Magento: Keeping it clean (or Magento Buckaroo!)
One big positive about Magento is the burgeoning and comprehensive development community.
Magento connect (magentoconnect.com) has thousands of plug-ins and additional modules that enhance, improve and provide new features. Some of these are free and some are paid, some are excellent, and (very rarely), some not-so-good.
The message to take from the Magento Connect community is that if you need something, it’s probably already been done! And the likelihood is it’s been done in such a way, it’s either free or very much worthy of its price tag.
Now in many installations we’ve seen, taken over or assessed, we notice that it’s possible to be like the proverbial child in a sweetshop and install any array of modules during build phase that don’t make the final cut; only to be left hanging around rather than cleanly uninstalled. This can lead to performance issues, or even worse adding that one last module has catastrophic effects. My favourite analogy is the old kids game Buckaroo.
We tend to run our Magento installs as lean as we can, considering modules only for essential features.
Our preferred set runs something like this (this is a general rule of thumb and we assess every client’s needs individually):
- A base theme that supports your chosen design features
- A one-step checkout module
- A module to support your chosen payment gateway
- A home page featured products slider
- Direct blog integration module
- And more rarely an enhanced search mechanism
Your business might explicitly require certain features that aren’t in the stock Magento system.
Choose your modules based on the user-experience you NEED and not for vanity or the sweet shop mentality.
A note about performance modules; there are many “full page caching” modules out there, which fall into the category of well supported, well developed, and well-liked. Therefore it’s tempting to say these are worth the investment of up to a few hundred $.
However, our belief at Layer 5 is that if you need to invest in a full-page-caching module then you might be trying to mask an underlying performance issue.
It might be your hosting package is under-powered, or on a massively contended shared environment.
It might just be that your installation is buckling under the weight of too many modules, which might be not quite working together as efficiently as they could (remember there are so many module choices from many independent vendors: that they can’t all have been tested together).
Before you reach for the caching module, with its promise of immediate page-load-time improvements, consider whether you’re just trying to hang the bucket on the Buckaroo mule, where the better choice might be to consider lightening its load!
So, if you’re suffering performance issues with your Magento installation, or you simply want advice and guidance through the module choice and implementation process, based on your business needs, call Layer 5 on 0161 850 4545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org