Basic Steps after the Installation
Create a Menu Item
After the installation you have to to create a menu item for the results page. This menu item will be actually the page where the results will be shown after using the module.
Since the results page will be the landing page of the module, we don't want that menu item to be visible in our site. You better create your menu item in a menu which is not displayed in the front-end. If such menu does not exist you better create it.
Select as menu item type the CustomFilters > Results page
After selecting the menu item type, just fill in the appropriate fields and parameters
You will find some important parameters here such as the Products per row, for setting how many products will be displayed in each row in the results. The Pagination default value which sets the number of products displayed in each page and also the Pagination list values which sets the options of the pagination list.
Also you can select alternative layouts for the results using the Choose layout setting. Custom Filters use the Virtuemart's category layout for displaying the results. So if you have multiple category layouts using template overrides, you can alter your layout for the results.
Enable and configure the custom filters
This step has meaning only if you intent to have filters from your custom fields. Otherwise can be omitted.
Go to Components > VM Custom Filters PRO. There you can see all the custom fields that can be used as filters
You have to select which of those will be used as filters by publishing/unpublishing them.
After that click on the Save button.
This is the place to manage every single detail of your custom filters. You can set how they will be displayed, in which order and which functionalities they will have.
Make sure that only the custom fields that will be used as filters, are published. The number of the published filters affects the module's performance.
Configure the Component
It's the component that handles the search and the filtering process.
Now you have to configure it, to get the optimal results.
Press the Options button to open the configuration page. The most important settings here are:
- Use the variables from Virtuemart pages
Reads the variables (category, manufacturer) from the Virtuemart's pages and uses them in the filtering. This feature is like auto-selecting a category or a manufacturer if such a variable exist in the current page.
- Filtered products
The type of products upon which, the filtering and search will be performed.
- Return as results
It defines whether the results will be parent products, child products or both.
If you select it to return "All", then both the filtering and the results will concern all the products (parent/plain or child) and will treat them the same. That means that you will probably have to assign missing fields like categories and manufacturers to your child products as well.
A common combination of settings is to filter "All" and return the "Parent products". This combination takes into account all the products of the shop (parent/plain and child) but can cost in performance in case of large shops.
If you set it to filter "All" or "Child Products" and to return "Parent Products", then the child products of your shop, will use the categories and manufacturers fields from their parent products.
- Reseting all variables returns
What will be returned if no filter is selected or no search is performed. No products is recommended for big shops
- Products in multiple shopper groups
Enable this only if you have products assigned to specific shopper groups
- Products prices in currencies other than the shop's currency
Enable this, if you are assigning prices to your products in currencies others than the shop's main currency
- Word Matching
Exact: The search engine is looking exactly for the input query but still analyzes it, if it contains category names , manufacturers or custom field values. Do note: This is faster than "Any".
Any: The search engine is looking for the input query but also for variations of it. E.g. The words in different order. Of course analyzes the query.
- Clear filters after a new search
This basically regards the search offered in the filtering module. By enabling this, all the selections in the filters will be cleared when a new search is performed.
- Cache time
This is a very importat setting as it plays role in the performance of the search engine.
The results are cached after every search to avoid the continuous querying of the database.
So the higher this is, the better the performance will be.
The only case when new results will come up, is when new products are added to the shop. So you have to configure this according to the frequency you are adding new products to your shop.
You do not have to worry about out of stock or deleted products. The cached results are checked against these criteria.
- Search Into Fields
The fields where the search will search. Do note: The more the fields, the slower the search process.
Searching into the product short description and especially into the product description could affect the search performance in a bad way. These are the biggest fields of the product's table and also indexing cannot be use. So searching there costs.
Run the Optimizer
Go to Components > VM Custom Filters PRO, press the Optimizer button and then the "Check and Optimize tables" button in the popup window.
The optimizer will do the necessary actions in the database, to boost the performance of the extension. The difference after using this, can be impressive.
We suggest you to run the Optimizer every time you update Virtuemart and Custom Filters
Enable the Modules
Time to display the modules in the front-end of your site.
Our package contains 3 modules:
- The CF Product Search module which is a module dedicated to product search.
- The CF Product Filtering & Search module which offers both search and filtering functionalities.
- The CF Breadcrumbs/Tags module that displays the selections in the filters as breadcrumbs/tags.
As with every module, you have to set their position, publish them and assign them on the pages you want. You have to repeat that process for each module.