About a week ago, we released ByAttribute version 1.0.0 for Magento - the so-called stable version that everybody was waiting for such a long time. The first feature of this stable version is that nothing has become more stable than it already was - it's just a version-change. The second feature is that this new release brings widget-support. At last, something easier than hard-code XML-coding ...
What ByAttribute was capable of doing already
ByAttribute has already been out for about one-and-a-half years, and within this time, its functionality changed only a little. It's core feature is to display a list of product-attribute-values - pfew, a mouthful. So let's explain what this means: Within Magento, you can create products and each product can have a number of attribute-values. Attributes can be created dynamically from within the Magento backend - you can add a manufacturer, a color, a special price, sizes, etcetera.
Now, a common feature asked by Magento developers is to have a listing of manufacturers popup somewhere on the site. And if you click on a specific manufacturer, all products of that manufacturer will display. Now, there are already numerous Magento extensions offering this functionality (Shop-By-Brand, Shop-By-Manufacturer, or alike). With Yireo, we decided to build such an extension as well ... but a bit more flexible. Instead of showing just a listing of one single product-attribute (manufacturer), ByAttribute allows you to choose any product-attribute that you want. Therefor it becomes a Shop-By-Color extension, a Shop-By-Brand block, a Display-All-Sizes listing, basically whatever you can think of. And this functionality has already existed for over one-and-a-half years.
ByAttribute 0.9 was about coding, ByAttribute 1.0 is about usability
So what is new? Well, the core functionality of ByAttribute hasn't changed. The module hooks into the Magento theming layer, offering PHTML-templates but also some XML-layout tags that are very flexible in letting you define what you want. However, PHTML and XML are not for everybody, and therefor the downside of ByAttribute 0.9 was always that it was a bit too difficult. Excellent for Magento developers, not so good for Magento sitebuilders with less programming knowledge.
ByAttribute 1.0 changes this. Within Magento 1.6, the new feature of widgets was added - allowing site-builders to add functionality to their pages (CMS-pages, static content blocks, but also product descriptions etcetera), without knowing about the code. ByAttribute has now wrapped the existing flexibility of XML-layouts into the usability of widgets. Thanks to the new ByAttribute widget, you have this all-in-one extension at your disposal with the option to get things running within a few clicks. Life could not be easier.
Check the ByAttribute screenshots for some impressions. We hope to add some step-by-step tutorials soon.