Over a year ago I published the module Aoe_TemplateHints (blog post is german, sorry for that...).
The basic idea was to replace Magento's native template hints with a better solution that
- shows all blocks (and not only the blocks inheriting from Mage_Core_Block_Template),
- show the cache status of blocks (cached, uncached or nested in a cached block),
- add much more useful data depending on the block type (e.g. template file or cms block-id - check the original blog post for a reference),
- cleans up the visual appearance of the template hints,
- can be triggered without changing configuration settings in the backend
- ...and is much more fun to use :)
This is when "Aoe_TemplateHints" was born. The block related information was stored in title-tags and would appear on hover. This solution was lightweight and simple. But there were some major usability limitations with this approach: Title-tag content cannot be styled. This led to all information being concatenated and thus not being readable at all. And: text from a title-tag popup cannot be selected and copied into the clipboard.
- A red border means that the block is not cached.
- A green border means that this block is cached. The popup will contain some additional information on cache key, lifetime and tags.
- A yellow border means that the block itself is not cached, but it is nested in a cached (green) block that will implicitly cache this block as well.
The template hints will be activated by appending the parameter
?ath=1 to the url or passing this parameter in a cookie. In addition to this the current ip must match the configured dev-ip settings.
The module is available on GitHub. A tar.gz package including modman file can be downloaded from there:
Checkout this screencast for s short demonstration on how this module works:
...and it also works in the Magento backend: (again, just append
?ath=1 to the url...)