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For the life of me, I don't understand why EE uses C's for category urls by default and not their actual names. I get the concept but it's not that SEO friendly.

For instance, using normal channel tags to pull entries in, if I hack the URL to /sandbox/C2 it displays all entries within Category 1 (electric)

If i have a child category, the child category id is 10 so /sandbox/C10/ displays the correct child category. /electric/flat-wound-electric

But if out use the actual url_title sandbox/electric outputs all products in the parent category electric

But...When I hack the url to /electric/flat-wound-electric it only displays the parent.

Are there any add-ons anyone is aware of that handles this without using bulky tag pairs and conditionals to display categories properly?

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Two things you can do:

  1. Configure the Category URL and Category URL Segment preferences. This will make native category paths look like (for example) /category/electric.

  2. Have a look at Low Seg2Cat. Dead simple add-on which allows you to bypass the Category URL Segment entirely.

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