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.

I revisited this extension and created a new version 2.0 that comes with new and shiny javascript popups. Besides that it will add a css glow to the current element and all parent element making it easier to identify them. The colors are still the same:

  • 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...)


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