I have written the following code to create an attribute in magento 1.9

$name = $data['name'];
$attributeSetId = $data['attributeSetId'];
$attributeGroupId = $data['attributeGroupId'];

//create a new attribute
$setup = new Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Setup('core_setup');

$attribute = array(
  'type'              => 'varchar',
  'backend'           => '',
  'frontend'          => '',
  'label'             => $data['title'],
  'input'             => $data['type'],
  'class'             => '',
  'source'            => 'catalog/product_attribute_source_layout',
  'global'            => Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Eav_Attribute::SCOPE_STORE,
  'visible'           => true,
  'required'          => false,
  'user_defined'      => true,
  'default'           => '',
  'searchable'        => false,
  'filterable'        => false,
  'comparable'        => false,
  'visible_on_front'  => false,
  'unique'            => false

if(array_key_exists('options', $data) && !empty($data['options']) && $data['type'] == 'select') {
  Mage::log('adding select options to attribute');

  $values = array();

  foreach ($data['options'] as $option) {
    $values[$option['value']] = $option['label'];

  $options = array(
    'values' => $values

  $attribute['option'] = $options;


if(array_key_exists('isGlobal', $data) && !empty($data['isGlobal']) && $data['isGlobal']) {
  $attribute['global'] = 1;

if(array_key_exists('isConfigurable', $data) && !empty($data['isConfigurable']) && $data['isConfigurable']) {
  $attribute['is_configurable'] = 1;

$entityTypeId = $setup->getEntityTypeId('catalog_product');
$setup->addAttribute($entityTypeId, $name, $attribute);

Which is creating the attribute correctly in Magento, along with the attribute options. Which I can see are correct when I edit the attribute in the admin site.

However when I go to use the attribute on a product the attributes are incorrect.

Instead of being my options, for example (small,medium,large) I am seeing the following values in the dropdown (No layout updates, Empty, 1 column, 2 columns with left bar, 2 columns with right bar, 3 columns). Which are being pulled from the "Page Layout" attribute.

Elsewhere in my code I am pulling the attribute options out from the attribute, when I use the following code I get my correct options:

$options = Mage::getResourceModel('eav/entity_attribute_option_collection');
          $attributeOptions  = $options->setAttributeFilter($attribute->getId())

When I use the following code, it pulls out the incorrect attribute options:

$attributeOptions = $attribute->getSource()->getAllOptions(false);

This is your problem

'source'            => 'catalog/product_attribute_source_layout',

It should not be there.
remove the attribute from your db and reinstall your module.
Or simply edit the attribute from the eav_attribute table and remove the value of the column source_model.

Let's take a look at the method getSource that you mentioned.

public function getSource()
    if (empty($this->_source)) {
        if (!$this->getSourceModel()) {
        $source = Mage::getModel($this->getSourceModel());
        if (!$source) {
            throw Mage::exception('Mage_Eav',
                Mage::helper('eav')->__('Source model "%s" not found for attribute "%s"',
        $this->_source = $source->setAttribute($this);
    return $this->_source;

this means that if you specify a source_model tot the attribute, that class will be instantiated and returned by the getSource method. If not, then the default source model (which is defined in the eav_entity_type table for each entity) will be used.
But in your case catalog/product_attribute_source_layout maps to the class Mage_Catalog_Model_Product_Attribute_Source_Layout so the method getAllOptions for that class will be called and you get back the strange results.

  • Working in a sandbox magento at the minute so deleting the attribute will be fine. Will test this out. Thanks for answering – Matthew Wilson Nov 23 '16 at 21:24
  • I've updated the answer with some explanations about why you get this problem. – Marius Nov 23 '16 at 21:36

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