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6 Essential Magento extensions

Our main focus with Magento lies with our bridge with Joomla! (MageBridge) and performance tuning. But over the years, we have developed numerous Magento sites and have bumped into little annoyances - shortcomings in Magento. To solve our own issues, we developed Magento extensions that are often seen as must-haves for any Magento shop. We love to share these essential Magento extensions with you.

1. EmailTester

When building a Magento site, you will also need to customize the transactional emails that are sent as part of the sales process (invoices, order confirmations, shipment notices). Customizing them requires design skills, but by default, testing these emails is a lenghty job: It requires creating an order for every combination of products you want to preview (so running through the entire checkout), something you definitely do not want to do that often.

Our EmailTester extension is a life-saver: It allows you to quickly preview any email in your browser or email client - complete with live data (order, invoice, customer, product) of your choice. This extension saves you tons of time when customizing emails.

2. CheckoutTester (free)

Similar to the EmailTester extension, the CheckoutTester extension solves an issue that would either require a lot of time ... or core hacks. If you want to customize the success-page that is shown to visitors once they have completed the checkout, you will need to create an order, run through the entire checkout - just to see what's at the last page of that process. A refresh will redirect you back to an empty cart. Impossible to use when trying to optimize the checkout.

Forums mention a core hack for this: Simply stop Magento from dropping the session and redirecting back to cart. A core hack, right. Definitely not something you want to do on your live site. Our CheckoutTester extension allows you to preview the success page without core hacks and without lengthy procedures. Simply visit the preview URL and you're done. We personally find it impossible to customize the success-page on a live site without this extension!

3. DeleteAnyOrder

Perhaps not something for everybody, but our DeleteAnyOrder extension makes it possible to remove orders from the Magento database, complete with all their dependancies. This is perfect when having a Magento site that is not yet in production, but even better when you are already in production (if your bookkeeper does not object): Say there's an issue with your checkout, and you want to test things yourself by creating test-orders. Once you're done, you're stuck with dummy orders that do nothing except clutter up your system.

Our DeleteAnyOrder extension allows you to remove all order data from the Magento database. Even better: It does so in a very secure way, preventing data corruption. There's even a complete integrity check tool in the backend that allows you to see the current status of your database. A vital tool when troubleshooting checkout failure.

4. EmailOverride (free)

When you are customizing a Magento site, you have become familiar with Magento theming and its override mechanism: You can create a parent theme and child theme, and override XML-layout files, PHTML-templates, CSS-files and images by simply copying the right file to the right folder. But with the email template-files you can't. What? Yes, you can't. The email template-files (located in app/locale/en_US/template/email) can't be copied to your theming folder.

With our EmailOverride extension this shortcoming is solved. Simply install the extension, and override the email files as you wish. A very simple solution for something so fundamental, that every Magento designer bumps into this.

5. TrashCan

I asked my girlfriend to enter some products in Magento and after she worked for some time, she accidently deleted a product instead of saving it. 10 minutes of editing were gone. So she asked me if I could restore the product. I could not. Because Magento lacks the functionality of a recycle bin. My girlfriend looked at me and said I'd better create one, because a trashcan is something so fundamental that she could not believe it did not exist.

So here it is: The Yireo Trashcan offers a recycle bin for all Magento users who belief that Magento behaves the same way as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal and probably most other web applications that deal with content.

6. DisableLog (free)

Last but not least: The Magento application is notorious for writing logs to Magento database-tables that are rarely used. Most people use external services like Piwik or Google Analytics for logging. Cleaning the Magento database-tables is therefor something that is frequently included in cronjobs. But why is the logging done in the first place? Every Magento request includes about 4 or 5 write queries to the Magento database, which are actually included there for no reason.

The Yireo DisableLog extension allows you to disable the Magento logging entirely. This does not only saves a couple of microseconds from every webrequest (in short: it makes your site a little bit faster), but it also keeps the Magento database from growing out of proportions. We have already heard great comments from users who noticed performance gains thanks to our extension. There's little reason not to install it.

There you are

There you are: 6 essential Magento extensions. I hope you like them. If you have any suggestions or questions let us know.

Written by Jisse Reitsma op 28 April 2014

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