Jersey Express – Magento eCommerce Integration

Screenshot of the new Jersey Express Magento siteThis project was a Magento eCommerce platform integration for Jersey Express. The client supplied the new site’s graphical design. My task was to apply the look and feel to Magento, re-arranging widgets and functionality as needed. I try to code standards-compliant XHTML and CSS. We’d be in a real mess without standards! There are some cases where I cannot, due to special requests and pre-existing conditions – for this particular site, we were trying to keep costs as low as possible, so I didn’t take the time to ensure validation and correct every error. The design came together nicely, although the cut-up ended up not being very helpful. The Magento templating system is far more complex then you’d think.

There were a number of custom programming challenges. Magento is written in fully object-oriented PHP, using the Model-View-Controller pattern throughout. On one hand, it’s amazingly awesome to work with; flexible and powerful, without the ugly code in so many other systems. On the other hand, it can be nightmareish to get your head around, due to the size and complexity of the system. Also, being an open source solution, the documentation isn’t what you’d expect from a commercial solution. The initial learning curve for the programmer is rather steep. I liken it to learning to ride a dragon. Very difficult to do, dangerous until you get good at it, but once you have it down, you wield amazing power.

I ended up rewriting a few modules for this site, specifically to get the price calculations in line with customer requests, and to get the menus and catalog to be dynamic in just the right way. It also took a custom piece of code to import several thousand configurable products and their associated simple products. Not easy to do at all, but totally worth the time.

I look forward to the next Magento project! This was fun. If you want a sports jersey, by the way, check these guys out. They are the official manufacturers for the pro sports teams, so what you get and the quality of workmanship is top-shelf. I’ve visited their factory several times, and can vouch for it myself. Tell them I sent you!