How to redirect simple products to grouped product in Magento

For a quick and dirty way of doing this, you can modify the viewAction() on the product controller tested in 1.7,1.8,.19

Make a copy of


and place it in


Modify the viewAction() after this section:

// Prepare helper and params
 $viewHelper = Mage::helper('catalog/product_view');

$params = new Varien_Object();

Add the following:

// Does the product have a parent product?
 $p = Mage::getModel('catalog/product_type_grouped')->getParentIdsByChild($productId);

if(!empty($p)) {

// redirect to parent

$prod = Mage::helper('catalog/product')->getProduct($p[0], null, null);
 header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently');
 header('Location: '.$prod->getData('url_path'));


This will give you a 301 redirect to the parent.

Character encoding issues utf8 & MySQL – How To

Any developer working with php and MySQL will have come across this issue whilst developing.
And often the problem doesn’t rear it’s ugly head until after you’ve captured a lot of data.

If your getting strange characters in your database like question marks and , then follow this simple guide to check each part is set to UTF8.

UT8 is best practice for handling all types of characters and that’s the charset we will be using.

If your just trying to retrieve the unreadable data then see a solution at  the bottom of this post.


First let’s check the MySQL server, open up your favourite GUI like MySQL Tools or via command line and run:



The important parts to notice here

  • character_set_database
  • character_set_results
  • character_set_connection.

These should all be utf8 , if they aren’t then you need configure your database to use utf8.

You can reverse engineer your table using


At the very end you will see “DEFAULT CHARSET=charset” change this to utf8.

As further final checks run

show variables like "collation_database";

This should show ‘utf8_general_ci’

And you can check each column individually like so.


PHP Connection

All connections to MySQL need to use utf8, you can do this by using SET NAMES.

For PDO connections you can either include this in the SQL statement before “SET NAMES UTF8;” or you can include it in the connection e.g

$pdo = new PDO(';dbname=db_name', 'db_user', 'db_password',array(PDO::MYSQL_ATTR_INIT_COMMAND => "SET NAMES utf8");

For standard mysqli connections use:


It’s important you place that straight after the connection before any queries are run.

What to do if you haven’t set this up from the start?

Thankfully there is a way to retrieve data that might otherwise look garbled in php you can use:

//ISO code for most browsers default encoding

mb_convert_encoding($text, "ISO-8859-1")

Note that you must connect to the DB the way you where doing before you fixed any issues. If you try and retrieve data using SET NAME utf8 then the above will not work as your requesting the data in a different format.

ISO-8859-1 is the character encoding used for most browsers, however there are others so this may not work in every case.

Forwarding the User IP from a Rackspace Cloud Load Balancer

If you have a setup which includes one of the rackspace cloud load balancers you will notice that in apache or php the ip of the client is the load balancers, the easiest way to fix this is install an apache module called mod_rpaf.

Here’s how under Ubuntu & Apache 2.2:

Install the apache dev tools (may not be required)

Check which version of apache your running

apache2 -l

The output here tells me i’m using the perfork module.

Compiled in modules:

Install the prefork development tools

apt-get install apache2-prefork-dev

The alternative here is to install apache2-threaded-dev if you see threaded instead of prefork.c


Install the mod_rpaf 

Download the mod_rpaf module and extract the latest version to check the latest see

tar -xzf mod_rpaf-0.6.tar.gz

Install and compile the apache module

cd apache-2.2-mod_remoteip.c
apxs2 -i -c -n mod_rpaf-2.0.c

The script will compile and install the module giving you the output of the path to the module e.g



Make a new config file for rpaf and edit

touch /etc/apache2/conf.d/rpaf.conf
nano /etc/apache2/conf.d/rpaf.conf

Enter the following details in rpaf.conf, change to your load balancer IP comma seperate for more than one

# Your module path
LoadModule rpaf_module /usr/lib/apache2/modules/

RPAFenable On
RPAFsethostname On
# Your loadbalancer IP seperate with a space for more than one

 Check the apache configuration

service apache2 reload

If you see any errors here check your configuration.

 Restart apache and apply the changes

service apache2 restart

You should then see the correct user ip showing up in $_SERVER[‘REMOTE_ADDR’] for php


To get the correct IP from the Load Balancer to .htaccess

If your looking to restrict access from .htaccess this still doesn’t give apache the correct IP to do that you simply use a pre configured environment variable:

order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from env=allowclient
SetEnvIf X-Cluster-Client-Ip allowclient

High traffic sites using Magento

We recently had a client debate on what is the best ecommerce solution I am a supporter of Magento the beast it may be, but it is robust. To back up my opinion I did some research although not conclusive.

