I would like to get all the columns infos of the product grid columns from my own helper.

I tried (among others) with the following code :

$gridBlock = Mage::app()->getLayout()->createBlock('adminhtml/catalog_product_grid');

If I log then $gridBlock->debug(), I obtain

    [row_click_callback] => openGridRow
    [id] => productGrid
    [use_ajax] => 1
    [type] => adminhtml/catalog_product_grid

but the return of $gridBlock->getColumns() is an empty array.

In other words, I'm trying to simulate the creation of the product grid in order to get its columns informations.

Any ideas on how to do it ?

2 Answers 2


The columns property is not populated until you call the toHtml method of the block.
The method _prepareColumns, the one that builds the columns is called in the _prepareGrid method that is called in _beforeToHtml that is called in toHtml.

So you can try

$gridBlock = Mage::app()->getLayout()->createBlock('adminhtml/catalog_product_grid');
$columns = $grid->getColumns();

but there is a chance you will get errors if you are out of context.
Anyway... It's cheap to try it.

  • Thanks @Marius, you pushed me on the right way. I fact I've already seen that the only public method I could call was the toHtml method. But, as you say, I gave up because there was error (some weird PHP Fatal error: Maximum function nesting level of '100' reached, aborting! on server side). Following your comment "you will get errors if you are out of context", I tried with some $appEmulation = Mage::getSingleton('core/app_emulation'); workaround; I will post my answer but yours was very usefull. Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 14:00


with the help of Marius answer, I succeed with the following code :

$appEmulation = Mage::getSingleton('core/app_emulation');
$initialEnvironmentInfo = $appEmulation->startEnvironmentEmulation(Mage_Core_Model_App::ADMIN_STORE_ID, Mage_Core_Model_App_Area::AREA_ADMINHTML);
$gridBlock = Mage::app()->getLayout()->createBlock('adminhtml/catalog_product_grid')->setTemplate('');

Then $gridBlock->getColumns() returns what I was expecting.

Note that the emulating part may be unnecessary if you run this code from the admin part. So, it should work with this :

$gridBlock = Mage::app()->getLayout()->createBlock('adminhtml/catalog_product_grid')->setTemplate('');

Edit 1 : I updated my answer as I just saw that there was an error in the system.log : CRIT (2): Not valid template file:frontend/base/default/template/widget/grid.phtml. In fact, I should pass a second parameter (Mage_Core_Model_App_Area::AREA_ADMINHTML) in the startEnvironmentEmulation method to ensure that design will be build from the admihtml area. But when I do that, I get again the fatal error : PHP Fatal error: Maximum function nesting level of '100' reached, aborting. So, I made it work without error by setting a "fake" template : $gridBlock->setTemplate('page/head.phtml'). I hope I will find a cleaner way to do that and I will edit my answer in this case.

Edit 2 : Well, it seems the error Maximum function nesting level of '100' reached I have when I don't change the template is due to some infinite loop that begins in the app/design/adminhtml/default/default/template/widget/grid.phtml (especially with the massaction part). If I comment this part, it works with just a

$gridBlock = Mage::app()->getLayout()->getBlockSingleton('adminhtml/catalog_product_grid');

Moreover, as I launch this code from the admin area, I can even delete all the $appEmulation part. I don't remove it from my answer as it can be usefull for someone who wants to launch it from the frontend.

Finally, to be "cleaner", instead of calling the page/head.html, I will create my own "fake" template and call it. I didn't find any observer that allow me to remove the massaction block properly.

Edit 3 : With a setTemplate(''), it works too without any error. I update my answer with this workaround.

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