’s a real beast.  Loved and hated in equal measure, even experienced Magento developers go through angst ridden ‘teary hairy’ moments.   It is difficult to use, very difficult to customise, tough to theme and style, server intensive, easily broken, hard to upgrade…..the list goes on

It has a whole lot going for it too though. Out of the box you get phenomenal e-commerce options, simple integration with payment services providers, and access to an amazing range of paid-for add-ons which, for a relatively small fee, can configure your system to suit your business.  That’s important because it is extremely rare that any e-commerce business fits the default configuration of any system.  They are all different, whether it be the shipping or payment requirements, the tax set-up, the promotions, customer tiers, product types, currencies…etc.

Initially the themes available for it weren’t up to much, but in recent years some of the bigger theme foundries that previously concentrated on other open source platforms have started producing themes and modules for Magento.  Since Magento 1.4 the default installation has also included the ‘Blank Theme’ which is a perfect start when we are creating a custom theme for a client.

View a selection of my Magento work on this site.  In addition to the ones listed here I have also worked on loads of other Magento installations, but as it was on behalf of other web development agencies, I am unfortunately unable to include them in my portfolio and show them off!

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