Check if a website is running Magento Community or Enterprise Edition

To check if a website is running Magento the first thing you want to do is view the page source and search for “Varien”. If you find a match then the website is *probably* running Magento. If you do not match anything, next view the source of the JS files and look for “Varien”. Some websites merge their javascript files into one file, so that should be easy.

After you know if the website is running Magento, you can detect if a website is running Magento Enterprise Edition by hitting *website_base_url*/giftcard/customer in your browser. If you get a 404 Page Not Found error then that means they are NOT running MEE (Magento Enterprise Edition). If you get redirected to a login page that means they ARE most likely running MEE.

You can get browser extensions like Chrome Sniffer that will also tell you if they are running Magento, however the above method is great if you need to do it programmatically for some reason.

How to temporarily disable cache for Magento scripts

If you are running Magento scripts that are bootstrapped for reasons such as asynchronous processing, syncs, indexing, etc, then you’ll want to disable all Magento cache when Magento is loaded. This will avoid cases where old model data is being used, especially when you have two executions of the Magento script running at the same time.

To disable all Magento cache programmatically add the “global_ban_use_cache” option to your Mage::app initialization. Your Mage::app initialization would look like this:

Mage::app(‘admin’, ‘store’, array(‘global_ban_use_cache’=>true));

Any modules you have running that also use the native Magento cache system should also stop using cache when this flag is set.

Hope this helps some people!

Top 10 Programmer Responses When Software Doesn’t Work

Confused

I saw somebody post this sort of list so I thought I would choose my favorites from the other lists and add a few of my own favorite responses that I’ve heard.

When something doesn’t work, these are my favorite programmer responses:

10. “Maybe I forgot to push to master.”

9. “You must have corrupt data.”

8. “How is that even possible???”

7. “It works on my machine. Maybe there’s something wrong with your computer?”

6. “Somebody must have changed my code.”

5. “It’s never done that before.”

4. “It was working yesterday…”

3. “That’s weird…”

2. “Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhhh…………sorry about that.” (at least this one is honest, haha)

1. “It works, but THAT part wasn’t tested thoroughly.”

 

 

How to launch a social media strategy that doesn’t suck

So you launch a product and now you want people to share it with the world… It’s not an easy problem to solve at all. How do you get people to share? Here are my tips in order of importance:

#1. Start with producing meaningful content or something really interesting.

It doesn’t matter how much you ask, the mass wont share unless they truly like the content. Surprisingly, most companies stumble here.

#2. Ask, but ONLY after content/value has been delivered.

DO NOT ask before. Think, have you ever hit a site and shared within the first 10 seconds? No, probably not, unless it was a picture of llama dressed up in something funny or something crazy like that. That’s why good blogs/news companies put the social share links at the bottom of the article. Don’t be annoying.

#3. Incentivize the share-politely.

Most people are smart enough to know they are helping you out. Give them something for doing it and be clear. it can be as simple as: “Know anyone else who might think this trip is cool? Help us out by sharing!” or “Share if you think this trip is awesome”. A consumer play can be more playful too, like “Like us and we’ll show you a picture of a cat in a batman costume… seriously!”

 

How NOT to ask people to acknowledge your good content...

 

I was recently speaking to a friend about their social media strategy and I thought I would write a post to summarize my tips. I’ve had the privledge of seeing over 100 company’s social media strategies through my experience at Sweet Tooth, so although I’m not a “social media expert”, I’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t. I hope these tips help more people out there!

Show the full SQL query when you get Magento SQL errors

If you’ve ever been coding in Magento you may have seen an error like this:

01-01-2013_10-57-13_pm

Obviously an error message like that makes it pretty tough to figure out what is wrong. You can make your SQL error reports show much more data to help with debugging and look like this:

01-01-2013_10-56-06_pm

To do this edit your /lib/Zend/Db/Statement/Pdo.php file and replace line 234 in this file with the following code.

Make sure you don’t let this code get into your production environment though as showing the full SQL can sometimes reveal private data in the event of an error.

A ‘Heads’-up about access control orgins and setting content-type

I’m not really sure if this happens on every server, but I recently came across a little annoyance that had me locked up for the greater part of 3 hours trying to figure out what was wrong. I had a javascript application doing an ajax call over to a different server. I wasn’t doing anything fancy, just using jQuery, etc, and using JSON to send data to the remote server.

