What To Look For When Extending Magento With Custom Code or An Extension

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Magento is an open-source platform written in PHP which 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 reports 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 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 at the 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 labour cost for discovery and analysis of modules available on the magento marketplace. The Magento marketplace is the foremost place to find extensions/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

Customization

Once you have chosen the most suitable module for you, you might find the 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 that meets your needs. 

Although the extension you are considering currently 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 by 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 behaviours to enact desired results.

Quality Assurance and Testing

Solely adding the extension and hoping for the best, unfortunately is not viable. You must consider all edge cases.While moodle installation is remarkably easy while using Magento, testing, however, is often a higher labour 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 debu 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 as with any software upgrade, its 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 eCommerce 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.

Interested? RT Dynamic is a full-service Magento e-commerce platform development firm and our experts can make sure your e-commerce platform serves your business in every way possible. Get in touch today for a FREE Business Analysis session!

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