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I'm new to Magento and learning by adopting an existing system.

I've come across a case where we have an extension in the community codepool. There appears to be overrides for this extension in the local codepool, however there is no config.xml in local.

Is there any way the code in local is actually having an effect, or should it be safe to remove without further review?

4

The normal PHP class include takes precedence here - and will overwrite anything Magento does to control class rewrites.

If a file with the same name exists in local, it will override any file (note, not extend, but overwrite) declared with the same name in community and core.

The order in which files are treated is:

  • Core
  • Community
  • Local

Each in turn taking priority over the other when loading PHP files.

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app/code/core - Holds modules that are distributed with the base Magento and make up the core functionality.

app/code/community - Holds modules that are developed by third-parties

app/code/local - Holds custom modules you developed, including Mage code overrides.

It will load core first, community second, and local third.

This Documentation can help a lot understanding the codepools

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