Website Performance - We can Help - Merkados
Website Design Promo

When Great Websites Go Bad – Tips to Improve

December 6th, 2011 admin

As a professional digital media designer, I am constantly in contact with great and not so great websites. So what I wanted to do in this quick post, was to give some advice to those new designers that know how to do the main ground work: design by hand, implement digitally, slice the design, code in html, css and php and then build the website; but they unfortunately lack the knowledge of how to refine the last details. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Website Design: Session 3 – How Browsers work

August 17th, 2011 admin

[private]In our previous article we took a look at what is HTML and how hypertext transfer protocol allowed us to see pages. In this chapter I am going to explain, in a simple way, how the browser finds and displays your html, xhtml or xml pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Media Queries in Drupal to display properly in iOS5, iPad and iPhone

June 22nd, 2011 admin


The Problem:

Safari Mobile creates a 1px margin between background DIVs.

Read the rest of this entry »

403 forbidden error after Update with Drush

May 15th, 2011 admin


Ok, so if you decide to use Drush (4) and decide to upgrade your installation of Drupal (6.2x) then perhaps you’ll experience a little problem. This problem has happened to me quite a few times now and that is why I am writing this post. I don’t want this to happen either to me or to anybody in the future. If it happens, then here are the instructions on how to fix it.
Let’s start by saying what doesn’t work:
1. My first thought was to check for the error log to see if it gave me better clues at what was happening with the Drupal site after the drush update command (drush up). Now, before we continue, remember that before you hit ENTER on that command, make a copy of your htaccess file and of your robots.txt. Believe me, this will make it easier on you.

2. I checked the error log and it basically told me the following:
“[Date [crit] [client address)] (13)Permission denied: /home/user/public_html/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable”.

3. I thought then that it had to do with the permissions of the htaccess file (chmod). However that is not what causes the problem.
4. When I tried that it didn’t work.
5. Then I changed the ownership of the files recursively on the entire root and sure enough it didn’t work either. Simply because the problem happens because the public_html folder alone has to have the group ownership set to “nobody”. Can you believe that? How do you do that? With the command “chown” (Change Ownership) the first parameter is the username, the second one is the group. So for example if you say chown alex:nobody myfolder/ , then you are assigning the ownership of myfolder/ to user alex and group “nobody”.

Why does it happen in the first place?

First the problem happens because you are logged it with a different user with SSH into your server. That alone is going to make the Drush calls from that user. So if you call the drush commands without changing your user, of course you are going to end you changing your ownership of the files.

Merkados’ Recommended Solution

So here are the changes that need to happen:

/*Comment of Code*/
#chown -R ftp_username:ftp_username path_to_drupal_home_folder
#chown ftp_username:nobody path_to_drupal_home_folder
/*End of Code*/


1. The chown command is used to change the ownership of the files. In the first line you are changing ownership recursively of all the drupal files and assigning it to the user with ftp access and group with the same name.

2. The second line makes the change to the home folder. Please note that the group is set to “nobody” and please also note that it is not recursive so don’t use the -R!

That’s it. If you follow this instructions you will be avoiding those 403 forbidden notices and doing more work. Don’t worry about the fact that the error logs instruct you about lack of read-access to .htaccess. Obviously this problem is generated by the ownership problem described here. Once you fix the problem with the ownership, then you won’t have the error with your htaccess file.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Merkados for your strategic interactive media needs.

Install xDebug with your MAMP – Mac OS X 10.6

February 24th, 2011 admin

Ok so the very reason why I am writing this post is because I am sure some of you have trouble installing xDebug with MAMP in Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6. I think the problem is pretty simple, however if you don’t know it, you will scratch your head for hours!
Here it is. The first part of installing xDebug is to get it as an extension for Zend in PHP. So you traditionally would go to the xDebug Wizard and see that it has a nice box where it asks for your phpinfo(); results.

So go ahead and visit the xDebug Wizard first. Then head to your local machine and create a simple php script with the following:


2. Ok so now go ahead and save your php script somewhere accessible by your local web server. Now head to your browser and run the script. Select all the output and paste it in the textarea box at the xdebug wizard.

3. Now, xdebug is going to give you tailored instructions on how to proceed from here. HOWEVER, at the end of the instructions you will need to do another step.

4. Head to Komodo IDE’s download page and click on the PHP debugging extension for MAC OS.

5. Once you have the download take the located in the package, and place this into

6. Edit your /Applications/MAMP/conf/php5/php.ini like so:

; xdebug

7. Restart your Server and re-run your phpinfo() script.

8. You should now see the extension running properly.

Learn Jquery in 3 days and 3 nights: Just watching videos

August 22nd, 2010 admin

Ok here we go:

Day 1. In the morning: Have a cup of coffee and a bagel with creme cheese. Ok, ready with that? Perfect. Now go ahead and sit back for 1 hour and take in this introductory video. It starts by telling you the very basics of jQuery: Read the rest of this entry »

How to install WordPress from scratch?

April 21st, 2010 admin

[private]Hi everybody. I hope you guys are having a blast. One thing that I’ve been aware lately is the desire to quickly deploy a WordPress installation. Now, I understand that for advanced developers you can have WordPress multisites and deploy them extremely fast and with less restrictions than what I am going to explain here. This post is for beginners. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Website Design – Session 6 – The components

March 6th, 2010 admin

[private]So let’s say that you have finally designed your website and are getting ready to share it with the whole world. You might be asking yourself well, how do I do just that? Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Website Design: Session 5 – Real Workflow

December 11th, 2009 admin

[private]In the first sessions we have taken a look at how understand the markup and styles. However, it is extremely important to understand that most professional design doesn’t happen directly in code. Most website design happens in the traditional graphic design work-flow.

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Tips to go from good to excellent website design.

November 28th, 2009 admin

[private]Learn some of the secrets behind the success of top web designers. Grab these concepts and take your design to the next level. These are just some tips for new designers learning about what professionals do to make their websites look better: Read the rest of this entry »