How Swatches Work [Magento EE 1.14.1]

Magento Enterprise Edition 1.14.1 was released today, and with it came the very nifty feature of Swatches! My team was very interested in figuring out how to manage and utilize this new feature for our clients.

The first thing that we noticed is, for our pre-existing installation anyways, Swatches were disabled by default. To enable them, you need to go to the “Configurable Swatches” section under the Catalog heading in your Configuration. There you will find the ability to Enable them, and an area to select which attributes you wish to display swatches for.

 Color Swatches

Perhaps the most nifty feature is that - by default - colors appear for the color attribute when enabled for swatches. When first demoing this, you’d have to think it’s magic, but it isn’t!

As it turns out, Magento checks for the existence of the attribute value (in lowercase) as a png image in /media/wysiwyg/swatches. If it finds it, it shows it!

This is good and bad.

The Good is that there’s a very easy to find location where you can put your swatch images (then clear your Swatch Image Cache!) and Magento will know exactly where to look.

The Bad is that these are not in any way shape or form filtered out by attribute. Color, Size, and any other attribute you set will all check for the existence of it’s image in this solitary directory.

The Ugly is that Magento does not seem to provide any simple way for you to manage these swatches. It is possible if you enter into any WYSIWYG editor and click “Insert Image” and can then manage your media directory (which has a nifty swatches directory) - but other than that it’s impossible to access from your admin panel.

Downfalls aside, this is definitely an interesting new feature that will be more than welcome for Enterprise customers.

 Honorable Mention

Oh, and there seems to be a bug with the default Enterprise theme:

 
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