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URLs & Dynamic Routing
2019-02-05
Ghost Themes - Dynamic URLs & Routing
Build dedicated URL structures using Ghost's dynamic routing system, for custom homepages, podcasts, categories and more.
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Routing is the system which maps URL patterns to data and templates within Ghost. It comes pre-configured by default, but it can also be customised extensively to build powerful custom site structures.

All of Ghost's routing configuration is defined in content/settings/routes.yaml - which you can edit directly, but you can also upload/download this file from within your Ghost admin panel under Settings » Labs.

If you edit the file manually, you'll need to restart Ghost to see the changes, but if you upload the file in admin then your routes will automatically be updated right away.

Base configuration

The default routes.yaml which comes with all new installs of Ghost sets things up with a traditional publication structure. The homepage of the site is a reverse-chronological list of the site's posts, with each post living on its own URL defined by a {slug} parameter, such as my-great-post. There are also additional archives of posts sorted by tag and author.

routes:

collections:
  /:
    permalink: /{slug}/
    template: index

taxonomies:
  tag: /tag/{slug}/
  author: /author/{slug}/

For most publications and use-cases, this structure is exactly what's needed and it's not necessary to make any edits in order to use Ghost or develop a theme for it.

What's YAML?

YAML stands for Yet Another Markup Language - because there aren't enough unfunny acronyms in computer science. You can think of it loosely like JSON without all the brackets and commas. In short, it's a document format used to store nested key:value pairs, commonly used for simple/readable configuration.

The most important thing to know when working with YAML is that it uses indentation to denote structure. That means the only type of nesting which works is 2 spaces.

The most common reason for YAML files not working is when you accidentally use the wrong type or quantity of spacing for indentation. So keep a close eye on that!

When to use dynamic routing

Maybe you want your homepage to be a simple landing page, while all of your posts appear on site.com/writing/. Maybe you actually want to split your site into two main collections of content, like /blog/ and /podcast/. Maybe you just want to change the URL of your archives from /tag/news/ to /archive/news/.

If you're looking to create an alternative site structure to the one described above, then dynamic routing is what you need in order to achieve all your hopes and dreams.

Okay maybe not all your hopes and dreams but at least your URLs. We'll start there.

Hopes and dreams come later.

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