A few months ago, I attempted to build a complex home page in a Magento shop installation. The page had to be an exact copy of a client’s site due to it having to maintain the design of their marketing material. By complex I mean a page with two types of Flash slider, a news area that updated dynamically from the backend and a Flash logo.
I must admit I was a little overawed by the prospect and started to try and work out how the page could be changed. The problem was that I was trying to reskin a theme which was already very complicated, or at least complicated to me at the time. I was put off. The way in which Magento is built was new to me and at that point, the interaction between html, php, xml and css was confusing.
I decided to start from the very beginning.
This is where I started:
I Went throught this tutorial and to be honest it was very useful. There are other documents attached that will help you to understand how the Magento filesystem is organised. This system can be confusing, especially for a beginner but it is actually rather clever. You are given a default theme and then told to create a new theme. You can put as much or as little as you require within your new theme, as Magento will check in your new theme folder for updates and if nothing is present, it will revert to the default (the default is created at the point of installation).
This was well and good but the theme I was left with had no styling at all (this would be ideal for some people) so I had to look for something else.
Whilst learning Magento I have browsed these three publications.
The first two guides are certainly worth looking at and enabled me to construct simple Magento sites using pre-made themes and a variety of product types etc. The last guide was the solution to my custom design problems.
The Definitive Guide to Magento recommmends that a designer should use the ‘Blank Theme’, a theme which is downloadable from Magento Commerce. This theme was the helpup I needed.. The theme is simpler than a full pre-made theme and is not really styled at all, giving the user a blank canvas.
I am now making impressive (in terms of my previous progress) strides and will hopefully soon be able to provide you with a link to a custom Magento site that I have designed and built myself.