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If you use WordPress as a publishing platform with which to operate your website and find yourself with the need to incorporate some eCommerce functionality in order to support or enable your business’ growth, you may be asking yourself which solution is better for you and your business? Will you use WordPress or Magento?

On the surface, the two platforms may seem similar. They both are highly customizable, are very SEO friendly, can be extensively themed, and feature a strong online support community. In addition, of course, they are both essentially content management systems, enabling you to add, modify, and manage your content in a simple yet effective manner. However, the differences become apparent when you examine their core purpose.

Furthermore, if you have some experience with developing for WordPress, Magento’s complexity in comparison may be somewhat intimidating. In this entry to our eCommerce blog, we highlight why Magento is the preferred eCommerce solution for your business and provide some tips on how to use Magento, while thinking like WordPress.

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WordPress is a popular open source publishing tool and content management system. Upwards of 17% of the Web, or over 60 million websites, is powered by WordPress. Even eBay Inc., which owns Magento, uses it to publish their blog. It is notable for featuring a plug-in architecture and template system in addition to being very user friendly. WordPress can be extended to support some basic eCommerce functionality through a number of third party plugins.

Like WordPress, Magento is built on open source technology. It is a feature-rich eCommerce platform trusted by more than 150,000 online retailers, including some of the world’s leading brands, ranging from small websites to large multinational businesses. Magento offers a level of functionality and customizability that provides merchants with the flexibility and control to create online stores that fit their business needs while also supplying powerful features like marketing, multi-store management, mobile commerce, business reports, search engine optimization, and catalogue-management tools. Magento’s CMS facilities also support the creation of complex content pages, version control, and menus – much like WordPress.

WordPress is made up of a series of editable Posts and Pages. When developing template files, Loops and function tags are used to call the Page or Post content. Custom template files can also be added and applied on a per-page basis. Magento features CMS Pages and they largely function the same way as a WordPress Page. However, as is often the case in Magento, something that can be accomplished through WordPress in a few quick clicks is done in a more programmatic fashion by following Magento best practices. For instance, to set up additional CMS Page templates you do not simply create a new template file; in Magento you must also create a new module that updates the list of templates available to it. The equivalent content call within these templates is performed through a PHP method as follows:

The greatest difference between the two is that WordPress has its programming contained within a set of sequenced PHP scripts while Magento is object-oriented and spread across a great number of files and folders. Further, whereas WordPress has relatively unique naming conventions for template files, and those files are largely contained within a single theme directory, Magento has several folders and files that share the same name. In WordPress, a theme is contained to one folder. With Magento, there are a series of nested folders. Template files and skin files are also located in separate directories. Lastly, unlike WordPress where themes are independent of one another, Magento features fall-back logic and relies upon its default theme.

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