Posts Tagged ‘Magento’

Disabling event observers programmatically in Magento

May 19th, 2015

I started using unit testing on a project and it took a while to figure out why my tests were not running. Every time I ran phpunit it only ran the first test and then nothing happened:

PHPUnit 4.6.6 by Sebastian Bergmann and contributors.

Configuration read from [...]


No matter what the assertion, the outcome was the same, the script was ending after the first test. Nothing in the logs, nothing in the system logs, total darkness. I installed the EcomDev_PHPUnit module several times (different forks and branches), same result. After intense debugging I found the problem to be with an event listening to controller_front_init_before, something that was checking the base url again and performing some redirects. So I had to somehow prevent that code from running in test mode.

Disabling events in magento is simple. Just add <type>disabled</type> to any observer and that’s it. But what if you need to do it at run time? What if under certain conditions certain events need to be unobserved? Turns out, this is not exactly easy – or at least not as easy as I’d expect, nothing like Mage::app()->unobserve('event', 'observer_name').

Events are being dispatched by the Mage_Core_Model_App class, but the list with all events is kept in Mage_Core_Model_Config. So, the easiest way is to just set (or add) a certain node on the configuration xml:

        Mage::app()->getConfig()->getEventConfig('global', 'controller_front_init_before');
        $path = 'global/events/controller_front_init_before/observers/fix_frontcontroller/type';
        Mage::app()->getConfig()->setNode($path, 'disabled');

That works just fine if you’re going through the regular flow and the config has been initialized (ie Mage::app()->getConfig()->init()). If you run this too early and the config has not been initialized you set this node for nothing, it will just get erased when the config xml is generated. When running phpunit with EcomDev_PHPUnit, things get a bit more complicated, since objects need to be mocked, espacially the app and config objects and config init is ran several times.

It turns out that listening to phpunit_suite_start_after does the trick. Put the code above in a listener and you should be ready to test.

Another approach involves the use of reflection class, but I wouldn’t use that unless there was no other way. Here’s the approach, just for the sake of it:

        $app = Mage::app();

        $class = new ReflectionClass(get_class($app));
        $property = $class->getProperty('_events');
        $events = $property->getValue($app);

        $events['global']['controller_front_init_before']['observers']['fix_frontcontroller']['type'] = 'disabled';
        $property->setValue($app, $events);

Again, same assumption – config has been initialized.

And the last approach, and certainly much easier whenever possible: just hack the code and add a flag. Something along the lines if !registry(flag) then run this code;. This is a really simple solution, but it doesn’t work with code that cannot (should not) be changed (mainly because it would get overwritten on upgrades), hence the approach above.

Hope this helps, it took me good hours to figure everything out.

Inspired from the answers here


New Magento Minifier version

June 2nd, 2014

A new version of the Mangadreen Minifier is out, 1.0.4. Since the previous post there have been a few tweaks, fixes and performance improvements. The code has also been migrated to GitHub.

Here’s a direct link to the latest version (zipped):

The plugin is currently in production on several Magento CE 1.5, 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9, so it should work on all Magento CE versions after 1.5.

Magento ,

Magento ‘Can’t get filling percentage’ memcache issue

May 30th, 2014

This is a known problem for anyone who runs Magento and uses memcache as a caching backend. But it’s actually not a Magento issue, it’s a Zend Framework problem, and it seems that even newer versions of ZF still have the same approach. I suspect this is actually a memcache problem, but even so, one should be able to handle things better in the code.

The idea is that memcached sometimes fails to report its extended stats, thus the “getExtendedStats” method returns false, when in fact it should return an array with all the servers. This should not be a problem though, instead of throwing an exception, why not retry with getStats and then just return 100 (which I guess it means the server is full). Here’s the revised code:

if ($memSize === null || $memUsed === null) {
    $mem = $this->_memcache->getstats();
    if (isset($mem['limit_maxbytes']) && $mem['limit_maxbytes'] > 0) {
        return ((int) (100 * ($mem['bytes'] / $mem['limit_maxbytes'])));
    } else {
        return 100;
    //Zend_Cache::throwException('Can\'t get filling percentage');

You can get the entire file on github, but please note that this file corresponds to ZF v1.11.1 and Magento CE v1.5.1.0. It can definitely be adapted to any Magento version.

