If you’re reading this intro, chances are you know something about Magento. Maybe you’ve chosen it for your new online store, maybe it’s been chosen for you, or maybe you’re just the curious type. Whatever the reason you’ve kicked the tires, liked what you’ve seen, and ran to this book for help once you opened the hood.
Magento isn’t just a shopping cart. It’s an entire system for programming web applications and performing system integrations. The PHP you see here is not your your father’s PHP. It’s probably not even your PHP. Magento takes
enterprise java patterns and applies them to the PHP language. More than any system available today, it’s pushing the limits of what’s possible with object oriented PHP code.
When it comes to layout engines, Most PHP MVC systems use a simple outershell/inner-include approach. Magento does not. At the top of the Magento view layer there’s a layout object, which controls a tree of nested block objects.
Magento uses a domain specific programming language, implemented in XML, to create, configure, and render this nested tree of block objects into HTML. This layer is separate from the rest of the application, allowing non-PHP developers an unprecedented level of power to change their layouts without having to touch a single line of PHP code.
If the above paragraph was greek to you don’t worry, you’re not alone. With all that power available there’s a learning curve to Magento that can be hard to climb by yourself. This book is your guide up that learning curve. We’ll tell you what you need to know to quickly become a Magento Layout master.
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