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Showing root category products in Magento

A lot of times I’ve found the need to create a “Shop” page that shows the root category as an anchor (with layered navigation, for example). There are also a couple questions floating around on Stackexchange about how to have root categories be shown like normal categories.

By default Magento won’t show the root category for reasons I’ve still not found out.

There are a lot of modules that have that functionality, like Amasty’s Improved Navigation. However, it turns out it’s also pretty easy to do yourself.

In the Mage_Catalog_CategoryController::_initCatagory (yes, it’s spelled wrong) there is the following check:

if (!Mage::helper('catalog/category')->canShow($category)) {
        return false;

The canShow method …

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