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Unlocking Shopify Collections with Dynamic Handle Checks

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    Entaice Braintrust


If you’ve landed on this guide, chances are you're paddling through Shopify’s vast sea, trying to figure out how to tailor your store’s browsing experience with a bit more finesse—specifically dealing with collection handles that contain specific phrases or characters. Sounds a bit tricky, right? But worry not! You've got a companion on this journey.

What’s the Fuss About Collection Handles?

Imagine you've got a store selling books. You have collections for genres, author names, bestsellers, and whatnot. One day, you decide, “Hey, I want to showcase all collections that have ‘classic’ in their titles differently.” This is where understanding how to use conditions with collection handles kicks in.

In Shopify, every collection has a handle. It’s like an ID but more human-readable and used in URLs for easy access. It's a way to uniquely identify collections without needing a database ID number.

The Scenario

Let’s say you want to create a special layout or execute some custom scripts for collections that mention 'classic' in their handle. Hardcoding each possible handle would be a nightmare, right? Hence, you look for a way to check if a collection’s handle contains a certain string or pattern.

Step-by-Step Guide to Collection Handle Magic

1. Understanding Liquid

Shopify uses a template language called Liquid. It’s what we’ll use to perform our handle check.

2. Digging into Liquid’s Contains

Liquid’s contains is pretty straightforward. If you recall any of your adventures with programming or scripting, contains checks if a string has a certain sequence of characters. If it does, it does one thing; if not, it does another.

Here’s how you’d use it in plain English:

{% if collection.handle contains 'classic' %}
  <!-- Do something amazing here for classic collections -->
{% endif %}

3. Applying This in a Real Shopify Theme

Let's walk through adding a custom banner to collections that have ‘classic’ in their handle. Here’s how you could flesh out the above snippet:

{% if collection.handle contains 'classic' %}
  <div class="special-banner">
    Dive into Classics!
{% else %}
  <!-- Maybe put something else, or nothing at all. You choose! -->
{% endif %}

4. More Than Just 'contains'

While contains is great, sometimes you want more—maybe checking a handle starting or ending with something specific, right? Liquid’s got your back:

  • Starts with: starts_with
  • Ends with: ends_with

They work like contains but are more specific about where in the string to look.

{% if collection.handle starts_with '2023-' %}
  <!-- Maybe display a "New Arrivals" badge? -->
{% endif %}

5. Debugging Common Issues

  • Typo in the handle or the Liquid syntax: Always double-check. Typos are the gremlins in your code.
  • Assuming contains checks case-insensitively: It doesn’t. ‘classic’ is different from ‘Classic’. If the case might vary, convert everything to lowercase:
{% if collection.handle | downcase contains 'classic' %}
  <!-- This will now catch 'classic', 'Classic', 'CLASSIC', etc. -->
{% endif %}

Wrapping it Up

With these basics, you can start making your Shopify store more dynamic and responsive to its content, just by checking what’s in a name—or more precisely, in a handle. The power of contains doesn’t stop here. Think about discount codes, product tags, and more.

Remember, the best way to get comfortable with Liquid and handle conditions in Shopify is by trying things out. Experiment with different scenarios. Break things (in a controlled environment, of course). Learn from each hiccup.

The Takeaway

Look at your task or problem not just as a hurdle but an avenue for learning, much like picking habits from Atomic Habits. Be incremental. Approach each challenge like shaping a sculpture, gradually refining each part rather than hacking chunks off, hoping for the best—as Shape Up suggests.

Imagine, you start today—where could these small, consistent efforts lead you in a year? Perhaps to a store so personalized and fine-tuned that it feels almost alive. Ready to start experimenting?