This Magento newbie is trying to create a new page layout and customization for level 3 categories. What I've done at this point is use the Custom Design tab to change the Page Layout to 1 column and call a template with the Custom Layout Update:

<reference name="series">
    <action method="setTemplate"><template>catalog/category/seriespage.phtml</template></action>

In my page.xml files I have the block defined as "core/template".

But what I found is that in my template I could not access the category fields with $this - calls to $this->getName() and $this-getDescription() returned null. I finally was able to get them this way:

$category = Mage::getSingleton('category/layer')->getCurrentCategory();
$desc = $category->getDescription();  // The right stuff

However, the category ID is still unknown and not returned from a $category->getCategoryId() call as I think it should be. I see references to $this->getCategoryId() often.

Now I want to fetch the content of a CMS static block I've created, but this too seems to return null. Nothing is output from a statement such as:


Using $this instead of Mage::app() didn't work either of course, and I tried other Mage variations. I thought defining this template in Manage Categories would give it the proper context, but apparently not. What am I missing to get $this to be set to my category context so the typical function calls work?

1 Answer 1


please check that your template is loaded with some static content

if yes then you can try below code for that

$_current_category = Mage::registry('current_category');
echo $_current_category->getName();
echo $_current_category->getDescription(); 

But in your case I am pretty sure that for series block type is different please update your question with your block type for series if my solution wont work. I will update my answer accordingly

  • Yes, my series.phtml template file has lots of content. I've been creating temp variables for the data for now and coding from that. Your Mage::registry example works, just like my Mage::getSingleton did. Is that a better method? In page.xml I have the block type as "core/template", as I noted in my original question.
    – twelvetone
    Sep 30, 2016 at 0:07
  • yes use my one, and mark my answet accepted if it help you Sep 30, 2016 at 0:40
  • Sure I'll use the registry call instead of getSingleton but it still doesn't answer my question. I want to be able to use $this in my template like other templates do, and I don't know why I cannot. And I still cannot get my CMS static block. Obviously I'm missing something...
    – twelvetone
    Sep 30, 2016 at 1:55
  • please provide more detaail to your block type for that Sep 30, 2016 at 2:33

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