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Advanced Template Hints for Magento: Extension Review

Is better development and debugging of your Magento store a top priority for you? As part of our Magento practice we get hands on experience on various extensions which can help in optimizing Magento store performance.  Advance Template Hints is a highly recommended tool for Magento Developers which can assist in meeting your goals.

Sigma_ Advance_Template_Hints

One of the most useful features in Magento is finding the templates and blocks behind each section of the page. But sometimes path hints are confusing and it is difficult to check all the details of a block. In addition, only blocks of the type “Mage_Core_Block_Template” are displayed here but not all block types inherited from “Mage_Core_Block_Abstract”.

With ‘Advanced Template Hints’ extension, the template block information is displayed in the upper corners of each block. All blocks are outlined in red, green or yellow to indicate whether it is being cached or not.

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As with the normal template hints, some boxes may overlap and not be visible properly, but you get the following information:

Module: Name of the module from which the block is constructed
Ex.: _Module: Mage Core , _Mage_Cms _oder _Mage Page

Path: The path of all blocks which are nested in the given block
Example: PATH: _Mage_Core_Block_Text (alias / name: topLinks) <- Mage_Page_Block_Html_Header (alias / header) <- Mage_Page_Block Html (name: root)
This means that the block with the name and alias “topLinks” of type “Mage_Core_Block_Text “Is contained in the block” header “of the type” Mage_Page_Block_Html_Header “, which in turn is contained in” root “of type” Mage_Page_Block_Html “.

Template: If a block from the Mage_Core_Block template
class is used, the template used is also specified. Example: TEMPLATE: frontend / base / default / template / page / switch / languages.phtml_

Cms block: If block is of type “Mage_Cms_Block_Block” (ie a normal static Cms block) then block id is specified.
Eg: _CMS-BLOCK-ID: footer links

Cms page: If block is of type “Mage_Cms_Block_Page” (ie a Cms page) then the pages Id is specified.
For example: CMS-PAGE-ID: home

Cache: And finally, the new template hints about the caching of the block:
Ex: _CACHE: Lifetime: forever, Key: c7e582f7a3b1b41fd5cd10c492c2ee13c60bae44, Tags: store, cms_block, block html

Here the Lifetime, the cache key and the set tags are output.

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The block is also surrounded by a dotted line. Three different line colors are used here in order to be able to distinguish the blocks quickly from one another:

  • Red: The block is not cached (the cache Lifetime is set to “zero”)
  • Green: The block is cached (Details on the caching parameters can be read in the title tag.
  • Yellow: The block is not cached but is contained in a cached block and is implicitly cached.

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Uncached Block (red border)

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Geocacher Block (green border)

Sigma_Blog_ Image4.pngImplicitly cached block (yellow edge)

Note: This extension can also be integrated with PHPstorm by installing “Remote Call” plugin

Working for various Magento projects has enabled us for an intimate understanding of many extensions and third party tools which adds to the efficiency for maintenance & development for a Magento store. I am eager to hear your thoughts and experiences on this front in the comments section below.

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