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Extension page: http://ecommerce.aheadworks.com/magento-extensions/z-blocks.html


Z-Blocks – is a unique solution to control static blocks in your store. You don’t need to change template and layout files manually every time when you want to add an advertising banner or some specific information. All the administration of static blocks is available in admin panel.

Features:

  • Create an unlimited number of content blocks
  • Place blocks in any position on the website
    • 10 pre-defined positions
    • custom block positioning option
  • Configure the display mode of content items
  • Schedule z-blocks displaying
    • set general display duration
    • set the display pattern (daily, on weekdays, on weekends, etc.)
    • set the display time within a day
  • Target z-blocks displaying
    • target the correct audience
      • with customer groups restrictions
      • with referral URL identification
      • with Market Segmentation Suite filtering
    • target the desired site areas with category- and product-based conditions
  • Integration with Market Segmentation Suite and One Step Checkout

 

Installation

1. Backup your web directory and store database.

 Click to view details

You can make backup copies with any tool you find appropriate

If you are going to use the native Magento backup function, navigate to System -> Tools -> Backups and perform System and Database backups

 2. Log in to the Magento backend

 3. Disable compilation

 Click to view details

Navigate to System -> Tools -> Compilation.

If Compiler status is Disabled, you can skip to the next step

If Compiler is enabled, disable it.

IMPORTANT: after the extension is installed, you can enable the compilation again; IT IS CRUCIAL that you use "Run Compilation Process" function, not just "Enable button"

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Installing an extension with the Compilation enabled will result in store downtime.

 4. Flush store cache

 Click to view details

You can flush the store cache in 2 ways:

  • via the backend:

Navigate to System -> Cache Management menu, and click Flush Magento Cache button

  • via filesystem:

On your server, navigate to Magento root folder, then proceed to /var/cache/; delete all the content there.

 5. Download the extension package from your account and extract the downloaded archive

 6. Copy the content of /Step_1/ folder to your store's root directory

If you are using a custom theme,

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 read the instructions here.

In case you are using a custom theme, it is recommended to copy the design files to your current theme's folders. In case there are several themes in use at the same store, the design files must be copied to each of them.

  • Find this folder in the package: /step_1/app/design/frontend/base/default/ ; copy its content to /app/design/frontend/[your_package]/[your_theme]/
  • Find this folder in the package: /step_1/skin/frontend/base/default/ ; copy its content to /skin/frontend/[your_package]/[your_theme]/

 7. Copy the content of /Step_2/ folder to your store's root directory

 8. Flush store cache again; log out from the backend and log in again.



Configuration

The extension is configured per-block. I.e., each of the Z-Blocks has its own settings.

To create a new Z-Block and manage the existent ones, navigate to CMS -> Z-Blocks backend grid. 

Block Settings

General Information

This tab allows defining the basic block settings.

General Information section:

  • Block Title - sets the identifier of the block (for backend only).
  • Status - switches the block on or off.
  • Store View - allows selecting the Store View(s) the block will be displayed on.
  • Sort Order - sets the block priority. In case there are several blocks to be rendered in the same position, all of them will be displayed, arranged from one with minimal Sort Order (top) to maximal (bottom)

Block Position section:

Here, you can choose the page position the block will be displayed in. For detailed information regarding the available positions, refer to Block Positioning chapter

Display Items and Rotation section:

Here, you can define the sequence and logic of displaying block items. There are 3 available modes (defined by Display Items selector):

  • Display Items = Display All - all the items assigned to the block will be displayed, according to the value of the next option:
    • Representation = Display all items of the block - all the items will be displayed at one, arranged according to the item's Sort Order.
    • Representation = Slider - all the items will be displayed one-by-one, the block will be updated each X seconds.
      • Rotation interval, sec - (for Slider representation only) defines the time lapse before an item will be switched to the next one.
       
  • Display Items = Rotate one by one - all the block items will be displayed one at a time, according to the Items' Sort Order; the block will be updated with each page refresh.
  • Display Items = Random rotation - the block items will be displayed one at a time, in a random order; block content will be updated with each page refresh.

Audience

This tab allows defining the criteria for a store visitor to see the block.

Customer Group section:

Here, you can select what customer group(s) the block will be displayed for.

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NOTE: no groups are selected by default, make sure to select at least one to make the block appear on the frontend.

Referer Page tab:

This option allows displaying the block only to the visitors that were redirected to the page from a specific URL (defined in the Referer URL field)

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NOTE: the block will only be displayed as long as a visitor lands on the page from the designated URL. If the same visitor later returns from a different URL, via direct browser address, etc, the block will not get shown

Market Segmentation Suite section:

If the Market Segmentation Suite extension is installed, this section allows assigning MSS filtering to the block. I.e., the block will only be displayed if a visitor meets the MSS rule conditions.

 

Content

Under the Content tab, you can see the Items manager grid. An Item is equivalent to a content block, that is shown within the Z-Blocks. You can create any number of Items.

To create a new item, click Add Item button; to edit an existent one, click the correspondent grid row.

 

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NOTE: when creating a new block, you will be able to add Content Items after it is saved.

Edit Item screen

Content Item Information section:

  • Title - sets the content item backend identifier
  • Status - switches the item on or off
  • Sort Order - defines the items priority (compared to the other items assigned to the same Z-Block)
  • Content - the actual content of an item with the switchable WYSIWYG editor and support of standard Widgets and Variables

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     Item content guidelines

    Item content

    Blocks' items can include any content that native Magento CMS supports:

    • HTML;
    • Images/Flash;
    • JavaScript;
    • Code for fetching other blocks (such as featured products).

