Lesson 3 - The Model, collections & layout

18 Dec 2014
In the last lesson, I have introduced you how to create and call a model. In this third lesson, I will show you about collections and layout displays.

In the last lesson, I have introduced you how to create and call a model. In this third lesson, I will show you about collections and layout displays.


In the second lesson, in the section CREATE THE MODEL, we have declare a model and collections for the SimpleNews module.

In order to call a model, we call “getModel” function.


simplenews_model is declared in file app/code/local/MW/SimpleNews/etc/config.xml. (Click to see file config.xml in full)


After you call getModel, you can:

  • Take a record directly according to ID (number): Mage::getModel('simplenews_model/news')->load(ID);

Take a list of records: Mage::getModel('simplenews_model/news')->getCollection();. This is similar as you run the query: SELECT * FROM `simplenews_news


If you follow the second lesson, you run this URL:


You will receive only one string: Hello World!

So where are the header, top, left, main and footer? - Currently, they haven’t been configured and set up.


In order to configure the module, you create a file mw_simplenews.xml according to the link:



  • default/defaultin this lesson, I am using Magento Version 1.8.x, so this path is applied for version 1.6 - 1.8. In case you use custom theme, you need to change the link so that the system can load file module layout.

The content of the filemw_simplenews.xml (Click to see this file in full):

Screen: less3.1


  • (1) simplenews_router_index_index: You need to pay attention to this tag because this tag is used to define controller and action to call itself. In which, simplenews_router is configured in config.xml file(Click here to see the config.xml file in full):
  • In addition,  regarding the <reference name="content"> and the blog tag inside, I will introduce in advanced section of the next lesson :).


After configuring the module layout, you return to edit file app/code/local/MW/SimpleNews/controllers/IndexController.php

public function indexAction(){
    $collection = Mage::getModel('simplenews_model/news')->getCollection();
    $this->getLayout()->getBlock('news_index_index')->assign('collection', $collection);


  • $this->loadLayout();: After you call this function, its task is to load the corresponding tag in layout file mw_simplenews.xml. As you can see inScreen: less3.1.
  • $this->getLayout()->getBlock('news_index_index')->assign(...): In the image Screen: less3.1 that i marked as number 2, getBlock here is the name that i defined for that block.The purpose of this line is that I will push variables and data to file. 


Next, we will create template file to display the data for controller.

As the image Screen: less3.1, according to the number 3 that i marked, we will create a template file to your current theme. Here I use default theme of Magento Version 1.8.x

Then the path is: app/design/frontend/default/default/theme/mw_simplenews/list/index.phtml. The file content simply is:

<h3>List news</h3>
<?php foreach($collection->getData() as $new):?>
        <!-- title, desc, category_id, status -->
        <?php echo $new['title'];?>
<?php endforeach;?>

Ok, run URL http://{youdomain|localhost}/magento/index.php/news/index/index and see how it works.

In the next lesson, I will show you more advanced Magento tutorials about block and layout.





Related Posts

Lesson 2 - The model and the database

26 Aug 2014
In the last lesson, I have introduced you how to create a module according to the simplest and easiest steps. If you have not read the previous post yet, please read again from the beginning to understand this lesson easily. In this second post, I will introduce you the way to create a Model and to use database for a module.