Any frontend developer who’s taken a passive interest or a curious look into Magento theming will remember the moment when they recoiled and thought; “Honestly, wtf”.
It’s in our nature as developers to dive into things, at least initially. If something catches our interest we want to see straight away how it works, so rather than reading around a subject, perhaps doing a tutorial first, we rip off the mask and see the god awful monster staring back at us. We scream, it screams and we all run away, and for some people thats enough Magento for them.
There’s no denying the theming engine in Magento takes patience to learn and can be frustrating in places, notably due to a lack of documentation and the blind ineffectively leading the blind.
This post wont teach you how to theme in magento but will detail some general concepts and tips to do some common things that should ease your pain.