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I am creating a new module for my Magento project where I have a few template files which get appended to >catalog_product_view catalog_category_default checkout_cart_index and few other pages.

Currently, I have placed my module configuration file in design/fontend/base/default/layout/modulename_subfolder.xml and template file is placed at

design/frontend/base/default/template/modulename/subfolder/my_product_view.phtml

I want to move this XML and phtml files to local/modulename/subfolder

I have tried creating the same folder structure in my module folder but it didn't work

design/fontend/base/default/layout/modulename_subfolder.xml

<layout version="0.1.0">
  <catalog_product_view>
    <reference name="content">
      <block type="core/template" name="modulename_subfolder_product_view_block" template="modulename/subfolder/my_catalog_product_view.phtml" />
    </reference>
  </catalog_product_view>
</layout>
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You can't.

In Magento 1, module code (Models, Blocks, configuration etc) goes in app/code/local/ or app/code/community, frontend template files go in app/design/frontend/base/default/template and frontend layout files go in app/design/frontend/base/default/layout.

Yes, this means modules are not self-contained and end up scattered through the Magento filesystem. It's one of the major shortcomings of Magento 1 and was thankfully rectified in Magento 2. There are workarounds including modman which is used extensively by extension developers, but they are only workarounds and don't fix the situation.

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