What To Look For When Extending Magento With Custom Code or An Extension
Magento is an open-source platform written in PHP that provides customers with a flexible shopping cart experience as well as control over the interface content and functionality of their online store. Magento provides scalable e-commerce solutions, catalog browsing and report management, powering over 25% of online stores worldwide.
One of the most beneficial features of the Magento platform is its flexibility and scalability. Customization is common, seamless, and can be accomplished in a few different ways: through community developed extensions found on the Magento marketplace or in some cases by building your own custom modules. The Magento Marketplace allows you to add new features and themes easily, whereas a custom module approach allows you to actualize a unique vision. In certain instances, a large volume of merchants also pursue a hybrid approach by customizing pre-built extensions to save time and money. Understanding the benefits of each approach empowers you to make the right decisions when looking to extend the out of the box capabilities of your store.
Adding Extensions to Magento
When adding a new extension or custom feature to a Magento installation there are several aspects of the addition that you must consider. The upfront cost can potentially be dwarfed by maintenance and efforts to solve development issues that may occur in the future. However, these issues can easily be avoided or very least be accounted for by ensuring that when you are searching for modules you choose carefully and search with diligence.
What to look for?
Finding the Right Module
Finding an extension that meets the needs of your business to perfection can be a somewhat difficult task and may introduce labor costs for the discovery and analysis of modules available on the Magento marketplace. The Magento marketplace is the foremost place to find extensions and modules, however; at times concessions may be required in order to ensure you get as much coverage as possible out of a module in order to accomplish your objectives.
Once you have chosen the most suitable module for you, you might need to add your own layer of customization on top to get the desired result. Fortunately for you, Magento is extremely flexible and gives you multiple ways to modify the platform so that it meets to your needs.
Although the extension you are currently considering may seem to meet all your business needs, business requirements continue to evolve, therefore, there may be a need to modify the extension to fit unforeseen requirements. In certain instances, it may be highly beneficial to develop a custom module yourself. There are various ways you can enhance existing features in Magento:
- Plugins – Commonly referred to as interceptors, allow you to intercept most public functions and alter arguments, output or override internal logic.
- Observers – Can be used to trigger custom code in response to a specific event. Although many events are built into the platform, you are given the ability to inject your own custom events if needed.
- Dependency injection – Allows you to override and extend existing classes alongside a plethora of various other features.
Using the techniques mentioned above alongside other techniques, you can directly control core platform third-party behaviors to enact desired results.
Quality Assurance and Testing
Solely adding the extension and hoping for the best is not viable. You must consider all edge cases. While moodle installation is remarkably easy while using Magento testing however, is often a higher labor cost but it is most definitely worth the investment. Having the specific domain knowledge of how a module operates in edge conditions and with different configuration setups will give you an advantage when trying to debug potential issues further into your implementation of an extension.
Platform Version Changes
There is no way of knowing how long a module will offer ongoing maintenance and support or if a module will begin losing relevance as your integration changes. But this is the harsh reality of all software updates. In eCommerce and with any software upgrade, it’s recommended to test any and all customizations in a pre-production environment to ensure no code conflicts exist and that functionality or performance is not impacted. It is advisable to consider a module provider’s longevity and ability to provide long-term support when choosing to integrate with them. Selecting a provider from the official Magento marketplace is the most reliable way to find verified providers, giving you some form of assurance in the quality of their product.
In the digital age, Magento plays a critical role in many e-commerce stores. This is due to the fact that with its seamless adaptability, scalability and integration, Magento can help improve the visibility of your business as well as generate valuable web traffic.
Mentioned above are a few of the most essential things you should consider when looking to integrate third-party or custom extensions to your Magento installation.
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