The easiest way to patch this without changing a core file (ie lib/Zend/Cache/Backend/Memcached.php) is to put the modified file in your app/code/local folder:
app/code/local/Zend/Cache/Backend/Memcached.php. since app/code/local comes first in the include path, the patched file will get included before the default one.

Disclaimer: This hasn’t been used in production, use at your own risk. In theory, it should be fine, but since it hasn’t passed any real testing, I don’t recommend doing so.

Magento , ,

Magento memory leaks and custom options

August 30th, 2012

Most software, if not all, has memory leaks. Some are really bad at collecting garbage, other manage it better, but not enough. Magento had its problems since the beginning, and a lot of them have been fixed in the latest releases (using 1.6 to test this). However, it still has a long way until all major memory problems are gone. A simple test, like the one below, will reveal what I mean (put it in your magento root and run it from the CLI):

require "app/Mage.php";

for($k = 0; $k < 100; $k++) {
    echo $k . "\t" . (memory_get_usage()/1024/1024) . "\n";

This will show the current iteration and the memory usage. Replace “123” with a real product id – first, use a simple product, with no custom options. My result looks like this:

0 - 8.3790
99 - 8.3794

Looks good, very good actually.

Now try it with a product that has custom options. Not more than 5-6 options, but stuff a dozen values in one or two options. My test shows these numbers:

0 - 8.9398
99 - 17.5057


Along the way, you’ll see that the garbage collector kicks in and memory is freed, so max memory usage (for me) doesn’t exceed 20M. Cool, everything seems acceptable, and it seems that the old memory leaks have been fixed (read more over here, here and here ).

Now let’s try something different. Importing a few hundred products from a CSV. All products have custom options, usually the same, but with different values. The code could be summarized like this:

$options = $this->_getOptions($row);
$product = $this->initNewProduct(); //just inits the product with all the required data
        ->setAttributeSetId( $attributeSetId )
        ->setCategoryIds( array($someIds = 123) );
if( $options && count($options) ) {


To me, this looked fine and should have worked. I didn’t care it ran out of memory after 60-70 cycles, I could live with that. However, after approximately 20 hours of intense debugging, trying to figure out why the options aren’t showing up correctly on the frontend I decided to check the products in the admin. I had a huge surprise when I’ve noticed that for the second product, I had the first product’s options and the (correct) second product’s options. For the third, I had the first, second and third option sets. And so on, the last one was a complete mess. At some point Firefox couldn’t even load the interface anymore, there were simply too many options. Now that’s a memory leak for sure!

So, is there a fix? Seems like there was one, tested it for 3 products and it worked fine, no more leftover options. Initially, I was doing this:


but it didn’t work, although gc_collect_cycles() helped keeping the memory growth under control.

So I added the following lines:

unset($product, $options); //instead of just unset($product);

and voila – all custom options have been created correctly. Haven’t really analyzed why this did the trick and why it didn’t work without it. Either way, I’m happy the code works and I hope this will help someone else someday.

Magento , ,

The amazing world of Magento

July 5th, 2012

Magento has its positives and negatives, but this one is a must-share issue. While testing a payment gateway problem I discovered the following error (on Magento 1.7):

Item price:   33.15
Item qty:     1
Row subtotal: 33.15
Order Subtotal 33.15 - OK
Discount (fixed amount, applied before tax): 33.00 - OK
Tax (24%) 0.03 ( 0.24/1.24 * (33.15 - 33.00) ) - OK
Grand Total: 0.14 - NOT OK

Wow, so let’s see, subtotal 33.15 – discount 33.00 = grand total of 0.14. Not exactly correct, I would dare say.


