I have a template from a customer's Magento 1 theme that I need to move to M2. The theme isn't the same but the template does what I need it to on M1 and I need this in Magento 2.

    <ul class="row list">
        $parentCategoryId = 20;
        $cat = Mage::getModel('catalog/category')->load($parentCategoryId);
        $subcats = $cat->getChildren(); 
        foreach(explode(',',$subcats) as $subCatid){
            $_category = Mage::getModel('catalog/category')->load($subCatid);
            if($_category->getIsActive()) {
                $image = Mage::getBaseUrl('media') . 'catalog/category/' . $_category->getThumbnail();
                $imageCheck = $_category->getThumbnail();
                $name = $_category->getName();
                echo '<li class="col-md-3 col-sm-6" style="list-style:none;">';
                    echo '<a href="' . $_category->getUrl() . '">';
                        if ($imageCheck == ''){ $image = $this->getSkinUrl('images/noPic.jpg'); }
                        echo '<img src="' . $image  .'" style="width:100%;">';
                        echo '<p class="text-center artist-name">' . $name . '</p>';
                    echo '</a>';
                echo '</li>';

This is PHTML from M1, which I did not write. In effect, it loads all subcategories of a parent category then displays them in a grid with the category title and thumbnail. If I have to create a small extension then call what I need in a PHTML, that's fine but I'm still a little new to M2 so I'm not sure where to start.

I did find this answer and I'm using the top bit with the object manager: https://magento.stackexchange.com/a/201951/69191

I know that's probably not the best practice but is it passable in a template file, or is there a better way?

  • most of what you need is in the answer you referenced, just create a module with a helper or block class to return the category object then update your phtml code to parse the data.
    – paj
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


Create a new module Your_Module - a simple way to do this is with n98-magerun2

n98-magerun2.phar dev:module:create

Add a new block class in Your/Module/Block, eg - Category.php

namespace Your\Module\Block;

use Magento\Framework\View\Element\Template\Context;
use Magento\Framework\Registry;
use Magento\Catalog\Model\CategoryFactory;

class Category extends \Magento\Framework\View\Element\Template
        protected $_registry;
        protected $_categoryFactory;

    public function __construct(
        Context $context,
        Registry $registry,
        CategoryFactory $categoryFactory,
        array $data = []
        $this->_registry = $registry;
        $this->_categoryFactory = $categoryFactory;
        parent::__construct($context, $data);

    public function _prepareLayout()
        return parent::_prepareLayout();

    * Get children categories
    * @param $categoryId Parent category id
    * @return Magento\Catalog\Model\ResourceModel\Category\Collection
    public function getChildCategories($categoryId)

        $_category = $this->_categoryFactory->create();

        $category = $_category->load($categoryId);

        //Get category collection
        $collection = $category->getCollection()

        return $collection;


In your template use the block to obtain the category data


// CATEGORY LIST template
$blockCategory= $block->getLayout()->createBlock('Your\Module\Block\Category');

$parentCategoryId = 38;

    <ul class="row list">

        foreach($subcats as $category){

            if($category->getIsActive()) {
                echo '<li class="col-md-3 col-sm-6" style="list-style:none;">';
                    echo '<a href="' . $category->getUrl() . '">';
                        if ($imageUrl == ''){ $image = '/BLAH/noPic.jpg'; }
                        echo '<img src="' . $imageUrl  .'" style="width:10%;">';
                        echo '<p class="text-center artist-name">' . $category->getName() . '</p>';
                    echo '</a>';
                echo '</li>';

You may need to play with the "No Pic" logic and image size (not sure if there are category thumbnails in Mage 2?) and add helpers to return Mage 2 media base urls if you need them.

  • Thanks a ton! I can run with this.
    – Marisa
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 16:28
  • 1
    Thats not very clean, you should not use buisness logic in the template... outsource the foreach to a function in the block class and call it in the template... e.g. $block->myfunction()
    – Black
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 16:43

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