Written by Gadget Man Jay on . Posted in Magento

The best way to test out a new Magento release without potentially destroying your production store is to setup a staging area.

A staging area is a duplicate of your primary store that you can use to see if the upgrade process will go smoothly, and also allow you to use both the frontend and backend of your site to see if everything is running properly.

This article is based on CPanel, but the principles will apply no matter where you are hosted or what control panel you're using.


Magento: Importing Customer Data

Written by Gadget Man Jay on . Posted in Magento

So I learnt something new this week.

When importing customer data from your client, DON'T import what they give you!

My client had over 1,500 customer accounts from their old Wordpress / Woocommerce based site which they provided me on an excel spreadsheet.  The sheet actually contained over 3,000 accounts initially, but I returned asking them to remove accounts which were not genuine credit account holders and add the account numbers of the genuine ones plus filling in the rest of the contact info, making sure that each account had an email address as this would be the account username.

I waited nearly 3 months for the returned spreadsheet and was assured that all customer data was up to date.

FOOLISHLY, I imported the data, assuming the client has done as asked.

The data imported without a problem.

Go live day came and many, many customers couldn't log in or reset passwords.

The Reason?

The spreadsheet was incomplete, in particular missing 'mandatory' details such as FIRST & LAST name.  This caused Magento to refuse to reset passwords, giving an error that it couldn't reset because the last name was missing, but the customer couldn't log in to change it bacause they couldn't reset their password to get in to change it!

I got my client to run through the spreadsheet and add either names or a generic entry such as 'Main' and 'Account' for first / last names!

I performed the import again and this time for a reason I still cannot work out today, the import messed up the entries putting phone numbers in postcode fields, surnmames in address fields and a whole host of other problems!

So I had to trawl through the spreadsheet and look at contact details of over 1,500 users to identify where the issue was!

Magento: Multiple Stores, Single Theme

Written by Gadget Man Jay on . Posted in Magento

A client wanted 2 websites using a single Magento Installation, but wanted to use the same site theme with only subtle differences with color, font, etc.

I found this useful tidbit which explains how to use the same theme for multi store applications, but allowing for subtle changes.


Magento: Developer Tools

Written by Gadget Man Jay on . Posted in Magento

Developing for Magento is complex.

Even basic, setup and configuration type development can be hard work, so a decent workflow is important to establish from the get go.  I found great advice at Stack Exchange Magento forums.  Here's an extract from one conversation;

Magento: Fixing A Restore Issue

Written by Gadget Man Jay on . Posted in Magento

So, my client has a multi domain, multi site installation of Magento.

I attempted to update their version to the latest patches but it broke the site.

Fortunately, being thorough, I took a backup of the installation using the Backup Tool in CPanel / Installatron, however when I restored the backup the domains were showing the Magento setup screens!

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