Updated version of the Magento CSS & JS Minifier

May 31st, 2012

I’ve released the first version of the magento css&js minifier more than a year and half ago. Since then, it has been downloaded over 200 times – roughly 10 downloads per month. It’s a decent number, considering its utility and the fact that it hasn’t been promoted or included on Magento Connect. The first version was compatible with all Magento versions greater than 1.4. Starting with Magento 1.7, the extension failed to work on the admin pages, because of the -webkit-keyframes css declarations.

What’s new in version 1.0.1

  • Changed namespace from Oxygen to Mandagreen
  • Upgraded JsMin to version 1.1.2
  • Upgraded CssMin to version 3.0.1
  • Added backend options for converting HSL values, converting font-weight values, converting named colors and replacing variables


Download & Install

Download Minifier for Magento (31.03 kB), then unzip it and copy the app/ folder to your Magento root folder.

Logout from the admin if you’re already logged in, then log back in. Go to Cache Management, click on the “Flush cache storage” button, then go to Configuration > Developer and Enable javascript minifier and css minifier under CSS & JS Minifier. Also, make sure that “Merge JavaScript Files” and “Merge CSS Files” are enabled, under JavaScript Settings, and CSS Settings respectively. Go back to Cache Management and click the “Flush Javascript/CSS cache” button.


Upgrading from 0.1.0

If you’re already using the first version of the extension, you’ll need to remove the old files. Go to your magento root folder, then navigate to the etc/modules folder. Remove the file called Oxygen_Minifier.xml. Then, navigate to app/code/local and remove the Oxygen folder (or Oxygen/Minifier, if you have other modules with this namespace).

Next, issue the following mysql command, using the mysql console or PhpMyAdmin:

update core_config_data set path = replace(path, 'oxy_', 'mg') where path like '%oxy_minifier%';

You can now install the module as explained above.



This extension has been tested with all Magento CE versions 1.4 through 1.7.


Supporting the Module

If you enjoy using the Magento CSS & JS Minifier, help us improve it and make it even better. Since this project it entirely open source and free for everyone, we welcome any donations and consider them a sign of appreciation. Donate

We also appreciate your feedback, both positive and negative, as long as they are constructive.

If any of you know how to package an extension for Magento Connect, I would appreciate the help. I’ve given up after 2 hours or repeated failures.

Magento , , ,

Workaround for attribute store labels not being displayed in Magento

February 12th, 2012

Here’s a quick workaround for a rather strange issue – sometimes, calling $attribute->getStoreLabel() returns null, although everything looks fine in the admin and in the database. It might be something that is slipping my mind, or it might be a bug, not really sure. However, I had to deal with it and come up with a fix, so I’d thought I’d share.

$_aIds = array();
foreach( $prod->getAttributes() as $attribute ) {
	//need the attribute_id which is missing from the attribute object
	if( !isset($_aIds[$attribute->getAttributeCode()]) ) {
		$_aIds[$attribute->getAttributeCode()] = $attribute->getIdByCode('catalog_product', $attribute->getAttributeCode());
	//if there's not store_label try to set it
	if( !$attribute->getStoreLabel() ) {
		$labels = $attribute->getResource()->getStoreLabelsByAttributeId( $_aIds[$attribute->getAttributeCode()] );
		if( array_key_exists(Mage::app()->getStore()->getStoreId(), $labels)) {
			$attribute->setStoreLabel( $labels[Mage::app()->getStore()->getStoreId()] );
		else {
			$attribute->setStoreLabel( $attribute->getFrontendLabel() );
// end workaround

Applies to Magento 1.5.x

Magento ,

Patching the Magento USPS module

January 20th, 2011

Since their last update on Jan 3rd, 2011 USPS has stopped working on all of my Magento distro’s. The reason for that is a change in USPS’ response XML values. Magento has its part of blame here, first for not patching it immediately (which again shows how much they care about the CE users) and second for not coding it properly in the first place – they’re using the method name (i.e. Express Mail) to see if that method is allowed from the admin, instead of using the CLASSID attribute.

