This is one of the things I think Magento could make easier for the layman.

You have a bunch of products that you want to import at the first stance. It could be a whole new catalog or it could be the catalog from a previous site. Magento has a bunch of options that are compulsory and even more that are optional.

A sensible person would say – ok I’m going to add all the compulsory fields and any of the optional ones that apply to me to add my catalog. Wrong!!! You have to include all the basic Magento attributes (i.e not the ones you added yourself or in fact ones deemed by Magento to not be needed on their standard upload) which can be a pain. These fields can be blank but must be included unless you want to enter a world of pain where you have to go through the whole import to find out the field you left out. One. By. One. Ok it didn’t take me that long but I can only imagine that if you are not familiar with Magento this would be a rather arduous of trying to find out what’s happening!

So to make things easier, these are the fields you absolutely must include as far as I’ve been able to ascertain for your average one site one store installation:

  • type. This is the type of product. If it’s just one product this will usually be ‘simple’.
  • url_key. This is what the url will be so
  • weight. Needed but can be empty as it will default to 0 yes wtf! Why require it then!
  • name. This is the name of your product. Title is used in the display of the site however…
  • attribute_set. If you’ve not changed this at all it will just require ‘Default’.
  • tax_class_id. Again another of the empty ones. This is actually a bug because the import does not require it to be populated… but if you go and edit the product in the catalog management system, it will prompt you to set it.
  • title. You product name again.
  • description.
  • short_description.
  • sku
  • price

By including those – your products will import at least. When you come to change them, you can just set the product ID and just include what you want to change and it should work nicely.

You of course should be adding some other useful things like category ids, quantity, status etc but we’ll come to that another time.

Magento – this should be easier to do for people who aren’t comfortable with data sets and managing data. Naughty.