I override a block class Mage_Catalog_Block_Navigation (link to signature) to create a custom menu which displays only subcategories of current category.

Inside method renderCategoriesMenuHtml (link to signature) I'm trying to get child categories of selected parent category. So I replaced default code:

foreach ($this->getStoreCategories() as $child) {

with the following:

 * @param $parent ID of category from which we start
 * @param $recursionLevel How many levels of subcategories retrieve
 * getCategories(...) is a method from model Mage_Catalog_Model_Category
$category = Mage::getModel('catalog/category');
$storeCategories = $category->getCategories($parent, $recursionLevel);
foreach ($storeCategories as $child) {

This code works perfectly fine and returns subcategories of selected parent, but as soon as I enable the "Flat Catalog Category" the $parent variable seems to be completely ignored and that code returns all top-level categories, instead of subcategories of category with ID $parent.

What do I do wrong? Shouldn't getCategories method work the same even when flat categories are enabled?


My real question is

  1. Why method getCategories from model Mage_Catalog_Model_Category ignors parameters $parent and $recursionLevel when flat categories are enabled? (see source of the method below)
  2. Are there more methods which works different with flat catalog? How can I recognize them to avoid problems in the future?

I call it like this inside method renderCategoriesMenuHtml:

$parent = 13;
$recursionLevel = 2;
$category = Mage::getModel('catalog/category');
$storeCategories = $category->getCategories($parent, $recursionLevel);

With non-flat categories this code returns subcategories (2 levels as specified in $recursionLevel) of the category with ID 13. But with flat categories enabled I get all top-level categories with all subcategories (limited with value of admin settings 'catalog/navigation/max_depth', not by $recursionLevel).

Method in model Mage_Catalog_Model_Category:

public function getCategories($parent, $recursionLevel = 0, $sorted=false, $asCollection=false, $toLoad=true)
    $categories = $this->getResource()
        ->getCategories($parent, $recursionLevel, $sorted, $asCollection, $toLoad);
    return $categories;

calls method in resource model Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Category:

public function getCategories($parent, $recursionLevel = 0, $sorted = false, $asCollection = false, $toLoad = true)
    $tree = Mage::getResourceModel('catalog/category_tree');
    /* @var $tree Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Category_Tree */
    $nodes = $tree->loadNode($parent)

    $tree->addCollectionData(null, $sorted, $parent, $toLoad, true);

    if ($asCollection) {
        return $tree->getCollection();
    return $nodes;

2 Answers 2

$_category = Mage::getModel('catalog/category')->load(CATEGORY-ID);    
    $_categories = $_category
                    ->addAttributeToSelect(array('name', 'image', 'description'))

    foreach ($_categories as $_category):
       echo $_category->getName();
  • I edited my question.
    – zitix
    Sep 13, 2013 at 12:41
  • Man, you saved my ass, thank you. That's a neat trick - $_category->getChildren() returns a comma separated string of category ids that you can then use to filter via addIdFilter(). Smart :) Aug 26, 2014 at 18:00
$parentCategoryId = 107;
$cat = Mage::getModel('catalog/category')->load($parentCategoryId);
$subcats = $cat->getChildren();


// Get 1 Level sub category of Parent category.


foreach(explode(',',$subcats) as $subCatid)
                $_category = Mage::getModel('catalog/category')->load($subCatid);
  if($_category->getIsActive()) {
    echo '<ul><a href="'.$_category->getURL().'" title="View the products for the "'.$_category->getName().'" category">'.$_category->getName().'</a>';
   echo '</ul>';


If you want 2 level , 3 Level, 4 Level or n Level subcategories of parent category than Click Here

  • Might solve the problem, but all the load are bad for performance, so be careful Jan 16, 2014 at 7:02
  • why you are load all the category just use category id and load content only specific category only Feb 6, 2014 at 12:31

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