This issue has been reported on bug tracking system and it’s also discussed in the forum. USPS makes it clear that they’ll discontinue all API versions prior RateV4 ad IntlRateV2:
“All Rate Calculator API integrators are encouraged to migrate to the latest API versions (RateV4, IntlRateV2):
RateV4 and IntlRateV2 will be the only Rate Calculator API versions to offer the full range of new products and functionality
Rate, RateV2, RateV3 and IntlRate will be retired in May 2011, requiring all integrators to migrate to the latest versions”

As explained on the forums, the fix is quite simple, as USPS only added the &lt;sup&gt;&reg;&lt;/sup&gt; which is the encoded (twice 🙂 ) version of the registered sign in a sup tag. Magento values are defined without those so when the code tries to match them it fails. All you have to do is clean that string and you’re good to go. I don’t like to modify core files so the fix involves copying app/code/core/Mage/Usa/Model/Shipping/Carrier/Usps.php to app/code/local/Mage/Usa/Model/Shipping/Carrier/ and working on the local version of Usps.php. Strip the special chars:

$mailService = str_replace('&reg;', '', strip_tags(htmlspecialchars_decode(htmlspecialchars_decode((string)$postage->MailService))));


$svcDescription = str_replace('&reg;', '', strip_tags(htmlspecialchars_decode(htmlspecialchars_decode((string)$service->SvcDescription))));


Here’s the archive with the patch. Just download it and unzip it in the root of your Magento distribution. Download USPS patch for Magento (8.59 kB)


Note: This patch applies to Magento CE For all other versions you will have to do it manually as explained above.


Magento, PHP , ,

Anatomy of a Magento extension

January 5th, 2011

Magento Commerce has been on the OSS “market” for a while now and I see more and more developers, designers and of course store owners migrating their ecommerce sites to Magento or installing it for their new stores. I’ve been coding on Magento since its beta 0.6 version, actually my first integration was based on this beta. I’ve been advised not to use the beta and they were right. However, I had my reasons for recommending it, using it and somehow advocating for that fresh, promising open source piece of software. In the meanwhile, it turned out I was right – it’s one of the most complete, scalable & feature-rich free ecommerce solution. Not the easiest to integrate or use, not the smoothest or lightweight, but it’s come a long way and it still have room for improvements.

One of the things I liked from the start (as a developer) was the ability to extend it in a very simple and loosely coupled way (unlike other solutions). Adding the OOP and design patterns made it perfect for my way of thinking. And I think this is the way to go for any major application, even if it might seem cluttered or with a steep learning curve at a first glance. I remember one of the first problems I faced was module creation – I was adding all my code in the core/Mage folder, I was overwriting a lot of the core code although I knew it was bad and so on. However, once I understood how to create a module, things became clearer and much simpler. So here’s a beginner’s guide to creating a new module. Although it’s meant for beginners, you should know the basic folder layout (skins, library, js, apps).

All Magento code resides in app/code and the lib folder. If you check app/code you’ll notice three subfolders: community, core, local. You should be adding your stuff in local or community (usually only when it is a community contribution). So let’s create our first module. I’ll use the namespace mandagreen and the module will be called HelloWorld. For this I need to create the following folders under app/code/local:

To keep things simple, in this example we’ll be creating one Block, one Helper and one Model – no controllers & no Resource Models. Here’s where each of these will reside:
blocks – app/code/local/Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Block
helpers – app/code/local/Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Helper
models – app/code/local/Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Model

Create these three folders and then also create a new etc folder. The structure will then look like this:


The etc folder holds configuration information – in this case we’ll focus only on the module configuration file, which is config.xml. Let’s create it and start adding some xml into it:

<?xml version="1.0"?>





That’s a lot, isn’t it? 🙂 No worries, I’ll explain. Under the main node (config), youll usually need the global node. The modules node is being used to hold mode info about the current module, maybe dependencies and so on. The frontend node is usually used for defining layout handlers and translation files, but they can do more than that. In this example, we’re gonna have our own layout file called mg_helloworld.xml – you can use any name on it (as long as it’s unique), but I prefer to namespace it as well. Also, I’ve defined a translation file Mandagreen_HelloWorld.csv which needs to be created in app/locale/en_US (or whatever your default locale is).

