Multiple CMS collections/templates - Combining into single dynamic lists and URL structure

Hey all,

I am having issues trying to find the best solution to a problem I have encountered while building out CMS collections for a current client.

In a nut shell:

  • The client has an over arching blog page (www.clientsite.com/blog) that will have 4 different categories/collection types

  • Each of these 4 different collections require different fields/information

  • For convenience lets call these: News, Events, Recipes and How-To.

Desired URL structure

  1. www.clientsite.com/blog/news
  2. www.clientsite.com/blog/events
  3. www.clientsite.com/blog/recipes
  4. www.clientsite.com/blog/how-to
  • Each of these 4 content types/collections require different page layouts

The problem

  • The client wants to have multiple dynamic lists (on the Homepage and Main blog page) on the site where they can ‘Hero/Feature’ in a single list from each of these 4 different collections. For example on the homepage they want a slider that features hand picked articles that could be from any of the four categories via a switch in the collections, and on the main blog page they want to be able to hero/feature a few articles at the top, then have a grid below that combines all 4 categories into a list sorted by most recent.

Workarounds

  • I have scoured the forums and tried to find people with this similar problem. One workaround I have looked into is creating 1 collection list that encompasses all 4 categories, and build 4 different layouts for the one template page that only displays the layout corresponding to the category they select from a dropdown list in the collection. This however creates a URL issue I don’t want. For example I now get:

www.clientsite.com/blog/nys-celebration instead of
www.clientsite.com/blog/events/nys-celebration

If it wasn’t for this URL issue, this workaround would work fine and I know how to do it.

I have looked into CMS Combine - Combine multiple Collection Lists to one Collection List but I don’t think this will allow me to create the ability for it to only display featured/hand-picked articles from the multiple categories/collections.

Hopefully that makes sense, happy to elaborate or clarify anything that I’ve missed.

If anyone has any advice/workarounds/hacks or suggestions I would be super stoked.

Thanks in advance!

Nice work on your research, and yes it’s a difficult tradeoff choice;

A Split collection approach gives you content-type-specific base paths + field arrangements + collection page layouts - but it’s much harder to create the combined views you’re after.

A Unified collection approach gives you very easy content combinations and filtering, but you have to work with one single item-record design, one collection page, and your paths are limited.

You can overcome many of the Split approach limitations using script, but it’s rather messy to setup right. Likewise you can overcome many of the Unified approach limitations with a careful use of filters and page layout “parts”.

In either case, you can do this;

www.clientsite.com/blog/news
www.clientsite.com/blog/events
www.clientsite.com/blog/recipes
www.clientsite.com/blog/how-to

As long as /blog is a folder and /news, etc are static pages.
Each would be a listing of that content type… here are all of our recipes, etc.
That’s easy to build with collection lists and filtering no matter whether you choose to go split or unified.

Your item ( aka individual post ) paths though, are limited. You can do either;

e.g. /recipes/best-blueberry-muffins with split, or
e.g. /post/best-blueberry-muffins with unified.

The only production-worthy way around the path limitations is a reverse proxy, which adds a lot of path capability but the tradeoff is setup time and configuration complexity.

Hey Michael,

Thanks for the info! Looks like I will have to go for the unified approach, I feel like this will provide less niggles than the split approach.

Only issue I am having now is I can’t create a folder to contain my static static category pages as there is a URL clash with my unified collection URL… am I missing something here?

You can have a static page with the same slug as a collection page, but you cannot have a folder with the same slug as a CP. Reason is path conflict. How would it know if /blog/news is a static page in a folder, or a collection item to render?

Would be nice if Webflow had a more advanced routing mode available.

Gotcha, so if I wanted the folder structure for my categories, then the folder needs a different name/slug than my collection list. e.g:

www.clientsite.com/blog/recipes (Category page)

www.clientsite.com/post/best-blueberry-muffins (post page)

So basically I can’t have:

www.clientsite.com/blog/best-blueberry-muffins if I want to use a folder structure for the category pages…

Dangit maybe I do need to consider split approach… Do you know of any decent combined view hacks?

Exactly. You could do blog and blog-posts, or even blogs and blog
I usually integrate the blog more directly, so I’d have it like;

/recipes
/news

And then for the items;

/article/jsdkfjklsfjsd