Magento is ecommerce software and is available to download freely from their website. It is highly robust software, which is one of the reasons that it has become so popular so fast. There are many ecommerce software available however Magento is one of the chosen ones by many people wishing to have their online presence felt in the form of a shopping cart. Magneto by itself has many features in built and thus reduces the need for you to add any extensions.
There are however, many extensions available for you to install into Magento to enhance the user experience. Furthermore if you wish for a truly unique website or custom functionality it is likely you will need the assistance of a Magento Web developer.
There are two ways to install a theme in Magento, one is to install it via Magento Connect and the other is to do it manually via FTP. Both the methods are explained in this article.
Magento Connect Manager
1. Installing theme via Magento Connect.
a. If you know the Magento Connect URL for your theme then you can use that; if not you can browse through the huge Magento theme archive and select one of the themes. In this case you can get the extension key of the selected theme from the theme page.
b. Once you have the extension key it can be used in the Magento Connect tab by going to the admin panel of the Magento installation and then selecting from the admin menu like System > Magento Connect > Magento Connect Manager. You may need to login once again her due to the security reasons.
c. Once here you can use the extension key. Magento connect will download the theme on your system. This usually does not take too long though it will depend on the speed of your internet connection.
d. It may be some time but you will see a message ‘Theme successfully installed’ after which you are free to use theme.
e. Now go to the admin menu System > Configuration > Design > Themes and change the default theme to th theme you just installed. Click the ‘Save Config’ button at the top right corner of your screen.
f. The Magento theme has many different column in the layout. Thus in case the store home page doesn’t load properly and has a weird looking layout you need not be worried. Simply go to the CMS > Manage Pages and you will notice that there are many different layouts for the home page (depending on the number of layouts tried for this magento installation. You can safely disable the theme layouts except for the one you are currently using by updating the status field.
g. You need to check the homepage once again and if you theme loads fine then you are ok to go.
h. This is the easier of the two methods of installing a Magento theme since there is very little to actually do, most of the work is done by Magento itself. But not all the Magento themes are published and enabled to use via the Magento Connect feature and thus if such a theme is chosen then you will need to follow the manual method of doing things.
2. Installing Magento theme manually via FTP.
a. The Magento theme differs from the regular themes in many ways. There are four main elements to the Magento layout.
i. Layout is stored in app/design/frontend//theme/layout/
ii. Template is stored in app/design/frontend/ /theme/template
iii. Skin is stored in skin/frontend//theme/
iv. Locale is stored in app/design/frontend//theme/locale/
b. First uncompress the zip file containing the theme files on your local machine.
c. You can now copy the entire ‘app’ folder to your Magento installation.
d. Then copy the entire ‘skin’ folder to your Magento installation.
e. The new theme has now been added to Magento and installed.
f. You can now change the theme from the Magento admin panel.
g. Magento however, has a cache feature where it caches the layout to some extent. This may result in you not being able to view the changes instantly.
h. Thus you many actually need to disable the cache for some time and this can be done by going the the admin menu System > Cache management and selecting ‘disable’ then click ‘Save Cache’. It is advisable to enable the cache once all has been verified.
i. You can then go to the admin menu System > Configuration and select the design tab. You can type the name of the new theme in the font skin box and save the configuration.
j. This was the second method of installing the Magento theme.
Magento Admin Panel
Thus making a shopping cart website in Magento has been made as simple as possible by the guys at Magento which includes installation of the engine and even the templates. In addition to which it is also easy to install extensions to the website.
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