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Blocks and Widgets are the key layout features in Magento. These two features are very closely linked, and are often used together.

One way to think about Blocks is that they are mini-Pages. A Block can also contain text, images, video and more. But because Blocks are smaller, you will see them around the edges of your site. Blocks are often inserted into headers, sidebars and footers.

However, Blocks are placed using Widgets. First you create a Block, and then you use a Widget to decide where that Block will be displayed.

Let's walk you through some examples and show you how Blocks and Widgets work in Magento.

This guide is taken from Magento 2 Explained, the best-selling book for Magento 2. We use the example of a store called "Orangeville" in that book, so you'll see it referred to here.

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| WooCommerce

WooCommerce Explained is the best-selling book on WooCommerce. 

In this exclusive tutorial, taken from WooCommerce Explained, we're going to show you how to create discount codes for your WooCommerce store.

Coupons are often a fundamental part of the marketing strategy for stores.

You may want to create a holiday discount, a discount code for first time customers, or a discount code just for a special audience such as your newsletter or a podcast. 

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| General

Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world.

For under $30 per month, Shopify offers everything your store needs from products and variations to payments and shipping.

We've just published a free, hour-long introduction to Shopify. Rod Martin shows you how to build your store in just one hour. This video is free to watch on YouTube!

Special offer: If you're starting a new shop, get a .STORE domain name for your Shopify site! It's the perfect TLD for your eCommerce site. Use the coupon "OSTSTORE" and you'll pay just $4.99/year. Get started here.

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Taxes are never fun, whether you're paying or collecting them. 

However, when you're running an eCommerce store with Magento, Taxes are an unavoidable headache.

We're going to try to explain everything in plain English, but there's no getting around the fact that taxes are hard work.

So, sit down in a comfortable chair and make yourself a strong cup of coffee. Let's explore how taxes work in Magento.

This guide is taken from Magento 2 Explained, the best-selling book for Magento 2. We use the example of a store called "Orangeville" in that book, so you'll see it referred to here.

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| General

A few weeks ago, WPEngine purchased StudioPress. This was a major move in the WordPress space. This also seemed like a simple move. One of the biggest hosting companies was taking over biggest theme developer. More customers, more money, more growth.

But I'm part of a popular Slack channel for WordPress developers and I saw was confusion. WPEngine said they purchased StudioPress to become a "DXP". That was unexpected. Lots of the terminology used to describe the deal was new to the developers:

What is a DXP? A DXP appears inside a magic quadrant?!?

In this guide, I'll try and explain DXPs, magic quadrants, WCMs and more. What does this jargon mean? How do these phrases help explain WPEngine's acquisition of StudioPress, and other big moves made by open source companies?

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| Drupal

Over the last few months we've worked with more and more Drupal 8 sites. Those projects all had one thing in common ... they used the Drupal Paragraphs module.

Paragraphs is a very popular module for handling content in Drupal 8.

Paragraphs works in a similar way to content fields, but also provides a wide range of options for the design, layout and grouping of your content. 

If you want to learn Paragraphs, this is ultimate guide! Read, watch and follow along with all 10 parts of this tutorial. By the end, you'll be using Paragraphs for all your sites too!

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| Drupal
The Animations Module in Drupal 8

There are multiple JavaScript and CSS libraries on the internet. They allow you to animate parts of your site and make them look more attractive.

The Animations module makes it easy to include animations on your Drupal site. 

There's a full list of the animations on the module page, but they include such wonderfully named animations as swing, tada, wobble, jello, bounceIn, bounceOut, fadeIn, rollOut, zoomIn, slideInRight and more.

In this tutorial, I'll show how to install and use the required libraries and the Animations module..

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A Beginners Guide to the React Javascript Library

If you spend any time in the WordPress world, you've probably come across Zac Gordon. Zac is an enthusiastic and charming teacher who focuses on Javascript in WordPress. He borrowed the phrase "Learn Javascript Deeply" from Matt Mullenweg and he made it into his personal slogan.

For the last several years, Zac has produced video classes, online conferences, live talks, and podcasts that focus on teaching you how to use Javascript in WordPress.

I'm delighted to say we're working with Zac on a book, "React Explained". React is the library the WordPress team have chose for the new Gutenberg editor. They are not alone - both Drupal and Magento have also chosen React.

Zac is live-tweeting his writing progress at @zgordon on Twitter. You can also hear Zac talk about React on the OSTraining podcast.

In this extract from the book, Zac gives you a high-level overview of React and some key concepts.

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| WordPress
Introducing BoldGrid, the WordPress Website Builder

The new Gutenberg editor is nearly here and the WordPress landscape is about to change in a big way.

Many plugins are themes are going to be impacted. In particular, people are curious how page-builder plugins such as Beaver Builder and Visual Composer will respond. The answer, looking at BoldGrid, another popular plugin in the same niche, is to do more. BoldGrid doesn't just build pages, it builds complete websites. It allows you to build an entire WordPress website without any code and in a ridiculously short amount of time. 

BoldGrid provides layouts, themes, an SEO plugin and more. It also has developer-friendly tools such as Staging plugin and a Backup plugin. All-in-all, it offers far more than BoldGrid will ever offer. It's a website builder, rather than a page builder.

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| Joomla
Videos to Get You Started With Joomla Development
How do I get started with building Joomla extensions?

That's a common question we get from people who join OSTraining for the first time. They want to know about the skills they will need, and what kind of classes they should take.

Here's an overview of everything you need to get started with Joomla development.

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| Joomla

Are you looking to add a Joomla calendar to your site?

If so, you have a lot of choices available. There are over 160 extensions listed in the "Calendars & Events" directory on

So, if you want a powerful calendar to show on your Joomla site, you'll need to choose from one of these extensions. Here's our ranking of the 5 best Joomla calendar and events extensions. We tested dozens of these extensions and compared their pros and cons.

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| Podcasts
The Absolute Beginners Guide to Podcasting: Equipment

This is the second part of our series on podcasting for beginners. Here are all 5 parts of the series:

This series was originally written in 2015, but it has proven to be incredibly popular with hundred of thousands of readers. So we've updated the recommendations for 2018. This series also formed the basis for the podcasting classes that Jeff created for OSTraining.

Choosing the right podcast equipment can be incredibly frustrating and confusing. Many podcasters suggest poor equipment and setups that don’t fit your needs. In this guide, Jeff gives you his honest feedback from a decade of podcasting experience. He covers microphones, mixers, digital recorders, cables and much more.

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| Drupal
drupal 8 voting intro image

One of OSTraining’s customers asked how to implement content voting on their site. 

In Drupal 7, the popular choice was the Fivestar module, but that's still not ready for Drupal 8.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use the Votingapi Widgets module in Drupal 8. This module makes use of a “Rating” field, which you can customize and insert into your content.

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| Drupal
Drupal Web Form

One of OSTraining’s members asked how to create a following web form with the Webform module:

  • The site has four regions to be contacted: NE, SE, NW, and SW.
  • Each region will have their own contact person/team.
  • The user must be able to select one or more of the regions to contact at the same time, using checkboxes.
  • All the submittions must be BCC-ed to the main administrator.
  • If needed, the site owner should be able to add one or more email recipients for each region.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to meet these user requirements using the Webform module.

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