Are there some drawbacks by allowing template subfolders in Phoenix projects?

By default one can’t use subfolders to render partial templates but it can be changed in the app View definition. That is one of the changes I always make when starting a new Phoenix project.

def view do
    quote do
      use Phoenix.View,
        root: "lib/demo_web/templates",
        namespace: DemoWeb,
        # for template subfolders usage
        pattern: "**/*"


So I’m wondering, if it is not possible by default, there may be a good reason.
Please I would like to know the drawbacks of changing this behaviour.

If you nest templates in a outer folder, which already has a view module setup the inner templates will be compiled into the outer view module as well, which can be problematic.


Honestly I don’t quite understand … Would you mind to give me a quick example of this kind of issue? Something with just a semblance of code would be much appreciated. :slight_smile:

So here is a more detailed answer that has been given to me on Stackoverflow, and that made me understand @LostKobrakai’s answer better .

By allowing subfolders for templates, you are basically saying to phoenix that each subfolder should be compiled into the corresponding top-level view.

This may not be a problem for a small project, where you don’t have many pages, but imagine you start having something more complex where you decide to nest views?

I don’t even know how Phoenix would react in this case, because basically that would mean your template will be compiled in two different views…

If it doesn’t work, you might spend time figuring out why, and if it does, you might at one point use the same method name in the top-level and sub-folder views, in which case it will no longer be clear which one you are referring to.

So I deduced that I can use subfolders safely as long as their master view is not nested in another view. My real concern with subfolders, it’s just to easily find small parts of a large template by organizing them by semantics. Sometimes I have a very big template and I prefer to divide it in many small templates. Of course they could just be placed in the same folder as their parent template, but I may end up with too many templates in the same folder. So I really prefer to create a subfolder for each big master template so I quickly I know where to search for its small parts.

1 Like

Here’s what I do when I decide to break up a template into many smaller ones. Let’s say the main template is index.eex. I just create the sub-templates in the same directory but use a descriptive name that starts with an underscore like _header.eex, _slider.eex etc. Since the sub-template names all start with an underscore, they naturally sort above the main template. You can get creative with the sorting by using numbers in the names etc.
If I happen to have more than one main template in the same directory (which is rare), I just use it’s name as a prefix in the sub-template name, like _index-header.eex, _index-slider.eex.

I find this works pretty well for me most of the time.

1 Like

Your tip looks really practical. I think I will adopt it for my next project to see how it works for me too. Thanks.

1 Like