I want to sort the customer attribute address after sort_order. For some reason by default it doesn't work so I started to digging into the core. This function :

protected function _getFormAttributeCollection()
   return parent::_getFormAttributeCollection()
   ->addFieldToFilter('attribute_code', array('neq' => 'created_at'));

from Mage_Customer_Model_Form is responsible . If I add here this code ->setOrder('sort_order', 'ASC'); to my collection its working fine. Due to the fact that you don't touch the core, I want to fix this from an observer. I used this event: core_block_abstract_to_html_before and this is my function from my observer:

 $grid = $observer->getBlock();
 if ($grid instanceof  Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Widget_Form_Renderer_Fieldset_Element) {
   $collection = $observer->getEvent()->getCollection();
   $collection = $collection->getSelect()->order('sort_order', 'ASC');
// $collection->setOrder('sort_order', 'ASC');

The fact is that $collection is always null. I don't know why ? Can someone give me an idea how to fix this ?

Thank you

2 Answers 2


It's not working because core_block_abstract_to_html_before is too broad, it's called every time a block is rendered. Even though you have a condition in your observer, it's still to broad, the collection is there, you are probably just looking at some other block that is loading on that page.


Override Mage_Customer_Model_Form and add

return parent::_getFormAttributeCollection() 
    ->addFieldToFilter('attribute_code', array('neq' => 'created_at'))
    ->setOrder('sort_order', 'ASC');

To the _getFormAttributeCollection() method.

  • It is about this collection Mage::getResourceModel('customer/form_attribute_collection') . IF you check that function that I mentioned _getFormAttributeCollection in the core. May 26, 2017 at 10:51
  • If i use your collection I still get the wrong sorting order for my customer address attributes. May 26, 2017 at 10:52
  • If I use this $collection = Mage::getResourceModel('customer/form_attribute_collection') ->getCollection() ->addAttributeToSort('sort_order', Varien_Data_Collection::SORT_ORDER_ASC); Im getting this message: Call to undefined method Mage_Customer_Model_Resource_Form_Attribute_Collection::getCollection() May 26, 2017 at 10:55
  • Mage::getResourceModel('customer/form_attribute_collection') returns a collection, so you don't need the ->getCollection() Try using: $collection = Mage::getResourceModel('customer/form_attribute_collection')->addAttributeToSort('sort_order', Varien_Data_Collection::SORT_ORDER_ASC); But again, don't use the observer you created, it will be called way to often for what you're trying to achieve, override the block where the collection is called.
    – Radosav
    May 26, 2017 at 12:14
  • 1
    Or you can just override Mage_Customer_Model_Form and add ->setOrder('sort_order', 'ASC'); to return parent::_getFormAttributeCollection() ->addFieldToFilter('attribute_code', array('neq' => 'created_at'));
    – Radosav
    May 26, 2017 at 12:17

You can try

$addressAttributeCollection = Mage::getResourceModel('customer/address_attribute_collection');
$addressAttributeCollection->setOrder('sort_order', 'ASC');
  • nothing happens :) with or without this code: $observer->getEvent()->setCollection($addressAttributeCollection); still got the wrong sorting type . May 26, 2017 at 11:10

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