Configurable Attribute in Magento 1

To use an attribute for configurable products we need:

  • is_configurable = 1
  • is_global = 1
  • is_user_defined = 1
  • backend_type = int
  • frontend_input = select

Custom Product Attributes, Source Models and Flat Tables

How to add an attribute to product_flat_table

Either one of the following attribute settings is true:

  • backend_typ = 'static'
  • is_filterable > 0
  • used_in_product_listing = 1
  • is_used_for_promo_rules= 1
  • used_for_sort_by = 1

Or you add it manually by observing this event:

Attribute is not added - source models

If you attribute is still not added it might be, because \Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Attribute_Abstract::getFlatColumns is called on the attribute, which checks wether a source model exists.

public function getFlatColumns()
    // If source model exists - get definition from it
    if ($this->usesSource() && $this->getBackendType() != self::TYPE_STATIC) {
        return $this->getSource()->getFlatColums();
    // ...

As you can see, getFlatColums is called on your source model, which default implementation is:

// \Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Attribute_Source_Abstract::getFlatColums
public function getFlatColums()
    return array();

Therefore your attribute is not added.

And implementation like this might help:

public function getFlatColums()
    $attributeCode = $this->getAttribute()->getAttributeCode();
    $column        = [
        'unsigned' => false,
        'default'  => null,
        'extra'    => null,

    if (Mage::helper('core')->useDbCompatibleMode()) {
        $column['type']    = 'varchar';
        $column['is_null'] = true;
    } else {
        $column['type']     = Varien_Db_Ddl_Table::TYPE_VARCHAR;
        $column['nullable'] = true;
        $column['comment']  = 'Seals column';

    return [$attributeCode => $column];


How to fill the field

After the final win that the column is created on the flat tables, it was NULL after reindexing. Something is missing and this is:


This method has to return a Zend_Db_Select due to this:

// ...
$select = $attribute->getFlatUpdateSelect($storeId);
if ($select instanceof Varien_Db_Select) {
    if ($productIds !== null) {
        $select->where('e.entity_id IN(?)', $productIds);
// ...

An example implementation which works for me:

public function getFlatUpdateSelect($store)
    return Mage::getResourceSingleton('eav/entity_attribute')
        ->getFlatUpdateSelect($this->getAttribute(), $store);

Remove Values From Attribute

Today I had to change the values of a magento product attribute.

Attribute before

I had an attribute color with the values:

  • aqua
  • black
  • blue
  • fuchsia
  • ... (all other CSS2.1 color names)

And I had to change it to german values.

So I had a look into $installer->addAttribute() the method checks wether the attribute exists or not and calles $this->updateAttribute().

Great, let's just update the Attribute

I updated the attribute, the result was:

  • aqua
  • black
  • braun (german: brown)
  • blau (german: blue)
  • blue
  • ...

That is wrong.

Just remove the wrong values

I didn't find a way to remove the values from an attribute. If you have one, tell me!


The easiest and nicest way I found was:

$installer->removeAttribute(Mage_Catalog_Model_Product::ENTITY, 'color');
// [...]
$installer->addAttribute(Mage_Catalog_Model_Product::ENTITY, 'color', $data);

Remove the attribute and create it with the new values.

Bad thing about it? All values will be deleted for all products!