Bill Haenel

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Posted by Bill Haenel on 04-Dec-08

So I don't have much time to write here, but this took me some time to debug, and as a result I felt strongly compelled to share my findings with the few loyal readers I may have here at billhaenel.com.

I have a Plesk VPS server on which we host several sites. One of the sites we host there is a ZenCart-based shop. The ZenCart version installed is 1.3.8a.

We needed some good image handling for auto-resizing and such. We have a script that I created several years ago for this, but the Image Handler 2 add-on found at http://breakmyzencart.com/image-handler is just so much better than ours. Plus we had used it on several other shop sites, hosted at other servers with different configurations, and it worked flawlessly.

Apparently, the version of ImageMagick available for installation on our Plesk VPS is 6.0.7. 6.0.7 does not come equipped with the "-composite" directive for IM's "convert" comand. That directive is used by IH2 for layering and such when resizing images automagically. This is a big problem for those of us using IM on a Plesk VPS server.

The missing "-composite" component caused the entire resizing operation to fail, and subsequently the entire product display routine. Small hole that needs to be filled, IMHO.

The solution was to remove the ImageMagick convert path setting. This setting can be found in your store installation at includes/extra_configures/bmz_image_handler_conf.php, line 15, "$ihConf['im_convert']". Just set it to blank, or ''. Then be sure to set, in the same file, the $ihConf['gdlib'] variable to 1 or 2 (preferrably 2) as you're going to need it now that you've effectively trashed ImageMagick.

After turning off IM, I then ran into trouble with GD's memory usage. It was causing the script to crap out because it needed way more memory than was allocated (this is apprarently caused by the way GD handles uncompressed images or something...?). Anyway, this required a temporary configuration change within the load_imageGD() function in the ih_image class, found in file, includes/classes/bmz_image_handler.class.php, at line 615. To do this, I simply added the line, "ini_set('memory_limit','100M');" in as the first line within that function. That seemed to do the trick.

After all of that mess, it finally worked. It's really slow the first time you load a page with a lot of images, or the first time you load a product with one big original. It simply needs time to process and make that first cache. But once it's made, it goes much more quickly on subsequent page loads.

So, in summary:

  1. Turn off ImageMagick,
  2. Turn on GD,
  3. Set the script to use more memory,
  4. Run a first-time pageload to fill your cache before your client sees what you've done.
Gimme a shout if you need to know more. Sometimes I even reply.


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