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Magento configurable products series #1: Setting up the catalog defaults

The first step is toconfigure the catalog settings to the preferred values. We will cover all the configuration values that are possible with a standard installation.

Getting ready:

Open the frontend in a tab of your browser. In the second tab, open the backend and log in.

How to do it..

In the next steps, we will configure the settings of the catalog (category and product) pages:

STEP 1:
1. Go to the Configurationsection in System, and click on the Catalogtab. You will see
the following screen

Screenshot_6-compressed

2. Open the frontend section and set the following values:

  • List mode: grid (Show products by default in a grid or list)
  • ‰ Products per page on Grid allowed values: 12,24,36
  • ‰ Products per page on Grid default value: 24

While changing the allowed and default value for a grid page, make sure the numbers are divisible by the number of products in a row. Otherwise, the number of products on a page will not fit in the grid.

  • Products per page on List allowed values: 10,20,30,40
  •  Products per page on List default value: 10
  • Allow all products per page: No

When you have a large number of products, it is not recommended to set the Allow all products per pageoption to Yes. When you have 2,000 products, and you want to show all the products on a single page, you will generate anenormous HTML output that can cause memory issues.

  • Product listing Sort by: price
  • ‰ Use Flat Catalog Category: No
  • ‰ Use Flat Catalog Product: No

The purpose of the preceding two settings (Use Flat Catalog Categoryand Use Flat Catalog Product) is explained in the Working with EAV tablesrecipe in Chapter 5, Database Concepts.

  • Allow Dynamic Media URLs in Products and Categories: Yes

STEP 2: 

1. Set the following values under the Sitemapsection:

  • ‰ Use tree like category sitemap: Yes
  • ‰ Minimum lines per page: 30

This setting will change the look of the sitemap pages. You can find this at catalog/seo_sitemap/category.

2. Enable the product reviews for guests.

This allows everyone to write a review about a product. When this is enabled, a review form will appear on the product review page.

3. Open the Product Alert Settingssection to configure product alert e-mails that will be sent when the price or stock changes.

We will configure a stock alert with the following settings:

  • ‰ Allow alert when product price changes: No
  • ‰ Allow alert when product stock changes: Yes

The previous configurations will send stock alert e-mails (a stock alert is triggered when a product becomes available in stock) to the subscribed e-mail addresses

4. We can set the Product Alert Run Settingsvalues in the next section.

We will configure a daily job at 0400 hours to send the alert e-mails:

  • ‰ Frequency: Daily
  • ‰ Start time: 04:00:00

5. Leave the product image placeholders as they are.

Here, we can set a default image that will be shown when a product has no image or the image is not found. The best way is to set the placeholder image(s) in the theme.

STEP 3:

1. In the Recently Viewed/Compared Product stab, set the following values:

  • ‰ Show for current: Website

This will show the recent products you viewed over all stores and store views in the website.

  • ‰ Default recently viewed count: 5
  • ‰ Default recently compared count: 5

2. In the Pricetab, set Catalog Price Scopeas Global. For this tutorial, we don’t need different prices for each store view. When Price Scopeis set to Global, we can only configure one price for a product in different store views.

3. In the Layered Navigationsection, we will modify some settings to customize the left navigation for the category pages.

  • ‰ Display product count: Yes
  • Price ranges: Equalize price ranges

By setting this, the price steps will always have the same increment.

4. Set the top navigation Categoryto 3.

This will mean that the depth of the navigation is three levels at the maximum.

STEP 4:

1. Skip the Search Engine Optimizationoption. We will look into it in the Changing the URL of a product pagerecipe

2. Configure the Catalog / Searchsection as follows:

  • ‰ Minimal query length: 3
  • ‰ Maximum query length: 128
  • ‰ Maximum query words count: 10
  • ‰ Search type: Like

You can set this to full text that has better results, but the performance is not so good. The previous settings configure the search behavior of Magento.

3. Don’t forget to save the configuration.

How it works…

All these settings are savedin the configuration table of Magento. The frontend files of the catalog pages will pick up these settings and render the output based on these settings.When you add extra functionality to the category page, you can easily extend the configuration with extra parameters. More about extending the configurations is explained in the Extending the system configuration recipe of  Magento Backend.


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