Magento itself boasts some big clients using the Enterprise edition

I analysed a few of these sites with leading analysis tool compete which estimates the traffic for a given url , the most high traffic site using Magento is Harbor Freight  with some 4 Million uniques at points over the last 2 years, and over 52 Million pageviews (per day) which isn’t to be sniffed at.



Other sites I checked out are:

(figures quoted per day) – 240K uniques, 2M page views – 1M uniques, 5M page view

Secondly with the help of BuiltWith there’s some interesting charts on Magento use:






This shows firstly that the top 1M sites Magento tops the usage worldwide, drilling down in to the most popular 10,000 Magento still tops the opensource solutions with the only other platform osCommerce coming close. Finally in the migration Magento has the highest migration to the platform from other platforms.

In all it’s good evidence to support using Magento now and for high traffic websites. What this does not show is the set up and configuration that may be needed to tweak Magento to run on high traffic sites.

Magento fix for Unable to reindex Product Flat Data – Stuck on Processing. ‘SQLSTATE[23000]: Integrity constraint violation: 1452 Cannot add or update a child row

If you’ve moved across sites from a development to live site or your encountering this error after importing/exporting then here’s the solution that works every time.

1. Search for “catalog_product_flat” . Under my installation its called catalog_product_flat_1

2. Then in mysql run:


DROP TABLE catalog_product_flat_1

3. Last step open up SSH and run (or do this from the Magento admin)

php path/to/shell/indexer.php --reindex catalog_product_flat or navigate to the /shell directory and run php indexer.php --reindex catalog_product_flat

You should get “Product Flat Data index was rebuilt successfully”

Clean up linux boot partition

If your boot partition is getting full and your running the machine as a server and have no GUI you can run this command to remove all those unecessary kernel images if you update frequently they can take up quite a bit of space.

dpkg --get-selections|grep 'linux-image*'|awk '{print $1}'|egrep -v "linux-image-$(uname -r)|linux-image-generic" |while read n;do apt-get -y remove $n;done

You may also need to update GRUB  /usr/sbin/update-grub after this has completed.

Checking for a whole number in php

There may be a simpler way but I didn’t come across one except this handy function when dealing with decimal numbers.

//is_wholeNumber(string $value)
//Returns TRUE if a WHOLE NUMBER
//Returns FALSE if anything else (Float, String, Hex, etc)
function is_wholeNumber($value)
	if(preg_match ("/[^0-9]/", $value))
	{	return FALSE;	}
	return TRUE;

There is also ctype_digit but this seems to return false when using addition like so:

$numeric_string = '1'+'1';
$integer = 1+1;

if(ctype_digit($numeric_string)) { echo "true";} else { echo "false"; }  // false
if(ctype_digit($integer)){ echo "true";} else { echo "false"; }          // false 

if(is_numeric($numeric_string)){ echo "true";} else { echo "false"; }    // true
if(is_numeric($integer)){ echo "true";} else { echo "false"; }           // true

Both equal 2 yet ctype_digit returns false? , is_numeric works here but as i’m dealing with decimal places this returns true when it is not a whole number.

Credit for the function due to

Javascript function to return device type

Here’s a simple JS function to return the type of device based on screen size and some other helpful variables for the main manufacturers.

// mobile check
function checkForMobile() {

	var x = screen.width;
	var y = screen.height;
	var agent = navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();
	var mobileOS = typeof orientation != 'undefined' ? true : false;
	var touchOS = ('ontouchstart' in document.documentElement) ? true : false;
	var otherBrowser = (agent.indexOf("series60") != -1) || (agent.indexOf("symbian") != -1) || (agent.indexOf("windows ce") != -1) || (agent.indexOf("blackberry") != -1);
	var iOS = (navigator.platform.indexOf("iPhone") != -1) || (navigator.platform.indexOf("iPad") != -1) ? true : false;
	var android = (agent.indexOf("android") != -1) || (!iOS && !otherBrowser && touchOS && mobileOS) ? true : false;
	var istablet = (/ipad|android|android 3.0|xoom|sch-i800|playbook|tablet|kindle/i.test(navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase()));
	var tablet = (istablet==true && x >= 768) ? true : false;

	// is it mobile

	if(x >= 320) {
		whichDevice = "Mobile";

	if(tablet==true) {

		whichDevice = "Tablet";


	if(x >= 800 && tablet==false) {

		whichDevice = "Desktop";


	return whichDevice;

       //sets the device type

Found something better? , please let me know.