Top verticals using Joomla! and VirtueMart are as follows, in order.
So, from all Joomla! websites, maximum sites are that of business sector.
OK, let us continue our insights into Joomla! and VirtueMart architectures that we have started in previous articles.
If you haven’t gone through previous text, you can navigate to and read it at this URL:
5. Understanding Joomla! themes and templates
So far, you know that template files although make display of webpages with elements like
- Font styles
- Font size
- Webpage layout
- Fields arrangements
they can contain processing logic also, as VirtueMart is NOT strictly MVC oriented.
In the current age of
- rich content
- 3D graphics and
- real time response to users,
webpages are generated on the fly, tailored to give personalized experience to individual user profiles.
For example, each user will NOT be presented with same products page.
“Behind VirtueMart development is only a small team of 4-5 active developers.”
Those who have visited specific products or services pages in the past will be given webpage with section containing previously visited and analogous products.
“Webpages adopt theme and
theme consists of template files.”
So, conclusion is that, multiple template files are sometimes needed to make display of single site page in browser.
Theme is a collection of template files.
This actually reduces problems during VirtueMart version upgrade. It is surprise because mingling of processing logic code and presentation code generally creates havoc instead.
Did you know ?
“VirtueMart eCommerce Bundle is an enhanced, power packed official distribution of Joomla! with VirtueMart already pre-installed with all the necessary integration and settings optimized.”
Template files are less prone to security problems and frequent changes to templates are many times NOT needed.
So, restricting changes just to template cum presentation files results in less maintenance.
6. VirtueMart customization ways
It is beauty of open source shopping cart software that it can be customized in infinite number of ways.
And VirtueMart enjoys full benefits of an open source software as it is full blown open eCommerce.
More often than not, first source development team of VirtueMart releases extensions from time to time that can enable required functionality in it.
There are also customization possibilities within reach of an average PHP developer.
Let us look at few ways.
6.1 Textual changes
Sometimes you wan want to change the language of website.
There is an easy method to implement this, through ‘languages’ sub-directory under VirtueMart ‘administrator’ directory.
Here, each language has its own module and related file with .php extension. We modify required one.
6.2 Webpage layout changes
Layout changes entails dynamic moving of elements on the page or changing the style of specific element.
For example, you may want the product name to highlight bigger.
This is swiftly achieved as soon you locate the template file that needs to be modified.
Joomla! directory taxonomy is fascinating organization.
We can easily map file or folder to destination component or element which is to be modified.
For style change – as in this example of product name, you can either
- add new CSS lines to theme file or
- customize CSS in template’s existing code.
It is good to restrict number of modified files to minimal, for future compatibility.
6.3 Frontend behaviour changes
Website made with Joomla! allows this.
It is straightforward, and is accomplished by anyone of two ways as follows.
NOT advisable unless effect required is going to repeat on multiple locations of website.
6.4 Adding more data fields
Web store is designed to provide all necessary information to sale.
Not only this, transaction id and many other data points are needed to be preserved until time.
Authoring VirtueMart to accommodate new data is simpler.
It is a 3 step process.
- Modify the database table, usually from phpMyAdmin console.
- Modify the class file associated with the new fields.
- You will also need to modify the product form used in the backend. This product form is a VirtueMart page file and this file is passed as argument to template.
Finally, the template modification may be required to display the field, in case.
On the other hand, there is one more easier way but cannot come in spare in all cases.
In this one step process, we add a new field
- through use of the Admin/Manage User Fields menu option of VirtueMart.
By far, you have passed by a gamut of Joomla! eCommerce options and explorations.
With immense insights into architecture alone, we can mould this one of the best, world class, free component to reflect real world physical shop.
We can make Joomla!
- To communicate and integrate with external system like accounting or CRM package
- To adopt newly created new theme
- To allow modifying business or processing logic
At this point, we are closing our journey of 3 blogs on Joomla! CMS as it needs elegantly arranged website to publish more.
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