The global node defines all the classes you’ll be using, in this case helpers, models and blocks. You can see that they are defined the same way, but in different locations: <helpers />, <models /> and <blocks />. Let’s use the helpers node as an example xenical orlistat.


The helloworld node defines a handle and you should be careful to always use unique names. If you’re not sure if a certain name exist, namespace it (mghelloworld for example). This handle will be used to instantiate models, call helpers or use blocks using the Magento factory. For example, for models, you’ll be using Mage::getModel('helloworld/modelname'); instead of new Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Model_Modelname();. Same with helpers, inside a block template – $this->helper('helloworld')->someMethod();.
The other node, class is being used to define the namespace of the class name. In the example above, the name of the Modelname class has to being with Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Helper. A few examples might help:

  • Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Model_Salute, will be found in Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Model/Salute.php and can be accessed via Mage::getModel('helloworld/salute')
  • Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Model_Salute_Hi, will be found in Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Model/Salute/Hi.php and can be accessed via Mage::getModel('helloworld/salute_hi')
  • Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Helper_Help, will be found in Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Model/Help.php and can be accessed via Mage::helper('helloworld/help')

Now that we explained the config file, let’s move on to actually creating the classes and code. I’ll use the example above and create the following files:



class Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Block_Standard extends Mage_Core_Block_Template {
    function getSomething() {
          return Mage::getModel('helloworld/salute')->getName();



class Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Helper_Help extends Mage_Core_Helper_Abstract {
    function shouldSayHi() {
          return true;



class Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Model_Salute extends Mage_Core_Model_Abstract { //or Varien_Object or none
    function getName() {
          //do some heavy logic here
          return 'John';

One more file is required for the translations to work with this module – a “default” Data helper, defined in Mandagreen/HelloWorld/Helper/Data.php like this:

class Mandagreen_HelloWorld_Helper_Data extends Mage_Core_Helper_Abstract {}

We have the classes but we also need to use them in a template, so let’s create standard.phtml in app/design/frontend/default/default/template/helloworld (create all additional folders if needed). Also, create mg_helloworld.xml under app/design/frontend/default/default/layout.

For the template, things are very easy:

<div style="background: red; padding: 20px;">
	<?php if( $this->helper('helloworld/help')->shouldSayHi() ): ?>
	Hello <?php echo $this->getSomething(); ?>
	<?php else: ?>
	Can't say anything...
	<?php endif; ?>

while for the layout we’ll use this approach:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<layout version="0.1.0">
        <reference name="content">
            <block type="helloworld/standard" name="helloworld" template="helloworld/standard.phtml" after="-" />

This should display “Hello John” at the end of the content area on most of the pages, including the homepage. But wait, before you try that you’ll have to enable the module in app/etc/modules. Create a file called Mandagreen_HelloWorld.xml with the following code:

<?xml version="1.0"?>

Clear all magento cache and refresh the page – your first module, up and running! And here’s the archive for this tutorial – Download Hello World Magento Module (2.99 kB)

Further/recommended reads:


Adding Customer Comments as Order Status Comments using Magento & OneStepCheckout

October 24th, 2010

A few days ago I got an email from someone asking me about adding the default customer comments in OneStepCheckout ( as regular order comments. I thought I’d share this quick & simple hack with everyone, so here’s what you have to do:
Open app/code/local/Idev/OneStepCheckout/Helper/Data.php, and after


add this line:
$observer->getEvent()->getOrder()->setState( Mage_Sales_Model_Order::STATE_NEW, true, $orderComment, false );


This will add the comments on the regular comments/statuses thread, as well as a customer comment. If you want to disable customer comments, just comment the original code.

Actually, this approach should also work with the out-of-the-box Magento one step checkout. Add an input on the last step, create a listener for


and use the same piece of code:

$observer->getEvent()->getOrder()->setState( $observer->getEvent()->getOrder()->getStatus(), true, $this->_getRequest()->getPost('order_comments'), false );

Note: Tested on Magento &

Magento ,