Add New Reference in Magento
If you already performed some Magento research, you will know that it is built on a fully modular model that gives great scalability and flexibility for your store. While creating a theme, you are provided with many content blocks that you can place in structural blocks. If you are not sure what they are, please read Designer’s Guide to Magento first. Magento provides few structural blocks by default and many content blocks. This article tells what needs to be in place to create new structural block.
What are structural blocks?
They are the parent blocks of content blocks and serve to position its content blocks within a store page context. Take a look at the image below. These structural blocks exist in the forms of the header area, left column area, right column…etc. which serve to create the visual structure for a store page. Our goal is to create a new structural block called “newreference”.
Step 1: Name the structural block
Open the file layout/page.xml in your active theme folder. Inside you will find lines like:
<block type="core/text_list" name="left" as="left"/> <block type="core/text_list" name="content" as="content"/> <block type="core/text_list" name="right" as="right"/>
Let’s mimic this and add a new line somewhere inside the same block tag.
<block type="core/text_list" name="newreference" as="newreference"/>
Good. Now we told Magento that new structural block exists with the name “newreference”. Magento still doesn’t know what to do with it.
Step 2: Tell Magento where to place it
We now need to point Magento where it should output this new structural block. Let’s go to template/page folder in our active theme folder. You will notice different layouts there. Let’s assume we want the new structural block to appear only on pages that use 2-column layout with right sidebar. In that case we should open 2columns-right.phtml file.
Let’s assume we wish the “newreference” block to be placed below 2 columns, but above the footer. In this case, our updated file could look like this:
<!-- start middle --> <div> <div>< ?php getChildHtml('breadcrumbs') ?> <!-- start center --> <div id="main"><!-- start global messages --> < ?php getChildHtml('global_messages') ?> <!-- end global messages --> <!-- start content --> < ?php getChildHtml('content') ?> <!-- end content --></div> <!-- end center --> <!-- start right --> <div>< ?php getChildHtml('right') ?></div> <!-- end right --></div> <div>< ?php getChildHtml('newreference') ?></div> </div> <!-- end middle -->
Step 3: Populating structural block
We have the block properly placed, but unfortunately nothing is new on the frontsite. Let’s populate the new block with something. We will put new products block there as an example. Go to appropriate layout XML file and add this block to appropriate place.
<reference name="newreference"> <block type="catalog/product_new" name="home.product.new" template="catalog/product/new.phtml" /> </reference>
That’s it. I hope it will help someone
By Tomislav Bilic from Inchoo.net