If you have ever worked with Magento before, you will know that it’s administrative backend is quite complex. While feature-richness is a desirable asset for any application, it usually comes with some drawbacks, and Magento – however well designed – is no exception to that rule. Configuring a more sophisticated website can take days with Magento. Operations that seem effortless in Joomla! can be a daunting task from within Magento’s administrator. And then there’s template customization - a process Magento developers refer to as ‘theming’. If you’ve ever had the pleasure to create a Joomla! template... well, it’s nothing like that. Instead, you have to squirm your way through dozens of xml, phtml and css files, and all in different locations.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have all that wonderfully elaborate functionality of Magento cushioned inside the friendly usability of Joomla? This must have been the exact thought of Yireo, when they decided to write a Joomla! extension that does just so: MageBridge. As the name implies, MageBridge provides a bridge between Joomla! and Magento. MageBridge consists of both a Joomla! and a Magento extension. After installing the extension in both administrators all of Magento’s front-end content will feature inside your Joomla! site.
Magento’s entire catalogue configuration remains within the Magento back-end administrator, but all front-end rendering can now be manipulated through your Joomla! template. MageBridge allows you to link to all of the store-related functionality like Shopping cart, Customer Account, Login and Logout and Wish list from within the Joomla! Menu Manager. It also facilitates hot linking to specific products and categories so you can create the entire user interface through Joomla! which will prove to be an incredible time saver.
Magento’s content blocks – a feature similar to Joomla! modules – are also accessible to the Joomla! front-end. MageBridge shippes with a set of modules and plugins through which all Magento content is made accessible to Joomla. In fact, there is also a plugin that allows synchronization of Joomla! users and Magento account holders. Of course MageBridge is setup in such a way that these functionalities can – literally – be switched off individually should you not wish to make use of them.
Learn to swim first
Although you may think you’re ready to dive straight in, you need to prepare yourself a little. Even though MageBridge takes away some of Magento’s more practical challenges (it’s even been said that it speeds Magento up a nodge) developing an ecommerce site with MageBridge requires a lot of planning. It also calls for at least some basic knowledge of Magento, including Magento theming. Also, you mustn’t underestimate the time involved in initial configuration of a new site. Luckily, both Magento as well as MageBridge are very well documented and Yireos support forum is very responsive should you run into difficulties.