This confuses me a bit. I wonder why I didn't notice it before. When I look for helper definition of Mage_Sales core module, it surprised me that, I couldn't find helper defintion there. This confuses me a lot. Hence I tried this code


and it gave me this result


Then where is the sales alias for Mage_Sales_Helper_Data is defined in magento. In other words, where should I can find this code snippet?


I have also checked all xml files that are available for Mage_Sales's etc module. None of them holds helper definition. So how magento assigned sales alias to helper class Mage_Sales_Helper_Data.

Please enlighten me with your valuable thoughts


The sort answer is that it is not defined anywhere. If you trace back how Mage::helper works you get to the function Mage_Core_Model_Config::getGroupedClassName

This will try to load any rewrites firstly, then the definition directly from the config and then finally just assume it starts with mage_

if (empty($className)) {
    if (!empty($config)) {
        $className = $config->getClassName();
    if (empty($className)) {
        $className = 'mage_'.$group.'_'.$groupType;
    if (!empty($class)) {
        $className .= '_'.$class;

    $className = uc_words($className);

So in the end the class name will be Mage_Sales_Helper_Data, this is why when creating your own extension is you miss off the helper or other definitions you get an error that it is trying to looks for Mage_Your_Module_Something

  • Awasome .. @David ....upvote from me – Amit Bera Aug 7 '14 at 18:18
  • I was digging in getGroupedClassName(). Now I am realizing.. I was so close to the answer !!. This completely wiped out my doubt. Now I can sleep with a calm mind. So +1 for make my mind clean :) – Rajeev K Tomy Aug 7 '14 at 18:25
  • As @benmarks taught me, it's just a bunch of string manipulation to build class names that get autoloaded. – pspahn Aug 8 '14 at 1:56

With help of David above answer,Hope David would not mind.

I am try explain more in detail

start with Mage.php and go to function helper

public static function helper($name)
    $registryKey = '_helper/' . $name;
    if (!self::registry($registryKey)) {
        $helperClass = self::getConfig()->getHelperClassName($name);
        self::register($registryKey, new $helperClass);
    return self::registry($registryKey);

a) $registryKey = '_helper/' . $name;

result: $registryKey = _helper/sales

b) check now registry key exits ot not,if not then set a registry variable

 if (!self::registry($registryKey)) {

its becomes true when system is first times for a session:

c) $helperClass = self::getConfig()->getHelperClassName($name); that means

$name=sales send to Mage_Core_Model_Config class function getHelperClassName for getting helper class send param

d)Then set class name is registry variablee

 self::register($registryKey, new $helperClass);

Result: may be proper class name Mage_Sales_Helper_Data

Now goes to getHelperClassName function of class Mage_Core_Model_Config

a) This function Retrieve helper class name string $name string

public function getHelperClassName($helperName)
    if (strpos($helperName, '/') === false) {
        $helperName .= '/data';
    return $this->getGroupedClassName('helper', $helperName);

explain of function:

 $helperName is sales 

the logic:

 if (strpos($helperName, '/') === false) {

becomes true as $helperName=sales then set $helperName=sales/data

b) return $this->getGroupedClassName('helper', $helperName);


call function getGroupedClassName with params 'helper','sales/data' 
and getGroupedClassName return    class name of helper class

Now goto function getGroupedClassName('helper','sales/data',null)

public function getGroupedClassName($groupType, $classId, $groupRootNode=null)
    if (empty($groupRootNode)) {
        $groupRootNode = 'global/'.$groupType.'s';

    $classArr = explode('/', trim($classId));
    $group = $classArr[0];
    $class = !empty($classArr[1]) ? $classArr[1] : null;

    if (isset($this->_classNameCache[$groupRootNode][$group][$class])) {
        return $this->_classNameCache[$groupRootNode][$group][$class];

    $config = $this->_xml->global->{$groupType.'s'}->{$group};

    // First - check maybe the entity class was rewritten
    $className = null;
    if (isset($config->rewrite->$class)) {
        $className = (string)$config->rewrite->$class;
    } else {
         * Backwards compatibility for pre-MMDB extensions.
         * In MMDB release resource nodes <..._mysql4> were renamed to <..._resource>. So <deprecatedNode> is left
         * to keep name of previously used nodes, that still may be used by non-updated extensions.
        if ($config->deprecatedNode) {
            $deprecatedNode = $config->deprecatedNode;
            $configOld = $this->_xml->global->{$groupType.'s'}->$deprecatedNode;
            if (isset($configOld->rewrite->$class)) {
                $className = (string) $configOld->rewrite->$class;

    // Second - if entity is not rewritten then use class prefix to form class name
    if (empty($className)) {
        if (!empty($config)) {
            $className = $config->getClassName();
        if (empty($className)) {
            $className = 'mage_'.$group.'_'.$groupType;
        if (!empty($class)) {
            $className .= '_'.$class;
        $className = uc_words($className);

    $this->_classNameCache[$groupRootNode][$group][$class] = $className;
    return $className;

**this function task **

retrieve class name by class group
param   string $groupType currently supported helper
param   string $classId slash separated class identifier, ex. group/class
param   string $groupRootNode optional config path for group config
return  string

a)$classArr = explode('/', trim($classId));

result:explode helper name(sales/data by /) for getting classs name in array $classArr

b)$class = !empty($classArr[1]) ? $classArr[1] : null;

Result:as $classArr[1] is data then value of $class is data

c) $config = $this->_xml->global->{$groupType.'s'}->{$group};

details:get config setting then $config = $this->_xml->global->helpers->sales;

d)$className = null;

Details:set $className null.

e) check rewrite class exits in config.xml files, check if class is rewrite then you can easly get code: if (isset($config->rewrite->$class)) { result:if (isset($config->rewrite->data)) {

f)for default magento ,it false to goto else

skip if ($config->deprecatedNode) {

 as deprecatedNode is for model($grouptype) and ,it only used for _mysql4

g) if (empty($className)) {


if sales helper not rewrite then if (empty($className)) { becomes true

h)if (!empty($config)) {



if (!empty($config)) {  becomes false;`

i) if (empty($className)) { Result:as $className is till null then this code is true

j) make class $className = 'mage_'.$group.'_'.$groupType;

$className =  'mage_sales_helper';


if (!empty($class)) {
                $className .= '_'.$class;


as $class = data the this condition  is true and $className =  'mage_sales_helper_data';

l)** make in upper case $className = uc_words($className); Now return class return $className; which is Mage_Sales_Helper_Data**

Thanks to

David Manners and Rajeev K Tomy

  • Eventhough I have analysed this whole thing through mind, it is more understandable and helpful when it seems as this detailed answer. a big thanks for Amit who spend a lot of time to prepare this answer for me and for the entire community. Respect :) – Rajeev K Tomy Aug 8 '14 at 3:43

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