    It is not recommended to specify height and width parameters (specifically, in absolute values) for an item.
    The parent block the items belongs to, automatically acquires the max-width (equal to the parent column width) and max-height (equal to the height of the largest block item) values.

Additional Settings section:

Here, you can override certain settings of a parent block (the values specified here will only be effective for the given item), namely:

  • Store View
  • Enable z-blocks for certain customer groups
  • Validate the block by MSS rule 

 

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NOTE: the restrictions set here are added to the restrictions of the parent block.

E.g.: the parent block is set to be displayed to customers from Not Logged In and General groups. You can further restrict the item to show up for Not Logged In customers only, but it is not possible to add extra groups (Wholesale, Retailed, etc) via the items settings.

Schedule

The extension features the option to schedule the display of the blocks.

Display block section:

Here, you can define the general duration of the block activity (via From-To Dates pickers)

Schedule Pattern section:

Here, you can define the periodicity of block showing.

  • Show - allow selecting schedule pattern, e.g., Every Day, Every Odd / Even Date, Every X Day of Month, etc
  • From-To Time - these selectors allow selecting a time frame the block will be shown in

Conditions

Here, you can define various conditions to further refine on which pages the block will be displayed.

Categories section:

allows selecting categories the block will be shown at.

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The Category restrictions work only for Custom, Catalog and Product, Catalog only and Product only position types (see details in the Block Positioning chapter)

 

 

Conditions section:

allows setting product-related restrictions on the block. If any conditions are specified here, the block will only show up on the product pages that match them.

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The Product restrictions work only for Catalog and Product and Product only position types (see details in the Block Positioning chapter)

 

CMS Pages section:

allows defining whether the block can be displayed on CMS Static Pages.

 


 

Block Positioning

The extension offers a number of ready-made positions, and the possibility to manually call the blocks in the desired place. The block position can be selected in the General Information tab of the block setup page.

Pre-defined Positions

There are 8 general block positions:

  • Menu Top
  • Menu Bottom
  • Sidebar Left Top
  • Sidebar Left Bottom
  • Content Top
  • Sidebar Right Top
  • Sidebar Right Bottom
  • Page Bottom

These positions can be further appended with the target site areas:

  • General (will be displayed on all pages)
  • Catalog and Product
  • Catalog only
  • Product only 

 

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 Click to see the positions mapping

 

Also, there are 3 extra positions for Customer Account, Shopping Cart and Checkout screens (see images below)

  • Customer Content Top

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     Click to view screenshot

  • Shopping Cart Content Top

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     Click to view screenshot

     

  • Checkout Content Top

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     Click to view screenshot

     

 

Custom Positions

In addition to the pre-defined positions described above, the extension allows inserting blocks manually.

Inserting via Widget

First, you should set the Block Position to "Custom Widget" in the General Information tab of the block setup page.

 

Now, this block will become selectable in a widget setup screen.

 

Inserting via CMS / Layout / Templates

First, you should set the Block Position to "Custom" in the General Information tab of the block setup page.

2 new options will get displayed:

  • Custom Position Name - this field sets the block identifier which will be required when you actually call the block
  • Use category filter for custom positions - this option defines whether the Category filter will be applied to the block

 

Then, you can proceed with actually calling the block in the desired place. There are 3 available methods:

Via CMS

Insert the below code in the necessary CMS Static Block or Static Page, changing position_name with Custom Position value and block_name with any block name unique for the current layout.

CMS

Via Layout

Insert the below code in the necessary .xml layout file, changing position_name with Custom Position value and block_name with any block name unique for the current layout.

.xml layout

Via .phtml template file

Insert the below code into the necessary .phtml template, changing position_name with Custom Position value.

.phtml

 


 

 

Uninstallation

 

If you just need to temporary disable the extension, you can just do the steps 1-5, without deleting the files of the extension.

  • Disable compilation, in case it is enabled.
  • Login to your FTP, navigate to app/etc/modules/
  • Open the file AW_Zblocks.xml and change the following line:

    to

    Now your Magento is unaware of the existence of this module.

  • Clear the cache under var/cache
  • Make sure that the site is working properly, otherwise roll back the changes and apply to our technical support.
  • If everything works fine, it is safe to delete the files of the extension.
  • In case you need to clean the database, backup your database and then run the following queries in MySQL: 

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    It is necessary to run the queries in the specified order

    Note, if you are using the table with prefixes, you must specify them in all table names. 

    If you are not sure how to do that or expect any troubles with it, please contact your server administrator regarding the matter.
    If you remove the tables as it is described above, you will need to create all  the blocks again after the extension is reinstalled. 

Troubleshooting

After the extension installation the store gives an error, or blank page, or suggests to start Magento installation procedure.

Change the owner of the extracted extension files to the web server user and set 775 permissions on them. Clear the store cache and try again.

There is no aheadWorks extensions under my configuration section, or having the extension tab clicked I get a blank page, or Access Denied error.

Clear the store cache, browser cookies, logout and login again.

I've set up everything correctly, inserted the HTML code but there is nothing on that page.

Clear the store cache, clear your browser cache and domain cookies and refresh the page.

My configuration changes do not appear on the store.

 Clear the store cache, clear your browser cache and domain cookies and refresh the page.



You can always find the latest version of the software, full documentation, demos, screenshots and reviews at http://ecommerce.aheadworks.com
License agreement: http://ecommerce.aheadworks.com/LICENSE-M1.txt
Contact us: http://ecommerce.aheadworks.com/contacts/
Copyright © 2015 aheadWorks  http://www.aheadworks.co


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