One thing that makes Magento such a great platform, is the fact that it is open source, and thus, totally customizable. And if you are a developer well acquainted with the structure of Magento, you can create modules and extensions that are totally portable and able to plug in to any Magento website. However, if you are unfamiliar with the coding side of Magento, never fear! You still have access many extensions which are available on the Magento Connect Store. However, be warned, as with Magento Extensions, the more is not the merrier….
More Extensions = Better Magento Store?
The initial reaction may be to load up your Magento store with extensions to reap all the benefits of having an open source platform. However, I can say from experience, that this is NEVER a good idea. The more extensions you have on your site, the more likely something is going to blow up. Many extensions do not play well together.
In addition, just because an extension is being sold, does not mean its the best thing to stick in a Magento store. Some can be poorly written and just downright dangerous. So what are some tips to help you avoid bad extensions?
1. Do Your Research
There are plenty of documents developers have written about coding in Magento, notably No Frills Magento Layout by Alan Storm. Also countless blog’s covering almost every Magento issue you can think of. Here at Demac Media we publish tons of “Mini Tutorials” every month to help you understand and work with Magento better, check them out!
2. Read Reviews
Often, people will immediately put any issues they are experiencing with an extension into a reviews/comments section, and often, the developer will offer solutions to these people in the comments as well. This can come in very handy when you hook up your extension and realize a night of troubleshooting actually has an easy fix and it’s right in front of you.
3. Ensure You Get Support
If you’re forking over your cash for an extension, you need to make sure that the developers who created said extension are offering support with your purchase. If it turns out that you are facing a problem which is unique to your Magento install, instead of trying to debug and fix someone else’s code, it is much easier to contact the developers who may indeed already have a patch to apply which will fix your specific problem.
I recommend, the best course of action would be to familiarize yourself with Magento. Familiarize yourself with the file structure, and also the process of creating an extension. Knowledge is the best way to protect yourself from explosive code, and clashing modules.