I am sorting a custom collection by a text field EAV attribute (UMC was originally used to scaffold the module which has been heavily modified since).

$myCollection->setOrder('my_name', 'ASC')

my_name in this case often has the same value for many entries. Consider a collection of dogs. Many entries would have labrador as a value for breed field. There are many possible fields so keeping them enumerated in a <select> list would be cumbersome, I'd rather keep them as a text field (with my own validation so that labrador isn't mistaken as labredor or something).

The problem is that my returned results will randomly order the my_name field so that any entries with the same value will be clustered together but will be listed in a different order every time. How can I make sure this ordered collection is the same each time?

  • Just to add a note: I am able to work around the issue by also sorting by an additional unique field that is related to the other field but insufficient to sort by alone.
    – pspahn
    Jan 19, 2018 at 19:20

1 Answer 1


Based on your comment, why not sort by both, breed and that second (or any other) attribute? :)


$products = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')->getCollection()

    ->order(new Zend_Db_Expr('e.breed asc, e.other_field desc'));

foreach($products as $product) {

This will build a query similar to

SELECT `e`.`entity_id`, `e`.`type_id`, `e`.`attribute_set_id`, `e`.`breed`, `e`.`other_field` FROM `catalog_product_flat_1` AS `e` WHERE (e.status = 1) ORDER BY `e`.`breed` asc, `e`.`other_field` asc

which sorts first by breed and then by other_field.

  • Yes, in my case I realized I could sort by an additional field, but that may not necessarily be the case.
    – pspahn
    Jan 19, 2018 at 22:52
  • 1
    @pspahn you can always additionally sort by id/entity_id in case you don't have other attributes available. This way your sorting should stay the same anyway. Jan 19, 2018 at 23:03
  • Ah yes, of course. In my specific case it is just a touch cleaner to sort by my other field, but sorting by ID seems like a good work around for most cases.
    – pspahn
    Jan 20, 2018 at 3:03

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