Exam proportion: 16%.


Magento uses the quote model to store information about an order before it is completed by a customer. It contains:

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Customer information
Items to be ordered
Billing Address
Shipping Address
Shipping Method
Payment Method
Price Totals
Billing and Shipping addresses use the same model, Mage_Sales_Model_Quote_Address. The type of the address is set as a field on the model.

The shipping address (or billing address if the product is virtual or downloadable) is used to calculate the total for the order and available shipping methods.

At the end of the checkout process a quote is fulfilled and converted into an order.

Adding to Quotes
The Shopping Cart model is used for manipulating (adding, removing and updating) the items in a quote. It performs additional validation, such as setting the minimum order quantity on an item when it is added to the basket.

As a product is being added to cart, the _prepareProduct() method gets called on it to prepare the product data for storage in the quote. For simple products, this loads all of the product data into the model (including product options, to be stored in sales_flat_quote_item_option table). Grouped product, for example, load all associated products.

For product information such as custom and configurable options, it is converted to an Mage_Sales_Quote_Item_Option object and stored in the database in the sales_flat_quote_item_option table.

Quotes in the Database
Quotes are stored in the database. The majority is stored in the sales_flat_quote table but more complex information is stored in additional tables that link back to the original quote.


Checkout Flow Options
There are two checkouts by default, onepage and multi-shipping. In multi-shipping checkout, the quote items are added on each shipping address (virtual items are added to the billing address instead) rather than the quote itself and at the end of the checkout and order is created for each address. This is reflected in the database, where the multi-shipping quote items are stored in sales_flat_quote_address_item while the onepage quote items are in sales_flat_quote_item.

Multi-shipping checkout uses a separate controller Mage_Checkout_MultishippingController and a custom checkout type Mage_Checkout_Model_Type_Mulitishipping. Apart from that, it reuses many of the same models as the regular checkout. To customise or extend the multi-shipping checkout, those two classes should be extended and modified.

In a multi-shipping checkout, the virtual items are added to the billing address (instead of one of the shipping addresses), as a virtual quote would be one which has items on the billing address only. Quotes with virtual items create an additional order from the billing address containing those items.

Grouped products get added to the cart as multiple separate products, so they can be selected to be shipped to different addresses using the regular multi-shipping checkout process. However, bundled products cannot be split among multiple addresses.

The quote items, shopping cart price rules and shipping costs contribute to the total cost of the quote.

The billing and shipping addresses also affect the total as these are used to determine the tax rates, shipping methods and payment methods to be made available.

The total models keep track of the cost of an order or quote. Each of the totals has a code associated with it that can be used to retrieve and manipulate it. Total models get passed an address to collect totals for. Through the address the models gain access to the quote and quote items.

These models can be rewritten or new total models can be added by extending the Mage_Sales_Quote_Address_Total_Abstract model and registering it in config.xml.


The priority of a total model execution can be customised using the and elements in the total definition. However the default order of execution is:

Grand Total
This process is managed by the Mage_Sales_Model_Quote_Address_Total_Collector model which is called from the Address using the collectTotals() method. This method is called whenever the quote is updated, e.g. at each stage of the checkout. This method also dispatches the _collect_totals_before and _collect_totals_after events.

Payment Authorisation and Capturing
Card authorisation and capture occurs when an order is placed ($order->place()) which occurs when the order is saved. Depending on the payment method, authorisation can be reserved for this time and then the capturing occurs once an invoice is created.

Inventory Decrements
For onepage checkout, the inventory is decremented by a Mage_CatalogInventory observer on the sales_model_service_quote_submit_before event. This event is dispatched just before the order is placed, and the checkout_submit_all_after event, which is fired at the end of the onepage checkout (the observer has checks to prevent decrementing the inventory twice) and after all of the orders have been created in multi-shipping checkout.

Shopping Cart Price Rules

Shopping cart price rules are used to apply discounts to a cart and may be given a set of conditions of when the apply. This functionality is provided by the Mage_SalesRule module.

In contrast to catalog price rules, shopping cart price rules apply price changes (discounts) based on the information in the quote, e.g. customer group, voucher code, rather than on a product or category basis.

The limitations of shopping cart rules include:

While multiple rules can apply to the same cart, only one voucher code can be applied at once.
Rules work independently of each other, so a rule cannot be specified to be active only if no other rules apply.
For admin area orders, shopping cart price rules can be disabled on specific items but they are always applied on all items in the frontend.
Shipping Methods

In Magento, the shipping methods extend the Mage_Shipping_Model_Carrier_Abstract model and are registered in the store configuration, with the default values (and static configuration like model names) set in config.xml.



Shipping methods are called carriers, because they defined a method of shipping, e.g. Royal Mail or Fedex, and can offer multiple rates within that method, e.g. Standard or Next Day delivery.

Existing shipping methods provided by Magento can be customised by rewriting their model.

Shipping Rates Calculation
The shipping rate calculation is invoked in the Quote Address (requestShippingRates()), which builds up a request containing all relevant data, such as destination address and package weight and calls the Mage_Shipping_Model_Shipping::collectRates($request) method. It loops over all available carriers, validates the request and calls the collectRates($request) method for each one to get the rates offered.


The TableRate shipping method allows creating a set of rules, specified as a csv, to set the shipping price based on the destination and either order price, weights or number of items. The factor used is set on a store level and must be used throughout the store, e.g. price and weight rules cannot be mixed on a store level.

US Shipping Methods

Some shipping carriers make requests to third party service to get the rates offered. FedEX, IPS and USPS all extend the Mage_Usa_Model_Shipping_Carrier_Abstract model and retrieve their rates through HTTP or SOAP requests.

Payment Methods

Payment methods in Magento, extend the Mage_Payment_Model_Method_Abstract model and, like shipping methods, are registered using the store configuration, with the default values (and additional configuration) set in config.xml.


{action} …

Most of the payment method parameters can usually be customised in System Configuration or by manipulating the default values in config.xml. For example, the place order payment action is usually defined in the configuration field. If deeper customisation is required, the payment method models can be rewritten.

Payment information gets added to methods using the Mage_Sales_Model_Quote_Payment::importData($data) method and is called by the savePayment() method in the onepage checkout. This dispatches the sales_quote_payment_import_data_before event before calling the assignData($data) method on the payment method model. By observing this event, the data can be modified before it gets stored in the method.

Payment methods implement the logic of a particular method of payment, e.g. processing credit carts. Meanwhile, payment models manage payment methods within a quote or order and handle payment related operations such as capturing payment or refunds.

Payment methods modules typically include a few blocks to display payment forms on the checkout, e.g. credit card forms, and controllers to handle redirecting to any payment gateways.

Prashant Rawal

I’m a freelance full-stack web developer having over 8 years of experience in Wordpress development. I am also Blogger and Affiliate Manager to help people starting their money making blogs using larget affiliate networks.

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