Volusion Template Design, (Tip #1)

While developing a Volusion online store for a customer, I was looking over some reports in SmarterStats and ran across an interesting URL I’d never seen before — so I popped it into the address bar of my browser and found a nice, yet undocumented Volusion feature.

If you’d like to see what your template looks like without any Volusion generated content on the page, you can use:

http://www.example.com/empty_template.asp

(replace “www.example.com” with the actual domain of your store)

This makes it much easier to debug design issues and a View Source will show you little more than your template and CSS in action, (Volusion still inserts some Javascript and META info into the page — but it’s much easier to read the HTML than when it’s full of all those nasty nested tables).

Note: It’s much easier to debug the code when you’re not logged in as Admin, (then you don’t get all Volusion code from the QuickEdit toolbar either).  My usual approach is to log in as Admin using FireFox, then open a copy of MS-IE and browse the storefront “as a user”, (the two browsers don’t share the session data even when running on the same machine — this lets you have the best of both worlds — develop using FireFox and see what the site looks like in IE).

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6 comments on “Volusion Template Design, (Tip #1)
  1. John Melnor says:

    I’m not much of a technical guy but have been setting up an ecommerce store with Volusion and finding out there are some strange things going on with Firefox and Volusion. I have run into a problem for example where my store front looks great when accessed through Internet Explorer but when accessed through Firefox it looks awful. Even when viewed through different computers it looks the same.

    Some of the text in the main categories get overlaid and disappear for example. The quality just doesn’t look as good as it does when viewed through Internet Explorer either. I tried running both an older version of Firefox and their most recent one as a test and had the same problem. Volusion recommends using Firefox but I am having trouble with it. So what’s going on?

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated

    Comment by John Melnor — July 21, 2009 @ 3:09 am

  2. Randy Harris says:

    Without seeing the site, I can’t say why you’re having problems. Font rendering in IE and FF are different, not matter what you do — so the two browsers will never look “exactly” the same — but the types of problems you’re describing sound more like a missing or improperly nested tag somewhere in the template.

    When you say “Some of the text in the main categories get overlaid and disappear for example.“, are you talking about text on a category page — or text on the menu links that go to the categories ?

  3. sharma chelluri says:

    Great Tips Sir!. I am a volusion template designer. your tips helping me a lot. Thanks for all your posts. Keep up the good work

    sharma chelluri

  4. robert says:

    awesome tips.. but i wonder how can we tweak / workaround the featured products in the front page of website?
    for example moving the picture to the top of the texts (featured product) …
    or making featured product more alive and attractive….

  5. Randy Harris says:

    You can’t customize 100% of the featured products, but there are ways to customize the display.

    The first thing to try is creating a category called “Featured Products” and try various configurations using the Customize Product Display settings, (for type, rows, columns, etc). There is a bit more info about this at:
    http://store.volusion.com/kb_results.asp?ID=214

    If that doesn’t work for you, you can turn off the default featured products display and create a custom block of HTML (which displays products you want to feature) and place it in Article #2 or Article #71 (the articles that appear on the home page above and below where the featured products section would display).

    The last resort is to use Javascript and DOM to replace or restyle the Volusion generated featured products (HTML & CSS) code… you’ll find a few articles here in the Volusion section that explain the technique.

  6. Thanks very much Randy for all the Volusion tips on your website. I’m a first time Volusion designer and it’s been a challenge to learn all the tricks necessary to shape the site as my client would like. Your website has been invaluable and I’m looking forward to reading more.