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New Magento Community Edition User Guide Overview

Some time passed since the latest Magento Community Edition version was released and recently we got the updated Magento Community Edition User Guide, which is absolutely indispensable for new comers and, perhaps, for more advanced platform users.

Now we are keen to know about the changes made in this book. Running ahead I can assure you that the changes are truly considerable.

Of course, the latest guide covers, except other topics, the new functionality added to the Magento CE 1.9 ver., but the changes made to the Guide are much deeper.

Magento Community Edition User Guides Comparison

For the starting we’ll compare just several clearly conspicuous differences of the design, table of contents, and structure.

The recent edition of the guide is more than twice longer than its predecessor and contains 714 pages totally, while the previous guide was only 296 pages long. The doubled volume seems to be comprised of not only new feature descriptions, but a greater number of pictures, as well. This makes the guide more readable and comfortable to go through.

Design and Structure

The new design is more advantageous and colorful, contains new graphical elements and text formats.  For the sake of usability most contextual hyperlinks are now text links instead of URLs.

The headers not only contain names of topics, but current chapter numbers and their names, as well. The footer is also changed and highlights the name of the book on each page of the guide. It may seem excessive, until it is looks more dignified.

The structure of the book is reworked and changed considerably. The latest version is more market and Magento store owners oriented, when the previous versions were focused on features and functionality.

The new logic of the structure is mostly based on fronted operations and selling concepts, what makes users change the angle of their perception and discover more “what for” exists one or another functionality, rather than “how it works” and “how it can be configured”.

Now, let’s drill down to the table of contents and compare specific chapters of two guides.


The screenshots below distinctly demonstrate the difference in the presenting of the information by two guides. The first screen reflects plain design dedicated to technical specialists, while the second presents a premium product, according to all traditional marketing canons.

Magento Community Edition User Guide - Version 1.8

Magento Community Edition User Guide - Ver. 1.8

Magento Community Edition User Guide - Version 1.9

Magento Community Edition User Guide - Ver. 1.9

The “Resources” section of the new guide encounters all helpful business and technical resources available for Magento users and is definitely valuable for beginning users. Despite this information is also contained in the previous version its location there is not so advantageous and only very attentive readers can find it.

The fourth chapter, “Quick Tour”, of the new guide is the most striking, which is absolutely in line with the new strategy. It is a small guide inside, which leads through the Magento e-commerce opportunities covering the whole cycle of the purchasing process from the attraction of customers to loyalty building.

Main Chapters

The new guide focuses on the functionality crucial for online merchants, including SEO, shopping tools, design, payments, etc. The corresponding chapters are greatly extended or included into the guide for the first time.

The “Payments” chapter is vast in the new guide and includes detailed descriptions of PayPal payment solutions.

Two newly presented chapters, “Store Operations” and “System Operations”, embrace most used backend admin operations related to the store configuration (email templates, admin permissions, reports) and Magento system configuration (index management, cache management,  server backups and rollbacks).

The possibilities of Magento integration with other web services are revealed in the 62th chapter “Web Services” in much more details than it was made in previous editions.

Final Pages

At the end of both guides readers can find alphabetical indexes, but the current version also provides the editor toolbar description and glossary, which is very convenient, when you just need to refresh some Magento inherent concepts and terms.

In our opinion, the latest edition of the Magento Community Edition User Guide is more user friendly and better focused on merchants’ needs and objectives. Its structure is more logical and clear; the topics are more searchable and allow you to save time during your work with this guide.

The provided changes seem to display the shift of the Magento promotional concept towards a more active position responding the increasing competition pressure.

So, if you still did not downloaded the new Guide, we advise you to do this. You will not only get updated technical information, but also be able to look at Magento from the customer’s point of view.

Please share your ideas about this post in comments below.

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