I write a code to create a sql file to add a column to customer eav table. I want to check whether that field exist in customer table or not.

here is my code for creating that field >>

$setup = Mage::getModel('customer/entity_setup', 'core_setup');
$setup->addAttribute('customer', 'nationalcode', array(
    'type' => 'varchar',
    'input' => 'text',
    'label' => 'national code',
    'global' => 1,
    'visible' => 1,
    'required' => 0,
    'default' => '',
    'user_defined' => 1,
    'visible_on_front' => 1,

what should I add to this code to check the existence of the "nationalcode" field before creating it?

  • 1
    Minor note, won't matter in 99.999% of cases: the second argument for this setup class should be customer_setup.
    – benmarks
    Apr 16, 2014 at 10:11
  • tnx, but why is that? Apr 16, 2014 at 10:28
  • Your "default" connection info is set in app/etc/local.xml under the global/resources/default_setup/connection XPath, a.k.a. the default_setup connection. When EAV resource models are instantiated, they are told which adapters to use (ref customer_write in Mage_Customer_Model_Resource_Customer::__construct()). Internally this gets aliased to the core setup config - which aliased to the default setup config- if not explicitly set; ref Mage_Core_Model_Resource::getConnection().
    – benmarks
    Apr 16, 2014 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


You are pretty close to the answer already. Mage_Eav_Model_Entity_Setup::addAttribute() contains a check itself to determine whether the operation is an insert or an update:

public function addAttribute($entityTypeId, $code, array $attr)
    $entityTypeId = $this->getEntityTypeId($entityTypeId);
    $data = array_merge(
            'entity_type_id' => $entityTypeId,
            'attribute_code' => $code


    $sortOrder = isset($attr['sort_order']) ? $attr['sort_order'] : null;
    $attributeId = $this->getAttribute($entityTypeId, $code, 'attribute_id');
    if ($attributeId) {
        $this->updateAttribute($entityTypeId, $attributeId, $data, null, $sortOrder);
    } else {

As you can see, your installer class instance (Mage_Customer_Model_Entity_Setup) has the necessary method.

//Returns associative array if attribute exists, null if not

That said, you can see the importance of namespacing attribute codes. It's always good to check, but aamiri_nationalcode would be a "safer" choice.

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