Friday, May 21, 2010

Import Products and Categories into Magento

Of the few shopping carts that I was playing around with, I found Zen Cart and Magento to be the best. Simplicity of the Zen Cart was very alluring and Magento was attractive for its features based on the solid framework.

However, for a new store, importing all the products and categories for the initial setup is a major area for complaint. I wonder, how such a simple and important features gets left out of such a thought out & planned product?!

The developer community has provided plug-ins for Zen Cart and Magento Extensions to solve this problem to some extent. However I still feel that the ones available for free are not so well integrated and do not provide a very clean solution. A better integrated & cleaner solution should come in pre-packaged with the cart.

The solution should take care of and provide the following features:
  • Import Category hierarchies
  • Import Product Images & gallery if required
  • Associating of Related, Cross Sell & Up Sell products

*** Sighhh **** well, so much for wishes - for now, use what you get to be as close to the end goal as possible and mash-up the required functionality with it.

Useful jQuery Tips

Recently I have started playing around a bit with jQuery and find it quite amazing. To Quote straight from the jQuery site: jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript

In essence, what this means is that if you are not so good at understanding & writing complex JavaScript, use this wrapper/framework to simplify your coding life! This also implies that using jQuery could be slower than rolling your own library if your needs are limited and you can afford to dirty your hands with JavaScript.

But, since I had decided to play with and use jQuery anyways, I started to look around for good articles and found this very useful article by Jon Hobbs-Smith of TVI Design UK.

Here are a few useful cheat sheets:
The visually best one I felt is (a rather big one at 6 pages) JQuery 1.3 Cheat Sheet by Woorkup.
Another good one with nice details is jQuery Cheat Sheet by Matt Kruse - its available in various formats and for different versions as well!

Be sure to check the comments on these posts for other people's observations and also ensure that you use the cheat sheet appropriate for the version of jQuery you are using!


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