The first thing to know about trying to do ajax calls to another server is that you need to set your header orgin access control allowances. The easiest way to do this is to edit your .htaccess and drop these lines in somehere at the bottom:

Header add Access-Control-Allow-Origin “*”
Header add Access-Control-Allow-Headers “origin, x-requested-with, content-type”
Header add Access-Control-Allow-Methods “PUT, GET, POST, DELETE, OPTIONS”

After doing this the remote calls started going through for me, but then they started getting duplicated as well. The strange thing is that the chrome developer console didn’t show duplicate ajax calls being sent out!

The problem ended up being that my server didn’t like that I was trying to set the content-type property from my java-script AJAX request so for some reason it was failing in its response back to the client and attempting to redo the server call as a POST request… It is a very weird reaction from the server and caused duplicate actions on the server-side per each single AJAX call on the server side. It was near impossible to prevent with a hack-fix because the issue is controlled neither by the client javascript code, nor the server application code.

The solution? Make sure you don’t try to set the content-type in your ajax call to the server. That means if you’re using the jQuery ajax function then don’t set the contentType attribute. Removing the contentType from my ajax calls solved this crazy problem for me. I hope my solution helps someone else! 

 

Magento CMS Tutorial/Reference

I was helping someone learn how to use Magento CMS static blocks and pages and I couldn’t find a great reference. I’ve decided to write my own. 

Pages – Pages are what shows up in the front-end. The URL key is what you use to access the page (yoursite.com/urlkey) and the content is what appears in the page. Title shows up in the title bar. Simple.

Static Blocks – These can be inserted into any page and repeated. For example, if you had a page that had a block of text that you want to appear on another page but you didn’t want to rewrite it and have to sync between both pages then you would want to create a static block and include that static block in each page’s content. The static block si referenced by the Identifier field. Here’s an example of how this would be used. Static blocks and contain other static blocks too. 

Page Content Codes

When working in the Magento CMS you can enter any HTML into the content box, but you can also put in these special things:

  1. Store URLs: {{store url=”path_to_your_media_file_goes_here”}}
  2. Skin Image URLs: {{skin url=”path_to_your_media_file_goes_here”}} 
  3. Media Image URLs: {{media url=”path_to_your_media_file_goes_here”}}
  4. Static Block Content: {{block type=”cms/block” block_id=”page_identifier_goes_here”}}
  5. Other Data Blocks (advanced): {{block type=”module/blockclass” block_id=”choose_a_name” template=”template_file_path”}}

Now I’ll go into a bit more detail:

1. Store URLs
{{store url=”path_to_your_media_file_goes_here“}}

If you want to link to a CMS page or some other page on your site you should use this code.

Example: Click here for customer service

2. Skin Image URLs
{{skin url=”path_to_your_media_file_goes_here“}} 

Skin image urls can be inserted into a page as paths to a skin image or file. These are relative to the skin/frontend/*package*/*theme*/ directory in your website.

Example: Here is a picture of our company logo: <img src=”{{skin url=’images/logo.png’}}” />

3. Media Image URLs
{{media url=”path_to_your_media_file_goes_here“}}

Skin image urls can be inserted into a page path to point to an uploaded image or file. These are relative to the media/ directory of your website.

Example: Here is a picture of a duck: <img src=”{{media url=’ducks/duckpicture.png’}}” /> and click here for a PDF that we created for you.

What’s the difference between skin images and media images?

Great question! Skin images are store layout/theme dependent and may change depending on the store view, but media images are static and don’t care about what theme is currently being displayed to the user. Media images are typically files that are very likely to change over time where skin images 

4. Static Block Content
{{block type=”cms/block” block_id=”page_identifier_goes_here“}}

Static block content can be inserted into the content of one or more pages. This allows you to have repeated content in your pages without having to manage multiple content page coppies every time you make an update.

Example: Here is your navigation menu: {{block type=’cms/block’ block_id=’my_navigation_menu’}}

5. Other Data Blocks (advanced)
{{block type=”module/blockclass” block_id=”choose_a_name” template=”template_file_path}}

If you are coding template files nad custom block classes, you can include any block class as a singleton using this method .The type attribute is the code to create the block class and the block ID is a custom name you can choose for the block. This block name is used in caching sometimes. Finally, the template file path is a reference to the template file from the app/design/frontend/*package*/*theme*/template directory.

TIP: You can also set the the blcok type to core/template to create a simple block that does not have a specific block class.

Example: Here is my footer block content: {{block type=’core/template’ block_id=’footer_block’ template=’page/html/footer.phtml’}}

 

Static_block_within_static_block