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The Magento Module

module-structureMagento is a shopping cart application written in PHP with an MVC style architecture. Model-View-Controller applications aim to separate the representation of information contained in the database from the presentation of that information to the user. This architecture pattern leads to increased reuse of code within an application, simplification of design, and ease in maintenance (separation of concerns). The model contains business rules, application data, logic, and functions. The view generates the display of the application data to the user. The controller passes information between the view and the model. Each model in the application separates an area of functionality from others.

To extend the functionality in your Magento, you can create custom modules to do nearly anything you desire. Your custom changes should *never* be placed in the core code so you don’t lose them when you upgrade. Magento contains 3 code pools (groups of modules): core, community, and local. Your modules should be placed in community (if developing for use on multiple magento instances) or local (if developing for your single magento installation).

Namespace refers to a folder used to group similar modules together. What you place in your custom module can override what is in the core or can extend the core with altogether new functionality.

module-structureA module can consist of the following components:

  • Block – contains the layout information
  • Models – implement business logic
  • Resource Models – provide an access layer to data for the extension
  • Controllers – contain methods called actions which process web server requests that correspond to the module
  • Configuration – module-specific XML config files which tell Magento how this module interacts with it
  • Helpers – auxillary classes that implement commonly used business logic – forms, validators, formatters, formatters, etc
  • Schema SQL Scripts – the SQL scripts that implement schema changes for the module
  • Data SQL scripts – scripts which manipulate the data for the SQL schema of the module. NOTE: difference between Enterprise and Community Editions.

Joomla! 1.6 Templates – First Glance

In the upcoming Joomla! 1.6 release, templates take on a whole new shape. Probably the most exciting new feature of the template system for site owners will be the template styles. Now, when you use a template that has parameters for setting one of a multiple background, or overall color, or whatever, you can save that parameter configuration as a template style. So you could use the same template on multiple pages and have different styles without installing the same template several times. Another difference with Joomla! 1.6 templates from Joomla! 1.5 templates, is that you assign the pages to the template inside the Menu Manager for the link rather than from inside the Template Manager.


New Look for Joomla! 1.6 Template Manager


Continue reading “Joomla! 1.6 Templates – First Glance”

How Do I Load a Module Inside an Article

To load a module directly into an article is pretty simple in Joomla! 1.5. There is a system plugin which will load it for you. First, make sure the plugin is enabled by going to Extensions -> Module Manager and looking for the plugin called “Content – Load Module.” Make sure this plugin is Enabled.

Content Load Module Plugin


Next, go to Extensions -> Module Manager and find the module you want to load in your article. You can create a new one or copy an existing module, if you need to. On the left side of the module’s parameters page, there is a drop-down selector where you pick a template location for the module. However, you can type right there in that drop-down and put in any module location you want. Make something up, and place your module there.

Changing the Module Location


Now, just go open up your article, and use the special {} instruction to load that module right in your article.

Using Custom Module Locations in an Article in Joomla! 1.5

Now, when you browse to the page with this article in your front-end, you will see a module loaded right at the top of the article. 

How do I change the Front Page article order?

Changing Article Order in a Blog Layout in Joomla!

Select the menu item of the blog layout page by going to Menus->Your Menu and clicking the name of any blog layout type menu link (Front Page, Section Blog or Category Blog).

Menu Items in Joomla!


On the right hand side, click to open the Parameters (Advanced) tab.

You will see a dropdown selector named Category Order. The four choices are:

  • No, Order by Primary Order Only – this means to display according to the rule in the selector below named Primary Order
  • Title (Alphabetical) – this means to display the list in alphabetical order based on the title of the article (A-Z).
  • Title (Reverse alphabetical) – this means to display the list in reversed alphabetical order based on the title of the article (Z-A).
  • Order – this means to display the articles according to their order in the article manager.

If you choose Order, then whatever you select in the next dropdown selector named Primary Order will apply. The choices for Primary Order are:

  • Default – use the order in the article manager
  • Oldest first – use the article creation date going from oldest to newest
  • Most recent first – use the article creation date going from newest to oldest
  • Title (alphabetical)
  • Title (reverse alphabetical)
  • Author – alphabetical
  • Author – reverse alphabetical
  • Most hits
  • Least hits
  • Order – the article order in the article manager¬†

Assigning Blog Layout Article Order



How do I change the Front Page columns?

Changing the Front Page Layout in Joomla!

The front page has two sections of articles: the leading and the intro articles. The leading articles disply the full width of the article area, and the intro articles can appear in the full width or in columns.

You can change the number of leading articles and trailing articles and the number of columns. (first blue arrow)

You can also change whether the columns fill across or down – choose across if you want them to be balanced. (second blue arrow) This setting is in the Parameters (Advanced)

Front Page Parameters

How do I enforce SSL (https)?

Enforcing SSL (https) for a Joomla! page.

In Joomla! 1.5 you can enable SSL on any page that has a menu link (or displays under any menu link as in an article arrived at by clicking in a category or section list).

In the backend (/administrator) go to the menu manager and open up any link to a page you want to be on https://. On the right side, click to open System parameters. Select yes in SSL enabled.

This method may not work in every server environment. If you are using a shared certificate with another address than your domain address, it may not work.

How to force SSL on Joomla! pages

How do I remove “Welcome to Frontpage”?

The Number One Joomla! Newbie Question

How do I remove the “Welcome to Frontpage” text?

Go to Menus->Main Menu (or whatever menu your home page link is on if you have changed it).

Open the link to your home page. On the right side, click to open System Parameters.

Removing Welcome to Frontpage in Joomla