Magento is a fantastic ecommerce platform, and it is evolving and adding new features. But ecommerce owners will always need more than native Magento features.
Custom development takes time and resources. Vendor made solution – Magento extension – is the most popular way to add extra features to the Magento store.
Let’s understand what is Magento extension, and how it works.
- What is Magento Extension?
- Magento Extensions vs Magento Modules
- How do Magento extensions work?
- Custom Extensions vs Vendor Extensions
- Magento Marketplace Extensions
What is Magento Extension?
A Magento extension is a piece of software that extends the functionality of your Magento store. Extensions can add new functionality or extend existing functionality on your site, allowing you to add any kind of functions on your website. Like, adding a blog or social media share buttons to the store.
Technically speaking, the Magento extension is a package of code built to add specific functions to the store. The file contains XML and PHP files in controllers, helpers, blocks, and models related to particular business features.
Depending on their features, Magento extensions can make small tweaks to your store or massive changes. For example, you could use an extension to add a Facebook share button to your site or create a fully multilingual marketplace. Or, if you run a service business, you might install an extension to allow visitors to book appointments online.
Some extensions can help you enhance your pop-ups, make beautiful contact forms, backup your site in case of data failure, and make creating an account easier — plus much more.
While many make changes to the front end of your site, some plugins make changes on the back end, so maintenance is easier for your team. These extensions might allow you to scan your Magento store for broken links, run A/B tests, or put your store into maintenance mode, for example.
Now that we have a better understanding of what extensions are, let’s look at how they work.
Magento Extensions vs Magento Modules
In Magento 1, extension, plugins, modules – all mean the same thing. Anything that changes the functionality of the Magento by altering, rewriting, or removing the component from core code.
Magento 2 changed the definitions. The difference between Magento extensions and Magento modules is the same as whole numbers and natural numbers.
All extensions are modules, but not all modules are extensions.
The Magento modules are anything that adds new functionality to the Magento. While the extensions are:
An extension, or interceptor, is a class that modifies the behaviour of public class functions by intercepting a function call and running code before, after, or around that function call. This allows you to substitute or extend the behaviour of original, public methods for any class or interface.
How do Magento extensions work?
Magento extension allows you to add or extend the functionality of your Magento store without changing core Magento files. Extensions use access points, formally known as filter and action hooks, provided by the Magento API to “hook into” the source code.
These access points and methods will call the functions of the extension at specific times and modify the default behaviour of Magento.
For example, A developer wants to create an extension that adds a line of text that says “Check More Products” below every product on a Magento site. In that case, the function of the extension would be adding clickable “Check More Products” to the products and the event that triggers the function would be opening the product page.
Now let’s say you’re a Magento store owner who wants to add this functionality to your store. In that case, you’d need to add the extension to your Magento website.
Custom Extensions vs Vendor Extensions
Technically all the extensions are custom extensions, but custom means extensions specifically built for one store.
You have a Magento store and want to add functionality. You search the internet research extensions but cannot find the one that can work for your store.
What would you do?
You have two options: Use the one that fulfils most of your store’s requirements, or create an extension.
You will need Magento developers or hire a Magento agency to prepare the extensions for you. Then there is maintenance, regular updates, and bugs patching.
That’s why most of the store owners go with vendor-built extensions.
Vendor-built extensions are created and released by the Magento development companies. They create extensions for various purposes, regularly release updates, and fix bugs.
Some big-name working in the Magento extension development area are:
These companies also offer custom extensions development services.
The Magento extensions typically come with one time-cost, with an annual/monthly support fee. If you don’t want support, you can use it free after purchasing it once.
Many extension providers also release open-source extensions and list their extensions on the Marketplace.
Magento Marketplace Extensions
Magento marketplace is an application store that offers a curated and verified selection of Magento themes and extensions to the Magento store owners.
Magento is open-source software and a popular one. Many third-party developers and agencies work to support the software and create themes and agencies for it.
Not all the themes and extensions are safe, and it can risk the Magento store if the extension is not completely secure.
Magento marketplace ensures that Magento owners can get secure and tested applications and themes for their store. The marketplace follows strict guidelines, and extensions are tested extensively to be at the marketplace.
If any vulnerability is found in any application, the Magento marketplace removes the extension and may also ban the Vendor from the future listing.
Vendors, however, also sell the extension on their website. But if you are buying a Magento extension from a third-party vendor, you should test it before deploying it to your store.
There are thousands of Magento extensions in the marketplace, categorized by their functions. Many of them are free. You can sort them by reviews and select the most popular one.
It is impossible to imagine Magento stores without the Magento extensions. However, Magento developers regularly add the features to the platform itself, so there is less reliance on third-party software.
But still, these Magento extensions offer a custom solution, and every Magento shop needs an extension for some kind of functionality.
We recommend using the extension on the stage first to ensure that the extension does not disrupt your store in any way. You can create a stage from the Breeze app in a few clicks and run your test.