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Open Source Skills: Been There, Done That

As I wait for yet another install of Magento to delete itself, so I can install it yet again, I am reminded of my tech support days. Then, as now, this Open Source stuff is all about “been there, done that“. The more times you’ve done it before, the better you are at doing it. No matter what level of conceptual understanding you have, you still have to have “done it” in order to be able to “do it” again.

Magento on Dreamhost. Magento on 1and1. Magento on my dev server. Magento on my Redhat server. Magento on my local XAMPP installation. They are all slightly different, and now I know exactly why. But I still have to track down every instance of the use of HTTPS to enable use of a shared SSL cert (1and1), or manually configure the secure/non-secure basedir settings, and start with admin console unsecured, etc etc etc. Yes, I know it’s a great package. Yes, I understand why I have to manage these peculiarities, and I totally support the cross-platform approach that necessitates the compromises. But still, must I install it again?

The next time someone asks me “what do you mean by SEO for Magento. It’s already search engine optimized, because it runs on Zend Framework” I will likely switch from Pinot Noir back to Jameson. Yes frameworks are about best practice and flexibility. And SEO is about competitive webmastering. You use ZF as is, while your brother exploits the __call method to make sharper URLs, my cousin uses a Controller plugin to hack URLs before they get to the router, JoeSEO deploys good ole regex rules in Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex, and I struggle with enforcing strict URLs and a custom route class.

Question: Who will win in the SERPs?

Answer: The one who ties it all back to the shopping cart in a fashion most effectively tuned to the market, as defined by Google.

In a way that is portable, and flexible, and adjustable, of course. Sound familiar? Go figure.


  1. Wil Sinclair wrote:

    How do you find the flexibility/extensibility of the router and are the extension points in the right places for SEO? I’m very curious about this, because as far as I know this is one of ZF’s strength. I’d love to pass any useful feedback on to Matthew.


    Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Gemme wrote:

    I’m researching several different ecommerce packages (a new exercise for me) at the moment and I was wondering with all the testing you have been doing whether Magento is your number one choice for small ecommerce sites at this stage.

    Friday, April 18, 2008 at 12:51 am | Permalink
  3. Symfony framework seens also being a good option for this.


    Monday, December 22, 2008 at 4:29 am | Permalink