Section Showdown: Static vs. Section Groups in Shopify Theme Development

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Owen Franssen

· 3 min read

In the world of Shopify theme development, you’ve probably come across the terms “static sections” and “section groups.” While they both serve the purpose of organizing and displaying content on a Shopify store, they have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different scenarios. Both approaches offer distinct advantages and drawbacks, making the decision a matter of understanding the specific needs and goals of a project. Let’s delve into the key aspects of each method to help you make an informed decision.

Static Sections: Unveiling Their Simplest Form

Static sections are the foundation of Shopify theme development. They are essentially predefined blocks of content that are directly inserted into a theme’s Liquid files. This makes them easy to implement and manage, as they don’t require any external configuration or app integration. However, this simplicity also comes with limitations. Static sections are fixed in place, meaning merchants have no control over their placement or order within a page layout. This can hinder customization and make it challenging to adapt themes for B2B or international markets.

Section Groups: A Flexible Approach to Layout Management

Section groups emerged as a powerful solution to address the limitations of static sections. These dynamic collections of sections allow merchants to easily manage, customize, and rearrange their website’s layout without writing code. By utilizing the Shopify theme editor, merchants can add, remove, and reorder sections within a section group, giving them complete control over their store’s appearance. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for B2B businesses that need to cater to different customer segments and international markets, where content localization and customization are crucial.

Context Customization: Tailoring Content for Specific Needs

Both static sections and section groups offer context customization options to cater to specific needs. Static sections provide basic context customization through Liquid variables, allowing merchants to inject dynamic data into the section’s content. Section groups, on the other hand, offer more advanced context customization through app blocks. App blocks enable merchants to integrate third-party apps directly into section groups, providing a seamless way to display dynamic content, such as product recommendations or customer reviews.

Making Informed Decisions: Choosing the Right Approach

The choice between static sections and section groups depends on the specific requirements of the Shopify theme and the target audience. Static sections are ideal for simple layouts and themes that don’t require extensive customization. For themes that demand flexibility and adaptability, section groups are the preferred choice. In the realm of B2B and international commerce, section groups offer a powerful tool to tailor content to different customer segments and markets.

Conclusion: Striking the Right Balance

As a mid-level Shopify developer, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of static sections and section groups is essential for crafting themes that meet the needs of diverse merchants. While static sections provide ease of implementation, section groups offer superior flexibility and context customization. The key lies in striking the right balance between simplicity and adaptability, ensuring that your themes are both user-friendly and adaptable to a wide range of requirements.

Additional Resources

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About Owen Franssen

Owen is a self-taught full-stack web developer having worked as a junior, senior and freelance developer over the past two decades and is currently technical lead at a leading ecommerce agency in Ireland.
He is also the author of the book 'From Developer to Tech Lead' available on Amazon now